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Supporting the extension of the Household Support Fund

uploaded on 19 March 2024

The government has extended the Household Support Fund – find out how we can help your organisation distribute critical support.

 

At Reward Gateway | Edenred we welcome the renewal of the Household Support Fund (HSF) that the chancellor announced in the spring budget. The government has extended the fund for six months to 30th September 2024 at the same level as before – which means a further £500 million will be distributed to local authorities and people in need.

Prior to the cut-off point, we worked alongside several local authorities to gain a deep understanding of their extensive and broad use of the fund.  We used this insight to produce a briefing paper which set out its essential role and its impact on communities. We also worked collaboratively to evidence the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of the scheme. We now look forward to continuing to work in partnership with councils to distribute funds effectively to those who need it most.

 

Vital support, flexible delivery

Since 2021, the HSF has enabled councils to provide more than 26 million separate instances of support (totalling over £2.5bn) to help meet the rising the cost of living.

With the latest tranche of 2023 funding, councils provided 33% of the support to households who had applied for it. They distributed another 60% of the fund by proactively identifying those in need of support – reflecting the flexible, targeted, and proactive support the scheme delivers. Overall councils distributed 57% of the financial support in the form of vouchers.

Types of support range from funds for food and fuel to housing costs. They also include highly targeted, proactive support programmes aimed at pensioners, low-income carers, children, care leavers and those identified as ‘in crisis’ or ‘at risk’.

A significant percentage of every local authority grant goes to supporting thousands of households who, for a variety of reasons, fall through the cracks of other welfare policies. A key example of this is controlled voucher-based support that helps with the delivery of Free School Meals outside of term time.

Policy makers such as the Work and Pensions Select Committee have praised this ‘topping up’ of existing benefits. The approach has also been welcomed by a group of charities and thinktanks including Barnardo’s, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and The Children’s Society.

Cost-effective

The nature of the Household Support Fund’s delivery mechanism also enables a cost-effective and highly targeted model which local authorities can use to channel allocated funding to where it is needed most.

“Thanks to the redeemable voucher system that forms nearly 60% of payments, councils only pay for the value of financial support delivered by their partners and can closely control what the voucher is spent on to ensure they provide the right support,” explains Colin Hodgson, Commercial Director, Public Sector for Reward Gateway | Edenred. “If a voucher is unredeemed, it is reimbursed by the provider in full to be channelled elsewhere, keeping costs down.”

“The partnerships formed between local authorities and third parties in delivering this targeted, flexible support has driven highly efficient delivery. While the current economic challenges prevail, it’s vital that this collaboration continues.”

Despite inflation falling, continued economic pressures on vulnerable families means the Household Support Fund is still essential. ONS figures show that food prices are 12% higher on average than a year ago.

 

Get in touch

Reward Gateway | Edenred has played an essential role in supporting the adoption of vouchers to distribute financial support via the Household Support Fund, working in close partnership with local authorities across the country. We support 46 local authorities in all regions of the UK to deliver the HSF to families who need it. In 2023 we distributed more than £2.5m payments.

If you would like to discuss the HSF and its vital role in supporting households around the UK, please contact us at ccsframework-uk@edenred.com.

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