Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : Families in need encouraged to check for local cost-of-living support as 26 million awards already made [October 2023]

The press release issued by the Department for Work and Pensions on 16 October 2023.

Vulnerable households have received more than 26 million awards from the DWP’s Household Support Fund since its launch in October 2021, according to new figures.

  • Almost £800 million paid to households with children to support with cost of living
  • Comes as Department for Work and Pensions launches Household Support Fund Awareness Week
  • People in need encouraged to speak to their local council as this year’s £842 million fund continues to be used to deliver local support

Vulnerable households have received more than 26 million awards from the DWP’s Household Support Fund since its launch in October 2021, according to new figures.

The Government has invested over £2 billion into the fund over the last two years, with almost £800 million already paid to households with children to ease the cost of living between October 2021 and March 2023.

The 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. Support is available to help with covering the costs of essentials like groceries, toiletries, warm clothes, and energy bills.

The figures come as DWP launches its Household Support Fund Awareness Week, to recognise the efforts of councils who distribute the Fund while encouraging vulnerable people across England to contact their councils to find out what support is available in their area.

More than three million households from today will also get told they qualify for the Warm Home Discount. The automatic one-off £150 payment will help eligible, low-income customers in England, Scotland and Wales pay their energy bills over the winter.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Mel Stride MP, 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.

“Our record £842 million cash injection to the Household Support Fund in England this year means that people most in need will be able to get extra support locally to cover the essentials.

“And alongside this unprecedented cost of living support, we’re taking the long-term decisions to reform the welfare system to help thousands more people benefit from the income boost provided by employment.”

Councils are using their allocation in many innovative ways to support local people. In Buckinghamshire, a warm box scheme will ensure people can stay warm in the colder weather, in Kent essential white goods and furniture is financed for those who can’t afford it, and in Devon, the District Council Hardship Fund is providing targeted support for the most in need.

This support comes on top of wider government 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 available for disabled people. Average energy prices have also fallen again this month – down by 55% since their peak.

Minister for Social Mobility, Youth and Progression, Mims Davies MP, said:

“Thanks to this Government’s massive extension to the Household Support Fund for every community throughout England, plus money for devolved Governments, 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.

“In my own area, West Sussex, over £9 million is helping locally to finance door-to-door food box deliveries and supermarket vouchers to the most vulnerable. Vital support will also be available to help with the cost of vehicle repairs, white goods and public transport fares to ensure people stay connected, and this is on top of previous allocations.

“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.”

Today, the Government is also teaming up with Amazon Alexa to relaunch a public information campaign that helped British households save an estimated £120 million last winter.

Through a free partnership between the Government and Amazon, anyone asking Alexa – including the free mobile phone app – how to save money on their energy bill will receive advice on preparing their home for winter and use less energy in the long-term, which could save at least £100 a year.

The partnership is part of today’s relaunch of the Government’s It All Adds Up campaign, which last year saw 80% of people in the UK saying they had taken at least one of the money-saving actions. Alongside Alexa, advice is available online via the Help for Households website and through a public information campaign including partnerships, billboards and radio adverts later in the autumn.

People in England can find out how much their council was allocated on GOV.UK.

Further information

  • Between October 2021 and March 2022, £421 million was injected into the fund, followed by two further investments of £421 million between April and September 2022 and October 2022 to March 2023. The current record investment of £842 million – bringing the total lifetime value of the fund to over £2 billion – is being used by councils to support the most vulnerable up until March 2024
  • Over 26 million awards is calculated by aggregating the number of awards in the firstsecond and third iterations of the Household Support Fund between October 2021 and March 2023
  • The Household Support Fund comes on top of extensive support for those in need with many receiving direct payments in 2023/24.
    • Millions of UK households are set to receive the second Cost of Living Payment of £300 from 31 October.
    • Over eight million pensioner households will also receive a further £300 payment later this year in addition to the Winter Fuel Payment.
  • The Household Support Fund was first launched on 6 October 2021, and has been extended several times. This latest extension lasts until 31 March 2024, representing the fourth edition of the fund.
  • Local Authorities have discretion on how they design and deliver their scheme depending on local need, within the parameters of the guidance set out by the Department for Work and Pensions.
  • Funding distribution is targeted at the areas with the most vulnerable households.
  • Devolved administrations have also been allocated funding in parallel as a result of the Barnett Formula to spend at their discretion, bringing the total amount of new funding for 2023/24 to almost £1 billion.
  • To qualify for the Warm Home Discount, customers must have an account with one of 17 participating electricity suppliers and claim either (a) the Guarantee Credit portion of Pension Credit or, if they have high energy costs, (b) a different ‘qualifying benefit’ such as the Savings Credit portion of Pension Credit, Universal Credit or Housing Benefit.
  • Customers can check if they qualify by searching for the ‘Warm Home Discount’ on GOV.UK and using our eligibility tracker.
  • Those who qualify for the Warm Home Discount in England and Wales will receive a letter from October onward explaining the discount and instructions on what they need to do next, while customers in Scotland will need to apply directly with their energy supplier as soon as possible.