EXTRA help for people struggling with the cost of living crisis is being recommended by council chiefs in an East Lancs borough.

Rossendale households struggling with bills and energy pressures could be given some extra help from borough council schemes in coming months, alongside other local groups and government projects.

Additional support totalling £328,000 has been identified by Rossendale Council and is being recommended in a package called ‘Ease The Squeeze’ at the next full council meeting on Wednesday.

Ideas include donations of un-needed £150 energy rebates from people who feel they do not need them.

Council bosses say they want to act on rising costs, inflation and other pressure and cash can be found by getting the most from outside sources and will not impact on its own medium-term financial plans.

Plans include ab ncrease from £43,000 to £103,000 in support for Rossendale food-banks, donations of £150 energy bill rebates from wealthier people to others who are struggling, an extra £20,000 funding for Rossendale Citizens Advice debt and crisis management work and extra home improvements cash to complement the government’s Affordable Warmth Grant.

Councillors have been told about existing national government support schemes like the Energy Price Guarantee, the Energy Bill Discount and various cost-of-living payments for qualifying households on means-tested benefits, disabled people and some qualifying pensioners.

On the energy rebate, a report states: "Rossendale Council will work with the voluntary sector to set-up and promote a donation scheme to take receipt of residents’ donations. These funds will be used to financially support activities in the overall package of support.”

For food banks, the council report adds: “(In 2022-23) the council has already provided £43,000 to food banks (£20,000 to Raft and distributed £23,000 to smaller food-banks).

"This contribution will be increased to...£103,000 to enable food banks to better cope with an anticipated increased demand and lower contributions from the public and other organisations.”

On home improvements, the report adds: “The council received...£63,000 from the government’s Affordable Warmth Fund. This provides funding to improve home energy efficiency such as insulation and central heating. The council is proposing to partner with Homewise, our local home improvement agency, to deliver the programme on our behalf. In addition the council is contributing a further £50,000 towards this scheme.”

As part of the overall Ease The Squeeze plans, the council has started guiding local households to energy efficiency, debt, hardship and other advice, the report adds.

This will allow local people to get a wider range of support and advice. The council will also promote the range of support through publicity over the autumn and winter.