Council agrees £2.1 million Cost of Living Support Package

Friday, 23 September, 2022

At its meeting last night (Thursday 22 September), East Dunbartonshire Council agreed an additional £2.1 million in a wide-ranging Support Package to address the current cost of living crisis.

Speaking after the meeting, Council Leader Gordan Low explained, “We highlighted back in June of this year that the cost of living crisis alongside the Climate Emergency were the two greatest concerns facing our communities during this current Council term.

“Having outlined our renewed priorities in our ‘East Dunbartonshire Forward in Partnership’ approach in June, we have already provided additional payments to thousands of our most vulnerable families by doubling the School Clothing Grant payments for this year. But the current crisis needs greater support and this multi-million pound package is a further demonstration of our commitment to our communities in these challenging times.”

The full £2.1 million package is funded from the Council’s Prudential Reserves (£1.5 million) and Housing Revenue Account (£0.6 million) and will deliver the following:

  • An additional £200 Winter Support Payment for each eligible child (£100 in October and £100 in December) benefiting 2,273 children/1,362 families and costing approximately £454,600
  • Additional Farmfoods vouchers to support those families in extreme short-term need with food provision, costing £2,000
  • An additional £210,000 to address the projected overspend for the Scottish Welfare Fund as a result of unprecedented demand
  • Energy vouchers for Council tenants and homelessness cases (three x £49 vouchers,  each between October and March) to help with energy bills, supporting 3,704 tenancies and 205 homeless cases and costing approximately £574,623
  • An allocation of £500,000 to East Dunbartonshire Leisure and Culture Trust (EDLCT) to deliver a programme of free gym and swim access which will benefit the Council’s 17,291 primary and secondary pupils, between November 2022 and March 2023.  Free swimming will be available for Council primary school children in any of the EDLCT leisure centres and Council school pupils aged 12-18 will be able to access a range of free gym sessions. 

In addition to these key areas of spend, further funding will be provided to other organisations involved in cost of living support including:

  • Cash funding to support the local Foodbank £10,000
  • An additional £50,000 for the Citizen’s Advice Bureau locally, recognising their role in relation to advice and support
  • An additional £50,000 for the Community Grants Scheme to help community organisations in their efforts to mitigate the rising cost of living.

In addition to these financial commitments, the Council has also agreed to develop the concept of Warm Hubs locally, working with East Dunbartonshire Voluntary Action (EDVA) and the third sector.

Councillor Low continued, “These measures deliver targeted financial support direct to households as well as support for the wider agencies also helping those in need locally. In addition, they support our Child Poverty Action Plan through the enhanced Winter Payments for all eligible children and the free access to sport and leisure facilities.

“I wish that these additional measures were not necessary, but having come through two years of pandemic, we now find our communities facing a cost of living crisis.  
“As we head towards winter with escalating inflation, rapidly increasing energy, food and consumer goods prices, many are facing really difficult choices and this package of measures will be provide practical support to hard-pressed local residents.”