Frank Field MP
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Council Tax is a most pressing issue for the poor

2
Aug

Council Tax emerged from last week’s Feeding Birkenhead meeting as a most pressing issue.

It was reported at the meeting that some residents on low incomes are struggling either to keep up with their monthly payments, or to access sources of help that might prevent arrears spiralling out of control.

Although rent and utilities often take priority over food, food itself tends to be prioritised over Council Tax bills. The end result, all too typically, is a visit from the bailiffs.

Feeding Birkenhead is therefore preparing a submission to Wirral Council with some recommendations on how it might set up a fair payment plan as early as possible for residents on low incomes. Should you wish to contribute to our submission, might you please email me on fieldf@parliament.uk or write to me at House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA?

We are also continuing our activities to prevent children being hungry during the holidays. When the schools broke up for May’s Whitsun holiday, 119 children attended Feeding Birkenhead projects at which they were given free meals and took part in fun activities. The cost of the week’s provision came in at under £600 for 284 meals.

The need for such activities, sadly, shows no sign of abating. One of our projects in Rock Ferry has already served 320 meals for children during the first week of the summer holiday.

Likewise, Wirral Food Bank has helped 6,436 people with emergency fuel vouchers since it began offering them last May. People in this group literally have had no money to feed their meter, let alone their families.

I am therefore meeting the Government’s Fuel Poverty Committee in September, with a set of proposals to prevent such crises occurring. Our local findings suggest these proposals will need to be put into action sooner, rather than later.

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