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East Suffolk fund for tenants struggling financially untouched for two years



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A £500,000 reserve for tenants struggling financially in East Suffolk has been untouched for two years, despite rent arrears staying just above £1 million.

The hardship reserve is designed to provide monetary support to tenants who find themselves in financial hardship.

According to East Suffolk Council’s statement of accounts for 2021/22, the value of this reserve has remained at £500,000 between March 2020 and March 2021 – with nothing spent.

The hardship reserve is designed to provide monetary support to tenants who find themselves in financial hardship. Picture: East Suffolk Council
The hardship reserve is designed to provide monetary support to tenants who find themselves in financial hardship. Picture: East Suffolk Council

This was brought up by Labour councillor Peter Byatt at yesterday’s meeting of East Suffolk Council’s audit and governance committee.

Conservative councillor and chair of the meeting Geoff Lynch said: “All district councillors get the emails telling us about these funds.

“As a combined lot of district councillors, we probably haven’t pushed it hard enough.

Peter Byatt, leader of the Labour contingent at East Suffolk Council and councillor for Kirkley and Pakefield. Picture: Maxine Clark/East Suffolk Labour
Peter Byatt, leader of the Labour contingent at East Suffolk Council and councillor for Kirkley and Pakefield. Picture: Maxine Clark/East Suffolk Labour

According to East Suffolk Council’s statement of accounts for 2021/22, rent arrears remained at just above £1 million in March 2021 and March 2022.

An East Suffolk Council spokesperson said: “While this is not a fund that accepts bids, we can assist tenants struggling financially to make applications to the discretionary housing payment fund, which is funded via central government.

“We hold the hardship reserve in the housing revenue account in case we need to replenish the discretionary housing payment fund on behalf of tenants who have accessed it.

“A household support fund is also used as a mechanism for supporting tenants in financial hardship.

“If someone is struggling financially, they can approach East Suffolk Council and our financial inclusion officers will assist.”

Information about support in Suffolk for those struggling financially can be found here.