Leading figures from across communities in Stoke-on-Trent have met to agree how to address the cost of living crisis in the city today (June 30).
Around 60 delegates explored and developed partnership-based plans and initiatives to support residents with the cost of living focused around three main issues:
Councillor Jane Ashworth, Stoke-on-Trent City Council leader who led the summit said: “We are prioritising cost of living and know by addressing this it can be a springboard to longer term wealth building in communities in Stoke-on-Trent. We have ambitions to make Stoke-on-Trent a greener, safer, healthier and genuinely more prosperous city. That means not only changing the narrative, but transforming the actual way that our local economy works for local people.
“Going forward we will be working with partners from across the voluntary sector to coordinate a response to cost of living pressures, harnessing specialist knowledge and expertise and promoting a partnership approach that ensures people and business know what support they can access and how to do so.”
During the summit a new Building Financial Resilience scheme was announced to ensure every resident has access to a “Financial MOT”.
The city council is responsible for allocating the city’s Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) to deliver projects which support local businesses, improve local spaces and assist residents with employment and skills. Through this funding the Staffordshire North & Stoke-on-Trent Citizens Advice Bureaux have been awarded £175,000 to deliver a pilot scheme over two years.
The large-scale benefit and tax credit take up campaign will target those who may not be accessing benefits and tax credits they are entitled to. This will address cost-of-living related hardship by increasing people’s incomes, and ensuring take up of cost-of-living support in the targeted areas across the city. A team of trained advisors will work across the city, targeting, initially, those wards with the highest number of claimants and potential claimants.
Simon Harris, Chief Executive Officer at Staffordshire North & Stoke-on-Trent Citizens Advice Bureaux said: “We are delighted that the City Council is investing money in supporting local people to deal with this crisis and even more so that it is funding partners to deliver this essential work. We can’t wait to get cracking on it.”
Councillor Jane Ashworth continued: “We know there are residents in the city who are not receiving their full or correct benefit entitlements. Stoke-on-Trent is still plagued by serious and entrenched social and economic challenges, times are tough and we want to make sure ensure people are getting the income they are entitled to.”