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Jeremy Hunt announces a temporary fix for emergency family support

Family Green

Jeremy Hunt, Chancellor, has announced an extension of the Household Support Fund as part of his Spring Budget on 7 March. The fund was due to end on 31 March but will now run until September 30.

Since its introduction three years ago the HSF has been a key element of emergency family support. The government grants local authorities the right to use it as they see fit within certain guidelines. This flexibility allows councils to arrange the availability and distribution to local households most in need.

The announcement is welcome: the main ‘ask’ of government from the Citizens Advice network ahead of the Budget was to extend beyond April 2024.

However a 6-month extension is a temporary fix and we will continue to push for longer-term solutions. Many families are expected to need targeted support with the cost of living well into 2024-25 and beyond.

Jeremy Hunt has also responded to a national CA campaign to scrap the £90 upfront Debt Relief Order fee. For so many in debt, these fees were completely unaffordable. Citizens Advice has been speaking to the Treasury about this for years and is very pleased to see them disappear.

* The Government introduced the first HSF in October 2021, to support households who would otherwise struggle to buy food, pay essential utility bills, or meet other essential living costs or housing costs. The HSF has subsequently been extended several times.

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