Council accepts £1 million grant to help families with food, debt, bills and school uniforms

Rotherham Council’s ruling cabinet has accepted more that £1m to help those struggling to afford food and bills.

Friday, 11th December 2020, 7:00 am

Rotherham Council’s ruling cabinet has accepted more that £1m to help those struggling to afford food and bills.

Those who have taken a financial hit by the coronavirus pandemic will be given a helping hand for food, debt, utility bills and school uniform, after the scheme was approved at the council’s cabinet meeting on December 10.

Councillor Saghir Alam told the meeting: “For a number of families struggling through the impact of the covid pandemic, having what would be regarded as a normal Christmas [will be] difficult.

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Those who have taken a financial hit by the coronavirus pandemic will be given a helping hand for food, debt, utility bills and school uniforms. Picture: PA

The cash is part of the government’s a £170 million Covid winter grant scheme, and money will be given to families struggling to afford food and utility bills or other essentials from December to March 2021.

Councillors agreed that the grant be split into categories ; £492,395.16 for holiday programmes and food, £285,000 for utility bills or debt, £200,000 for school uniforms and £30,000 for Christmas food.

Councillor Chris Read, leader of the council told the meeting: “We’re really keen to get this money into the pockets of Rotherham residents who need it as quickly as possible.

“When our budget was the equivalent of £200 million a year more, there might have been more of this action that we could have taken within the borough, and we’ve had a government that’s spent 10 years telling us that the people with the lowest incomes are the people who are least deserving of government spending, and it took Marcus Rashford and a global pandemic to turn things around.”

The council agreed that 80 per cent of the cash will be ring-fenced to support families with children, with 20 per cent of the total funding to other households experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, poverty during the pandemic.

At least 80 percent of the money is required to be ring-fenced to provide support with food, energy and water bills, and 20 per cent for other essentials, such as sanitary products, toiletries, blankets and warm clothing.

Families in receipt of free school meals will receive a voucher of £15 per week per child during the Christmas and half term holiday in February.

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