The roll-out of £105 gift cards to more than 4,500 households in East Renfrewshire has been approved as part of a cost-of-living support and recovery package.
East Renfrewshire Council cabinet members have agreed how to spend around £1.5m of Scottish Government funding and set aside £511,291 for ‘Scotland Loves Local’ cards.
They must be spent in local shops and will be made available to low-income households eligible for housing tax reductions, in bands A to G.
Other projects approved by councilors include a community hardship fund for housing association tenants in Barrhead and winter clothing support for pupils.
Council leader Owen O’Donnell, Labor, said: ‘I think we all welcome this additional investment, it is much needed for the residents of East Renfrewshire. I’m sure it will be welcomed by them as well.
“I really look forward to an update from the cabinet later in the fall on what other initiatives we can do, it is important for our residents and it is important that we help them as much as possible in the recovery of covid and to help tackle the cost of living crisis.”
The money was provided by the Scottish Government’s £80million Local Authority Covid Economic Recovery Fund, which was announced in February.
The ‘Scotland Loves Local’ cards are due to launch in the autumn and would help 4,532 households.
A similar project was recently launched in Glasgow, with 85,000 households able to use the cards at over 700 businesses in the city.
Almost £170,000 is to be used to provide support for Barrhead Housing Association tenants.
“This will include discretionary financial rewards, taking into account the size of the household and the nature of the difficulties encountered and what will stimulate proactive recovery from Covid,” a report from council officials revealed.
A community difficulty will provide access to grants of up to £250 for skills development and employability activities and clothing for a specific event or need, such as a job interview or a work coat. ‘winter.
Councilors have agreed to use £65,000 for winter clothing support to help low-income families in the area.
“This scheme would provide a cash payment to pupils who live in low-income households but do not fully meet the eligibility requirements for Family Transition Payments provided by the Scottish Government,” the report said, adding that between 500 and 600 students will benefit. .
There is £250,000 to ‘top up’ a Scottish Welfare Fund budget, extend a current humanitarian discretionary fund and provide a new energy poverty fund. The cash is expected to help make 300 additional payments to the Scottish Welfare Fund, 400 discretionary payments and 300 energy poverty payments over 12 months.
A network of black and ethnic minority businesses is set to be set up using £35,000 of the funding. This would involve engaging with “the BAME community to identify businesses in need of support and businesses able to offer peer support” as well as developing “a suite of materials in the required languages and appropriate business topics “.
The report from council officials to the East Renfrewshire cabinet said: ‘The challenge facing all local authorities is that the funding, while welcome, is limited in nature and will not fully meet the potential demand for support.
“To meet this challenge, this proposal offers a range of different supports with the dual policy objective of helping both low-income households to become more economically active and local businesses to grow.”
A full list of projects that will receive can be viewed here: https://eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk/media/8015/Cabinet-item-08-18-August-2022/pdf/Cabinet_item_08_-_18_August_2022.pdf?m=637963473951170000