Cost of living crisis: Hull City Council sets out significant package of support

Hull City Council has set out a significant ‘cost of living rescue package’ of measures in response to the cost of living emergency. The plans could include millions of pounds of vital support to local residents.

The Council has launched a dedicated telephone hotline, online hub and email address to help local residents access the help they need. These will connect local people with advice, information and support, including how to check they are claiming any benefits they are entitled to, food bank details, grants and more.

The council has also pledged to work with local businesses and local community and voluntary organisations to create ‘warm spaces’. These are free to use places where people can stay warm, charge phones and have hot drinks. Similar facilities are in place around the country, as unaffordable fuel bills prevent people being able to heat their homes.

A comprehensive package of measures will also be put forward to the council’s cabinet later this month which, subject to cabinet agreement and confirmation of additional government funding, will help local residents.

The council is working with partners in the Hull Cost of Living Network, including Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) and voluntary sector support group Forum to agree the emergency support.

Measures which could be given the go-ahead include:

Food

  • £15 per week food vouchers during school holidays for people who usually receive free school meals (FSM)
  • A £25,000 boost to local food banks, to help improve local food networks.

Health

  • A £25,000 fund to help create warm spaces – local businesses will be able to apply for funds to create spaces

Fuel

  • A boost to a funding pot for those on low incomes to access a new boiler or improved insulation
  • Additional funding for the Warm Homes project

Money and Debt

  • A one-off £100 payment to under-25s who are care leavers or receiving housing benefit or council tax support
  • £100,000 in tenancy support for those living in private rented and council homes

Other measures around housing, finance, health, debt and fuel and energy are also under consideration.

A high-profile campaign, titled Hull Together, has been launched to ensure people understand how to ask for help and advice. Information including the advice hub email, phone number and web address, will be advertised on posters, leaflets, online, and in public spaces, including translations in languages commonly spoken locally. The council is working in partnership with local media, including Hull Daily Mail and others, to promote the campaign.

Cllr Mike Ross, Leader of Hull City Council, said: “It is terrible that these things are needed in the 21st century, but sadly this year they are. Earlier this year we declared a cost of living crisis and this package sets out the latest action in the council’s response.

 “The cost of living crisis, whether it is unmanageable fuel bills or ever increasing food prices, is continuing to affect us all. It will be acutely felt by those who were already struggling, while those who didn’t need help before may now need to be supported. We are facing a winter where thousands of people in the city cannot afford the basics they need in fuel and food.

“While this happens, we will not stand by. From food banks to support lines to warm homes, we will do whatever we can to be there for residents across the city.  

“Of course, the power to effect real change lies with central government and the new prime minister, and we still hope there will be further support and action announced.

“During these difficult times, I would also ask everyone to look out for each other. The residents of Hull demonstrated this community minded approach throughout the pandemic and it is undoubtedly the case we need to see it again. Checking in on neighbours or those you believe are struggling could make all the difference to them when you put them in touch with help. I know we can help each other get through this by pulling together”.

 Key advice:

  • Ensure you are claiming any benefits you’re entitled to. Call 01482 300 303, email [email protected] and visit hull.gov.uk/costofliving for information on how to use our benefit calculator. It’s free and anonymous to use, and will quickly tell you what you can claim. There are also crisis loans and support grants available in some circumstances
  • Contact Hull Citizen’s Advice Bureau on 0800 144 8848 or 01482 226 859 for specialist debt advice
  • A further £400 per-household grant, funded by the government, will be paid in the coming weeks – all households will receive this, with payments being made from October
  • The council’s Warm Homes Team provides a specialist service with the primary aim of reducing the number of people who are experiencing fuel poverty, increasing domestic energy efficiency, and improving affordable warmth in the city. They can guide you where support is available, such as grants to improve home insulation. Contact the hub for more information
  • For our tenants, there is help and support available for anyone struggling to pay rent. It’s vital to get in touch as soon as possible – we may be able to help reschedule payments or advise on other steps you can take and support you can access
  • Find details of all local food banks and how and where to access them at call 01482 300 303, email [email protected] and visit hull.gov.uk/costofliving
  • The council, with funding from the Department for Education (DfE), also provides the Healthy Holidays programme during school holidays – this wil be running throughout the Christmas break. Open to all to ensure easy access and removal of stigma, these are free activity sessions with a nutritious food offer included. It is designed to fill the gap left when free school meals are not available and there are a very wide variety of sessions for children and teens. Additionally, we offer free Cooking on a Budget sessions, which help people develop cooking skills
  • People who usually receive free school meals can access £15-per-week food vouchers during school holidays
  • If people have run out of data or are not online, there is free internet access in our libraries and children’s centre, customer service centres and the city centre has free public wifi.

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