Households struggling with costs encouraged to speak to their council

Vulnerable people are being encouraged to see what help they could receive as household support fund awareness week gets under way.

Vulnerable households in England are being encouraged to see what support they might be able to receive locally with the cost of essentials.

Households have received more than 26 million awards from the household support fund since its launch in October 2021, according to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Money is available for councils in England to help those most in need by drawing from local knowledge and making direct contact with people in the community.

The fund is there to support people who are vulnerable or cannot pay for essentials. People do not necessarily need to be receiving benefits to get help from their council.

People may be able to get help if they are struggling to afford essentials such as energy and water bills, food, toiletries or warm clothes, for example.

The DWP released the figures as it launched its household support fund awareness week, encouraging vulnerable people across England to contact their councils to find out what support is available in their area.

There may be variations between councils in terms of eligibility criteria and how to apply. Some councils share out money through local charities and community groups.

People can enter their postcode at gov.uk/find-local-council to find their local authority.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Mel Stride said: “The best way we can protect family finances is by driving down inflation, but as it reduces, we recognise that cost-of-living pressures remain for some of the most vulnerable households.”

The support comes on top of wider support to help families with costs – including up to £900 in direct cost of living payments for those on means-tested benefits, £300 for pensioners and an extra £150 for people with disabilities.

Minister for Social Mobility, Youth and Progression Mims Davies said: “We have seen some wonderfully innovative and locally focused uses of the additional money by local councils to ensure support is delivered to those families and those needing extra help in tough times…

“This household support fund awareness week, I do encourage anyone in the country who is struggling to cover costs to speak to their local council about what extra support is available in their area. I know local MPs will be keen to do the same, so their constituents know the additional help available on their doorstep.”

The Government is also teaming up with Amazon Alexa to relaunch a public information campaign.

Through a free collaboration between the Government and Amazon, people asking Alexa how to save money on their energy bill will receive the latest Government advice on preparing their home for winter and using less energy in the long-term. This will be available via Amazon Echo devices and on mobile, via the free Alexa app.

Advice about help with living costs is also available online on the Help For Households website and through other public information campaigning.

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