AT the Braintree District Council full council meeting in June, we tabled a motion for debate on the cost of living crisis, which was approved with all-party support.

The motion recognised that the Government has introduced a range of support measures for residents, but also that the Government has stated that it cannot cover all impacts.

As a result of the motion, a scrutiny review was established to investigate what the council, working with partners, is doing now and what further measures could be introduced.

The review process involved meetings in August and September to hear expert information from Braintree Council and Essex County Council officers and also from Citizens Advice.

At the full council meeting on October 10, the Scrutiny Review results, with over 20 recommendations, were approved and now move on to the next stages of consideration.

The leader of the council announced that every cabinet member would be asked to look at their portfolio area to see what more can be done. With winter approaching, we believe that this is a matter of urgency.

The recommendations included a wide range of proposals, such as home energy saving advice and setting up ‘warm spaces’ and encouraging friendship groups. Some communities have already started on these.

What is needed is a comprehensive district-wide list of all those places offering support, especially for those who are struggling to keep warm, or if power cuts become a reality.

Hopefully, the worst-case scenarios will not happen, but the district needs to be prepared in case they do, building on the good work being done by Braintree Council, Essex County Council and local communities.

- Councillors James Abbott, Paul Thorogood, Jo Beavis, Bob Wright, Jenny Sandum, Tom Walsh, Stevie Hicks, Michelle Weeks The G&I Group at Braintree District Council