Household Support Fund now helping most vulnerable
The latest national Household Support Fund is now helping some of the most vulnerable people in Surrey.
Earlier this year Surrey County Council* obtained £10.6 million from the government to help people in extreme financial difficulty. It is part of the wider cost-of-living Household Support Scheme and runs until March 2024.
The council allocated nearly half the money to food vouchers for eligible children in school holidays. Around £4m is allowing Surrey districts and boroughs to support households in need. The rest is allowing specific organisations including food banks and charities to strengthen their services, as well as increasing support for care leavers and disabled children.
Please note that it is for the boroughs and organisations to distribute Household Support Funds. Individuals can’t apply directly for themselves. Our CAEE advisers help clients understand their eligibility for all benefits and how to apply.
Introduced in September 2021, the aim of the Household Support Fund is relief for families struggling to afford essentials, such as food, clothing, utilities and housing costs.
Welcome but temporary
The current extension is a welcome but temporary solution to support for those most in need. In February Citizens Advice** pointed to the multiple extensions as showing the lack of a real solution to a long-term problem.
Local funds often run out before the fund period is over. Clearly the need for this support is far higher than the amount the government is offering. As such, a more fixed-term solution is required.
The original government allocation of £500m was to cover the period between October 2021 and March 2022. However, with households still struggling to afford essentials, they extended the time and funds: £1 billion March 2022 to March 2023) and a further £842m for April 2023 to March 2024.
It is for local authorities to allocate funds in their area as they see fit in compliance with the government’s guidelines.