Richmond’s Liberal Democrat Council has reaffirmed its commitment to supporting residents struggling with the Tory government’s cost of living crisis.
Cllr Gareth Roberts, Leader of Richmond Council, said:
"The reality of the Tory cost of living crisis is like nothing most of us have experienced. As Liberal Democrats, we are committed to ensuring people can eat well and stay warm this winter.
“By working with our partners, Richmond Council has already offered a huge amount of support to our communities, but we know that, as the Tories’ economic failure continues to hit our communities this winter, support is needed more than ever before. It is therefore a priority for the Council to continue our programme of support to help our residents and businesses weather the financial storm.”
Last year the Lib Dem Council acted rapidly to allocate a £3 million fund to support people in the borough and deliver frontline support to those in need.
To date, £763k of grants have been administered to allow voluntary sector groups to bolster their offering during this difficult period and ensure critical help reaches all parts of Richmond’s communities. This winter, thanks to the Lib Dems, Richmond Council and its partners will continue to provide community spaces at local libraries, youth centres and other venues, offering hot drinks, activities and access to other services. Residents can visit the Community Spaces Directory to find their nearest location.
To help residents cope with rising energy bills the Council has funded Thinking Works and SW Leap to provide home visits and advice. This includes the distribution of 1,325 warm home packs to offer residents who need it most the support to keep their homes warm and more energy efficient this winter.
Last year Richmond Lib Dems helped 861 households to offset their energy bills through the Fuel Grant Scheme. This year, applications will be open in December so this much needed support can be provided in the earliest part of the winter period.
Earlier this year, Richmond Council helped 40 households claim a total of £141,048 in unclaimed Pension Credit they were owed. Pension Credit tops up a person’s income to a minimum of £201.05 per week for single pensioners and to £306.85 for couples or more if a person has a disability or caring responsibilities. It can also act as a gateway to additional support, such as housing benefit, a Council Tax discount, help with NHS dental treatment, glasses and transport costs, and a free TV licence for those aged 75 and over.
To ensure no one in Richmond upon Thames must choose between keeping warm or feeding their families this winter, the Council has handed out 1,900 food parcels at youth centres and supported a number of community-based food projects with their ongoing work.
Local businesses are also being hit by Tory failures and the Lib Dems are supporting them through the upcoming Energy and Sustainability Business Support Project, which provides direct support and advice to local small businesses and voluntary sector organisations on identifying cost savings and reducing their carbon footprint. Businesses will also have access to an Environmental Management System and certification to establish their environmental credentials.
Cllr Roberts added:
“We are supporting our local independent businesses through site visits and advice
to help organisations become more resource and energy efficient. Meanwhile the
Council’s Shop Local campaign continues to support independent businesses
trading during the cost of living crisis by highlighting the many benefits of shopping
locally and shining a light on the high-quality and unique goods on our high streets.”