The cost of living is an issue that has received extensive media coverage over the past year. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation reported that living costs in the UK have risen dramatically, by 25% in 5 years - an increase that is affecting all of us, and having a significant impact on Islington residents.
As a result, living standards are falling and many people are being forced to make calculated choices between heating their homes and eating, or getting in to debt. Helping people cope with the rising cost of living will be a big focus for the council over the next four years.
Our progress in 2015/16 includes:
- 92% of Nursery and Primary school pupils are taking up Free School Meals, compared to 62% when Islington’s Universal Free School Meals scheme started in March 2010
- Held over 200 free or low cost events for children and young people as part of our Summer 2015 Heatwave festival
- Agreed new planning policy to limit the number of payday lenders and betting shops in areas where there is already a high concentration
- Supported residents in crisis through our Residents Support Scheme (with Cripplegate Foundation): in 2015-16 we made 4,308 awards totalling almost £2.2million – to help with rent, council tax, and essential household items
- Funded free independent advice through good quality local voluntary sector organisations such as Citizens Advice to advise residents on issues around finances, debt housing and benefits: the CAB alone saw over 5,000 residents in 2015-16
- Saved residents an estimated £320,870 in energy costs in 2015-16, through Warm Homes Discount, Debt Relief and Energy Doctor visits
- Commenced construction work of the Bunhill Phase 2 project - which will provide cheaper energy to a further 500 council homes