Local MP Maria Miller has welcomed that Hampshire County Council will provide a similar level of support for families during the half term break that would have otherwise been provided through the Government’s previous voucher scheme through schools. They are targeting support to those families in need through foodbanks, charities and other relevant organisations.
Maria said, “This additional help for families from Hampshire County Council is just what Basingstoke’s local charities and Foodbank need. They are already supporting the most vulnerable families and the need is greater than ever as a result of job losses caused by the Pandemic. Local charities support also goes hand in hand with other essential support too, including signposting to local services, the Job Centre, benefits advice and the Citizens Advice Bureau, something schools are not in a position to do.
“In the early stages of the Pandemic schools worked hard to distribute £380million of food vouchers redeemed in Supermarkets up and down the country, replacing ‘Free School Meals’ that children would have otherwise received. Now we are in a very different position. This targeted support from Hampshire County Council will make sure help gets where it is needed most, rather than putting additional pressure on school administration systems.
“The best way to support people who are struggling to make ends meet because of the Pandemic remains the benefit system, including Universal Credit because it provides year round support for people on low incomes or no income at all. That is why the Government has already increased Universal Credit by an extra £20 a week.
“Our Welfare Benefits system, local charities and Foodbank also know that in Basingstoke the most need for additional welfare support is for people without children, some of whom in the past have too often found themselves homeless or even rough sleeping. It is important that everyone who needs help can access it regardless of their family situation.”
“This Pandemic has already inspired people to come together across the Borough of Basingstoke to support their communities in ways we have never seen before. In the first phase of the Pandemic an additional £200 000 of Basingstoke Council Tax payers money was given by the Borough Council to local charities to support people with food packages through charities and volunteers. In this second wave it is important that this additional support continues to come forward, particularly as we move towards the Christmas holidays.”