‘We have given £25 million of support in the cost of living crisis and now we are giving £2.7 million more’

This month I launched our latest round of support to help Southwark residents through the cost of living crisis.

We have already put in place over £25 million of support for local people hardest hit.  Last week I announced a further £2.7million of help.

I also launched our new Southwark Energy Savers service to provide free advice to help keep your bills down and a new network of Warm Spaces so everyone in our borough has a warm place to go this winter.

I announced this new support at our Southwark cost of living summit. A fantastic event that brought together over a hundred people from our voluntary and community sector, MPs, faith leaders, head teachers, community representatives and local public services to find more solutions to the current crisis.

I want to thank everyone who attended. The commitment from all there to get support to everyone in Southwark who needs it was truly heart-warming, and it was great to see so many practical actions identified.

As a Labour run council, we will continue to do everything we can to support residents who need help. It is deeply worrying that cost-of-living crisis has plunged so many into hardship.

Foodbank use in Southwark has increased ten-fold since the Conservatives came to power in 2010. Now their reckless mismanagement of the economy has caused mortgages and private rents to rocket, and put thousands of people’s pensions at risk.

It is clear they are taking our country in the wrong direction.

In contrast, in Southwark, Labour is providing practical help. So far this year we have provided support to over twenty thousand residents. £7.7 million of this has been through our Southwark Cost of Living Fund which is putting extra money in the pockets of residents hardest hit.

The fund was one of our key pledges at May’s local elections. I’m delighted to say we have already delivered on that promise.

We are also providing help for families on low incomes. That includes help during the school holidays worth more than £100 per child, plus an extra £55 for each child starting secondary school though our School Uniform Grant.

On top of this we are funding Southwark Citizens Advice, so they can provide independent money advice, and help local people get all the help they are entitled too.

The extra support I announced last week has been developed with partners across our community. I want to thank everyone involved in shaping and delivering it.

Our Southwark Energy Savers Service will open its doors in December. Delivered by Citizens Advice, it will provide free energy advice for everyone in Southwark affected by rising energy bills and the cost-of-living crisis.

Our Warm Spaces will provide over twenty locations across the borough   where residents can go to keep warm, have a cup of tea or take part in an activity this winter.

Phase two of our Cost of Living Fund is worth an extra £2.7 million. It will put additional money in the pockets of residents in need who were not eligible for recent Government support, and for our most vulnerable residents who need extra help.

If you, or someone you know needs help, we have created an online ‘Here to Help’ hub on the council’s website or you can call Southwark Citizens Advice free on 0808 278 7849.

We are delivering all of this in Southwark despite over a decade of cuts to our funding by the Conservatives in government.  Since 2010, they have cut funding for our local council by two-thirds, a reduction of £142 million.

Now they are threatening austerity 2.0, at a time when people are struggling to heat their homes and put food on the table. They just don’t get it.

It is clear we need a general election now and a Labour government with a real plan to grow our economy, deliver good jobs and restore hope to our country.

Until we have that, I will be ensuring that in Southwark we are doing all we can to support our community through this crisis.

I want to thank all the amazing people in our community who are working so hard with the council to make sure we do.