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Issue - meetings

Interim report on financial inclusion and welfare benefits activities 2019/20

Meeting: 21/01/2020 - Executive (Item 83)

83 Interim Report on Financial Inclusion and Welfare Benefits Activities 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 632 KB

The Director of Customer & Corporate Services to present a report which provides an update on the impact of recent and imminent welfare benefits changes in York, and on other welfare benefits and financial inclusion activity, over the six months to 31 September 2019.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved:  (i)      That the report, and the progress made against the Financial Inclusion scrutiny recommendations, be noted.

 

                   (ii)      That approval be given to use £1,300 from the Financial Inclusion budget to fund an event to bring together partners and resources in the city to work strategically on tackling digital exclusion in York.

 

Reasons:   To ensure that councillors, residents and groups are aware of financial inclusion activity and the use of associated funding, to confirm that Members have been updated on welfare benefits, and to ensure that approved scrutiny actions are being implemented.

                  

Minutes:

The Assistant Director of Customer & Digital Services presented a report which provided an update on the impact of recent and imminent welfare benefits changes in York, other welfare benefits and financial inclusion activity, and progress on the agreed recommendations of the Financial Inclusion Scrutiny Review, over the six months to 31 September 2019. 

 

The report examined the current effects of the rollout of Universal Credit (UC), support provided by the York Financial Assistance Scheme (YFAS) and the work of the Financial Inclusion Steering Group (FISG) set up to address the root cause of financial inequality.  It was reported that:

·        The number of residents claiming UC had increased by an average of 130 per month, compared with 126 in 2018/19;

·        133 clients had received support with UC via the Help to Claim service run by Citizens Advice York (CAY); 233 had received general UC support from CAY;

·        Council tenant rent arrears had increased overall by 18.5%;

·        The council had spent 66% of the £210k government grant received in 2019/20 for Discretionary Housing Payments;

·        598 YFAS applications had been received, of which 48% were awarded assistance, resulting in a spend of 95% of the total budget;

·        Key outcomes from the ten projects currently funded by the FISG (detailed in Table 7, paragraph 25) had included the management of 817 debts, valued at £913k, with £569k (annualised) income gained;

·        Progress on the Scrutiny recommendations had included the commencement of the Poverty Scrutiny Review, expansion of the membership of FISG and planning work for the revision of the Financial Inclusion Policy.

 

The Executive Member for Housing & Safer Neighbourhoods commended the report and the work carried out to provide support through these activities to over 1,000 residents in the past year. Having noted the comments made on this item under Public Participation, it was

 

Resolved:  (i)      That the report, and the progress made against the Financial Inclusion scrutiny recommendations, be noted.

 

                   (ii)      That approval be given to use £1,300 from the Financial Inclusion budget to fund an event to bring together partners and resources in the city to work strategically on tackling digital exclusion in York.

 

Reasons:   To ensure that councillors, residents and groups are aware of financial inclusion activity and the use of associated funding, to confirm that Members have been updated on welfare benefits, and to ensure that approved scrutiny actions are being implemented.

                  


 

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