Portsmouth Labour councillors have secured £77,500 for a Cost of Living Hardship Fund to help struggling residents.

The councillors’ plan was agreed at the city council’s annual budget meeting and will help provide a safety net for those most in need.

Charlotte Gerada, Labour group leader, said: We are delighted to have secured this money. We had raised serious concerns about council tax going up by 4.99% without providing additional support.

We know from speaking to hundreds of Portsmouth residents each week that the cost of living is the biggest issue facing people in the city. Soaring bills, record high inflation and stagnating wages are pushing people to the brink.”

The hardship fund will help low-income households who don’t currently qualify for government support and are unable to find assistance elsewhere.

Labour councillors also helped win funding for a number of other projects at the budget meeting, including shore power for Portsmouth International Port, planting more trees across the city and trials for the Pompey Active Neighbourhood in central Southsea, which will reduce traffic, tackle speeding and pollution.

Cllr Gerada added: “We’ve also been campaigning tirelessly for School Streets for Portsmouth, more bike hangers and funding for cycling improvements, and we are pleased to announce that all of these were confirmed in the budget.”

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