Additional funding of £200k to maintain the winter grants scheme to 31st March 2021 has been approved to continue providing financial support to over 600 of the city’s most financially vulnerable residents through the ongoing pandemic.
After the Government announced a package of extra targeted financial support in November 2020, known as the COVID Winter Grant Scheme, £416,729 has been utilised across York to provide additional free school meals support during school holidays and help with food and utility bills.
Takeup of the grant has been high and without additional local funding, the scheme would have needed to close within the next few weeks. The extra funding of £200k to maintain the fund has now been allocated from the York Financial Assistance (YFAS), after the Council invested £1million in the YFAS scheme at the start of the pandemic.
This once again highlights how the Lib Dems at City of York Council are stepping up to patch-up central government failures, after months of failed promises to provide councils with all they need to support residents. Despite losing income and experiencing unprecedented pressures in service demand, the Council is stepping up to invest to support the most vulnerable residents.
York’s Liberal Democrat Councillors are joining calls – made by The Children’s Society and a number of other charities – that Government should provide long-term and dedicated funding to enable all councils to provide a safety net for families facing financial crisis.
Cllr Nigel Ayre, Executive Member for Finance and Performance, commented:
“The pandemic has exposed the financial vulnerability that too many families experience. The Council continues to do all we can to support residents, particularly those struggling the most. We have stepped up where the Government continues to fall short, breaking the promises made to communities and councils that support would be forthcoming.
“Local Welfare Assistance schemes provide a vital safety net for families facing financial troubles. The Government must make substantial funding available at the upcoming Budget to enable councils to deliver sustainable Local Welfare Assistance schemes, as our communities and residents will require support long into 2021 and beyond.”