MK Council has set aside more than £15m to help struggling families on low incomes.
Against a backdrop the worst inflation crisis in 40 years and prices rising by around 7% a year, the council have published details of plans to support local residents in most need with a council tax rebate.
Measures being taken include investing £1m to ensure children don’t go hungry during the school holidays, and by budgeting extra money for families who are struggling to buy essentials like beds, cookers and fridge freezers.
There is a range of help available for people who are struggling to find the extra cash for essentials, and the council is urging people to get in touch sooner rather than later:
- Support is available for those facing difficulties in paying rent that already receive housing benefit. The council has also put aside extra money in its annual budget to help people in exceptional circumstances pay rent shortfalls to avoid homelessness.
- More than £10m in energy related council tax rebate payments have been handed out (£150 for each eligible household), with a further £500,000 to support vulnerable people who weren’t eligible for the national rebate, but still face large increases in energy bills up to £150. People who live alone are already entitled to a 25% discount on their council tax bill, but anyone on a low income may be able to get a reduction.
- The council has also set aside £3m to make public transport more affordable for under 19s, older people and people with disabilities.
- Throughout the school holidays when some children who usually receive free school meals might be in difficulty, the council works with local groups to set up free activities and meals through its Summer of Play. This year’s Summer of Play programme will be announced shortly.
The council also supports community groups and charities such as The Food Bank and Baby Basics who can source small household items like saucepans, stairgates, nappies and clothes, as well as food.
More information and details on how to apply for the various forms of support is available at milton-keynes.gov.uk/cost-living-support. In most cases, applications can be made on behalf of a friend or family member.
Leader of MK Council, Cllr Pete Marland said, “The cost of living crisis is hitting our poorest and most vulnerable residents really hard. Inflation has reached a 30-year high and with average energy bills set to rise to £2,000 a year, we’re stepping up to help. There’s a range of support available for those that really need it the most, but it’s essential that people get in touch as early as possible.”