With over 40,000 Haringey residents in receipt of Universal Credit, we are acutely aware of the impact that the scrapping of the of the £20 Universal Credit weekly uplift is having on Haringey.
The Universal Credit uplift, alongside the temporary increases in other benefits, enabled tens of thousands of Haringey residents make ends meet.
With increasing cost of living and uncertainty about the future, the government have created a situation where some of our residents could go without essentials this winter.
This is completely unacceptable. No one should have to choose between heating their home and feeding their family.
We as a country can and should be supporting those who are unable to work, are forced into insecure jobs, or have lost work due to Coronavirus. No one should suffer in-work poverty, yet 40% of Haringey residents in receipt of Universal Credit are in employment.
The issue is that the Conservatives do not care.
While scrapping the Universal Credit uplift, they complained that it is “desperately difficult” for an MP to live on an annual salary of £81k, and Boris Johnson refused to say if he could live on basic Universal Credit.
The only way to fix inequality in this country is to get the Tories out.
Your Labour council is keen to ensure that none of our residents suffer destitution and we are doing everything possible to provide holistic support to residents – from supporting food banks to helping residents tackle problem debt.
Local Labour councillors have worked hard to deliver the comprehensive support initiatives below, which seek to address the issues residents on low income face from as many angles as possible.
There is more information available through our Here to Help page on the council website. While we make every effort to communicate these schemes, nothing is as effective as word of mouth, so please share the below with anyone you think could benefit.
Haringey Support Fund: help with emergency living costs through our new local welfare assistance scheme, which launched earlier this year. This can support residents who are facing unexpected costs and require emergency help. It includes payments to help with basic living needs, such as food and utilities, and support to provide access to essential appliances, such as fridges and cookers, for those who are the most in need.
Debt Strategy: we are continuing to implement our strategy to help residents tackle problem debt. This has included launching a new financial support team and creating new benefits maximisation roles to ensure that residents can access the advice and support they need.
Council Tax Reduction Scheme: direct financial support for our residents with their council tax bills, which can provide up to 100% discounts for some residents
Food Network: we are continuing to fund and work with the Haringey Food Network, which operates across all the Food Banks in the borough. We are still able to fund food supplies, including fresh fruit and vegetables, directly where necessary, bring food in through London wide welfare support and support through the provision of a Food Hub. We are working with our food banks on a month of action to help children living in food poverty – including to encourage take up of Healthy Start Vouchers, promotion of Infant Feeding Support and continuation of the Holiday Activities Fund through the autumn and winter breaks.
Fuel poverty: we are using the Haringey Support Fund to provide direct financial support to residents with their utility bills, whilst also ensuring that residents can access the advice and support they need to stay warm over the autumn and winter – including grants and specialist information – through our Here to Help campaign.
Free school meals: we have funded an expansion in eligibility for Free School Meals beyond the normal government criteria and provided discretionary funding to schools to allow them to respond to need as and when they see it.
Homelessness and evictions: we continue to seek to work with people facing homelessness and eviction at the earliest opportunity ensuring they are aware of their options and rights and able to access the support they need, whether individuals or families. We continue to work with landlords and to build move-on accommodation for local residents needing support.
We are also pressing forward with a variety of other initiatives so that our residents have access to all the support they need:
Haringey Advice Partnership: ensuring local residents get access to high quality information, advice and guidance is a recognised need and we continue to support access through Connected Communities, Citizens’ Advice Haringey and the Haringey Advice Partnership.
Haringey Debt and Financial Inclusion Partnership: launching soon, the role of this forum to share information between the council and partners and support a strategic approach to tackling debt and financial inclusion. It would be designed to share information and identify how we can work better as a system to increase social security, financial resilience, and access to the right support.
Digital inclusion: a successful programme of supporting residents to access devices, data and longer term support is continuing through the autumn, given the critical nature of being able to access support online. We are also providing support to the VCS through our partnership team to support the VCS’s digital network and their work on digital inclusion.
Community Newsroom: to support community-led journalism and getting key messages across to residents through trusted local individuals.
Economic development: longer term, we are building a ‘good economy’ for Haringey, with an emphasis on supporting residents into employment at London Living Wage, employment support to those furthest from the labour market and an emphasis on adult education and skills too.
Business support: the above supported by effective communications with the business sector locally, very hard hit by the pandemic.