Spring Statement 2022: What is the Household Support Fund, and what did Rishi Sunak say about it in the Spring Statement?
As Chancellor Rishi Sunak announces an increase to the Household Support Fund, here’s what it is and what the changes mean for you.
The Chancellor is under increasing pressure to make changes to relieve pressure on households across the UK in the face of rising costs of living.
Here’s what the fund is and what changes are coming.
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What is the Household Support Fund?
The Household Support Fund is given to houses in England to enable households to manage costs of essentials.
Local authorities can direct how best to use the money to suit local needs.
50% of it is reserved for households with children and, of the original £500 million, £421 million was allocated to the most vulnerable groups in England, while £80 million was given to devolved administrations.
What did Rishi Sunak say about the Household Support Fund in the Spring Statement?
The Household Support Fund is receiving £500 million more to help battle the cost of living crisis.
"To help the most vulnerable households with the cost of essentials such as food, clothing and utilities, the government is also providing an additional £500 million for the Household Support Fund from April, on top of the £500 million already provided since October 2021, bringing total funding to £1 billion,” reads the Spring Statement.
“These new measures mean the government is now providing support worth over £22 billion in 2022-23 that will help households with the cost of living.
“The government is continuing to monitor developments and the consequences for the cost of living, and will be ready to take further steps if needed to support households.”
In his statement in the House of Commons, Rishi Sunak announced VAT will be reduced from 5% to zero on materials such as solar panels, heat pumps and insulation in a bid to help homeowners install more energy saving materials.
He said: “We’ll also reverse the EU’s decision to take wind and water turbines out of scope – and zero rate them as well. And we’ll abolish all the red tape imposed by the EU. A family having a solar panel installed will see tax savings worth over £1,000. And savings on their energy bill of over £300 per year.”
Mr Sunak said the policy will not apply immediately to Northern Ireland due to “deficiencies” in the Northern Ireland Protocol but said support would be offered.
What have people said about the extra funds for the Household Support Fund?
“If £0.5bn is all there is for poorest families paid through local authorities, that will be hugely disappointing,” wrote Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), on Twitter. “Doesn’t look like benefits being raised.”
How to apply for the Household Support Fund
There are different application processes for different local councils.
The first step is to search for the Household Support Fund on your local council website and see what options are available to you.
You can find your own local council using this search tool.
Additional reporting by PA.