Cyflwynwyd gan:Cllr. Ioan Thomas
To adopt the Discretionary Cost of Living Support Scheme.
The report was submitted by Cllr Ioan Thomas.
The Discretionary Cost of Living Support Scheme was adopted.
The report was submitted, noting that the purpose of this report was to receive approval to the Council's Discretionary Scheme to assist with the costs of living. It was explained that this was a scheme that had been developed jointly between the Taxation Service and Supporting Families Team.
It was expressed that the Discretionary Scheme was a follow-up of the Core Plan, where the Council had already distributed £150 each to approximately 40,000 households in Gwynedd. It was noted that the households needed to live in properties in Council Tax Bands A to D in order to receive the support through the Council Tax Reduction Scheme. It was emphasised that this scheme had been successful and that the Council was the quickest Authority in Wales to achieve this work.
It was explained that the Welsh Government had earmarked £25m to provide discretionary support for other purposes relating to the costs of living, and it was explained that this scheme highlighted the Council's proposals on how to use Cyngor Gwynedd's proportion of the money. First of all, it was noted that a £150 payment to households that were not eligible to receive a payment under the original scheme would receive a Council Tax exception. It was highlighted that property that received a Council Tax exception on 15 February was not eligible to receive a payment, and in addition, the proposal would give a payment to households where the household income was restricted since only one person lived there.
It was emphasised that the second part of the proposed support provided a financial contribution towards the Supporting People Hubs Network. It is believed that giving the network a contribution is a very effective way of securing support to households that need support with their costs of living. It was expressed that the cabinet member believed that this scheme was an effective and efficient way of making use of this additional grant, targeting the money towards the neediest households in the county. It was noted that this money was to be welcomed, despite the fact that it was far from sufficient to meet the needs of the most vulnerable families in the county.
Observations arising from the discussion
<![if !supportLists]>¾ <![endif]>Gratitude was expressed for the report and for the work done within the field. An enquiry was made about plans to support people in specific catchment areas but, e.g. in Bangor, Maesgeirchen was noted but not the rest of Bangor. It was asked whether work would be done outside these areas. It was expressed that hubs would be established in deprived locations but that satellite locations would be opened outside the main hubs. It was explained that a support network and events would be seen outside the main hubs also.
<![if !supportLists]>¾ <![endif]>In terms of the support to Food Schemes, a request was made for more details. It was explained that many types of support was given to food schemes; it was noted that grants were available for Food Banks, Foodshare Groups and groups that produced Meals on Wheels or Community Lunch Clubs.
<![if !supportLists]>¾ <![endif]>It was expressed that it was excellent that the Council could assist to arrange money in order to deal with a problem, but it was noted that it was terrible that such discussions and schemes had to be held within the sixth richest country in the world.
<![if !supportLists]>¾ <![endif]>It was noted that this was an emergency plan, and the need to act was swift. Gratitude was expressed to the finance department for ensuring that the money was shared quickly to individuals in need. It was highlighted that this scheme was only one step within a number of steps within the Supporting People Plan.
Awdur:Bleddyn Jones and Catrin Thomas