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CCC to give cash help to needy families

Universal credit households to receive £20 for rising living costs

39,000 people in Cambridgeshire who are on universal credit will be offered a payment of £20 to help them manage rising costs of living this winter.

Cllr Tom Sanderson, chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s communities, social mobility and inclusion committee announced the support fund on Monday (January 17).

The committee had already agreed to allocate government funding of £3.5million received before Christmas to support both households with children and others in need of support this winter.

Anyone receiving universal credit can apply for the £20 payment by filling in a simple form online.

The new plan aims to reach some of those struggling the most with increased costs of heating or other essential bills, but who may not yet have heard about the fund or think it isn’t aimed at them.

“With the rising energy and other essential bills, and the £20 reduction of universal credit last October, households in Cambridgeshire are already having to choose between heating and eating,” said Cllr Sanderson.

“We want to make sure this fund can help everyone who needs it now, and highlight what other help it may be able to provide.”

Just over £1.1m has already been allocated to provide school meal vouchers over the Christmas and February half term holidays.

A further £2.4m was left for more general household support, open for any household in need to claim.

Some of this has already been used to support households who have applied or the council or its partners are aware of – needing help with essential bills or replacement of white goods – such as washing machines or cookers.

However, a considerable number of those thought to be eligible have yet to make any claim.

While the average level of support provided through household support fund is more than £20, only about one person in seven on universal credit has applied for any help so far.

Cllr Sanderson said: “In our joint administration vision to create a cleaner, greener and more caring Cambridgeshire, we want to reduce inequality.

“This is just one of the ways we are bringing that vision to life.”

Source:  Katie Woodcock writing in the Hunts Post 18th January 2022.