London boroughs urge Government to continue providing financial support for families

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Fund helps support almost 500,000 children

London boroughs are urging the Government for the continuation of the Household Support Fund, described as a “lifeline” for thousands of London’s schoolchildren and families. Over the past year, the fund has provided essential aid to a staggering 472,000 children in London during school holidays, alongside emergency food support extended to 218,000 families.

A recent survey conducted by the local government association London Councils highlights the profound impact the fund has had on Londoners.

In London, where the high cost of living weighs heavily on low-income families, the fund has played a critical role in addressing these challenges. According to London Councils’ recent Survey of Londoners, 75% of residents identify the cost of living as the most pressing issue facing the city.

The Household Support Fund, which amounted to £135.7 million in London for the 2023/24 period, has empowered London boroughs to offer tailored assistance to residents based on their specific needs.

  • Provision of meals for 472,000 children during school breaks.
  • Emergency food aid for 218,000 families.
  • One-off payments for essential items like food, clothing, and utilities, as well as for replacing crucial household appliances and school uniforms.
  • Financial support for support and advice workers aiding with long-term issues such as housing, employment, and debt.
  • Funding for voluntary and community sector organizations to deliver services and support.

Despite its evident impact, the Government has yet to confirm whether the Household Support Fund will be renewed for the next financial year. London Councils is urgently calling for the continuation of funding at existing levels for 2024/25, stressing the importance of prompt confirmation to prevent job losses and disruptions in essential service provision.

Impact of the fund is “life-changing” says London Councils deputy chair

Cllr Claire Holland, Deputy Chair of London Councils, said:

“The life-changing impact of the Household Support Fund is clear. London boroughs have put the £135.7 million fund to good use, providing meals for thousands of children during school holidays and giving low-income families a precious lifeline to help them get back on their feet, whether that involves covering a gas bill or paying for school uniforms.

“As our most vulnerable residents continue to face high living costs, we are calling on Government to continue the Household Support Fund and confirm this as soon as possible. Then boroughs can get on with the job of transforming lives by delivering support where it is most needed.”

A Harrow resident who attended the Conversation Café, a welcoming and safe drop-in session funded by the Household Support Fund said:

“I found out so much and everybody was so welcoming and helpful. I spoke to a CAB (Citizens Advice) officer, and she helped me and has given me so much helpful advice and I will be back. Thank you all for your kindness.”