Council’s cost of living response helps thousands of citizens

Published: Tuesday, 18th April 2023

Birmingham City Council’s response to the cost of living crisis has helped thousands of citizens with food vouchers, warm spaces and access to nearly £750,000 in benefits.

A report due to be discussed by Cabinet next week (25 April), sets out the impact the council’s cost of living programme has had since Cabinet approved £5m in resilience funding to help residents last October.

Since then the council has supported people by:

  • Launching a network of Warm Welcomes across the city – 197 have opened since the scheme was launched in October. Funding for Warm Welcome grants has also been made available for organisations to bid for.
  • Warm Welcomes network continues to grow and will operate all year round – offering access to wider Cost of Living support - as cost of living is not just about heating, as all household and living costs are still rising. Applications for £500 microgrants are still open and can be made via the council’s website.
  • Increased supply of food through foodbanks, with 100 sites receiving £800 per month for six months, from December to May.
  • The number of foodbank vouchers issued has risen from 2,076 in January to nearly 3,000 in March 2023.
  • We have also match funded Department for Education funding for the 30,000 children who receive free school meals – and their families – during school holidays.
  • Extending the Neighbourhood Advice and Information Service hours on Tuesdays and Saturdays helped at least 557 people to claim benefits totalling £736,579.
  • Energy top up payments totalling £250,000 have been made to 5,000 homes – many of which have pre-payment meters.
  • 60 council officers have received energy support training to provide advice on fuel debt and energy saving tips.

Cllr John Cotton, Cabinet Member for Social Justice, Community Safety and Equalities, said: “More than 300,000 residents are already living in poverty in Birmingham and the rising cost of living means they are still highly exposed to this crisis.

“While the weather may be becoming warmer, many household bills and costs went up again on 1 April, so this situation remains extremely serious for families in every corner of our city. 

“That’s why this council is determined to do all in our power to ensure that Birmingham residents are getting the help and support they need in these tough times”.

The workstreams have so far spent just over £2.7m of the funding on providing support to residents, and this work is set to continue throughout the year as the cost of living continues to escalate.

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