Falkirk Council asked to acknowledge families in poverty facing 'cost of living crisis'

A councillor will urge the local authority’s executive to acknowledge the financial difficulties faced by residents – stating they are facing a “cost of living crisis”.

By James Trimble
Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 1:56 pm

In a motion referred to the Tuesday, November 30 meeting of the executive from a special meeting of Falkirk Council earlier this month, Councillor Fiona Collie said 13,000 Falkirk families are in the midst of a financial crisis.

She is looking for the leader of Falkirk Council to write to Prime Minister Boris Johnson regarding the situation and inform him of the need to boost household incomes.

Councillor Collie’s motion, up for discussion at next week’s meeting, stated: “Council acknowledges many Falkirk residents are facing a cost-of-living crisis, with increasing financial pressures, due to cuts to in-work benefits, tax hikes and the long-term damage of Brexit hammering low and middle-income families.“Much of this has been as a direct result of the impact of the Conservative UK Government's progression of a cut of £1000 in Universal Credit for around 13,000 Falkirk families in the face of widespread opposition – including charities working with people in poverty and all parties voting to condemn this plan in the Scottish Parliament on September 28, with only the Conservatives supporting their colleagues' attack on the poorest in our society.

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Councillor Collie will put forward her motion at the November 30 executive meeting

"Based on August 2021 figures, as a result 12,763 Households in Falkirk who claim Universal Credit and around 4683 of our most vulnerable households on Universal Credit will be subject to the removal of the £20 a week lifeline.

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“This will reduce household incomes by £4,870,320 per year to the hard-pressed residents in Falkirk who need it most, pushing thousands more families into poverty, including 2725 households with someone who has a disability and an estimated 6980 children in Falkirk.

"Also, the compound impact of this cut on existing polices such as the family cap – with its abhorrent rape clause – with other factors such as energy and food price rises which will push the impact on a single working parent of two children to £1750 a year according to analysis by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

"Council also notes warnings energy bills are expected to rise, alongside National Insurance payments as well as an increase in inflation. This perfect storm will create further pressures to families, and potentially impact on Falkirk Council’s medium term financial strategy.

"The Leader of the Council is therefore instructed to write to the Prime Minister and outline the urgent need to boost household incomes. For example, the recent increase in the national minimum wage would take up to 10 years to reach a level that would provide a sustainable income for families.

"There is therefore an urgent need for the minimum wage be increased to a realistic level that will enable household incomes to be sustainable and reverse the rising levels of poverty in the UK."

At next week’s executive meeting Councillor Collie will also ask council officers to bring a report to the next council, executive and education, children and young people's committees outlining the potential impacts to the council area including likely pressures on housing and homelessness, child poverty, in work poverty and other likely impacts.

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