Forming part of its extensive support package to help lower-income households with spiralling living costs, the Government has added an extra £842million to the Household Support Fund, which comes into effect today (April 1). The funding, allocated by the DWP to councils in England, will extend the Household Support Fund for another year.
The Household Support Fund is targeted at the most vulnerable households and is typically used to help them with the cost of essentials like groceries, toiletries, and warm clothes, as well as provide further support with energy bills.
Councils in England will decide how best to spend their allocation of the fund – now worth £2billion across its lifetime – by drawing from local knowledge and making direct contact with people in the community.
For a few examples of how local authorities have previously used the fund, Wokingham Council have delivered over 650 energy-saving packs, including air fryers and slow cookers, heated blankets, thermal clothing, draught excluders, and LED lightbulbs.
They have also funded hot meals, lunch clubs and Warm Rooms, primarily for pensioners, including door-to-door, as well as church-led events run by the voluntary and charity sector.
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Blackburn Council has been able to support more households by bulk ordering food with the fund through a distributor for food boxes.
Support has been provided by crisis food providers plus a network of food clubs, larders and community centres to reach as many people as possible. This has included grab bags over the school holidays.
Bexley Council established an energy cafe to support residents to address increasing fuel costs. The cafe provides advice and signposting to resources as well as providing energy resource packs.
Bexley also provided support with fuel costs for refuge accommodation for domestic abuse and victims in the community.
People can find out how much their area was awarded at gov.uk and are being urged to check their council’s website or call their office to find out what support is available locally to them through the fund.
Mims Davies MP, DWP minister for social mobility, youth and progression, said: “This significant extension to the Government’s Household Support Fund is hugely welcome – as it has already helped millions of vulnerable families across England through these financially-testing times and will continue to do so over the next year.
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Ms Davies added: “This fund is of course just one part of our extensive cost of living support package for families, that is complementing our efforts to halve inflation – one of the Prime Minister’s top priorities – to reduce prices for us all.”
Millions of UK households will receive the first £301 payment of up to £900 in cost of living support directly from the DWP between April 25 and May 17. This comes on top of a £150 payment for those on disability benefits, and £300 on top of Winter Fuel Payments for pensioner households.
People can find out more about this year’s cost of living payment support and eligibility, here.