Leaflet highlights support for those facing financial issues

A new leaflet bringing together information on a wide range of welfare support and income advice has been developed to support residents in East Lothian struggling with financial impacts of Covid-19.

Across East Lothian, services that provide financial advice and food have seen a rise in demand for their services as the economic impacts of Covid-19 are felt. This includes households who have seen their income fall due to furlough or reduced hours, being unable to work due to lockdown or care responsibilities, or who have lost their job.

Continuing to pay Council Tax and council rent remains important, meaning the council can continue with its work and vital services.

East Lothian Council’s Revenues and Welfare Support team created the leaflet to draw together a wide range of information including on Universal Credit, new style benefits for self-employed people, statutory sick pay and crisis grants. It also includes details for people in private lets or who own their own home. Contact details for organisations such as Citizens Advice and the DWP are included.

Commenting on the new resource, Iain Gray MSP said:

“The support and advice provided by staff at East Lothian Council during this pandemic has been outstanding. This includes its Welfare Rights team who have continued to help local people throughout the crisis.

“Many households are already facing significant financial hardship as a result of the economic impact of lockdown and this is only set to continue in the weeks and months ahead. Given the scale of the difficulties people are experiencing, this kind of one-stop resource will be vital to help ensure those in need can access the help they require as quickly as possible.”

Depute Council Leader Cllr Norman Hampshire said:

“We know that Covid-19 is having an impact on household finances as well as their health. For some residents – such as self-employed people – this is an entirely new situation.

“Continuing to pay your council rent or Council Tax is important and people should do so. The welfare system has changed in response to Covid-19 with some new supports available. We would encourage anyone concerned about their finances to get in touch with one of our teams or the many organisations that are available to help you for free and confidential support.”

The leaflet will be distributed through organisations such as East Lothian Foodbank and through local Connected Communities teams. It is available to download online on the Council’s website.