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£51m to help families in Wales with winter bills

A £51 MILLION support package will be offered by the Welsh Government to help people facing a cost-of-living crisis this winter, as ministers accused Westminster of “failing to support families”.

It comes after the UK Government rejected calls to reverse the cut of its £20 Universal Credit uplift, and the Bank of England warned inflation will rise to five per cent by the spring, pushing prices even higher.

The extra funding will include giving eligible households a one-off cash payment of £100 to spend on energy bills.

More than £1.1 million will go to food banks, community food partnerships and community hubs, including the Big Bocs Bwyd (BBB) project which will extend its services to a further 25 schools in the Valleys.

The BBB project, which began in Barry and operates out of old shipping containers, aims to tackle food poverty.

Rebecca Evans, finance and local government minister, said: “Families across Wales are facing a real cost-of-living crisis thanks to rising prices and cuts to key benefit payments.

“To help tackle these unprecedented challenges, we are making £51 million available to develop our own bespoke Household Support Fund to help with some of the costs families are facing.

“Where Westminster has failed to support families, the Welsh Government will step in and back our communities through this challenging period.”

Social justice minister Jane Hutt said more than £38 million will be made available through the Winter Fuel Support Scheme for households in receipt of working age means-tested benefits.

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And the payments will be available to all eligible energy customers regardless of whether they pay for their fuel on a pre-payment or credit meter.

Ms Hutt said: “We are very worried the cost-of-living crisis, coming so close to Christmas, will force families to turn to high-cost lenders or illegal loan sharks to help make ends meet.

“This fund will help raise awareness of the alternatives out there which can help.

“Most of the powers to address this cost-of-living crisis lie in the UK Government’s hands but we want to do everything we can to help families through this winter.”

Further announcements about the Household Support Fund are expected in the coming weeks, the ministers said.

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