Help for Calderdale people to get a grip on finance issues as cost of living increases

Money to help people understand their finances in difficult times will be made available as part of an £80 million regional pot over the next three years.

By John Greenwood - Local Democracy Reporter
Friday, 24th June 2022, 10:00 am

Government is making the cash available as part of its Levelling Up agenda and it will be managed by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA).

It is intended to replace funding which has previously been given by the European Union following Brexit with key target areas of work.

Calderdale Council’s Assistant Director for Housing, Economy and Investment, Kate McNicholas, said her authority was confident it would be able to draw money down from the new Shared Prosperity Fund.

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An element of the funding will be available for a numeracy programme which will help people at a time when they faced a cost of living crisis.

An element of the funding will be available for a numeracy programme which will help people at a time when they faced a cost of living crisis and when authorities like Calderdale were trying to tackle inequalities, she said.

Councillors have previously heard that the COVID-19 pandemic made inequalities which were already previously there worse.

Tackling these are an aim of not just the council but WYCA and health and voluntary sector partners who have reached similar conclusions.

It is hoped some of the money made available can be used to help parts of the borough which despite suffering some of the highest levels of deprivation have not been eligible for funding from other Government pots like the Towns Fund, for example.

Kate McNicholas, Calderdale Council’s Assistant Director for Economy, Housing and Investment

Around £80 million is being made available to the WYCA region through the fund over three years with a focus on business, people and skills, and communities and place, said Ms McNicholas, although elements available for people and skills will not be available until 2024-25.

Calderdale had a strong track record of getting funding for projects from WYCA and was confident this would continue.

In terms of the community and place goals, it is hoped funding made available from the pot will be used to help address issues in parts of Calderdale with increasing levels of deprivation, she said.

For example, this may mean “northern Halifax” rather than the more traditional “North Halifax”, which would make money available for projects in council wards like Warley and well as wards such as Ovenden, Illingworth and Mixenden and Park, said Ms McNicholas.

Investment plans are being drawn up so grant submissions can be made, she said, with more work being done over the summer in advance of policy delivery through the autumn.

Areas like these have not been eligible for many of the funding pots, such as the Towns Fund, which the council has been able to draw on for towns.

The council’s Cabinet member for Towns, Engagement and Public Health, Coun Sarah Courtney (Lab, Calder, said the council would look to work with community partners on schemes from all funding pots as with cash scarce, money made available had to be used to the best effect for Calderdale and its communities.

Community groups and representatives could often access other funding which the council was not allowed to, and match-funding could often help maximise results, she said.