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Kate concerned over Council scrapping phone line advice for residents in need

Kate has raised concerns at Trafford Council’s plans to scrap a phone-line for residents in need of emergency help.

Trafford Assist is the Council’s local welfare assistance scheme designed to help Trafford residents in financial need as a result of emergency or disaster.

Trafford Assist can help families with awards of one-off essential travel expenses, food parcels, white goods and fuel.

Previously, residents in need of help have been able to access the service by telephoning an advice line, open for several hours, Monday to Thursday.

However, from 1 April, the Council is scrapping the phone line and replacing it with an online claim form which residents will need to complete to get help.

Trafford Council says residents who don’t have access to a computer can go to their library to fill in the online form.

But Kate said the new rules could deter the most vulnerable residents from getting help, including residents with learning difficulties who may struggle to fill in forms, and residents without computers or easy access to transport who would struggle to get to their local library.

Kate has demanded that the council consult low income families and local organisations who support them before introducing the changes. She also queried why the Council hadn’t carried out an Equality Impact Assessment. 

Kate has written to Theresa Grant, Chief Executive at Trafford Council, to express her concerns.

Kate said, “My office signposts many residents in need of help to the Trafford Assist advice line, as they can provide the quick emergency assistance that other organisations struggle to provide.

“I’ve written to the Council to ask why the changes are being rushed through without proper consultation, and to express my fear that these changes could stop the most vulnerable residents in our community from getting help.”

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