February 2022: News from your local MP

January 29 2022

Chris Skidmore writes for Kingswood Voice

I am all too aware of the rising cost of living that is a result of the world economy waking up from almost 2 years of disruption caused by the Covid pandemic and governments around the world having to take steps to help their economies and societies recover. This is now very much impacting on local household budgets and so I wanted to make readers aware of the help and support that’s out there during these difficult times.

It should be reassuring to know that there is in fact a range of support options for anyone struggling with financial pressures. The National Living Wage will be increasing from the 1st April to £9.50, an increase of 6.6%, and South Gloucestershire Council offers grants, welfare support and reduction schemes to help you. You can visit www.southglos.gov.uk/financial-support-for-residents for more information on benefits, council tax reduction, NHS Test and Trace support payment, food support, as well as what to do if you are unable to pay your rent or mortgage. For example there is both the Community Resilience Fund (CRF) and Housing Support Fund (HSF). 

The council aims to support as many residents as they can who meet the eligibility criteria and need help the most.

The council also has support available for families in school holidays, including food vouchers.

The council’s main number is 01454 868009. To book an appointment to talk with one of their One Stop Shop advisors you can email: OSSAppointment@southglos.gov.uk

On energy costs, I would recommend contacting  the council’s Warm and Well service. Warm and Well is managed on behalf of the local councils by the charity Severn Wye Energy Agency. Their FREE energy advice line is available Monday – Friday 9am to 5pm and the number is 0800 500 3076. You can also email: warmandwell@severnwye.org.uk or visit: www.warmandwell.co.uk The service offers free energy efficiency advice, free home energy advice visits, insulation and heating grants, health related grants and renewable energy information. They can help you save energy in your home, reduce your fuel bills, switch energy supplier and find local installers & tradespeople.

I am also running campaigns to help with the cost of living. My most recent campaign is asking for South Gloucestershire Council to introduce free car parking at the Kings Chase Shopping Centre in order to bring it into line with other council car parks. This will save money for shoppers as well as promote local spending. You can sign my petition on my website, at: www.chrisskidmore.com

Finally, if you find any of this too confusing to navigate through, then please do contact my office on 0117 908 1524 or email chris.skidmore.mp@parliament.uk