- The Government’s winter support package has been unveiled by the Work and Pensions Secretary.
- The package includes a £170 million Covid-19 Winter Grant Scheme for local authorities.
- The City of Wolverhampton has been allocated more than £1 million in additional funding.
- Funding for the Holiday Activities and Food programme will be tripled to up to £220 million.
- The value of Healthy Start vouchers for pregnant women and mothers will be increased.
Stuart Anderson MP has welcomed the Government’s winter support package, which has been designed to make sure children and families get the help that they need during the winter period and beyond.
Stuart has been working hard to make the case for extra funding for the City of Wolverhampton, and he is pleased that the Secretary of Work and Pensions has now unveiled a multi-million-pound plan which will ensure that no child goes hungry.
It is part of the Government’s long-term plan to improve life opportunities and level up across the board.
On the 8th of November 2020, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions unveiled the Government’s Winter Support package. It includes a Winter Grant Scheme which builds on the £63 million provided to councils earlier this year and will see them provided with an additional £170 million to directly help the most vulnerable families and provide food for children who need it this winter.
The City of Wolverhampton Council will receive £1,061,922.62 from the Winter Grant Scheme. This brings the overall additional funding which the Council has received during the outbreak of Coronavirus to more than £37 million.
An additional £220 million will see the Holiday Activities and Food programme extended until Christmas 2021, with a holiday-time programme that provides healthy food and fun activities available for eligible children during the summer, Christmas, and Easter holidays. The Government has also pledged additional funding of £16 million for food distribution charities, with conversations with FareShare and others ongoing as to how this is allocated.
The Government will also boost Healthy Start payments from £3.10 to £4.25 from April 2021. This supports pregnant women or women with children under four years of age who have a low income and are in receipt of benefits to buy fresh fruit and vegetables.
The Government remains committed to developing a national food strategy that will support the development of a food system that is sustainable, resilient, and affordable. The National Food Strategy will provide key recommendations to support people to live healthy lives, and that will further protect animal health and welfare.
Work and Pensions Secretary, Thérèse Coffey MP, said: “We want to make sure that vulnerable people feel cared for throughout this difficult time and, above all, no one should go hungry or be unable to pay their bills this winter. We know this has been a challenging time for many, and we have consistently supported the lowest-paid families, protecting 9 million jobs with furlough and boosting welfare support by £9.3 billion. This package builds on that support, and by extending our successful Holiday Activities and Food programme, as well as funding a £170 million Covid Winter Grant Scheme, we are making sure families get the help they need.”
Stuart Anderson MP said: “I recognise that this has been a challenging time for many households across our city, and I am pleased that the Government has extended its unprecedented package of support to make sure that families and children continue to get the help that they need. The City of Wolverhampton Council has been doing a great job, and I am pleased that it has been allocated more than £1 million in additional funding to provide further support where it is most needed. I will continue to work with our Council and the Government so that we can continue to ensure families, children, and vulnerable people are able to access the support that they need.”
Local authorities and the welfare system best understand which groups most need support. They are also the best placed to ensure that appropriate holiday support is provided. That is why the £170m Covid Winter Grant Scheme will be distributed by councils rather than schools, who will continue providing eligible children with meals during term-time.
The Government’s winter support package is on top of an unprecedented amount of financial assistance already provided by the Government. The Government has boosted the Universal Credit standard allowance and Working Tax credit by £1,000 per year for 12 months, as part of a £9.3 billion increase to the welfare system which has seen increased support with housing costs and benefitted over 2.5 million households. The Government’s income support schemes have recently been extended and already helped to protect 9 million jobs. The National Living Wage has seen its largest-ever cash boost. Those on low-income required to self-isolate can claim £500 payments.
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