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City Mayor joins calls for Government to extend help to poorest households

Leicester’s City Mayor has joined council leaders from across the country calling on the Government to rethink its plans to end a vital financial lifeline to the least well-off families.

The Government is planning to end the Household Support Fund, which is funded by the Department of Work and Pensions to help households in most need with food, energy vouchers or essential kitchen equipment.

Leicester Time: City Mayor joins calls for Government to extend help to poorest households
Picture: Household Support Fund

Council leaders have written to the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt MP, calling for the Household Support Fund to continue beyond the planned closure date of March 31, 2024.

This scheme aims to support people who don’t received financial support from the Government’s Cost of Living Payments, as well as those on a low income, who have limited savings, or are particularly at risk due to factors such as disabilities or caring for young children.

The City Mayor has added his name to a letter demanding the Chancellor extends the scheme for at least another year, to avoid people who depend upon the fund falling into worse financial hardship.

The letter says: “The Government’s provision of the Household Support Fund has been extremely welcome and continues to provide a vital safety net for residents who are struggling to afford the essentials and are facing financial crisis.

“Local services are experiencing record demand for local welfare support.

“We are therefore deeply concerned that ending the fund on the 31 March will create a cliff-edge in provision for our communities that councils will not be able to fill.

“A significantly reduced local welfare support offer risks more households falling through the gaps into financial crisis, destitution and homelessness and increasing pressure on already overstretched public services, including the NHS, social care and temporary accommodation.”

Sir Peter added: “Councils have faced more than a decade of austerity and severe budget cuts at the hands of the Government, meaning they are not in the position to be able to meet the ever increasing demand on services.

“The Household Support Fund has been a lifeline to many of the poorest households and families.

“Removing it now without helping councils to provide better welfare services will be the final straw for many families already facing extreme financial difficulties, the risk of homelessness and health problems, putting further pressure on public services which are already stretched to breaking point.”