The Covid pandemic has had a significant impact on the lives of Greenwich residents and more widely. As part of supporting the recovery from the pandemic the Government announced the launch of a new Household Support Grant. The aim of the fund is to support vulnerable households with a focus on addressing essential costs such as energy and food.
The final guidance on the grant conditions including allocation was issued to Local Authorities on 5 November. This has enabled Officers to confirm proposals for spend in line with the Department for Work and Pensions guidelines, including recommended payments to children on Free School Meals (FSM) over the winter holiday periods.
An item was subsequently placed on the Key Decision Forward Plan. However, when taking into account:
• 28 days’ notice to be given for a key decision;
• 5 clear days’ notice to be given before the decision is taken; and
• Call in to expire;
this would only enable the delivery of the schemes set out in this paper to commence at the earliest from 5pm on 21 December. Given the impact of Covid on vulnerable household’s health, social and economic wellbeing there are clear grounds for extreme urgency that mean it would not be prudent, nor in the public/taxpayer’s interest to delay support until this date to households. Delivering the schemes set out in this report earlier than 21 December would enable the provision of extra financial support to start prior to the Christmas holiday period.
For the reasons set out above, the Chief Executive has agreed both that the decision proposed is reasonable and is to be treated as a matter of urgency because any delay likely to be caused by the call-in process would prejudice the public interest.