January 25, 2023 11.47 am This story is over 15 months old

Fears of cost of living ‘cliff edge’ when support ends

The council is preparing for government support finishing

The City of Lincoln Council is preparing for a potential ‘cliff edge’ when government aid for the cost of living crisis could end.

The government’s plans to help people with energy costs are unclear after the 2023/24 financial year, councillors were told.

There are fears that the withdrawal could force people who have never needed support before to seek help.

The last round of Housing Support Fund, which offers help to the most vulnerable, is expected to end in March 2024.

A meeting heard that the City of Lincoln Council will be preparing for the deadline over the next year.

In an update to councillors, Head of Shared Revenues and Benefits Martin Walmsley described the date as a potential “cliff edge”.

He said: “We’re looking at what the legacy of the funding will be, and how we can change things over the next 12 months.”

Lincoln’s third round of HSF, which was meant to last weeks, had instead run out in days.

The council is preparing for the potential end of government support with the crisis | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

He added that the demand for food banks, which had “gone through the roof”, was a concern for the council.

They hope that users will instead be able to turn to low-cost food larder shops by the time support cuts hit.

Mr Walmsley said: “A new group is likely to come in when they have to re-mortgage over the next year, and there will have more support for that.

“It feels like the 2008 Credit Crunch, when we had lots of customers coming through our doors for the first ever time.”

These concerns were echoed by councillors at the Community Leadership Scrutiny Committee.

Councillor Naomi Tweedle said: “The crisis has affected everyone, that’s nothing to be ashamed of. It isn’t just the ‘poor’ or people who can’t afford heating.”

The meeting’s Chair Councillor Callum Watt criticised the level of government funding, said: “It feels like we’re getting crumbs from the people who caused this crisis.”

A list of free warm spaces around Lincolnshire is available online.

The council has a comprehensive list of available Cost of Living support on its website.


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