Following today’s announcement by Ofgem that energy bills for a typical household will rise to £3,549 a year on 1 October, when a new price cap is introduced, North Somerset Council is encouraging people to plan ahead as living costs continue to rise, and to get help if they need support or advice.
The council is working with a wide network of organisations across the area to form a cost of living taskforce with all members focused on working together to help local people weather the cost of living crisis. The group, working under the banner of ‘North Somerset Together’, will be on hand throughout the coming months to ensure support is available for anyone struggling with cost of living pressures.
Already, a round-up of advice and guidance has been compiled and is available on the council’s website. This includes information about help with bills, childcare costs, housing support and energy and heating advice. There are also useful links to local food banks, a cost of living survival kit and support to help people travel to work.
The council has also worked with the Independent Food Aid Network and the Trussell Trust to produce a leaflet to help people who are worried about money. The ‘North Somerset: worrying about money?’ leaflet is a step-by-step guide to help people find out what their options are and how to get help. It’s available at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/worryingaboutmoneyleaflet and copies can also be found in North Somerset libraries.
Cllr Mike Bell, Deputy Leader of Council, said: “Addressing the cost of living crisis is the top priority for every member of the council’s Executive. And it is exactly that – a crisis, affecting all that we do. Just as the Covid-19 pandemic shook the foundations of our lives, so will this crisis touch us all. With spiralling energy costs, food prices rising and the rate of inflation, some will be affected more than others and we expect the impact to be great.
“The pandemic showed us that we have an incredible network of support here in North Somerset, with a professional and volunteer community ready, willing and able to offer advice, support and make a positive difference in the lives of those struggling the most.
“The professional network of organisations are already mobilised and planning actions across the autumn, winter and beyond to make sure support is there for everyone who needs it. There is no stigma in asking for help. We have a great community here in North Somerset and we’ll support each other to get through the tough times.
“As a council we will also lobby the government and energy suppliers to do more to help. The additional relief on energy bills already announced will of course help, but won’t be enough to enable everyone to get through this. More needs to be done, and soon.”