“All options are on the table” when it comes to tackling the cost of living crisis, according to South Ayrshire Council's leader.

The council’s Cost of Living working group is expected to meet for the first time this month.

The group, which has cross party membership, was set up in May, but has not met over the summer.

The lack of meetings was quizzed during a meeting of the council on Friday.

The working group's chairperson, SNP Councillor Julie Dettbarn, said she had met council officers since the group was formed and expected the group to meet formally in the next fortnight.

She added: “The only delay to setting up the first full meeting of the MOWG has been the summer recess.

"I expect the group will now meet during the next couple of weeks.”

Labour group leader Brian McGinley quizzed Cllr Martin Dowey, leader of the authority's minority Conservative administration, on the progress being made at the meeting last Friday.

He asked: “Please specify any targeted initiative to help children, families, the working poor and older people with heating and eating.

“In addition, would the administration outline any plans and discussions made within and outwith council; including with public, private and third sector agencies to ensure that any support is coordinated and delivered within existing systems and agreements.”

In a written answer Cllr Dowey said: “The first meeting of the Member-Officer Working Group (MOWG), set up to consider what the council can do in the ongoing cost-of-living Crisis, has yet to take place following on from the recent council recess period.

“A meeting with the chairperson of the group, Councillor Julie Dettbarn, is set for Monday, September 12 to agree the scope of work the group will undertake.

“The group will also call upon the work already underway as part of the Financial Inclusion Strategic Delivery Partnership and learn from the other key agencies involved in supporting the most vulnerable in our communities.

“Key to this planning will also be to make families aware of ‘cost of living crisis scams’ such as fake discounts on prepayment meters and fake offers of energy rebates which have the risk of leaving potential victims even more disadvantaged.

“The thrust and focus of the cost of living crisis MOWG will be to bring forward recommendations to the council in terms of what levels of support the council and its partners can realistically deliver.”

Following up on his written question at a meeting of the council's cabinet, Cllr McGinley responded: “I understand that the member-officer working group has not met yet, and I would urge those who are involved in that to deal with these matters expediently.

"We are living in a very difficult time and I would ask that will this group consider what the council what the council can actually do improve the quality of life of the citizens most in need.”

Councillor Dowey replied: “I and certain members of cabinet have met, along with the Provost and chief executive, with VASA (Voluntary Action South Ayrshire) and various other stakeholders to see how best we can support all of our citizens because the cost of living crisis is here.

“All options are on the table and it will be fully supported by all members I am sure.”