Residents in severe financial crisis following the Covid-19 pandemic can now access extra food support and help to pay their bills in changes to welfare policy being introduced by Bath & North East Somerset Council.
The council is increasing the weekly amount of money for food support provided to residents living in hardship, as well as introducing a wider range of supermarket vouchers and prepaid debit cards for bills, essential household items and clothes.
The council will increase its welfare support budget from £190,000 to £590,000 for the 2021/22 year to mitigate the impact the pandemic has had on jobs, livelihoods and businesses. This targeted support will be used to help people with their debt, bills, household purchases, clothing and items for children.
The scheme is also being widened to invite applications from all residents in severe need rather than certain groups. It is being introduced following a Single Member Decision made by Councillor Richard Samuel, acting council Leader and cabinet member for Resources.
Councillor Richard Samuel, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Resources & Economic Development, said: “We know that some of our residents are battling fiercely to keep their heads above water due to the impact the pandemic has had on their jobs and livelihoods. Many of them are families with dependent children who need to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. It is these people who are most in need that we want to support through the changes to our welfare support policy.
“We particularly welcome applications from residents who have lost employment during the course of the pandemic or are facing redundancy, as well as mediated applications through key partner organisations such as Citizens Advice. Please apply to us if you are in financial hardship and need urgent help.”
People in financial hardship are defined as being unable to meet basic living costs for food, shelter and clothing, taking into account the resources they have available to them.
Applications can be made via email or by telephone to the welfare support team firstname.lastname@example.org 01225 477277.
The increases in support for food under the welfare support policy are as follows:
|Household size||Existing level of support||Proposed level of support|
|4 or more||£70||£100|
The decision can be viewed here