Household Support Fund does not come close to scale of challenge facing struggling families

JRF responds to the Household Support Fund announced by the Department for Work & Pensions.

The Household Support Fund will provide funding to local authorities, which can then provide discretionary cash grants, often on a one-off basis, to tackle acute financial emergencies.

Responding to this announcement, Helen Barnard, Deputy Director at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said:

“The Household Support Fund is an eleventh hour attempt to save face as the Government presses ahead with an unprecedented overnight cut to Universal Credit next week.

“The support available through this fund is provided on a discretionary basis to families facing emergency situations. It does not come close to meeting the scale of the challenge facing millions of families on low incomes as a cost-of-living crisis looms and our social security system is cut down to inadequate levels. By admitting today that families will need to apply for emergency grants to meet the cost of basics like food and heating through winter, it’s clear the Chancellor knows the damage the cut to Universal Credit will cause.

“The temporary measure announced today will not fix the fundamental inadequacy of our social security system, but it does show the Government is capable of changing course. The Prime Minister and Chancellor cannot ignore the widespread concern about the cut, and must reverse it before it’s too late.”