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Support worth £3m set to be given to families in extreme financial hardship in Rhondda

EXTRA support worth nearly £3m is set to be given to families with school age children, lower paid council employees and residents who are in extreme financial hardship in Rhondda Cynon Taf to help with the cost of living.

The council has laid out the measures it plans to introduce as part of a £2.89m extra local scheme.

A report for cabinet on Tuesday, September 6, highlights that £1.65m will go towards payments to around 22,000 families with one child or more of compulsory school age.

A payment of £75 will be made per family rather than per child and families of a home educated child or children will be eligible as will families of a child or children that attend a school outside of Rhondda Cynon Taf but live in the county borough.

Compulsory school age will be as at the start of the school term beginning September 2022 and a child begins to be of compulsory school age the term following their fifth birthday.

The report added that if a family has one or more children born between September 1, 2006 (age 16 as at August 31, 2023) and August 31, 2017 (age 5 as at, 31 August 2022) and they live in RCT then they will be eligible for a family payment.

The payment will not impact upon any benefits and if a family has previously received a £50 family payment and continue to have a child or children of compulsory school age, then they will be automatically paid £75.

Families who have become eligible by virtue of having a child of compulsory
school age from September 2022 will receive a letter with details of how to apply, the report said.

The proposal also includes £50,000 to support food banks and food support
grants on top of that provided in the original discretionary scheme.

The council is also proposing £940,000 towards a one-off support payment for lower paid council staff to supplement their salary.

This would come to £125 per employee and would be made to 5,800

It would include all employees who are remunerated at grades one to six such as litter pickers, refuse loaders, home care and social care workers, cooks, cleaners, school crossing patrols and more.

The payment will be included in the October payroll and it will be will be classed as earnings so it will be subject to tax, National Insurance and pension deductions.

In the report it said: “Council staff continue to provide valued public services.

“Our lowest paid employees however, are more likely to be suffering from the intense cost of living crisis.”

And the council is also proposing £250,000 towards a local cost of living hardship fund or those residents who are going through extreme financial
hardship as a direct consequence of the cost of living crisis.

Council officers will draw up a criteria for this fund and it is expected that it will be available from October.

There will be £900,000 from the council’s allocation from the Welsh Government’s main and discretionary scheme going to fund this scheme with £1.99m coming from one off council funding which has already been set aside.

The cabinet report highlighted that the Welsh Government have previously announced a package of measures to help people with support towards the cost of living.

The package included the main scheme which saw £152m go towards providing a £150 cost-of-living payment to eligible households and
£25m to provide discretionary support for other purposes related to living costs.

RCT decided its scheme and arrangements in March and has made more than 117,000 payments totalling £15.27m.

The council is also set to deliver the Welsh Government’s Fuel Support Scheme during the autumn.

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