Emergency cash pot to help Bedfordians to eat and get basic essentials


An emergency cash pot of more than £178,700 has been created to help people who are struggling to afford food and essentials during the coronavirus crisis in Bedford.

The money has been given to Bedford Borough Council by the Government to help people – including illegal immigrants – and others who cannot claim other types of benefits.

It’s from a £63 million emergency fund that the Government set up and then divided up among local councils in England.

The council has been told that it can “provide basic safety net support to an individual, regardless of their immigration status, if there is a genuine care need that does not arise solely from destitution.”

Council officers will be able to use their judgement to decide what legal powers and funding can be used to support individuals who are ineligible for public funds or statutory housing assistance.

Bedford’s mayor, Dave Hodgson, decided to accept the one-off grant from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with a decision he made on July 17.

“The Government anticipates that most of the funding will be spent within 12 weeks and expects local authorities to put in place appropriate procedures to prevent fraudulent applications for assistance,” said a background report to the mayor.

The council was asked to estimate how many people could be eligible for the assistance across Bedford borough, but a response was not forthcoming by the time this story was filed.

By Local Democracy Reporter
David Tooley

Now more than ever, we need your help to fund the Bedford Independent’s quality journalism that serves our community...

We choose to champion editorial independence, meaning we report the facts without bias and can stand up to those in power when we believe it’s needed.

We can give a voice to people in our community whose voices may otherwise not be heard. And we don’t have a paywall, so everyone can read the stories we publish for free.

But in this time of crisis, many news organisations all over the world are facing existential threat, with advertising revenues plummeting. We’re no different.

We work hard every day to bring you news, commentary, entertainment and announcements from across Bedford. We hope that, with your help, we’ll be able to continue this for many years to come.

Will you help sustain our work today by clicking below ? Even a small donation makes a difference for our future.

Thank you for your support.