The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today announced that he will be investing £2.3m in vital advice services across the capital to help Londoners cope with the spiralling cost of living.
The Mayor has also launched a partnership with London Citizens Advice and London Legal Support Trust (LLST) to help reach more Londoners who are struggling to access help and support.
Across London the demand for financial hardship advice outstrips supply, and this funding will allow the organisations to increase the capacity of their work, enabling 35,000 more Londoners to get support and help nearly 4,500 people working in grassroots organisations to access advice training to better support their communities.
It will allow London Citizens Advice to increase the number of advisers across its 28 London citizens advice charities and expand support to community organisations helping those in need, and enable London Legal Support Trust (LLST) to increase capacity across its network of Centres of Excellence by recruiting and training more specialist advisers in areas of high demand.
It comes as new polling shows that the number of Londoners who are struggling with the cost of living continue to increase. A total of 30 per cent of Londoners are ‘just about managing’ and 17 per cent are ‘financially struggling’.
The funding is part of £5m the Mayor is spending this year on helping Londoners access welfare advice. Earlier this year he launched a Cost of Living Hub to help Londoners access a wide range of information and advice including how to claim benefits that they are entitled to, help dealing with debt, financial management and mental health support.
In total, the Mayor is spending more than £80m this year to help Londoners struggling with the rising cost of living. This includes more than £50m to tackle fuel poverty, more than £20m to improve security for private renters and house Londoners who are rough sleeping or homeless, more than £5m to connect Londoners with welfare advice, and £400,000 to tackle food insecurity. He is also spending £400m this year on skills and employment programmes to support Londoners to find more secure and better paid work.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I’m hugely concerned about the impact of the spiralling cost of living on Londoners, with increasing numbers struggling to get by each month. I’m determined to do all I can to support Londoners which is why I am providing this funding to boost the vital work of London Citizens Advice and the London Legal Support Trust. By helping Londoners to access help and support they are entitled to, we can prevent more people falling into poverty and instead build a more prosperous city for all Londoners.”
Deputy Mayor for Communities and Social Justice, Dr Debbie Weekes Bernard, said: “The pandemic has exacerbated long-standing social inequalities in London, and many of those who have been hit hardest are now contending with further stresses as a result of the rising cost of living.
“This investment will help to provide support to Londoners most in need by increasing access to a wide range of advice services across the capital. The Mayor and I are committed to working in partnership with communities to ensure we build back a better London for everyone.”
Chair of the London Citizens Advice Steering Group (and CEO of Merton and Lambeth Citizens Advice) Suzanne Hudson said: “At a time when demand in London Citizens Advice charities is soaring, we are delighted that the Mayor of London is supporting this important partnership to help Londoners cope with the cost- of-living crisis. In difficult times, accessing information and advice can prevent problems from becoming crises.
“Our services are here to provide support for people when they need it and this funding will enable us to help more Londoners. ”
CEO of London Legal Support Trust, Nezahat Cihan, said: “Specialist advice is vitally important in helping empower people to tackle issues including debt, rent arrears, housing problems, Universal Credit errors, and more. Our Centres of Excellence will be able to increase their specialist advisor capacity to support more vulnerable Londoners so they don’t have to face these issues alone, and risk them spiralling.”