The Council’s executive committee has approved £6.453m of Government funding to be used to support Manchester families and their children who receive welfare support over the coming months.
The Council’s Household Support Fund is part of a wider £500m made available nationally by the Government to support people through the winter months - including funding Free School Meals over the Christmas and February 2022 half term holidays.
The Council has agreed to use the funding in four ways:
- Households who receive Council Tax Support will receive a cheque for either £70 or £100 for families with children to help with winter bills, which will see over 53,000 people receive a support cheque in December. These will be sent out by the council and people don’t need to apply or contact the council to request it.
- Fund Free School Meals for eligible families over the Christmas holidays and through the February half term early next year. This will be provided at £15 per pupil per week and will be administered directly through schools.
- £300k will be provided through the community and voluntary sector – including £50k which will go to Manchester’s Food Partnership and £250k through advice services, such as Citizens Advice.
- £300k will be provided through a discretionary fund to provide welfare support to households who receive welfare benefit and have responsibility for household bills and who do not receive Council Tax Support.
The community and discretionary fund schemes will be launched in mid-December. Details will be made available on the Council’s website.
Cllr Bev Craig, Leader elect of Manchester City Council, said:
“We know that many of our residents have really struggled through the pandemic and although signs are positive that we are coming out of the other end, the impact on residents following changes to welfare – and Universal Credit in particular – are very real. Couple this with rising fuel costs and general costs of living, we can expect more households to be feeling financial pressure in the coming months.
"The reality is that the loss of £20 per week in Universal Credit payments has taken £60million from the pockets of Mancunians - and although this funding is of course welcome, it does not compare to what has been lost, especially following a decade of austerity.
“We hope that this funding will provide a sense of stability for families who need help. Ensuring our young people have enough to eat during school holidays is a priority for us and knowing that Free School Meals will continue through Christmas and February half term next year will be a real relief to those families that rely on it.”