Emergency assistance grants to local Councils to help those in need

West Berkshire is receiving £103,352 and Wokingham £77,342 to make grants to people struggling with food bills and the cost of other essentials.

Payments under this scheme can be made to those already  in receipt of normal social security payments, and getting help from the Covid Summer Food fund.

The government is determined no-one need go hungry, and leaves it to Councils to use their skills and knowledge of local deprivation to distribute money where needed.

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  1. Ian Wragg
    Posted August 5, 2020 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Let people get back to normal and stop this interminable micro managing of peoples lives.
    We’re heading for 5 million unemployed and 102 taxied across the Channel again yesterday.
    Get a grip John, the public are getting restless.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted August 5, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      Restless??? – -I am WAY past restless. John has mentioned 2 places getting £180k. I wonder what this weeks hotel bills are for our PERMANENT financial/housing/NHS burden “guests” are?

      • glen cullen
        Posted August 5, 2020 at 11:07 am | Permalink


    • Adam
      Posted August 5, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      Local discretion with awareness and flexibility are less likely to micromanage than national rigidity.

      It is our fraying borders which need micromanagement with national control: long-neglected, causing bad effects.

      • Sharon Jagger
        Posted August 5, 2020 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

        In Britain there are many Cities of Sanctuary (check their website) where asylum seekers can live and be protected and according to a councillor who called Talk Radio, they take priority.

        There may or not be a corolation to the illegals arriving daily. That is still being investigated, but it appears that it might be a massive industry for the three companies involved. If this is so, no wonder our population has grown so massively with non-EU people. The emerging findings seem to suggest that as it appears such a money maker, they (?) may be assisting the illegals. Which is what it appears in the Channel.

        • Adam
          Posted August 5, 2020 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

          Our country is our home. Those who attempt to break into our home illegally should be stopped at source. Lawbreakers breaking and entering should be dealt with accordingly, not assisted to encourage more wrongdoing.

          In contrast, good folk who need saving from non-self inflicted dangerous circumstances are worthy of our generosity to assist them on a better path to happiness.

    • Timaction
      Posted August 5, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      It’s hidden Mays mass migration policy as nothing is being done other than escorting their safe arrival. Might as well give them spaces on Euro-tunnel and free accommodation, food and health services for our unknown invaders! No defence for Tory’s at the next election. Bit like their signing up to £160 billion loan liability in the Withdrawal Agreement. Outrageous.

      • glen cullen
        Posted August 5, 2020 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        beyond outrageous, it time Tory MPs had a word with the Tory government

        • Fred H
          Posted August 5, 2020 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

          and the word should be ‘ULTIMATUM’

          • glen cullen
            Posted August 5, 2020 at 2:25 pm | Permalink


        • DavidJ
          Posted August 5, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink


    • JayGee
      Posted August 5, 2020 at 9:47 am | Permalink


    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted August 5, 2020 at 9:55 am | Permalink


      More virtual signaling, why?

    • Nigl
      Posted August 5, 2020 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      Mmm tough on those genuinely in trouble so don’t agree albeit if they are in receipt of social security payments etc why the extra?

      Totally agree about the micro management and people getting restless. More like totally peed off especially as un joined up mixed messaging and their failure re test and trace is a significant contributor for the reason to micro manage.

    • David Williams
      Posted August 5, 2020 at 10:45 am | Permalink


    • glen cullen
      Posted August 5, 2020 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      apt words indeed, the people have had enough

    • miami.mode
      Posted August 5, 2020 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      Long queues at Heathrow as perhaps the usual Border Force staff there have been transferred to English Channel duties.

      • Fred H
        Posted August 5, 2020 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

        What had they been doing? Contacts say ‘no checking, no temperature devices, no questions, no searching’ – might as well leave the booth open while taking a tea break!

        • glen cullen
          Posted August 5, 2020 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

          All 7,500 border force staff….reducing in number every year

        • glen cullen
          Posted August 5, 2020 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

          And if it anything like the military, that’s 2,500 on holiday or sick, 2,500 on training, external courses, in- recruitment, redeployment or furlong and 2,500 actually on operations….for the whole of the UK

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted August 5, 2020 at 6:03 pm | Permalink


      Agreed, priorities all seem so wrong.

      Is our benefits system so poor and complicated that we now need to purchase food for people.
      Rather than purchase food, for goodness sake sort out the system so it does work !

