East Riding of Yorkshire Council outlines efforts to tackle the cost of living crisis as households struggle

The number of East Riding households short of cash has risen by 83 in a month as the council’s leader outlined efforts to tackle the cost of living crisis.

By Joe Gerrard (Local Democracy Reporting Service)
Wednesday, 29th June 2022, 8:11 am
Updated Wednesday, 29th June 2022, 8:11 am
East Riding of Yorkshire Council leader Jonathan Owen said its revenue and benefits officers were trying to get support to the most vulnerable including with financial advice and aid. Photo submitted
East Riding of Yorkshire Council leader Jonathan Owen said its revenue and benefits officers were trying to get support to the most vulnerable including with financial advice and aid. Photo submitted

East Riding of Yorkshire Council leader Cllr Jonathan Owen told the authority’s full meeting 939 local households were short of cash by April, with 9,848 in relative poverty.

The leader of the Conservative-run council said its revenue and benefits officers were trying to get support to the most vulnerable including with financial advice and aid.

But Liberal Democrat opposition leader Cllr David Nolan called on the leader to apologise on behalf of the Government which raised the energy price cap and hiked national insurance.

It comes as Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures showed inflation reached 9.1 per cent by the end of May.

It also comes as Bank of England forecasts predict inflation rates as high as 11 per cent later this year.

Councillors heard the amount of households in relative poverty rose by 14 per cent from March to April.

The amount of those in food poverty rose to 1,412, up 21 per cent during the same period while struggling to pay for fuel rose from around 10,000 to 12,077.

Councillors also heard the number of households in council tax arrears had risen by 627 from March to April, with those in rent arrears to the authority falling slightly.

Cllr Owen said 107,000 East Riding households, 73.4 per cent of the 127,000 eligible, had been paid the £150 energy rebate since its April roll out.

The leader added the council had been allocated around £2m to help the hardest hit local households and the authority’s staff was in the process of contacting them.

Cllr Owen said energy efficiency grants were also being made available to help households make further savings on their bills.

But he added the council was getting reports that food banks were facing rising demand from households in work amid falling donations and difficulties getting stocks.

The leader said: “Working age households are now classed as those where each person makes £25,000 a year.

“That means a households with two people making £50,000 combined can be classed as working poor, I find that amazing.

“I want to assure the council that we’re treating this crisis with the upmost priority and we will be considering how we can best utilise forthcoming government support in the most cost effective manner.

“This will require a considered approach and not a knee-jerk reaction.”

Cllr Nolan said Cllr Owen had a cherry-picked picture of the situation.

Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader said the comments came after the Conservatives nationally had hiked national insurance, cut Universal Credit and accused the government of making locals’ lives harder.

Cllr Owen said he was there to do his best for East Riding residents not to apologise for national government policies.