Council to set up cost of living taskforce
A cost of living crisis taskforce is being set up in Midlothian “as a matter of urgency”.
Households under strain
At the full Council meeting today (Tuesday), elected members agreed the cross-party group of five councillors would meet monthly and more frequently if needed to tackle a “tsunami of escalating costs hammering Midlothian households”.
Council Leader Councillor Kelly Parry said: “We’ve got the highest rates of inflation since the early 1980s, energy bills are through the roof and food and petrol costs are soaring.
Local help needed
“While we recognise the UK governments are putting emergency financial measures in place it does not go far enough. We need to support people locally by setting up a cost of living taskforce as a matter of urgency.
“We’re hearing alarming and heartbreaking reports of Midlothian parents skipping meals so their children don’t go hungry and elderly people being unable to afford heating and hot water.
Facing a crisis
“This is a crisis on an unprecedented scale and we need a strong, local response to take on this tsunami of escalating costs hammering Midlothian households.”
The task force will look at the current and potential future impact of rising costs on Midlothian households.
Working with partners
The group will then identify local solutions to support families in crisis and work with partner agencies and local organisations to put those supports in place.
Work will also be done to make sure families in need are maximising their income by accessing all the benefits and help to which they are entitled while getting help in reducing bills, if possible.
A council priority
Taskforce members will also make sure the council prioritises services to support this work.
Help needed quickly
Acknowledging ongoing work by the council and partner agencies to support local people in crisis, Cllr Parry added: “We want to start this taskforce as quickly as possible to help as many families as possible. There will be a number of local people and families who for the first time find themselves in this position.
Sending a clear message
“We have a range of organisations both local and Midlothian wide, including food banks and energy advice, but the pressure on them will increase dramatically thus an exploration of support we can provide them is vital. We want to send a clear message to local people in need – we’re here to help.”