Borough finance chiefs make Household Support Fund plea

The professional network for London local authorities’ most senior finance officers has urged the government to extend the Household Support Fund (HSF) into the 2024-25 financial year. 

With three weeks to go until the Spring Budget on 6 March, the Society of London Treasurers (SLT) has written to the Chancellor to highlight the impact of ending the funding on low-income Londoners. 

Clive Palfreyman, President of the SLT, writes: 

“Boroughs under severe financial strain will be challenged to fill the gaps cancelling the HSF would create.”

The SLT previously wrote to the government in December calling for the HSF to continue. With boroughs required to finalise their budgets by March, the treasurers reiterate the urgent need for clarifying whether the HSF will be extended or if transitional funding will be available to help maintain local support services.

Research by the umbrella body London Councils recently revealed that boroughs are using the fund to:

• Provide meals for 472,000 children during the school holidays.

• Give emergency food support to 218,000 families.

• Make numerous one-off payments for essential items such as food, clothes, gas and electricity, replacing essential household appliances and school uniforms.

• Pay for support and advice workers to help residents address longer-term issues including housing, employment and debt.

• Support voluntary and community sector organisations to deliver services.

London Councils’ analysis also points to the significant finance pressures facing boroughs. The cross-party group warns that next year’s local government finance settlement will leave boroughs with at least a £400m funding shortfall

Read the letter here


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