DWP announces £842m funding boost for struggling households as Household Support Fund extended

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The funding is targeted at areas of the country with the most vulnerable households

Low income households are set to receive more targeted support as local councils in England are given an £842 million extension to the Household Support Fund.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said the funding will be split between councils to support anyone struggling with food and energy costs, but it is up to each local authority to decide how the money will be spent

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The move comes as cost of living pressures continue to hit households across the UK. A sum of money has been given to councils every six months since October 2021 and is supposed to support struggling households.

The funding is targeted at areas of the country with the most vulnerable householdsThe funding is targeted at areas of the country with the most vulnerable households
The funding is targeted at areas of the country with the most vulnerable households | NWLD/KM

This latest government funding is estimated to last for a year, but in some areas, demand has been so high that the money in previous rounds has run out within weeks.

Social mobility minister Mims Davies confirmed that the £842 million will be allocated to councils from 1 April and will run until March 2024.

She said: “This is just one part of our extensive and targeted £26 billion support package, which includes payments worth £900 for millions of people on benefits and additional support for disabled people and pensioners, whilst every household will continue to save money thanks to our Energy Price Guarantee.

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“We also know that bearing down on inflation is one of the best ways to help families cope with rising bills, which is why the Prime Minister has made halving inflation this year one of his top priorities.”

The DWP said the funding is targeted at areas of the country with the most vulnerable households, with councils given the “flexibility” to decide how to best spend the money.

It has previously been used in a variety of different ways since its inception to support those most in need. For example, Leicestershire County Council have worked with Leicester City Football Club to create community cooking events, and Bexley Council set up an energy café to provide energy resource packs and advice on energy consumption.

Elsewhere, Blackpool Council set up a scheme so families and pensioners in need could get vouchers for food direct from their local market stalls, while Wokingham delivered more than 650 energy saving packs to those in need, with items such as air fryers, slow cookers, heated blankets and LED light bulbs included.

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Councils in the poorest areas receive proportionately more and devolved nations will be given equivalent funding.

Pete Marland, chair of the Local Government Association’s Resources Board, said that protecting those most in need was a “crucial priority” as he welcomed the “positive” move to extend the scheme.

He said: “Housing, employment, education and access to services such as debt advice and welfare benefits also all play a major part in improving our communities’ overall health.

“Councils should also have the resources and flexibilities to tackle these inequalities, alongside a sufficient mainstream welfare system, which ensures families have enough income to meet their essential living costs. This includes addressing the freeze in local housing allowance rates.

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“The government should also make the Household Support Fund it has provided to councils permanent, alongside greater flexibility to ensure it helps people in the greatest need and crucially shift focus from short-term crisis support to investing in prevention.”

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