22 December
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Council Executive has approved funding of £780,000 to improve well-being, by preventing and responding to people's financial insecurity over the winter period.

The investment provides a cash-first response to key groups of low-income households, to ensure they have access to additional money over the winter period.

Projects funded include: £573,000 for a one-off £80 payment for lone parents, disabled pensioners and people with limited capability; £87,000 for an additional energy advisor for two years to prevent residents from being disconnected; £80,000 for specific, one-off funding for households who need help for essential or unexpected costs but do not qualify for any other type of support: and £40,000 for a money advisor to work with referrals via the West Lothian Food Network.

A further £132,000 will also be used to form of a team to collate all requests made to the Council for additional evidence to support a customer's application for child disability payment.

This will fund the Council's additional costs incurred to support Social Security Scotland to make timely decisions on applications, as well as helping residents claim any other benefits they are entitled to.

Both schemes have been funded by the Scottish Government and will be delivered by the council's Anti-Poverty Service.

Leader of West Lothian Council Lawrence Fitzpatrick said: "I'm delighted that the council's Anti-Poverty service will be able to provide even more help to local residents, thanks to this funding.

He added: "Many low-income local families are already struggling due to the impact of the pandemic and it's vital we do all we can to support them as much as we can."