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Our response to the launch of the Government’s new household support fund

October 1, 2021

Vulnerable households across the country will be able to access a new £500m support fund to help them with essentials this winter.

The Government’s Household Support Fund will assist households through small grants to meet daily needs such as food, clothing and utilities.

The fund will “provide a lifeline for those at risk of struggling to keep up with their bills over the winter.
Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer

Matthew Cole, from Fuel Bank Foundation, said: “Whilst we welcome the additional £500m to help vulnerable households weather the storm this winter, we do so with some trepidation.

“The country is facing huge economic and societal challenges. Millions of vulnerable and low-income families are at financial breaking point as they struggle with higher energy bills and the general increase in the cost of living. Given the scale of the problem, there is a fear this money will barely scratch the surface. We therefore hope this will be first of a number of support packages provided by the Government.”

“Today’s (1st October, 2021) unprecedented price cap increase has raised energy bills considerably. This will put some households into a real crisis, where heat becomes a luxury that cannot be afforded on a daily basis.

Maintaining the cap as it stands over winter at least provides some surety that rates won’t increase whilst temperatures drop.  But in recognising the unique situation that we are in, there will be pressure for an early revision of the price cap rates to ensure supplier costs are covered and to reduce the likelihood of further energy companies collapsing this winter.
Matthew Cole, Fuel Bank Foundation

He also added: “If this happens, we absolutely need to see additional support being provided to households that will struggle to bear the increased cost from energy this winter. This support would need to be from Government and not just by asking suppliers to provide additional support to those who can’t afford to top-up their prepayment gas and/or electricity meter.”

“There are examples in Europe where additional direct financial help is being provided by government to households who are struggling. We need to learn from this.

“As it stands today, the existing support provided by the Warm Home Discount, Winter Fuel Payment and Cold Weather Payments won’t stop people from going cold this winter.”