Councils to receive additional funds to support households struggling with higher energy and food costs

News Desk
Authored by News Desk
Posted Thursday, April 11, 2024 - 8:42pm

Citizens Advice is reporting that average energy costs are as high as last winter for many households, and that despite energy prices falling this month, around 5.3 million people are currently living in households in debt to their energy supplier.

So, it's welcome news that Devon County Council has confirmed that it's been allocated a little over £5 million from the government to help households struggling to pay higher bills for energy, food, water, and other essential items.

This will be the fifth round of Household Support Funding that the council has received from the Department for Work and Pensions, to run between April and September 2024.  It will take Devon’s total level of Household Support Funding received so far to just over £30 million.

The funding is to support households in most need, but specifically those that may not be eligible for other support that is already available from the government.

The council must submit plans mid-May to the Department of Work and Pensions, setting out how it, with Devon's District, City and Borough councils and other voluntary and community partners, will make the latest funding available.

Plans are expected to include:

  • a funding allocation to specifically support families in receipt of Free School Meals, to provide food vouchers that can be exchanged at supermarkets to buy food during school holidays.  21.700 children in Devon were eligible for free school meal vouchers during the last holidays
  • some funding will also go to provide financial support for food, energy and other essentials to eligible low income households with children and young people, through the County Council’s Early Help service
  • Team Devon’s District/City/Borough councils will plan to continue helping households that are in greatest financial need and struggling to pay for food, energy and other related essentials.  They will publicise further details soon, once plans have been finalised
  • Citizens Advice Devon will continue to receive funding to support households that are using pre-payment and credit meters, to help with energy costs
  • Devon Community Foundation will deploy funds to voluntary and community organisations that support specific groups who may struggle to access the help and support they need

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for public health and communities, said:

"We have yet to finalise how we're going to make this latest funding available to help households, but we want to continue working closely with Citizens Advice Devon, as well as our District, City and Borough councils and voluntary and community sector to support households that are most in need and struggling to pay for energy, food, water and other essential items.

“With our partners, we are doing what we can to help families and households through these difficult times.”

The Household Support Fund is one aspect of the support that councils across the county are making available to households.  For more information about the range of support available, visit our website.


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