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£15m in benefits going unclaimed as council launches Cost of Living Help campaign

Food Pantry, Reach Community Hub -3

The council has launched many schemes to help residents including six new FOOD Stores

Benefits worth over £15m a year, are going unclaimed in Tower Hamlets, which could provide a lifeline to thousands of families struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.

More than £13m of Universal Credit is currently going unclaimed but the actual figure could be higher.

The figures only reflect households who are claiming council tax reduction or housing benefit and doesn’t include all households in the borough eligible for Universal Credit.

Older people are missing out on over £1.7m worth of Pension Credit and £700,000 of Disability Premium is not being claimed.

Tower Hamlets has some of the highest levels of deprivation, child poverty, and pensioner poverty in the country. Figures show that 56 per cent of children live in a low-income family and 44 per cent of elderly people living in low-income households.

The council is keen to make sure residents are aware of the range of support and advice on offer by launching its Cost of Living Help campaign with a dedicated webpage.

The webpage which provides information on managing debt, where you can get help with household bills, school uniforms and much more.

There is also access to an online benefits checker which residents can use to find out what help they are entitled in a few clicks of a button.

The Mayor and the council have introduced many schemes to help with rising costs, and will introduce more in the future. So far, these schemes include:

  • A financial support package worth over £5m including:
    • £1m Mayor’s Energy Fund, providing grants of up to £300 to the borough’s most vulnerable residents
    • £2.7m cost of living relief package providing one-off grants of £100 to low- income households, including £100 per Free School Meal-eligible child
    • £1m of vouchers to FSM children over the summer
    • £600k Resident Support Scheme providing crisis grants to those in need
    • Freezing council tax for four years
    • Offering a 100% council tax reduction scheme
    • Providing free school meals to all primary schools
    • School uniform grants
    • Introducing seven food pantries across the borough
    • Supporting local food banks with supplies through the Tower Hamlets Food Hub
    • £1m per year of funding to the voluntary sector to provide welfare and benefits advice
    • £1.8m Holiday Activities and Food programme for Free School Meal eligible children, funded by Department for Education

Lutfur Rahman, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said:

“As the cost-of-living crisis deepens, we continue to step up our support for residents. Today we are launching our Cost-of-Living Help campaign, which provides information to help people save money, access support and, in some cases, grants provided by the council or the government.

“One easy thing people can do right away is use the benefits calculator on our Cost-of-Living Help webpages to check they are receiving the maximum benefits they are eligible for. An incredible £15m a year goes unclaimed in Tower Hamlets and benefits such as Universal Credit, Pension Credit and Disability Premium could provide a lifeline to many.

“There are many other tips, advice and support available on the webpages. If you are struggling, then please ask for help.”

Cllr Saied Ahmed, Cabinet Member for Resources and the Cost of Living said:

“During these difficult times, I would ask everyone to look out for each other. Residents demonstrated this community spirit throughout the pandemic. Checking in on neighbours or those you believe are struggling could make all the difference to them and more importantly when you put them in touch with help. I know we can help each other get through this by pulling together.”

Visit the webpage to see what advice and support is on offer, including:

  • A benefit calculator to tell you what benefits you are entitled to
  • Information on council grants and government grants available to you
  • Details of advice and support groups
  • Health and wellbeing advice
  • Details of local food banks and how to access them
  • Tips on budgeting and cutting down costs

For anyone without internet access at home, Tower Hamlets has four Idea Stores and two libraries which all provide free internet access where you can view the webpage.



Posted on Thursday 3rd November 2022