Issue details

Covid Recovery - Financial support for emergency assistance – fuel poverty and essential household supplies: emergency food provision

Covid 19 has had a very severe impact on local communities in terms of the impact on people’s health and wellbeing, loss of income, loss of jobs, long periods of anxiety and isolation.

In December 2021 there were 3,015 people in Herefordshire (aged 16+) claiming out-of-work benefits, which is 43% higher than in March 2020.

Provisional data suggest there were 11,516 Universal Credit claimants in Herefordshire in November 2021, well above the 5,983 seen in March 2020. In Herefordshire, UC claimants currently comprise 10% of the working age population. According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, rising inflation will mean a 3% real cut in benefits year on year even before accounting for the removal of the £20 per week Universal Credit uplift.

Whilst there are no up to date statistics for measuring food poverty in Herefordshire, there are increasing numbers of people in crisis situations: in 2020, 10,889 food parcels were distributed across five food banks in the county. The Children’s integrated needs assessment 2019 also noted that around 1,900 county school children are eligible for free school meals.
As the true impact of the Covid pandemic is becoming better known, the significant financial pressures placed on low income households is becoming better understood.
Due to limited timescales there has not been the opportunity to test he market. However research has been previously undertaken to gather knowledge of suitable providers across the county. Herefordshire Community Foundation has systems, processes and staffing capacity in place to administer these grants targeted at voluntary and community organisations providing emergency food. It also has the local relationships to ensure that these grants are well publicised and to support applicants if necessary.

Decision type: Non-key

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Notice of proposed decision first published: 05/05/2022

Decision due: 26 April 2022 by Director of Resources and Assurance

Contact: Andrew Lovegrove, Director of resources and assurance Email: Andrew.Lovegrove@herefordshire.gov.uk.

Decisions