COST-OF-LIVING CRISIS: Highland Council agrees a £3.2m package to help locals through the winter with the measures including a one-off £145 payment to the worst off households and an extension of free school meals
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Highland Council has made its first bid to help alleviate the cost of living crisis by agreeing to measures that range from a one-off £145 payment to some households, extending school meals and supporting local community initiatives.
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The non-recurring payments of £145 each will go to around 17,400 households receiving some form of council tax reduction based on personal circumstances.
Free school meal payments to cover weekends during the remaining school holidays up to and including Easter 2023 was agreed to help pupils and their families.
A Highland-wide grant fund will also be set up to support communities to respond to the cost-of-living crisis with grants of up to £10,000 per organisation.
That fund would aim to provide community support initiatives on food or activities, enhance existing provision and tailor it to local needs and strengthen or establish food larders or food table provision.
Members will also be asked to approve a recommendation to provide non-recurring funding of £50,000 to FareShare to purchase food for distribution across the Highlands.
Speaking earlier council leader Raymond Bremner said: “A key focus of the welfare proposals set out in this report is to enable Highland communities to eat, to keep warm, and to continue to live safely in their homes.
“The proposals are intended to help alleviate the significant pressures which are impacting households across the Highlands.
“We don’t have the legal or fiscal powers to decide the necessary legislative and structural changes, and financial packages of support, to mitigate or suppress the cost-of-living crisis for Highland residents.
“However, we will look to collaborate with the Scottish Government, with a view to engaging with utility companies to seek more preferential energy tariffs for social tenants in Highland.”