      John you must be getting fed up with all these posts about the illegal Channel crossings, but clearly not as fed up as many of us are on here.

      Is our Home Secretary embarrassed by this fiasco, as a Country we are being made to look like incompetent mugs.

  2. Fred H
    Posted August 5, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Fine in principle – possibly tiny compared to need? How were the sums calculated, and how long do they cover? Lump sum to be distributed according to need – a hornets nest ? Cash payments not food supply vouchers?

  3. agricola
    Posted August 5, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    How about an intervention that could work with the permission of the Lebanese PM.

    Send an aircraft carrier with extended hospital facilities to off shore Beirut along with at least one redundant cruise ship for bed space. This would be a real lifeline to the thousands of injured. If not why not.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted August 5, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      would take too long to get there…

      basic speed of ship & distance calculation

      • agricola
        Posted August 5, 2020 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

        At 25Knots it would take 126 hours assuming the start point is Portsmouth. Are you assuming that the problem will be solved by then.

        Thank God that Margaret Thatcher was not embued with your complacent negativity in 1982. Were it so their sheep would be cordero.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted August 5, 2020 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      Because there are many nations closer that are better able to help. If the British HAD to do something then establishing a field hospital at RAF Akrotiri might be a better ‘course of action’.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted August 5, 2020 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

        plenty of people in the UK being left to die by the NHS at the moment, plenty of Brits sleeping on the streets. if we have any capacity to help I suggest we setup a field hospital in the centre of one of our large cities.

        • Alan Jutson
          Posted August 5, 2020 at 5:54 pm | Permalink


          We already have huge hospitals of the Nightingale type they have been mothballed.

          Yes I know its crazy, but there you are, thousands of people wanting day care appointments and these places are closed.

        • Sea Warrior
          Posted August 5, 2020 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

          There’s no capacity problem in the NHS today. I feel that the government now needs to start reporting, on a daily basis, some PIs that show that normal sick people are now getting the treatment they deserve and have been waiting for. Number of operations performed is an obvious one.

          • Iain Gill
            Posted August 5, 2020 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

            the NHS is like tractor production in Mao’s China, the tractor factory managers always reported successful figures, and so it is with NHS managers

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted August 5, 2020 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

      Because they are not ours! We owe our own people before all others. Heart attack deaths increased by 40% because of lockdown.
      Britain is not responsible for the world and its people. Do you disagree?

  4. agricola
    Posted August 5, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    A second option. Helicopter the seriously injured into our base in Cyprus and assist the situation from there.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted August 5, 2020 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      the NHS is letting more people than this die every day

      and Cyprus Lebanon return helicopter flights are unrealistic

      • agricola
        Posted August 5, 2020 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

        Distance 145 miles, are you seriosly suggesting a Chinook can’t fly that far or for that matter 290 miles return. More negative thinking makes me think you must be a civil servant.

        • Fred H
          Posted August 5, 2020 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

          range about 400 miles return, however full of injured and the medics – would weight be a serious factor – and all of it over sea? Beirut to Akrotiri about 200km?

  5. Everhopeful
    Posted August 5, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    “On the parish”?
    Those who distribute this sort of largesse rarely know who actually needs it.
    They have absolutely not a scooby as to what really goes on and who is actually in need.
    Mainly because they a frightened of criminal scammers and there is no authority in the system.
    Yes..to repeat Ian.
    Get a grip. Please!

  6. Iain Gill
    Posted August 5, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    The problem is that most of the people in real trouble are not the usual suspects that Councils are familiar with.
    The long-term benefits claimants, and so on, have already had benefits increases.
    The real problems are with the many categories of people who fall into one of the many gaps in provision that the Chancellor is so proud he has not bothered to help (because in his own words it would have been too hard).
    For instance, the freelancer web forums are full of stories of real desperation, people selling their cars, close to suicide, families breaking up. These are not people who have ever claimed benefits, or would come to the attention of councils or the usual support networks. Putting themselves ever more in debt, or destroying their buffer cash needed to cover gaps between gigs, to pay for food on their children’s tables.
    The lazy “well we gave the councils money” is not going to be acceptable.
    Meanwhile IR35 is also causing major chaos as nobody wants to hire freelancers due to the enormous potential hassles and liabilities, and few think they can survive having to pay for hotels and travel out of taxed income.
    We may as well have mad socialists running the country, this government is no better.

