Failure to extend household support fund ‘a huge disappointment’
The government’s failure to use the autumn statement to announce an extension to the household support fund (HSF) has been described as “a huge disappointment”.
Writing in the MJ, a magazine for those who work in local government, chief executive of Bernardo’s Lynne Perry said million of people across the UK who “are teetering on the edge of destitution” are “set to lose what little support they have when the government ends its household support fund in March”.
What is the household support fund?
The HSF is a pot of money that allows local councils to provide crisis support for people who need urgent help with things like food, bills and beds for children.
According to Perry, the HSF is a lifeline for families “having to make gut-wrenching choices, prioritising feeding their children and heating their homes over buying other essential items like beds and bedding”.
“One of the few things preventing them from plummeting into the abyss is crisis support from their local council.”
Call for extension ignored
Barnardo’s, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Trussell Trust were among the organisations calling on the chancellor to secure the future of the household support fund in the autumn statement.
But no such pledge was forthcoming. This means, as things stand, the fund will close in March.
Help provided by the household support fund
Government figures show 26 million payments have been made through HSF since it began two years ago, with almost £800m paid to households with children.
It currently covers 45% of crisis payments made by local authorities.
Once it ends, struggling councils will have to find the cash elsewhere or slash the number or value of payments, letting families fall into destitution, Perry warned.
Struggling with the cost-of-living crisis?
If you need crisis support, get in touch with your local council to find out what support they’re currently offering under the HSF.
A qualified journalist for over 15 years with a background in financial services. Rebecca is Money Wellness’s consumer champion, helping you improve your financial wellbeing by providing information on everything from income maximisation to budgeting and saving tips.
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