Package of measures to help 'cost of living crisis' in Horsham district

A package of measures to help the most vulnerable across the Horsham district with the ‘cost of living crisis’ have been unveiled.

The extra financial support from Horsham District Council will be funded primarily by this year’s extra council tax revenue.

if approved by councillors next month, the proposed measures include:

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

• £90,000 for housing payments support helping those on benefits

Cost of living help

• A 35,000 hardship fund to help people with debt

• A £15,000 grant to Horsham Matters so they can expand their fuel crisis support

• £60,000 funding for two additional full-time posts at Citizens Advise to meet increased demand

• £80,000 a mentoring scheme for young people in partnership with West Sussex County Council

• £15,000 increase in young people intervention training courses to better understand teenage behaviour.

Jonathan Chowen, HDC’s Conservative leader, said: “We are doing everything within the council’s power to help those who need financial help most in our district.

“We are providing additional support for young people. We are also providing more support to our partners so that they can carry on with their successful community projects, which also helps those in most need.

“Providing the necessary financial support to our people and their families is critical at this difficult time, when many people will be concerned about changes to their income and ever rising costs.”

Liz Kitchen, cabinet member for community matters, added: “I am pleased we are addressing the needs of vulnerable residents and many young people as they still struggle with the effects of the pandemic on their health and wellbeing.

“The new leadership team at the council have ensured that we continue to provide for our communities post pandemic and are in the best position to face future challenges.”

Tony Hogben, cabinet member for finance and parking, added: “The council is facing increased costs as a result of post pandemic recovery, rising inflation, energy prices, and significant investments in the environment to reduce carbon emissions.

“However we will always look to improve the lives of our residents wherever we can, and are thankful that due to prudential financial planning in the past, we are in the fortunate position of being able to help with vital support to vulnerable people for the future.”

In response, Martin Boffey, leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Horsham District Council, said: “Soaring energy prices and inflation are pushing millions of working families and older people into poverty. We've been sounding the alarm since January, but the Conservatives have been dragging their feet both locally and nationally.

“"In Horsham the Conservatives blocked our proposal for extra Council Tax relief for the vulnerable, and only last month they refused our proposal to tackle fuel poverty. Today's announcement of a complete U-turn is very welcome, if a little late.

“Events continue to move faster than the Conservatives seem able to react. Conflict in Ukraine is pushing food and energy prices even higher, meaning that further action will surely be needed if our residents are to weather the storms ahead.”