A support service for disabled people has been set up by Richmond Council in light of the Government’s welfare reform changes.
The Money Advice Project will provide advice and support to those affected by welfare reform, changes in income and increased living costs.
It could include helping people to set up bank accounts or direct debits to manage payments and household bills.
Council cabinet member for adult services Councillor David Marlow said: “Some disabled people may face significant change in the benefits they receive and they will need support to be able to adjust.
“The council will always do whatever it can to support those who need help most which is why this new service has been launched.
“I am delighted to offer this service to older and disabled residents living in the borough as it will ensure they remain financially secure and maintain their independence for as long as possible.”
The service is also open to older residents who require extra support to manage their finances.
Liberal Democrat spokesman for social care and health Councillor Liz Jaeger said: “While this new service is very welcome, we should not forget that this Conservative council has reduced by some £800,000 a year its payments to disabled people.
“This cut was introduced locally in 2011 and compounded the problems that people were already facing with changes at a national level to welfare payments.
“The Lib Dems have consistently argued for this mean-spirited local cut to be reversed and will be doing so again in the council budget debate tonight [Tuesday, March 4].”
The council-funded service is being delivered with Richmond Aid, Ruils, Age UK Richmond and Richmond Mind.
A joint statement from chief executive of Richmond AID, Lucy Byrne and Ruils chief executive, Cathy Maker, said they were delighted to be delivering the service.
It added: “Over the last year we have noticed a considerable increase in the numbers of people needing this support and the complexity of the issues they are facing.
“We look forward to making a positive difference to people’s financial situations.”