Council team supports new cost-of-living initiative

Hundreds of the Horsham District’s most vulnerable residents are set to receive extra financial support from Horsham District Council, funded primarily by this year’s Council Tax revenue.

At a meeting of the Council’s Cabinet on 9 June, the Cabinet will look to recommend that funds from the 2021/22 General Fund reserve be transferred and used to support residents on low incomes or those who are vulnerable, as well as supporting initiatives for young people.

In addition to the Government’s £150 energy bills payment to those living in homes in Council Tax bands A to D, and a joint County scheme to further reduce the bills of those on Council Tax support by up to an additional £150, the Council is planning further support for those caught in the cost-of-living crisis, as well as extra help to develop initiatives to help young people locally.

The proposed support includes:

* £90,000 for Housing Payments support helping those on benefits.

* A 35,000 Hardship Fund to help people with debt.

* A £15,000 grant to Horsham Matters so they can expand their fuel crisis support.

* £60,000 funding for two additional full-time posts at Citizens Advise to meet increased demand.

* £80,000 a mentoring scheme for young people in partnership with West Sussex County Council.

* £15,000 increase in young people intervention training courses to better understand teenage behaviour.

These additional payments equate to the total additional sum raised by this year’s Council Tax increase, which is being returned to the District’s most vulnerable residents.

Horsham District Council Leader Cllr Jonathan Chowen said:

As a Council we are doing everything within the Council’s power to help those who need financial help most in our District.

We are providing additional support for young people. We are also providing more support to our partners so that they can carry on with their successful community projects, which also helps those in most need.

Providing the necessary financial support to our people and their families is critical at this difficult time, when many people will be concerned about changes to their income and ever rising costs.

Cllr Jonathan Chowen, Horsham District Council Leader

Cabinet Member for Community Matters Cllr Liz Kitchen commented:

I am pleased we are addressing the needs of vulnerable residents and many young people as they still struggle with the effects of the pandemic on their health and wellbeing.

The new leadership team at the Council have ensured that we continue to provide for our communities post pandemic and are in the best position to face future challenges.

Cllr Liz Kitchen, Cabinet Member for Community Matters

Cabinet Member for Finance and Parking Cllr Tony Hogben said:

The Council is facing increased costs as a result of post pandemic recovery, rising inflation, energy prices, and significant investments in the environment to reduce carbon emissions.

However we will always look to improve the lives of our residents wherever we can, and are thankful that due to prudential financial planning in the past, we are in the fortunate position of being able to help with vital support to vulnerable people for the future.

Cllr Tony Hogben, Cabinet Member for Finance and Parking

The proposals, if supported, will be recommended to Full Council on 22 June 2022.