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OIC cost of living funding scheme for households now open

Date: 25 January 2023

Time: 07:00

A Helping Hand icon

A Council cost of living crisis funding scheme for eligible households is open for applications from today (Wednesday 25 January).

It is anticipated that up to around 8,550 households across Orkney – out of a total of around 11,000 – could benefit from the award of £200 per home. The grant award is limited to one payment per household.

The scheme was agreed by Councillors in December 2022 and is being funded from the Council’s Strategic Reserve Fund at a potential cost of £1,710,000 if there’s full uptake.

It’s open to households on benefits/entitlements or those on a low income who are struggling with rising costs, but importantly the Council additionally recognised that there are many more households who are facing challenges with the cost of living and therefore the scheme has been designed to provide support for those who haven’t previously been eligible for the majority of cost of living support grants or benefits.

Around 1,500 households will automatically receive the payment within two to three weeks and there’s no need to do anything else. Households who will receive the payment in this way include those who the Council is aware of – for example through receiving means tested Council Tax reduction, Housing Benefit and Free School Meals/Clothing Grants.

This means that there are still around 7,000 households who will need to apply. For example those who do not receive any of the above but receive Universal Credit or Pension Credit, those who get Council exemption due to being under 18 or care experienced young people, or working people who meet the low income threshold and have savings of less than £6,000.

Applicants in receipt of PIP (Personal Independence Payment), DLA (Disability Living Allowance), Attendance Allowance or the new ADP (Adult Disability Payment) and CDP (Child Disability Payment) are not “means tested” so are not included in the scheme. Applicants in receipt of these benefits would need to apply under the ‘low income’ threshold if applicable.

One of the quickest ways to apply is to set up a MyOrkney account and complete the form online here www.orkney.gov.uk/col.

Applicants need to have their bank statement (for the bank account that the grant is to be paid into) ready to upload if applying online, take it with them if applying in person or have it ready to email if phoning in.

We are asking people to please use the online facility if at all possible but if unable customers can phone in to the Customer Services Teams in Kirkwall on 873535 or Stromness on 850907 where an adviser can complete the application form on their behalf. However, applicants will need to provide a copy of their bank statement by emailing to customerservice@orkney.gov.uk or stromnesscs@orkney.gov.uk .

Alternatively, they can visit one of our service points at the main reception in Kirkwall or Warehouse Buildings in Stromness – remember to take a bank statement where the grant will be paid into, or they can post in a copy of their bank statement to the relevant Customers Services reception.

Please note that the reception points in Kirkwall and Stromness and phones may be very busy so please be patient. It may be best to try and avoid the lunchtime period between 12pm and 2pm when less staff are on duty. Reception opening hours are here . The Kirkwall reception only opens at 10am on Wednesdays.

For those who require to apply, it is hoped that the money will be in people’s bank accounts within around four weeks, although every attempt will be made to make this sooner if possible.

Those households who will not be eligible include anyone who has savings of £6,000 and over.

There are low income threshold examples below of who will qualify. For example a couple with 3 children with a gross household monthly income of less than £5,412 (before tax, NI or other deductions) would qualify – or a lone parent with two children earning less than £4,048 a month would be entitled.

The scheme will remain open for applications until 30 April 2023.

James Stockan is the Leader of Orkney Islands Council. He said: “There are households across our community already facing extremely challenging financial circumstances as costs rise for daily necessities such as food, energy costs and transport.

“As a Council we were clear that we needed to use our reserves to provide some financial support to local people and our scheme for households provides us with the vehicle by which we can do that.

"We know how challenging it has been for everyone but working households just above the threshold for benefits have been particularly hard hit and this scheme should help many of those.”

More information on local support, including what people can do to help others, is available on the Council page  www.orkney.gov.uk/helpinghand

Anybody who is worried about money can access free and confidential advice from Orkney Citizens Advice Bureau by calling 01856 875266or emailing bureau@orkneycab.casonline.org.uk.

  • Summary:

    A Council cost of living crisis funding scheme for eligible households is open for applications from today (Wednesday 25 January).

    It is anticipated that up to around 8,550 households across Orkney – out of a total of around 11,000 – could benefit from the award of £200 per home. The grant award is limited to one payment per household.

  • Category:
    • Community
    • Benefits and Grants

School Place, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 1NY

Telephone: 01856 873535

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Orkney Islands Council: BOREAS DOMUS MARE AMICUS