    • DavidJ
      Posted August 5, 2020 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      IR35 should have been binned long ago…

    • Everhopeful
      Posted August 5, 2020 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      We do have mad socialists etc.
      Liblabcon …so very true.
      Not a fag paper’s difference .
      Three ( more like two now?) fake political parties following exactly the same agenda dictated from wherever.

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 5, 2020 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      This makes me sick to the stomach Iain, especially when you read of benefit cheaters getting away with paltry sentences and the money they stole disappeared!!

      • Iain Gill
        Posted August 5, 2020 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

        yes agreed

        John should just screen dump these comments and post it on the Conservative MP WhatsApp group…

    • Al
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      Giving more money to those on benefits isn’t going to help. The people falling through cracks are the freelancers, and the ones who just lost their jobs. For example, a cafe I use has closed permanently and the workers there have been told it will take six months before they are eligible for benefits. However as minimum wage workers they’ve already been living on their dwindling savings during four months of furlough and nowhere is hiring. They estimate they are two months from homelessness. Couch surfing is impractical when their parents are sheltering in place, and they have children.

      The banks won’t give loans to people without savings, the councils want them to wait six months, and the government isn’t going to help. Would the Chancellor care to start actually fixing this situation, at any point?

      • a-tracy
        Posted August 8, 2020 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

        Al I know four workers who were laid off at the start of Covid, those that got no benefits and mortgages to pay all found alternative work quickly because the government wouldn’t help them at all.

  7. glen cullen
    Posted August 5, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    The BBC has also hired 800 agents to enforce payment of the TV licence now that over-75s are no longer exempt….the BBC is the government funded service

    • Fred H
      Posted August 5, 2020 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      Andy could probably find a lot of like-minded mates to help for free!

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 5, 2020 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      It’s a bit like this.

      You read the Daily Express so you MUST pay for the Guardian or we’ll send the heavies ’round.

  8. Arthur Wrightiss
    Posted August 5, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Helping people genuinely in need of food is a good thing.
    Watching some of those entering a food bank , many could perhaps not waste their money on tattoos ( £100-150 for a small one), or a pack of cigarettes a day (£4000+ a year), or alcohol. Should the tax payer be subsidising other people’s lifestyle ?

  9. Richard1
    Posted August 5, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    OK but more free stuff there is the more people will decide they prefer to keep having it, until the consequences are so obvious it’s too late. This is clearly what has happened with food banks. We need to get the economy moving again.

  10. Stuart Andrews
    Posted August 5, 2020 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    John, you are all just fiddling…

    The ‘risk’ never,ever justified all this escalating criminality being waged against the people.
    Put a stop to it. Stop fiddling.

  11. The Prangwizard
    Posted August 5, 2020 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Government sloshing more money around. They don’t know what it is anymore. And they are going to slosh more into Lebanon. Will this be diverted from something or will it be extra?

    They don’t care anymore They live in a fantasy world. Even our host isn’t botheted.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted August 5, 2020 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      yep, and those that have worked long hours in the UK paying into the system get no help

  12. Sea Warrior
    Posted August 5, 2020 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    I’m confused: why are people on ‘social security’ being given additional assistance to buy food?

    • Fred H
      Posted August 5, 2020 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      well after take-aways, Sky tv, smokes, drinks, football shirts, fashion clothes, online shopping, cars’ HP, holiday money….how do you expect them to feed the several kids.?

      • Everhopeful
        Posted August 5, 2020 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

        Outsize trampolines. TWO hot tubs, 12’ basketball stand,wigwam, bbq, fire pit, Wendy house, at least 40 balls…..
        Scarcely fits in the garden but I guess it is difficult getting through all the dosh!

        • Anonymous
          Posted August 5, 2020 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

          Last year’s oversized inflatable pool is still hanging over the hit-and-miss fence in a half hearted attempt to chuck it away. Green water in its folds.

        • Barbara
          Posted August 5, 2020 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

          Tattoos, designer trainers, piercings, hair dyed blue and pink … those things don’t pay for themselves, you know! Oh, no, wait … we pay for them …

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 5, 2020 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      There they all were, outside, fags, booze… piles of pizza boxes (the welfare block in my street.) Something funky being smoked to the drone of rap music.

