Last year Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt announced that the Household Support Fund would be extended until 31 March 2024, offering further free financial support to vulnerable households.
Launched in October 2021 to help those struggling financially in the wake of the pandemic, the aim of the fund is to provide households in need with small grants to cover essential living costs such as food, clothing and utility bills. With the ongoing cost of living crisis, the fund has now been extended three times. In October it was extended until March 2023, but has now been extended further to March 2024.
The most recent round of funding, which will run from April 2023 to March 2024 will give local authorities a further £842m to help those most in need.
The fund is available in addition to other support schemes that help people heat their homes during winter such as the Warm Home Discount, Cold Weather Payment and the Winter Fuel Payment. Find out more about these schemes in our article Are you eligible for help with heating costs?
In total, the Household Support Fund has given £3 billion worth of funding to local authorities across the country to distribute to people who need it. Each local council has applied its own eligibility criteria for who can claim a grant through the fund, so this will vary depending on where you live. Councils have also chosen how to use the fund, to allow them to offer the things that their communities need most, whether that’s a one-off cash payment or a supermarket voucher to help cover the cost of shopping.
With the latest extension, local authorities who had used up their proportion of funding may be able to offer more funding to households in need. So if you missed out on help previously, it might be worth contacting your local authority again.
While the grants are offered on a discretionary basis, help is available now, so if you’re struggling, it’s worth contacting your local authority to see if you might qualify for support. If you aren’t sure who your local authority is, you can find out here.