Conwy residents could get cost-of-living payment

LOWER-income households in Conwy that did not qualify for the £150 tax rebate may get a share of £333,000 of a discretionary payment.

Conwy’s scrutiny and resources committee today discussed the discretionary cost-of-living support scheme – an extra fund for some residents struggling in the cost-of-living crisis.

Welsh Government has paid Conwy County Council £959,348 to distribute as part of the fund to assist residents with increasing living costs.

Now Conwy is tasked with designing and implementing a scheme – as is every local authority in Wales – that targets the residents most in need.

Welsh Government guidance lists categories of households not covered by the main £150 tax rebate that should be considered for the new discretionary payment.

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Councillors on the committee were presented with several options to consider before they reached a decision, which will now be further debated by cabinet.

But the committee opted to recommend that cabinet supports option two.

This means, providing cabinet support the recommendation, households exempt from council tax, those receiving housing benefit, disability reductions and free school meals, as well as social sector housing banded E plus, will receive £150, accounting for £333,000 of the £959,348 fund.

It’s proposed that the rest of the funding will see an additional £60 paid to the £7,790 recipients of the original council tax rebate scheme – as well as 523 on housing benefit.

This option will also see £72,500 go to local food banks. Originally, this sum was £52,500. But £20,000 of funds allocated for a food scheme for children and teenagers attending summer-holiday camps was absorbed into the sum after the debate.

Cllr Nigel Smith made the proposal, which was seconded by Cllr Anne McCaffrey.

The vote was carried eight votes to five.

Cllr Smith commented: “The whole point of this government scheme is to help out the most needy in our community, and therefore I’d like option two. It gives the best help across the board.”

Leader Charlie McCoubrey said the council needed to pay the money as quickly as possible.

“It (the payments) has to be done fairly urgently,” he said.

“We are talking about a cost-of-living crisis.”

The entire sum must be distributed by 31 March 2023. A final decision will be made by cabinet.

North Wales Pioneer | Llandudno