- As part of £170 million Covid Winter Grant Scheme, Councils across England given extra funding to support vulnerable families and prevent hunger
- Croydon Council to receive total of £1,206,805.20 from the Government for food and supplies for vulnerable households
- “No child should have to worry about food or warmth this winter” says Work and Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey
Funding from Government has been provided to councils, allowing families struggling to afford food and essentials over the Christmas period to access support in Croydon.
The Covid Winter Grant Scheme will see councils across England share a total of £170 million in additional, ring-fenced funding to help vulnerable families and individuals, with Croydon Council receiving a total of £1,206,805.20.
This will prevent children from going hungry this winter and ensure local families get the help they need. It builds on the £63 million already provided to councils this year to assist those struggling to buy food and essentials.
To support people during this challenging time, the Conservative government has invested more than £280 billion to protect people’s jobs and incomes through the furlough scheme, grants for the self-employed and other support for business and a £7.4 billion injection to strengthen the welfare safety net this year.
Commenting, Mario Creatura said:
"Throughout the pandemic, the Conservative Government has stood squarely behind families who are struggling to make ends meets.
“No child should ever go hungry, which is why it is very welcome that Croydon has now received additional support to help people in in our town.
“I know the Government is committed to ensuring that local families continue to get the support they need, not just through the pandemic, but as we recover and rebuild after – true to the Conservatives’ mission to level up communities across the country.”
Commenting, Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said:
“No child should have to worry about food or warmth this winter.
“We have worked with Councils across England to ensure the £170 million Covid Winter Grant delivers well-targeted support as quickly as possible, primarily focusing on heating and eating for disadvantaged families with children.”
“Our £170 million commitment builds on the £63 million already given to councils earlier this year and will ensure families get the help they need so that no one goes hungry this winter”
The grants are focused on helping families buy essentials, with at least 80% of funds ring-fenced to be spent on food, energy and water bills, with 20% available for other associated essential costs. Councils can also offer support to vulnerable individuals and households without children.
This is all part of the Government’s long-term plan to tackle poor health, hunger and education. In addition to the Covid Winter Grant Scheme, from Easter 2021 the Holiday Activities and Food Fund will be expanded with £220m of funding to cover the major school holidays that year. This will help disadvantaged children get healthy food and take part in fun and enriching activities.
Healthy Start scheme payments are also set to increase from £3.10 to £4.25 a week from next April, and the government has pledged additional funding of £16m for the food distribution charity FareShare.
Devolved administrations have received equivalent funding through the upfront funding guarantee, which was recently increased to £16bn for the year to support their Covid-19 response.
- Giving councils in England £170 million extra to ensure vulnerable households don’t go hungry this winter. Councils will get an extra £170 million via our Covid Winter Grant Scheme, with at least 80 per cent of this earmarked to support hardest-hit families with the cost of food and bills. Half of the £170 million Covid Winter Grant Scheme has been distributed to councils across England to help families with food and essentials over the Christmas period. The other half of the funding will be delivered in 2021 as this scheme runs until the end of March. This builds on the £63 million provided to councils earlier this year to assist those struggling to afford food and essentials (DWP, Press Release, 8 November 2020, link; MHCLG, Press Release, 11 June 2020, link).
- Extending the Holiday Activities and Food Programme until Christmas 2021 and funding food distribution charities. We’re investing £220 million – more than the existing funding allocated to the programme. This will mean all children eligible for Free School Meals will have the option to join a holiday-time programme that provides healthy food and enriching activities during the summer, Christmas and Easter holidays. We will also boost Healthy Start payments from £3.10 to £4.25 from April 2021 and have pledged additional funding of £16m for food distribution charities.
- Giving those who need extra support more money through the welfare system. We’ve boosted the Universal Credit standard allowance and Working Tax Credit by £1,000 per year for 12 months, part of a £7.4 billion increase to the welfare safety net. This built on the 1.7 per cent rise in the value of working age benefits that came into effect in April, benefitting around 2.5 million households. Those on low incomes required to self-isolate can also claim £500 payments, if they are unable to work from home (Hansard, 19 October 2020, vol.683, link; Independent, 2 April 2020, link; Prime Minister’s Office, Press release, 20 September 2020, link).
- Increasing support with housing costs, so households have more money to spend on their priorities. We have increased local housing allowance rates for housing benefit and universal credit claimants to the 30th percentile of local rents, worth on average £600 per year, at a total cost of almost £1 billion. Families that are struggling to make ends meet can also access mortgage holidays and support with their council tax bills (Hansard, 11 May 2020, vol.676, link; Hansard, WA, 21 October 2020, link; MHCLG, Guidance, 24 March 2020, link).
- Increasing the National Living Wage by 2.2 per cent worker to boost pay for the lowest-paid workers, helping us to deliver on our manifesto commitment. We are accepting in full the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission to increase the National Living Wage by 2.2 per cent to £8.91, to extend this rate to those aged 23 or over, and to increase the National Minimum Wage as well. These increases will benefit around 2 million people – a full-time worker on the National Living Wage will see their pay rise by £345 next year, an effective increase of over £4,000 since the policy was introduced in 2016. This takes us one step closer to reaching our manifesto commitment increase in the National Living Wage to two thirds of average earnings by 2024 (HMT, Spending Review 2020, 25 November 2020, link).