More Leeds families looking for help with post-Covid financial problems

More and more households in Leeds struggling with the financial ripples of the Covid-19 pandemic are coming to Leeds City Council for help, according to a report from council officers.

By Richard Beecham
Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 4:45 am

The report also reveals that the number of people facing crises in Leeds is likely to rise in future due to rising energy prices and the Government’s scrapping of the £20 a week Universal Credit uplift.

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But council officers have warned that some are in such financial hardship that they are asking for help multiple times, and have called for a review into the service.

Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

A report, set to go before members of the council’s environment committee this week states: “The scheme, in its current form, requires improvement as the short-term support provided to customers in financial crisis often results in customers re-presenting for further support.

IN OTHER NEWS: Leeds Rhinos Kevin Sinfield hits the streets for 101-mile charity run supporting rugby hero Rob Burrow“The Covid-19 pandemic has put further pressures on low-income households and the most vulnerable in our society and has also pushed many more households into financial uncertainty, hardship, to seek support and advice, and to claim benefits.

“A review of the scheme is needed in order to provide better support to customers in-need over the short, medium and long-term and to ultimately reduce dependency on local welfare support across the city, whether through Leeds City Council, our partner advice services or third sector organisations.”

It added that demand for help from the scheme was likely to increase in the coming months due to the end of furlough, the removal of the Universal Credit uplift and rising costs of energy.

The scheme, which has been running since 2003, has seen reductions in its budget between 2013 and 2018, going from £1.3m to its current total of £600,000.

IN OTHER NEWS: Man, 20, stabbed in incident near Billions shisha lounge on Cross Stamford Street in LeedsBefore the Covid pandemic, the service would help around 3,000 people each year, with more than four fifths of the spending going on furniture and flooring.

A group, made up of different council agencies, had been formed to undertake a review of the scheme.

The report will be discussed at Leeds City Council’s Environment Scrutiny Committee on Thursday, November 25.

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