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Cost of Living - How South Hams Council is Responding

06 October 2022

A couple sitting on a sofa looking through paperwork with worried expressions

Next week, South Hams District Council's Executive will consider a plan in direct response to the current cost of living challenges. A plan that could see quarter of a million pounds of support funding for families, supporting agencies and communities.

When South Hams District Council's Executive next meet on the 13 October, they will be discussing a detailed plan for how the Council is responding to the current challenges posed by the increasing cost of living.

Cllr Nicky Hopwood, South Hams Executive Member for the Cost of Living said: "With this plan, we aim to ensure that every penny of support available to our residents can be accessed quickly and easily.

"We want our residents to have access to healthy nutritious food and a warm place to live, and in order to achieve this we recognise that many residents may need our help to navigate the complexities of the support systems that are available. This is why we have created this plan, a plan which clearly lays out what we can do and how we intend to help our residents.

"I would also like to stress that we are not waiting for this plan to be approved by the Council, we have already started acting. We mobilized our work force and started acting as soon as the current challenge became apparent.

"What this plan does do however, it to put a framework around that action and ensure that we have considered all options.  It also lays out where the funding is coming from and how we intend to work with partners."

The District Council knows that it must work in collaboration with other agencies and partners to help residents find help and support.  Through its emerging Cost of Living Response Plan, South Hams District Council is proposing a three pronged approach: 

  1. Providing direct support where they can, which is easy to access and provides a quick response to the needs of the communities.
  2. Working with partners to support local communities and residents by making the best use of available funding and supporting project designed to combat the increase locally.
  3. Signpost, share and promote existing support to those who need it most across the District. 

In the plan, the Council is proposing to use funding that is available from the Discretionary Energy rebate Fund, the COVID-19 Hardship Fund and our share of DCC's Clinically Vulnerable fund to put funding where it can have the most impact: 

  • £163,000 on an additional grant for families who receive a reduction in Council Tax.
  • A £27,000 grant for communities so that they can support their most vulnerable residents with activities such as warm banks (warm places where people can come together rather than sit at home alone and cold.)
  • A £25,000 grant for community wellbeing schemes such as those supporting mental health, isolation and other wider health and wellbeing activities. 

The Council is also proposing that some of the available funding goes towards supporting some of those agencies already working in communities.  

  • £10,000 to the Citizen's Advice,
  • and, £14,000 to continuing an extension to the Money Advice Service.

Cllr Nicky Hopwood, South Hams' Executive Member for Cost of Living, said: "It is also really important that we do what we can to de-stigmatise accessing help and support. Our residents need to know where they can get help and we will work closely with partners like Citizens Advice and CVS who are on the frontline of supporting our residents through this particularly challenging time. 

"While Government have already taken some steps to reduce the impact of the cost of living increases, there is more we must do. We will also lobby Government on a number of issues.  

"Through our action plan we can set out a series of key commitments. I will also ensure that the Council staff all work to deliver on them and ensure that our residents are supported."

If you are interested in hearing the Executive discussing this item, you can watch the meeting live on YouTube on 13 October or you can read the Council report. 

If you are currently looking for help or advice on the Cost of Living, here is the advice already available: 

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