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News Report Page 8 of 11
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RSPCA expands Food Bank partnership to help even more pet owners in need

THE RSPCA has expanded its Food Bank partnership to cover nearly the whole of Lancashire as well as new plans to include parts of:- Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Merseyside. In November (2020) Deputy Chief Inspector Alison Fletcher, who works in Lancashire, decided to link up with Food Banks in the area to provide them with pet food for owners who were struggling to make ends meet. Starting with 5 areas across Lancashire, the scheme now includes 11 Food Banks covering almost the whole of the county. Alison said:- "We are absolutely thrilled with how well this project is going and how responsive the Food Banks have been in helping provide people with pet food. We also hope to expand and incorporate Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Merseyside in the project very soon! We know just how important our pets are to us. They really do become part of the family but sadly, since the start of the Coronavirus Pandemic we are seeing more families being unable to afford to provide for their pets. Many people are experiencing tough times at the moment and the last thing we want is for a loving owner to have to give up their companion and real source of comfort, so we set up this scheme in the hope that we could provide as much pet food as possible and keep families and their pets together."

Jason Barbour, from Accrington in Lancashire, uses the Maundy Relief Food Bank in Accrington. He has a 2 year old crossbreed dog called Captain Jack and the Food Bank means he can provide food for his much loved dog as well as himself. Jason said:- "When I got Captain Jack as a 2 month old puppy, I only expected him to grow to the size of a staffy. He has actually grown to double that size which means he needs double the amount of expected food. He's my life and my main source of support; I couldn't imagine life without him as he is always by my side 24/7. If the Food Bank couldn't support us with pet food, I could never give him up. I always would have found a way, even if that meant not eating myself. I'm not the sort of person to give him away. He's everything to me. He is my reason to get up in the morning. I just wouldn't be me without him, he is my family and my comfort. He has got me through lockdown and Covid. We just take care of each other."

Jason, who has now used the Food Bank for the last 5 years added:- "The team at Maundy Relief are fantastic people. They do everything they can for you. They are a lifeline to so many people and I can't thank them and the RSPCA enough for the assistance they offer to me and Captain Jack."

Over the last few months, the RSPCA has been able to donate 3,500kg of pet food to Food Banks in Lancashire, helping people like Jason, and dogs like Captain Jack. Pet food brand Purina has donated 6 pallets of cat food to the project meaning Alison and her colleagues have been able to provide even more pet food for those who need it.

Ellen Camillin, Senior Corporate Development Manager at the RSPCA, said:- "We'd like to thank Purina for their support on this project. They have provided vital cat food to help the project get off the ground and ensure that pet owners who are struggling have access to the food their cat needs. By having businesses like Purina on board it means we can hope to reach even more pets and are now looking to expand the project."

Areas covered so far:-

1. Blackpool Food Bank.

2. Preston Here for Humanity.

3. Pendle Food Alliance, Nelson.

4. Salvation Army, Nelson.

5. St Philips Food Bank, Nelson.

6. Blackburn Food Bank.

7. Ormskirk Food Bank.

8. Ribble Valley Food Bank.

9. Morecambe Bay Food Bank.

10. Burnley Together Valley Community Centre.

11. Maundy Relief, Accrington.

₤6.8 billion Funding boost for North West Councils

LOCAL Government Secretary Robert Jenrick has confirmed on Wednesday, 10 February 2021 that Councils within the North West will  receive ₤6.8 billion in 2022, as part of the Local Government Finance Settlement for 2021/22.  This represents a boost of ₤296 million from  2020/21 including an increase of ₤59 million in Social Care Grant to help support vulnerable adults and children.  This funding package gives Councils the resources they need to continue to deliver services and support their communities during the Pandemic while giving local residents the final say over excessive Council Tax increases. It will also enable Councils to play a crucial role in our nation's recovery in helping Schools and local businesses to reopen safely and support the most vulnerable.  Final allocations for the  ₤670 million fund  to enable Councils to continue reducing Council Tax bills for those least able to pay, have also been confirmed today, helping households impacted financially by the Pandemic. Councils across the North West will share ₤100 million In addition, Mr Jenrick has extended the scheme that compensates Councils for income lost during the Pandemic from services including car parks, libraries and museums, until June 2021.  This follows ₤225 million of un-ringfenced funding for the North West which was announced in December to help Councils continue to support their communities during the Pandemic.

Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Luke Hall MP said:- "We're giving Councils in the North West a ₤296 million boost to core spending, allowing them to continue their excellent work in delivering important services for local people. An increase of at least ₤325 million in Covid response funding will also allow these Councils to continue supporting their communities through the Pandemic, rebuild local economies and build back better. I'm grateful to Councils in the North West for demonstrating incredible spirit and strength in the wake of the Pandemic and I am pleased this funding will help them boost their stellar efforts. As part of the funding confirmed for Councils, we have announced the following:-

 Rewards for welcoming new homes...

The Government has confirmed allocations for English Local Authorities totalling ₤622 million to continue the  New Homes Bonus  scheme in 2021 TO 2022; rewarding  Councils  for the number of additional new homes built in their area, incentivising housing growth and creating homes for  thei r residents.   We have also published a  consultation alongside the Local Government Finance Settlement on  reforming  the scheme from 2022 to 2023, to ensure it is focussed where homes are needed most.

 Giving residents a voice on Council Tax rises...

Residents  will have the power to veto excessive Council Tax rises, with a referendum being required if  Councils  propose raising the Tax by 2% or more, with extra flexibility for some Authority types. Before setting rates, Councils should take into account the financial circumstances of their residents.

 Support for rural areas...

Councils  with responsibility for adult social care will be able to set a further 3% increase, ring fenced exclusively for adult social care. Anything above this level will need to be voted on by local people. This strikes the right balance between addressing pressure on services and giving residents the final say on excessive increases.

In order to support those least able to pay their Council Tax, including households financially hard hit by the Pandemic, there will be ₤100 million of new grant funding available for the North West outside of the core settlement for local Council Tax support.   

The Government is committed to ensuring the unique needs of rural areas are met, and so will boost the Rural Services Delivery Grant by ₤4 million to ₤85 million in 2022, making it the highest rural grant paid to date.

 In addition, we have also announced:-

Extension of the Flexibility to Use Capital Receipts to Fund Transformation Projects We are also announcing a 3 year extension from 2022 to 2023 onwards of the existing flexibility for Councils to use capital receipts to fund transformation projects that produce long term savings or reduce the costs of service delivery.

Confirmation of ₤160.6 million for the Former Independent Living Fund Recipient Grant This grant is paid to Councils to ensure they can continue funding pre-existing Independent Living Fund arrangements, enabling those with disabilities to live within the community and not residential care."

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