Hounslow Council Slammed for Ditching Cost-of-living Event

Free advice session for residents cancelled following Queen's death

Hounslow House
Hounslow House where the event was to be held

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Hounslow Council has been criticised after cancelling a cost-of-living event over the passing of the Queen. Hounslow Council was branded “out of touch” after postponing a charity meet-up for those in need in light of the Queen’s death.

The Labour-led council was set to host its first ‘cost of living marketplace’ – a gathering of local residents and groups like Age UK, Jobs Centre Plus and Citizens Advice on Wednesday September 14. But the event has been delayed, sparking a backlash.

The borough tweeted on Tuesday 13 September, “Following the passing of Her Majesty The Queen, the Cost of Living Marketplace scheduled for Wednesday 14 September from 9.30am until 1pm at Hounslow House has been postponed. A new date will be announced shortly.”

The council’s decision sparked outrage among some social media users. Karen Teulon said on Facebook, “Seriously? Because the death and enforced mourning of a mega rich elite woman is more important than the struggles of her poor subjects? Wow.”

Michelle Morphew urged the council to re-consider cancelling the event. She commented on Facebook, “The funeral is Monday and unless we’re all exempt from the cost of living for 10 days then I guess you re-think this!”

Twitter users also slammed the council’s decision. One known only as Fitz said: “Terrible, Terrible decision, and very out of touch. Shame.”

Another Twitter user (@magentawillow) said, “Have you any idea how appalling and tone deaf this decision is? Forced mourning for a privileged rich woman versus practical help for poor people struggling to survive. No wonder so many people are against the monarchy.”

Event planners are not obliged to cancel events but many have done so anyway, including The Premier League and the BBC.

A period of national mourning for the Queen is under way. Mourners have been warned they may have to queue for hours to see Her Late Majesty lie in state, and delays on public transport are expected as well as planned road closures.

The lying-in-state begins at 5pm on Wednesday 14 September and will last until 6.30am on Monday September 19 – the day of the funeral and a bank holiday.

Schools are expected to close on the day of the funeral as well as some businesses and shops. The bank holiday is not automatic but the government urgers employers to be sensitive to requests from staff who want time off.

The event has now been re-scheduled for Wednesday 28 September and runs from 9.30am to 1pm and will offer residents support relating to the cost of living including employment and training, budgeting, housing concerns and wellbeing.

Shivraj Grewal, Hounslow Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Equalities said, “Following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II we had to reschedule the Cost of Living Marketplace event as a mark of respect. We know how vital this event is for many of our residents which is why we have rescheduled it for as soon as possible.”

“We hope the marketplace provides the kind of tailored support that prevents residents from reaching crisis point in the testing months ahead.

“The Cost of Living Marketplace, part of our Community Solutions approach, will also be taken out to local venues around the borough in the next few months so watch this space.

“In the meantime, any residents who require support or assistance can get in touch with Community Solutions on 0208 583 2211. Alternatively they can attend one of our regular drop in sessions across the borough to speak to the team directly about any concerns or needs."

The council added that details were available on the Hounslow Connect website, with specific cost of living advice available here.

Hannah Neary - Local Democracy Reporter

September 14, 2022

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