Tackling the cost-of-living crisis will be confirmed as a key priority for Colchester Borough Council’s new administration when cabinet members meet next week (July 6) to consider a package of measures to support struggling residents.
With the rising cost-of-living continuing to impact residents, disproportionately affect low-income households and widen inequality, Cabinet members will propose an immediate and comprehensive response to the crisis.
Along with a pledge to continue to work with the Government and community partners to expand existing support, additional measures will target those most in need, substantially increase the range of advice and information available, and will strengthen the capacity of the council’s own teams to meet rising demand.
A three-point plan will focus resources on crisis support, increasing the level of help available, and reducing further hardship.
As a matter of priority, the council will intervene immediately to support local foodbanks as demand continues to rise and donations fall.
An extensive, targeted media campaign will ensure residents know what help is available and where to get it, to further reduce hardship and private sector rent arrears and eviction.
Support will also be ramped up through a suite of measures that focus on providing advice and support to prevent extreme hardship, along with a review of the Local Council Tax Support Scheme to provide additional support for residents in 2023/24.
Residents experiencing fuel poverty will be offered access to energy efficiency and active travel options, to reduce their energy costs and help tackle the climate emergency.
And wider opportunities from the Town Deal and Levelling Up Fund will be pursued, to achieve a step-change in tackling inequalities, including community wealth building and inclusive economic growth and employment opportunities.
Cllr David King, Leader of the Council, said: “Times are getting harder for many residents. They will worry about today and what comes next, and this winter. We can and will reduce the worry, the challenge, and the loneliness of hard times. We will help them or connect people in crisis to those who can. And we will help those, like the foodbanks, who help others.
“Our residents should be reassured that this administration has at its heart their wellbeing and that we are working quickly and diligently to muster and deploy the resources at our disposal, with the help of our partners. We will help those who need it most. We will stand on the side of our residents, and we will do all we can to help the most financially vulnerable in our communities, for however long it takes.”