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08 September 2022

Cumbria County Councillors to ask government for more cost-of-living support

A motion urging councillors to ask central government for additional cost-of-living support was passed at Cumbria County Council’s Full Council meeting yesterday.

The motion, presented by Cllr Karen Lockney who represents Denton Holme, also asked the county council to explore additional cost-of-living support by extending the Cost-of-Living Crisis Fund introduced by the council earlier this year, as well as calling for an urgent task and finish group to be created ahead of winter to allow arrangements to be made in time for the colder months ahead.

Cllr Lockney, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic brought to light many inequities in our society, and now the cost-of-living crisis brings into even harsher relief those problems which have existed for some time.

“We know from the Food Standards Agency that 1 in 6 people regularly use a food bank, up from 1 in 10 in March 2021. We can only anticipate that the growing cost-of-living crisis will exacerbate these numbers, putting more of a squeeze on both family and school budgets.

“This motion also calls for local action to address the inequality in access to adequate nutritious food that we know exists in this county of Cumbria. We have already created a £4m Cost of Living Crisis fund - and this motion seeks to build on that policy.”

The motion, which received cross-party support, specifically urged the Government to review the amount schools receive to provide free school meals. The amount schools receive is currently set by the government, and schools currently receive £2.34 per meal for KS1 pupils, which has been frozen since 2020.

This amount is set to increase to £2.41 per meal but the motion asks the government to consider raising this amount in line with inflation, so schools do not have to make up the difference out of their own budgets.

Cllr Lockney added: “Childhood and adolescence are times of rapid growth and development when good habits are formed. This motion will ensure the county council works with schools and community groups to explore all options to ensure access to adequate nutritious food, and ensure no child goes hungry in Cumbria.

“School meals have a key role in meeting not just a child's nutritional needs but also social and emotional needs.  If these needs are met, then we would have a brighter future for all our children which can only be for the betterment of society. 

“If we are to aim for equitable opportunities for all our young people, then we must treat them equitably throughout the year - equitable access to adequate nutritious food shouldn’t just be accessible to children when they are at school.”

The motion is available to read in full on the Cumbria County Council website.

If you need additional support to help with the cost of living, please visit the county council’s updated cost of living webpage at cumbria.gov.uk/costofliving.


 

 

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A motion urging councillors to ask central government for additional cost-of-living support was passed at Cumbria County Council’s Full Council meeting yesterday.