Manchester City Council unveils £8m package of support as cost of living crisis hits

  • Wednesday 5 October 2022

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Helpline also launched to provide one-stop-shop for people needing advice and help

In response to spiralling bills and soaring costs which are set to affect tens of thousands of Mancunians, Manchester City Council has announced a package of support for its residents.

It is estimated that the cost-of-living crisis could adversely affect up to 100,000 households in Manchester this winter.

In response, more than £8m is to be made available to support residents across the city through the expansion of welfare schemes as well as helping to provide access to food.

This decision has been taken due to the lack of action being taken by the central government to address the desperate situation thousands of people could soon face. 

Inspiration is being taken from the Council’s previous work supporting people throughout the Covid pandemic, where emergency hubs were established to provide people with essentials. The Council’s package of support will also build on the millions of pounds the Council has already spent in previous years, working to address the root causes of poverty in Manchester.

To ensure the widest safety net as possible will be created, the Council will also take the lead in organising a cost-of-living summit that will bring together partner organisations in Manchester, marshalling their resources and providing a united front to help residents at risk. 

Additional steps will also be made available to residents will include:  

  • Free school meals being expanded throughout the holiday period this winter.
  • The Local Welfare Fund will be expanded in order to provide emergency hardship support.
  • A food offer with dedicated call handlers who can help callers find a food offer, whether that is a foodbank, pantry service or dedicated meal provision. Support will also be offered to ensure that food providers in the city have sufficient storage, and funding will be made available for culturally appropriate food offerings.

A Cost of Living Advice Line will go live on October 3, where residents are able contact the Council via phone, or online, to get advice on how to access support this winter. It will run Monday to Friday, 9am – 4pm.

A dedicated web page - - has been set up to clearly outline the Council's Welfare Provision Scheme offer, making it easy for residents who are financial difficulty or crisis to apply for grants and support.

The number for the hub is 0800 023 2692 and will function in a similar way to the Covid emergency response seen during the pandemic, putting residents in touch with local support and advice services. 

Another web page – – has been live for several years signposting residents to a library of debt and money advice and support. The pages have been expanded to include additional resources across a range of topics that residents affected by the cost-of-living crisis are experiencing. 

During the meeting of full Council, a motion was tabled formally declared a cost-of-living emergency in Manchester. (See below for the full details of this motion).

The Council will also continue to lobby central government on the urgent need to provide a Covid-like package of support to residents and businesses. Calls will also be made urging the government to increase the National Minimum Wage to match the Real Living Wage, and to increase Universal Credit and other benefits in line with inflation.

Through the past implementation of the Council’s Family Poverty Strategy 2017-22 the Council is in a strong position to roll out support to some of the city’s most vulnerable residents. Furthermore, the Council has developed a new Work and Skills Strategy to help move people into more highly paid and sustainable employment.
Additionally, the Council and its health partners will be getting in touch with residents about Winter wellbeing information, including Flu and Covid-19 vaccination details set within help around food, heating and household bills linked to the Cost-of-Living crisis.
However, the Council recognises that far more needs to be done to avert the impending disaster to families posed by the Cost-of-Living Crisis. 

Councillor Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council said: “As we head into the winter months many residents in Manchester are staring down the barrel of true hardship.
“We are proud of the work the Council has already done in recent years to alleviate poverty and create an economy in Manchester which works for everyone, but it is clear that in these dire times greater action is needed.
“The steps taken by the government have not gone nearly far enough and much more has to be done if we are to prevent our residents from slipping below the poverty line.
“A lot has been said about the impact of the cost-of-living crisis but we believe that in the absence of leadership from the centre, we need to take action with the powers we have at our disposal.
“By declaring a Cost of Living emergency the Council is laying out just how seriously we are taking this situation. We are not prepared to stand idle as more and more of our residents are exposed to hardship.” 


Cost of Living Advice Line – details


To support Manchester residents through the cost-of-living crisis, Manchester City Council will be providing an advice line that will offer: 

  • Support with benefits and help with your rent (this is an existing offer made available through the contact centre) 
  • Advice about debt and paying bills (this will be done in conjunction with Citizen Advice Manchester) 
  • Food support (residents will receive a call back to understand their needs and connected into a local food offer) 
  • Support getting online (residents will be linked in with the Council’s digital inclusion team) 

The advice line will go live at 09.00hrs on 3rd October 2022.

How to contact
By Phone 

The advice line can be accessed via a free phone number 0800 023 2692. The line will be open 9:00-4:30, Monday to Friday. 
Agents on the phone line will have access to language line for those residents whose first language is not English.
Sign Video will also be available for residents who may require this facility. 


An online form will be available at for those who do not wish to contact by phone. 

The advice line will also have its own web page that will have links to information of how residents are able to access support.

Notice of Motion - Cost of Living Crisis

This Council notes:

The UK is entering a recession, with inflation at over 10%, a 40 year high, interest rates increasing and the cost-of-living spiralling

Despite rising costs, the real value of pay fell by 3% up to August 2022

Gas has increased 114% and electricity up 85% since April 2022

On 24th September the Conservative Government set out a mini-budget that removed the cap on bankers' bonuses and scrapped the highest rate of tax for people earning over £150,000. Basic rate of income tax was reduced from 20% to 19%

This means someone earning £25,000 will only get £125 more annually but someone earning £500,000 will gain an extra £17,500 a year

This Council Further notes:

In the 2022/23 Council Budget, Manchester City Council prioritised tackling Anti-Poverty by committing over £34 Million to working with residents, community groups and charities on anti-poverty measures

Manchester City Council already has an Anti-Poverty Strategy, and has developed new plans for a more inclusive economy and an action plan to tackle inequalities

In Manchester plans have been moving at pace over the summer to make sure Manchester City Council has a clear Cost-of-Living Action Plan for this winter to support Mancunians during this crisis

Manchester City Council will launch its Community Response Hub on 3rd October to provide one point of contact for all of those who need it.

This Council Resolves:

To do everything it can this winter to support those most in need in this city and in doing so recommends that the Executive launch a Manchester Cost-of-Living Action Plan – a support package of over £8m to help Mancunians. 

To organise a Cost-of-Living Summit with partners across the city to ensure every organisation in the city is doing all they can to support Mancunians and to encourage local partnerships to bring together communities. 

To call on the Government to declare a Cost-of-Living emergency and provide COVID style support to residents and businesses urgently. 

That Manchester will continue to support children on Free School Meals during the holidays this winter and to call on the government to make this permanent.

To call on the Executive to endorse an expansion of the Local Welfare Fund this winter to provide emergency hardship support and continue the city’s emergency food response.

To continue to work towards achieving a city where everyone gets a fair wage through becoming a Living Wage Place.

To call on the Government to increase the National Minimum Wage to match the Real Living Wage, and increase Universal Credit and all other benefits in line with inflation.

Proposed by Councillor Craig, seconded by Councillor Karney and supported by Councillors Akbar, Bridges, Lanchbury, Rahman, Rawlins, Reeves and T Robinson.

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