Monday, 08 August 2022

Emergency declared

A COUNCIL has declared a “cost of living emergency”, warning vital services will come under even greater strain as it tries to support residents in the difficult economic climate.

South Oxfordshire District Council has passed a motion calling on the Government for urgent support amid fears of the impact on services such as homelessness prevention and community support. 

Average energy bills have increased by £693 per year, petrol prices have risen to close to £2 per litre while reliance on food banks has also increased across South Oxfordshire. 

The council says these cost of living increases have impacted council services, from housing needs to the work of its community hub. 

Council leader Cllr David Rouane, who put forward the motion, said: “We are no longer dealing with just a cost of living crisis — this is an emergency. 

“Without urgent action from the Government, our services will be put under even greater pressure at a time when our budget is still impacted by the covid-19 pandemic and further hit by rising inflation.” 

The council will ask the Government to introduce a series of measures, including an immediate reduction in VAT, and increase to benefits in line with inflation and to reinstate the Universal Credit uplift.  

Locally, the council is calling for a cost of living emergency summit with stakeholders, including Oxfordshire County Council, Citizens Advice, food banks and others to work towards a community response to the emergency.

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