The Government has recently announced the new Household Support Fund Allocations for Local Authorities across England.
Gloucestershire County Council will receive £7,384,966 in this latest round of funding to help families that need support in the face of rising costs.
This funding takes the total level of support provided to Forest residents and the wider county to £18,462,415, demonstrating the Conservative Government’s unwavering commitment to support the most vulnerable in times of financial hardship.
The Household Support Fund is a discretionary fund provided to local authorities enabling them to provide support to vulnerable families struggling to cover essential costs who may not be eligible for other Government support schemes.
Councils in England have the flexibility to decide how best to spend their allocation to support people in their local area quickly and efficiently, drawing from local knowledge and direct contact with people in the community.
For example, at a local level, the Forest of Dean District Council distributed some of our previous allocation through £165,000 worth of supermarket vouchers, including £85,000 since the start of the year. They have been able to utilise local knowledge to focus this Government provided support on those who really need it, including unpaid carers who are registered with Gloucestershire Carers Hub and recipients of council tax support in bands one, two and three, with at least one child.
The Government is also delivering further support in addition to the almost £2 billion the Household Support Fund has received across its lifetime, including means-tested £900 Cost of Living Payments, a £150 payment for disabled people, and £300 on top of Winter Fuel Payments for pensioner households.
The Government’s Energy Price Guarantee is also protecting people from rising energy costs this year until the end of March 2024, saving them thousands of pounds and bringing a typical household bill down to around £3,000 per year in Great Britain.
After putting much pressure on the Government myself, I am pleased that equivalent support is being provided for off-grid households, of which there are many in the Forest of Dean. From earlier last month, households across Great Britain who don’t use mains gas for heating started receiving an extra £200 towards their energy bills.
This article was first published in The Forester newspaper.