Wandsworth Cost-of-Living Commission Calls for More Support

Interim report wants existing packages of measures expanded

Wandsworth’s cost-of-living commissioners
Wandsworth’s cost-of-living commissioners

July 10, 2023

An interim report issued by the Wandsworth Cost-of-living Commission has called on the council to expand its current package of support for residents.

It wants to see more measures being introduced to mitigate the impact of the rising cost of fuel and food.

The independent commission was set up six months ago to find out what longer-term actions the council and the wider community could take .

The 15 commissioners have talked to more than 40 local organisations, including community groups, charities and policy experts. They have also gathered the views of local people through focus groups and an online survey.

Wandsworth Council claims that it already has the biggest cost-of-living support package in London.

The interim report sets out initial findings, with the final report due in six months’ time. Some of the recommendations are already being actioned by the council including supporting people to claim all the benefits to which they are entitled, promoting sustainable transport, paying the Real Living Wage, fuel energy advice, exploring a licensing scheme for landlords and closer working with the voluntary and community sector.

Other measures proposed in the report include the provision of more Community Spaces which could be developed to provide an ongoing programme of support including advice on energy, employment and housing. A Money Hub is proposed which would provide support for families on low incomes by bringing different experts together in one place. The report wants to see an increased uptake of Healthy Start Vouchers with a dedicated Healthy Start officer working with families at Children’s Centres and other key locations to support them to apply for Healthy Start Vouchers, as well as training other staff to make sure families benefit from this NHS scheme to help buy healthy food and milk.

Deputy Leader of the Council Kemi Akinola said, “'I'm hugely grateful to the commissioners and all who have been involved for their insights and sharing their stories respectively. All recommendations are being looked at by the cabinet and we are already making headway on some of them, but we know there's a lot more to do. I look forward to the second stage of the research and the final report which will ensure we are providing the right support, in the right way, to the right people.

"In the meantime, it’s clear that the Cost-of-Living Crisis is set to continue and our help will be needed for the foreseeable future. That’s why we propose doubling the budget for support by allocating a further £5m. We want to reassure Wandsworth residents that we will not leave them to struggle alone.”

In the coming six months the commission will gather further evidence to develop longer-term solutions before publishing a final report. Residents, business and local organisations can share their ideas by emailing wandsworthcommission@richmondandwandsworth.gov.uk

The report and the increased budget were discussed by councillors at a meeting of the Finance Committee last Thursday (July 6).

Read the report

Find out about support on the council’s Cost of Living Hub.

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