Akey part of the government’s response to the cost of living crisis has not been available to applicants for months in some parts of the country after councils ran out of money, the Observer can reveal.
The government launched the £500m Household Support Fund (HSF) last autumn to help poorer households with essentials. Ministers have highlighted the HSF in response to accusations it isn’t doing enough to help people cope with soaring inflation. Just last week, work and pensions minister Chloe Smith repeatedly cited the HSF in an interview with Channel 4 News.
The funding was meant to last until 31 March, but figures sourced under the Freedom of Information Act show one in six English local authorities ran out of funding for applicants at least a month earlier, some as early as December.
The bureaucratic nature of the process also meant dozens of councils that still had funding rejected more than a quarter of all applications.