Government launches £500m support for vulnerable households over winter

Vulnerable households across the country will be able to access a new £500m government support fund to help them with essentials over the coming months as the UK continues its recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The new Household Support Fund will support millions of households in England and will be distributed by councils in England, who the government said know their local areas best and can directly help those who need it most.

This includes small grants to meet daily needs, such as food, clothing and utilities.

Cash will be made available to local authorities this month.

The Barnett formula will apply in the usual way to additional funding in England, with the devolved administrations receiving up to £79m of the £500m total.

This includes £41m for the Scottish Government, £25m for the Welsh Government and £14m for the Northern Ireland Executive.

It will be up to these administrations to decide how to allocate this additional funding.

With more people in work and the economy bouncing back, the government said they are focused on investing in jobs and skills, increasing prospects and wages across the country, whilst ensuring those in greatest need can access vital support to help cover every day costs.

Alongside this, the government said that their Plan for Jobs scheme is helping people move back into employment so they can earn a regular wage, progress and increase their financial resilience.

According to the government, families will also continue to benefit from the energy price cap, as the well as the recent rise in Local Housing Allowance and increases in the National Living Wage.

Commenting, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Thérèse Coffey said:

“Over the last year, we have helped millions of people provide for their families. Many are now back on their feet, but we know that some may still need further support.

“Our targeted Household Support Fund is here to help those vulnerable households with essential costs as we push through the last stages of our recovery from the pandemic.”

Chair of the Local Government Association’s (LGA) Resources Board, Councillor Shaun Davies added:

“Councils have demonstrated throughout the pandemic that they are best placed to understand local needs and reach their most vulnerable residents.

“This funding recognises the vital role of local welfare support and is a positive step to enable councils to continue to provide much-needed support to low-income households at risk of poverty and financial hardship throughout the winter.

“We want to work quickly with government to clarify the details of the funding, including how it will be distributed and any guidance on how it must be used.

“As we move on from the pandemic, we need to move from crisis support towards improving life chances and building resilience. An effective long-term solution to preventing poverty and disadvantage is needed in the Spending Review.

“The LGA continues to discuss with government and partners how best to enable councils to provide integrated, preventative support to low-income households, linking financial support and inclusion with key services, including housing, employment and health.”

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