Dartford Borough Council has announced a number of new initiatives in response to the global increase in energy prices and the ‘perfect storm of problems’ that has seen bills rise for Dartford families.

The Council already supports a series of practical measures to help vulnerable local households and supplement the financial support offered to pensioners and those in receipt of benefits. It has now created its own local fund to assist a number of working families who would not otherwise qualify for targeted support through national schemes.

The Working Households Grant will support Dartford working households just above the benefit thresholds by providing a grant of £100 to those within council tax bands A to D that include at least one working adult. Eligible households will have earnings below the national average for a single person or couple, have savings of less than £3000 and are not in receipt of other means-tested benefits. The council will provide details of how to apply for the grant in the days ahead.

Dartford’s Cabinet Member for finance Councillor Andy Lloyd said: “It’s entirely right that we continue to focus our efforts on the most vulnerable families and I am proud of the work that all councils are doing, but we want Dartford to go further than the national schemes and help a number of other households too. There are a number of working families in Dartford who do not earn large sums or have savings to fall back on who will be under pressure from rising energy bills. The Working Households Grant will offer help to a number of these households and I don’t think we want to rule out further grants to support other sections of our community in the future.”

The new grant is one of a number of local measures the Council is taking to support local families as part of its Community Fund launched earlier this year. The fund has already provided significant financial support for a range of local organisations working with vulnerable families.

Council Leader Jeremy Kite said: “We are a small council and have only a fraction of the resources available compared to some local authorities but we are determined not to remain on the sidelines when so many great initiatives are being run to help local families through some tough circumstances. We are here to offer support and funding both directly to families and to the many groups, churches, schools and charities working to make local lives better.”

“I am delighted to confirm that having been the only borough in Kent to match the KCC vouchers offered to children entitled to Free School Meals during the long summer holiday we plan to do so again for this Winter break. I received a lot of feedback from families saying what a difference it made and I am pleased that families will once again see the KCC voucher supplemented by one from our local council.”