StepChange responds to new Government’s new £500m support fund

The Government has today announced a new £500m Household Support Fund to help vulnerable individuals and families cope with costs this winter. The fund will be distributed to local councils and will be available from October.

Richard Lane, Director of External Affairs at StepChange said: “This fund will provide welcome financial relief to households who face a perfect storm of cuts to Universal Credit, rocketing energy bills and inflated food prices in the coming months. We agree with the Chancellor that absolutely everyone should be able to makes ends meet – for this to be a reality the Government must build on today’s announcement with plans to help households who are already struggling, including the 3 million people who’ve had to turn to high cost credit to get by since the start of the pandemic.

“This must come in the form of sustained financial support, which the Government can begin to provide by reversing its decision to cut Universal Credit by £20 a week. For our clients who rely on it, this cut will see their average budget deficit triple from -£40 a month to -£126 a month.

“A locally delivered grant fund is important for helping with emergency and crisis spends, and we would like to see this type of support extended to help tackle the millions in rent debt private tenants have amassed during the pandemic. But it must be matched by nationally delivered support, and £500m in a discretionary fund won’t plug the ongoing holes in household budgets, particularly when £6bn of Universal Credit is due to be cut.”