A SCHEME to support residents facing financial difficulties due to the rising cost of living is now open for applications, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has announced.

Approved by councillors in July, the new £1 million Cost of Living Assistance Fund will help households in the borough struggling to pay bills, with grants available to help pay for food and energy costs.

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Under the new scheme, one-off grants are available for the following amounts:

  • Up to £1,000 for those on a household income of between £0 and £15,000
  • Up to £500 for those on a household income of between £15,001 and £20,000
  • Up to £200 for those on a household income of between £20,001 and £25,000.

Deputy leader Cllr John Izett said: “We are committed to doing something to help the households in our borough that are hardest hit by the escalating national cost of living crisis. Our careful management of council finances, means that we have been able to find money in our budget to offer this extra support, above and beyond what the government is already providing.

"These grants will give real help to pay food and energy bills and are targeted at those on the lowest household incomes in the borough. We hope this will offer some support and respite for those struggling to make ends meet and take away some of the worry of paying the bills."

A maximum of 25 per cent of the grant can be used to buy food, with payments made through vouchers or a Post Office payout code which allows cash to be withdrawn at a Post Office branch.

The remaining funding is allocated for support with rising energy costs. These payments can be made directly to the supplier or paid through a Post Office payout code.

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Grants are awarded on a first come first served basis so the scheme may close earlier if the funding has been fully allocated.

Residents living in the borough can apply at basingstoke.gov.uk/costofliving or those without access to the internet can call 01256 844844 and speak to the benefits team to arrange a telephone or in-person appointment.

This funding is in addition to support announced by the government and the Household Support Fund that provides food vouchers for residents who receive certain benefits. These vouchers will be provided to eligible households shortly.

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