To consider a report from the Director for Communities, a copy is attached as item 6.
Before the Committee was a report by the Director for Communities, copies of which had been circulated to all Members and a copy of which is attached to the signed copy of these minutes as Item 6.
The Committee was informed that there was growing evidence to show the impact that rising costs and inflationary pressures were having on residents in Adur. Whilst all households were impacted upon, increases in energy, food and fuel prices were disproportionately affecting lower income families, lone parents, couples without children, those with disabilities, single income households, and those on fixed incomes. The cumulative impact of inflation was now having an impact on a growing number of households, including new households that had not had to access financial support to date.
Supporting residents to tackle cost of living pressures was a priority for Adur Council, and there was a clear recognition that following the impact of the pandemic on Adur communities, in particular for more vulnerable households, there was a need to help people to alleviate income pressures. This was not something that Adur Council could do alone - it needed to work collaboratively with other parts of the community, including business and voluntary sector organisations, residents, and local communities as well as other public sector organisations such as WSCC and Jobcentre Plus.
Assessment of Proactive data showed significant numbers of households that were in food, fuel, water and overall relative poverty and who were struggling now. Some of the community food groups were reporting unprecedented demand outstriping their ability to help.
The Council had been working to alleviate the pressures of firstly the pandemic and then emerging cost of living issues, over the last few years. Supported by Council’s budget and COMF funding this work had included working with and supporting local community food groups, establishing the Proactive response for those that were struggling, providing health and wellbeing support, and housing and homelessness initiatives.
In response to the ongoing pressures caused by cost of living impacts, an Adur Cost of Living Roadmap had been developed as a way to convene a range of partners to work together to support and enable as many people as possible to be able to cope over the next two years. The Roadmap aimed to respond to both immediate and urgent need, whilst building a longer and more sustainable approach by:
There were four major areas of focus for the Roadmap:
Critical to tackling cost of living impacts would be the need to balance the provision of immediate support for households with longer term sustainable measures that supported better financial resilience, increased independence and community infrastructure.
The report outlined why a co-ordinated and sustainable approach to tackling cost of living impacts was needed, and how Adur Council, through the Cost of Living Roadmap and a supporting Action Plan, would work with partners across government, non government and private sectors to collaboratively support residents. It described the purpose of the Cost of Living Roadmap and Action Plan and the partnership arrangements that had been set up to support delivery of the Plan.
The recommendations in the report were unanimously supported.
The Adur Joint Strategic Sub-committee approved the Adur Cost of Living Roadmap (at Appendix 1) setting out what Adur District Council would do to support residents to manage cost of living impacts.