‘Disappointing’ Budget extends cost-of-living support

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced that the Household Support Fund (HSF) in England will be extended to 30 September, with an additional £500 million for local authorities to help residents with the cost of essentials such as energy and food.

The £500 million includes Barnett funding for the devolved administrations.

Cllr Shaun Davies, LGA Chair, said: “We are pleased the Chancellor has extended the HSF, which has helped millions of households facing hardship. 

“It is disappointing that we had to wait until the very last minute for an extension, and that it is only for a short period. Three-quarters of councils expect hardship to increase further in their area over the next 12 months.

“The Government needs to use the next six months to agree a more sustainable successor to the HSF. 

“Councils need certainty and consistent funding to efficiently maintain the staff, services and networks that help our most vulnerable residents. Without this, we risk more people falling into financial crisis as we head into winter.”

Elsewhere in the Budget, there was some additional funding for specific housing projects, plus £45 million match funding for additional open children’s home placements and £120 million for maintaining and rebuilding secure children’s homes. But there was no new investment for adult social care or temporary accommodation.

Cllr Davies said: “Looking at the Budget as a whole, the lack of additional funding for councils and our communities was disappointing. 

“We know that councils of all political colours are facing record cost and demand pressures and are having to do a lot more with a lot less.

“They are starting this financial year in a precarious position and having to scale back or close a wide range of local services, so the continued squeeze in public spending in the years ahead is a frightening prospect for communities.” 

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