      Since when were those in poverty 17 stone and still in dressing gowns in the afternoon ?

      Oh. And litter from a certain fast foot chain has made a big comeback.

      Not lovin’ it ! (Can’t we impose a special litter tax on this organisation to cover the slovenliness of the babies that eat their stuff ?)

    • Cheshire Girl
      Posted August 5, 2020 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      Exactly! And why are those who were already on Universal Credit being given an extra one thousand pounds a year.?

      • Fred H
        Posted August 5, 2020 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

        a guess at cost of vote?

  13. Barbara
    Posted August 5, 2020 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Will that help, when their houses have been demolished because of Covid?

    “Councils can demolish contaminated buildings under new powers to stop second coronavirus wave
    Care homes, factories, offices and even private homes could be bulldozed as last resort if virus starts to run out of control”

    And, as we all know the ‘second wave’ is an artefact of increased testing, we will surely be told it *has* run out of control …


    • DavidJ
      Posted August 5, 2020 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      Haven’t they heard of fumigation or is there an agenda at work here?

      • Barbara
        Posted August 5, 2020 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

        They have all gone mad

    • Everhopeful
      Posted August 5, 2020 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      There’s only one thing the govt is testing.
      And that’s us.
      To see how much of this sh*t we will put up with.
      The more we go along with it the more they will do to us.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted August 5, 2020 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

        No doubt this is part of Build Back Better.
        But demolish their houses first!

  14. Chrisfr
    Posted August 5, 2020 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Is it possible that you could apply some considerable pressure in Mr Hancocks’ direction so that he actually delivers the results of the review of PHE’s numbers that were – once upon a time – ‘urgent’?

    The difference between ONS and PHE figures are incredible and are still being publicised….or has this been kicked into the long grass as it might prove to be a teeny weeny bit embarassing?

    Let’s get the facts straight before implementing any other demented schemes that paralyse the country yet more, please…

    Many thanks in advance

    • DavidJ
      Posted August 5, 2020 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      PHE seems to prefer fiction over fact.

  15. mancunius
    Posted August 5, 2020 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Unless somebody has had their right to benefits rescinded, nobody in this country is in need of food – this is a shibboleth of the left. There are admittedly individuals who do not know how to economise or prioritise, but the local council is certainly in no position to advise them on money management.
    This is a complete waste of the taxpayers’ money, which will only wander into the wages and pension funds of the council employees.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted August 5, 2020 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

      not strictly true, if you make a new claim it does take a long time for the money to come through. if you have sanctions applied (and many are applied in error) then you can indeed struggle. then of course single men are left to sleep on the streets.

  16. a-tracy
    Posted August 5, 2020 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Who is eligible for these grants?

    People on Universal credit already got a £1000 boost at the start of Covid 19, then Marcus the footballer got them all free lunches for their children throughout the summer as well as during the school term?

    Is this for the people not covered by Universal credit and have been put out of work due to covid 19 closures? Were they eventually entitled to Universal credit or not? Do they get job seekers allowance now?

    Did people on pension credit get booster money?
    Meals on wheels already delivers to pensioners 5 meals with pudding for £15 per week wouldn’t the money be best diverted to people actually feeding people already for low cost?

    We seem to be on a constant spraying around of money that our children are going to be picking up the bill for, and for what it’s worth I don’t agree with wealthy people getting half price meals either, if I go out I will pay my own way.

  17. Iain Gill
    Posted August 5, 2020 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    I have seen the long list of hotels our new arrivals on small boats into the South East are being taken to. I am far from impressed. I see nothing near Chipping Norton, or the leafy Conservative heartlands.

    If I have to stay for months on end in a Travelodge and pay for it out of taxed money, despite it being a work expense, I cannot for the life of me understand why new arrivals are being put up in hotels that are £ 106 a night. And I dont see why the residents of the places they are being sent to should be expected to put up with it.

    Together with the mass issuing of work and permanent visas to some nationalities with skills that are already in massive oversupply it makes the country a laughing stock.

    Our political class are completely and utterly crazy.

    • miami.mode
      Posted August 5, 2020 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

      Last figure I saw for asylum seekers domiciled in Berkshire was 3.

    • Cheshire Girl
      Posted August 5, 2020 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

      Also I read in the paper a few days ago, that some organisation in one of the London boroughs said some of the residents could not read the instructions as to what to do about Covid, because they were ‘only’ translated into 25 languages, and there were over 60 languages spoken in the area,

      How much is this costing us? I despair sometimes.

