Bucks Council announces new support package for residents facing financial hardship

Bucks Council has announced a new financial support package available to residents in the county struggling most with the cost of living.

By James Lowson
Friday, 13th May 2022, 1:09 pm

The package is aimed at residents who are struggling the most with the rising bills and costs affecting the whole nation.

Previously, the local authority announced it was launching an additional financial support scheme on top of the government’s national council tax rebate scheme.

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Bucks Council

Also the council has finalised how it will allocate a further £2.4 million of funding from the Government’s Household Support Fund.

Bucks Council’s Helping Hand scheme is designed to assist with:

help with energy, cooking, lighting and water bills support with food costs through vouchers pay for household essentials such as sanitary products, boiler servicing, warm clothing costs

In total, £880,000 has been allocated to provide food vouchers to families in need, including covering children’s meals during school holidays if they are eligible for free school meals during term time.

These digital food vouchers will also be available for Afghan and Ukrainian families who’ve arrived in Buckinghamshire as a package of wider support for these families under Helping Hand.

These digital food vouchers will also be available for Afghan and Ukrainian families who’ve arrived in Buckinghamshire as a package of wider support for these families under Helping Hand.

Called, the Household Support Fund package, the new initiative, which is linked to the existing Helping Hand scheme, is designed to help families with children, pensioners and other vulnerable households who are struggling with paying for the basics of food, clothing and heating.

Councillor Steve Bowles said: “Our aim with the Household Support Fund is to target those who need it most and I urge anyone facing severe hardship to get in touch with our Helping Hand team.”

Bucks Council also highlights other schemes designed to help residents who are struggling, but may not be in crisis.

The council advises it has designed a council tax rebate rollout so the funds can be issued as quickly as possible and this is now happening sooner than in some other council areas.

Also the local authority has established its own scheme to pay eligible residents living in Bands E-H households who are in receipt of certain benefits such as Employment and Support Allowance.

Bucks Council is topping up both schemes, meaning an extra £25 payment will be available to some residents.

Bucks Council Leader Martin Tett said: “We are facing significant rises in the cost of living and this is impacting everyone. For some people, it means a real struggle to buy food, clothing or other essentials.

"As a council, we want to do as much as we can to help those most in need, alongside offering extra support more universally too.

"So I hope the agreed package of measures alongside our other schemes do just that, and ultimately help as many Buckinghamshire residents as we can.

“We are working closely with a number of local organisations to ensure support is there for all who need it, from general financial advice, to those who sadly have been pushed into severe hardship.

"We know people need different levels of help at the moment, that we’re all feeling the pinch and our aim is to help as many Buckinghamshire households as possible who are experiencing varying amounts of financial pressure.”