Mansfield District Council officially declared a cost of living emergency last night and is writing to the Government demanding more urgent action.
Executive Mayor Andy Abrahams proposed a motion at a meeting of the Full Council last night and it was carried unanimously.
The motion said: "In order to support residents and businesses of the district, the council is urged to declare a ‘Cost of Living Emergency’ and to write to the Government to ask for urgent action."
It called for various measures, including immediate financial support for residents to help address the increased household costs in energy.
It also called for an urgent increase in support grants to local government to fund Discretionary Housing Payments after figures show that 82% of this funding for 2022/23 has already been allocated to families already facing financial hardship.
The council is also demanding emergency support for businesses and an increase in Government funding to Nottinghamshire County Council for fuel and food vouchers, and more funding for the Feeding Britain charity, to support FOOD Clubs and food banks.
More financial support for Call Before You Serve in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire is also being requested. This council-supported service aims to help prevent people in private rented accommodation from being evicted and made homeless.
In addition, the Mayor suggested the Government should consider reducing VAT and increase its investment in nuclear and renewable energy and on getting more homes in the UK insulated.
He also called for a Cost of Living Crisis open day to be held locally to strengthen relationships between the council and its partners and to help signpost residents to where they can access support and advice.
He said after the meeting: "These are unprecedented times. Increasing energy, food and fuel prices are being felt by residents and businesses across the district.
"In March 2022, the Trussell Trust reported a staggering 62% increase in just one year in the number of food parcels handed out in Mansfield. Meanwhile, inflation is hitting wages and homelessness is on the rise in the district.
"I am pleased to say the council has been responding to this situation in a prompt and caring manner by ensuring the Discretionary Housing Payments, Council Tax Hardship Fund and the NCC Household Support Grant are promoted and administered as quickly as possible."
He also praised the council's other responses to the crisis, including:
- Processing the Government's energy rebate scheme promptly.
- Signposting residents to benefits and other support via its website and the Cost of Living Crisis pages. They can be found at (link opens in new window).
- Working with partners to ensure residents are aware of the grants available and additional support they can receive.
- Helping its tenants with debt or income related problems.
- Supporting the Food Clubs and Feeding Mansfield Network to help tackle food insecurity.
- Operating and promoting a Fuel Bank Scheme to help people on pre-payment gas or electricity meters who are struggling to pay their bills.
The Mayor added: "All these things help but they are not enough. The Government needs to step in and provide more support in the short term and policies that, in the longer term, give us more fuel security and stabilise energy prices for customers."
As well as offering advice and support on issues such as debt and food security in response to the rising cost of living, the council is also working with partners and investigating the possibility of providing a network of warm rooms that would be open to people struggling to heat their homes over the colder months.