Report shows thousands supported by Mayor's cost of living support

The new report is set to be discussed by members of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority on June 22.

15 June 2023

More than 6,000 people struggling to make ends meet across West Yorkshire have benefitted from Mayor Tracy Brabin’s cost of living fund – over double the number expected.

A new report, set to be discussed by members of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority next week, shows that thousands of households and businesses have been helped by the Mayor’s Cost of Living Emergency Fund.

The fund was created last autumn to support frontline community services that helped people meet basic needs, such as food, heating, mental health support and emergency advice.

Papers published yesterday by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority have revealed that 6,481 households have benefitted from the scheme since it got underway in December 2022 – against a target of 3,172.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, the Mayor called for the government to do more to help struggling families and businesses who are faced with rising costs due to high inflation.

She said: “I’m glad that we have been able to step in and help so many people across West Yorkshire during these difficult times. This shows how devolution can work to help the people of our region.

“But there is only so much we can do to help struggling families through a cost of living crisis. It's about time the Government got a grip of this crisis and delivered on their promise to bring down inflation and the cost of living for those who are on the edge.”

The mayor’s Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Booster has provided insulation, energy efficient heating and solar panels, to 316 households, while work has already started on a further 205. 

The £1 million Energy Price Emergency Grant scheme provides up to £5,000 to help small businesses to introduce energy saving and renewable energy measures. Some 485 businesses have benefitted with hundreds more expressing an interest and could still be set to benefit.

One of the businesses that has benefitted from this is Simply Moving and Sleeping who were awarded £5,000 to install new LED lighting for their premises.

The support will help them save £16,000 a year on energy bills and the lights are anticipated to generate over 46,000 kWh saving in electricity per year.

The Calderdale-based business, which had already invested over £30k in solar panels, provides disability equipment to local authorities, NHS, schools, and the private sector.

Commenting on the support, John Kershaw, Managing Director of Simply Moving and Sleeping said: “With energy prices rising, we needed to find ways to reduce our bills.

“We had already invested in solar panels to generate electricity, but we needed to take further steps to reduce our usage. The grant funding from West Yorkshire Combined Authority enabled us to install LED lighting which has significantly reduced our energy consumption and our bills. 

“This upgrade has not only helped us to navigate the energy crisis but also made our business more energy efficient and environmentally sustainable in the longer term.”

The report into business during the cost of living crisis will be discussed by a full West Yorkshire Combined Authority meeting on Thursday, June 22.