  18. agricola
    Posted August 5, 2020 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Off Piste, but highly relevant.

    By repute during WW2 our PM Winston Churchill had an occasional habit of sending his ministers and civil servants directives annotated “Action Today”.

    The quite appalling obfustication by whoever in HM Government in allowing Afghanistani interpreters safe haven in the UK is unforegivable. They were promised it as a condition of employment because of the very direct risks to them and tbeir families of working for the British. Now there are individuals and departments within our government who would renage on this promise. You can take a safe bet that these dishonourable individuals would avoid putting their own lives at risk in the service of the British government.

    I strongly suggest you send an” action today” note to our PM. The alternative is our honour being destroyed for any future event.

  19. Ian Wilson
    Posted August 5, 2020 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    I hop no money will be handed to South Gloucestershire Council while they are wasting £8 million on ‘fighting climate change’. Unless this council has found some way of changing solar cycles they might as well burn the money.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 6, 2020 at 1:11 am | Permalink


      It is time for this this absurd religion die. But radio 4 only yesterday had another absurd programme:- – “How They Made Us Doubt Everything” trying to defend the one sided, wrong headed lies & propaganda that the BBC has been pushing out on this topic for so many years.

      Reply Yes a new low for the BBC. An absurd justification of one sided programmes on global warming

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

        I heard the tail end of that program. I couldn’t believe my ears. Whoever was presenting it is guilty of exactly the same bias and misinformation he accuses deniers of. It was surreal. Like listening to Andy’s ravings.

      • Fred H
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

        reply to reply …..Sir John in your MP to MP dialogues what impression do you pick up on supporting the cries for BBC restructuring, even termination as a national broadcaster of truth? And how has the new charge for licences to the over 75s been received?

        Reply Not much appetite for reform

        • Fred H
          Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

          thank you for response.
          Not much appetite for anything as far as I can tell.
          Why am I not surprised. The H of C seems to be sleepwalking into dystopia, while thinking the ‘jolly jester’ couldn’t possibly do anything very damaging.

  20. TooleyStu
    Posted August 5, 2020 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    The Govt is lying about CV19.
    The People know the Govt is Lying.
    And the Govt knows that the People know it is lying.
    ** Yet the pantomime continues.**
    There is no test for CV19.
    PCR test, ‘Do not use for diagnosis’, as stated by its inventor, Kary Banks Mullis.
    ANTI-BODY test.. cannot differentiate between any of the 7+ corona.
    ** Yet the pantomime continues.**
    Everything we know and love is about to be taken,
    Every step is a step closer to tyranny.
    Be careful how far the People are to be pushed.. because someone with nothing to lose.. has everything to gain.

    Tooley Stu.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted August 5, 2020 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

      This is true. Boris has lost his mind, he MUST be removed. That’s why we have Parliamentary Government BY CONSENT!

      • glen cullen
        Posted August 5, 2020 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

        I am also very concerned by most of the current decisions being made by this government…..its seems everything that appears sensible they do the opposite

        • Fred H
          Posted August 6, 2020 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

          GLEN : do us a favour and decide it is common sense to insist Scotland stays in the UNION?

    • Fred H
      Posted August 5, 2020 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

      of course Covid is real, and can be recognised.
      A test is indeed available, but some testers are hopeless, stuffing a Q tip up a nostril until it bleeds is no way to conduct a test. The swap can be moved fairly gently about the back of throat tonsil area by the patient. Lab examination will determine result unless the technician is not trained properly.

  21. Javelin
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 1:47 am | Permalink

    I suggest you go and read the comments in the Daily Mail, Telegraph, Express and Sun.

    This Government is being accused of deliberately causing the biggest recession in history because of fear and ineptitude of a virus that causes people to die a few weeks early. People are openly resisting the lockdown. People are encouraging civil unrest and disobedience.

    The daily briefings look like Chemical Ali telling us there are no tanks coming down the road. But at least Ali knew there were tanks. I don’t think Boris has a glimmer of awareness he is about to be toppled.

  22. a bad dream
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 2:30 am | Permalink

    John, can we have some sort of transparency on how many MPs support global governance? A former PM has called for global government, how many MPs support him? It looks to me like nearly all.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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