Support program for Basingstoke residents of the borough facing financial hardship

A NEW scheme to support borough residents facing financial hardship due to the rising cost of living is set to be launched by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.

Due to be approved by councilors in July, the new £1million Cost of Living Relief Fund will help households struggling to pay their bills, with grants available to help pay for food and energy.

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Cllr Simon Bound, Leader of the Council, said: ‘We know these are difficult times with rising household costs and energy bills set to rise further in the fall and it is important as a council that we do something to help.

“In addition to government support, we are committed to providing additional financial assistance to families struggling to pay for food, energy and other living expenses. After the program is approved, we will work hard to launch this support as soon as possible for eligible households.”

This funding comes on top of support announced by the government and the Household Support Fund which will provide food stamps to residents who are on certain benefits. These vouchers will soon be distributed to eligible households.

Under the new regime, one-time grants would be available up to the following amounts:

  • Up to £1,000 for people with household income between £0 and £15,000
  • Up to £500 for people with a household income between £15,001 and £20,000
  • Up to £200 for people with a household income between £20,001 and £25,000

Up to 25% of the grant can be used to purchase food with payments made through vouchers or a postal payment code that allows cash to be collected at a postal agency. The rest of the funding will go towards helping with rising energy costs. These payments can be made directly to the supplier or paid via a postal payment code.

Grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, so the program may end sooner if funding has been fully allocated.

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Cllr John Izett, Cabinet Member for Finance and Real Estate, added: “Thanks to our careful management of council finances, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, our financial outlook is more positive than expected when we have established our budget for 2021/22.

“In this time of pressure on family finances, I am pleased that this council can afford to redirect these funds to support residents hardest hit by the rising cost of living.”

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