Families in Stoke-on-Trent with children eligible for free school meals are to be given supermarket vouchers for food during the Christmas break.
During the Summer holidays, vouchers were provided for 16,000 children in the city, this latest issue is part of a £2mn Winter support package being rolled out by the city council.
Council leader Abi Brown said “We are pleased to be able to provide food vouchers again to support families, we know many households are already struggling with the rise in the cost of living and this will be much needed support from them”.
Research published by York University shows that millions of households across the country are spending a third of their income on fuel alone. Pensioners and low-income households are most likely to be struggling.
The figures were produced by their social policy unit for a pamphlet written by former Labour prime minister Gordon Brown. Speaking to The Guardian he said that despite the support put in place by the government many people were still struggling and would be “going through these Winter months knowing that things are going to get worse after April”.
The exponential rise in inflation has seen £576mn in ‘levelling up’ funding evaporated, leaving government plans for investment in areas that have been left behind “in tatters”, according to shadow Levelling Up Secretary Lisa Nandy.
Speaking to the Daily Mirror, she blamed the situation on a “catalogue of failures” by the government that had seen “pots of money handed out from Whitehall with strings attached, while not disturbing the model of trying to power the economy”.
The scheme in Stoke-on-Trent is funded by the department of Work and Pensions, each eligible family will get a £50 voucher redeemable at major supermarket chains including Aldi and Sainsburys, vouchers will be issued by schools.
The city council is also running a Holiday Activities and Food programme over Christmas in partnership with the Hubb Foundation, details of the activities on offer will be released shortly.
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