Household Support Fund
The Household Support Fund is funding provided by government to local authorities to directly help those who need it the most. The fund has recently been further extended to March 2024. This brings the total Household Support Fund for Wandsworth to £10,347,425.
The first three tranches of the Household Support Fund (HSF1, HSF2, HSF3) have been spent to 31 March 2023 and approval has been obtained from the Council’s Finance Committee on how Household Support Fund Tranche 4 (HSF4) will be spent. This covers the period 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024.
Household Support Fund Tranche 4 (HSF4)
|Food vouchers for those in receipt of free school meals to cover the school holidays (Easter/ May Half Term/ Summer/ Oct Half Term/ Christmas/ Feb Half Term)||1,775|
|Increase in free school meals vouchers from £15 to £20||591|
|Support for families with children with disabilities, care leavers, looked after children||300|
|Wandsworth Discretionary Social Fund Top Up||700|
|Council Tax 2023 Cost of Living Discount of up to £150||353|
|Remaining balance of funding to be allocated following receipt of HSF4 guidance and discussions with key services and voluntary sector organisations||420|
Supermarket vouchers for children on free school meals
There will be a continuation of food vouchers in the holidays for those children on free school meals. Proposals include increasing the value of the food voucher from £15 to £20.
If you are eligible for free school meals but not currently claiming, or are unsure about your eligibility, you should apply for free school meals.
Children with disabilities, children looked after and care leavers
Continued support to children with disabilities, children looked after and care leavers will include payments to support with the increased costs of living.
Wandsworth Discretionary Social Fund (WDSF)
As in the previous tranches, funding has been allocated to support low-income households through advice and the award of vouchers and household purchases through a top up of the WDSF. This includes additional crisis payments which would allow families to obtain emergency cash payments.
If you want to request support through the WDSF, visit Apply for Crisis Assistance for food and fuel.
Support with Council Tax bills
In order to further address the cost of living crisis, for 2023/24 the government is funding, through a one-off Council Tax Support Fund grant, at least a £25 reduction in council tax bills for all those on means tested benefits, using Council Tax Reduction (CTR) as the eligibility criteria. Wandsworth will receive ringfenced funding of £383,514 for 2023/24.
The Council Tax Support Fund has both a mandatory and discretionary element. The scheme guidance requires the Council to pay £25 at the start of the 2023/24 year onto the account of all CTR cases where there is a charge to pay following the assessment of their CTR. In exercising its discretion on how to spend the funding, the Council can decide if it wishes to apply the support to new recipients of CTR during the year, rather than just those that are eligible at 1 April 2023, and whether it wishes to put in place a scheme that is more generous than the funding provided.
The Council has decided to set the maximum award value of the 2023 Wandsworth Cost of Living Discount payments (funded in part from Council Tax Support Fund grant and in part by HSF4) at £150 per household. This would reduce the council tax bills for over 5,000 households. You do not need to apply for this. This discount will show as a 2023 Wandsworth Cost of Living Discount credit on all eligible bills, immediately creating zero balances for more households and reducing instalments for those low-income households that contribute to their Council Tax.
Remaining balance of Housing Support Fund Tranche 4
A decision on the remaining balance of HSF4 (£420k) will go back to the Council’s Finance Committee for approval in June 2023. How this funding will be spent will be informed by further data analysis to ensure that it supports those households most in need.
Further support and advice
If you require any further support or advice on the cost of living, please visit our Cost of Living Hub.