Question from: County Councillor Matthew Dorrance Subject: Universal credit cut
Today, the UK Government is cutting Universal Credit for more than 8,000 families in Powys.
The Universal Credit cut comes after the council resolved (on 29/9/21) to “work in partnership with advice agencies to support residents” who are affected by the Universal Credit cut.
Therefore, will the Cabinet outline what discussions it has had since 29/9/21 with advice agencies to develop plans which will support residents impacted by the Universal Credit cut?
Response by the Portfolio Holder:
The Money Advice & Support service supports customers holistically around income maximisation, budgeting, debt and fuel poverty, including those on the cancer pathway too. Last year the team support 549 residents and families in Powys and helped support customer’s financial health to the value of £2.048m. This year because of the end of furlough and the removal of the temporary £20 Universal Credit uplift and now more recently the fuel price increases, the Council has agreed to fund an additional officer in the Money Advice & Support team to help deal with the expected increase in support that it is anticipated locally across Powys.
The team has also recently completed an accredited fuel poverty advice course to support this new emerging issue and the Council is undertaking a communication exercise soon to promote the service both internally and externally. Like all other government agencies such as the Dept of Work and Pensions, during covid, we stopped non-essential elements of work including formal liaison meetings with different local 3rd sector partner organisations. We recently identified this as an issue to improve again as part of the COVID impact work of the Community Welfare and Wellbeing Cell and plans will be developed through that to develop liaison better going forward. In the meantime, the Money Advice & Support Team contact any local agencies or partners its needs to on an individual case basis if it so requires.