CAMBRIDGE City Council has provided a further £10,000 to the Cambridgeshire Local Assistance Scheme (CLAS) to ensure energy vouchers can continue to be awarded to Cambridge residents in urgent financial need this spring, following on from £10,000 awarded in November.
CLAS is a well-established local scheme which provides information, advice and one-off practical support to people across Cambridgeshire during times of exceptional hardship.
The £10,000 council grant ensures CLAS will be able to continue offering energy vouchers to Cambridge residents, despite the increase in demand experienced over the autumn and winter.
Vouchers will either be for pre-paid meters, with a value of £28 (for an individual) or £48 (for a family), or provided through a Digital Payment card that people on Direct Debits can use to pay into their gas and electricity accounts directly with their energy supplier.
In exceptional circumstances CLAS can instead issue vouchers to purchase alternative sources of energy, such as bottles of gas for people living in caravans, or vouchers to use in supermarkets, to help people free up money to use on energy.
Cllr Mairéad Healy, Executive Councillor for Equalities, Anti-Poverty and Wellbeing, said: “We know that the autumn and winter have been particularly challenging this year with people facing financial pressures like never before. Although we’re now in March, the weather is still incredibly cold, and many people will not yet have received their final energy bill for the winter months. Providing this funding to CLAS will help to ensure that anyone facing a crisis with their energy bills will have somewhere to turn for support.
“I would encourage everyone to take five minutes to check our website for new ideas to bring your costs down. For example, this is the perfect time of year to switch to paying Council Tax over 12 months instead of 10, bringing down the amount you’d pay each month. There is also information about how to apply for discounts or help to pay your Council Tax – so please take a look. Go to cambridge.gov.uk and search for ‘Cost of living help’ for many more ideas.”
Residents can find out more about eligibility for CLAS support on the Making Money Count website
CLAS is commissioned by Cambridgeshire County Council at a cost of £300,000 annually, and administered by local housing group CHS. The scheme is also able to provide white goods, recycled furniture, and vouchers for food and other essential items.