Preparations for Welfare Winter Planning and Support
Decision Maker: Executive
Decision status: For Determination
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: No
This report will look at the impact of the
pandemic on debt and poverty in the city, the support in place for
maximising benefits residents are entitled to, making services more
accessible including by digital means, via community structures
such as hubs and the developing of a formal winter plan for our
It will also provide options for Executive consideration around how to use remaining emergency and Covid related funding to best effect for the benefit of those residents most impacted by the pandemic.
The Executive will be asked to
- Note the continued impacts of the pandemic and plans in place to provide
Information, advice and support
- Consider options for further support within available funds with a view on
longer term impacts and solutions
- Take any short term immediate funding decisions
Resolved: (i) That the continued impacts of the pandemic on financially vulnerable members of York’s communities as many government covid welfare schemes come to an end, and the full range of activities planned by the council and partners to support residents during the forthcoming winter, be noted.
(ii) That the £1m covid emergency funding identified by the Executive at the start of the pandemic, and how this has been distributed, be noted.
(iii) That, in relation to holiday Free School Meal vouchers, £150k funding from the York Financial Assistance Scheme Emergency Fund reserve be approved to cover the school holidays in the current financial year to February Half Term (excluding the week at Christmas covered by Holiday Activities and Food Programme Funding).
(iv) That the subject of school holiday food provision be referred to the Children, Education & Communities Policy and Scrutiny Committee for them to consider the effectiveness, impact and funding of the voucher scheme alongside other grassroots community-based provision and other schemes to address the impact of food poverty; this work could also inform further formal responses back to the Department for Education.
(v) That approval be given to fund the following schemes for one year from existing YFAS emergency funds as outlined in paragraphs 34-39 and 41 of the report:
· Early Support Fund, at an additional cost of £20k;
· Early intervention for residents in debt, at a cost of £35k;
· £100% Digital York Project Co-ordinator, at a cost of £23,220.
Reason: To acknowledge the ongoing financial impacts of the pandemic on residents, recognise the ending of a number of related government support schemes, consider mitigations and increase awareness of developing council plans to support residents in debt and in difficulty meeting their day to day living expenses.
Report author: Pauline Stuchfield
Publication date: 01/10/2021
Date of decision: 30/09/2021
Decided at meeting: 30/09/2021 - Executive