Agenda item

Household Support Fund

To consider a report outlining recommendations on the provisional allocations of the Household Support Grant.


Cabinet Portfolio: The Leader


Strategic Directorate: Assistant Chief Executive


Consideration was given to a report that was submitted for pre-decision scrutiny ahead of the Cabinet Meeting to be held on 16 May 2022.


The Leader introduced the report indicated that the Household Support Fund was discretionary funding that the Governance allocated to support cost of living issues.  The first round was used to pay for free school meal vouchers during school holidays, with around 11,000 children benefiting.  It was also used to provide some additional support to voluntary partners Christmas meal appeal along with providing additional Council Tax support within the last year.


The Government announced a further 6-month allocation in it’s Spring statement of around £2.5 million pounds for Rotherham with slight changes to how it could be administered.  It indicated that at least 30% of the funding had to be used for families with children and at least 30% of the funding to be used for people of a pensionable age.  The funding needed to have been allocated by September 2022.


The proposal was to continue the free school meal voucher offer through to October 2022.  Some additional funding would be set aside to the discretionary payments fund for energy bills which could be expanded to give some flexibility in terms of support to pensioner households.  this would provide grants of up to £150 for pension households to be used in a flexible way.


The remaining balance of the allocation would need to go towards households of a pensionable age however the application process for the energy bills fund would need to be in operation prior to decisions being made on the remaining funding. 


Clarification was sought as to how the Council would ensure this funding reached all areas of the borough.  The Leader confirmed that the funding was allocated to individual households rather than being geographically based.  Discussions were being undertaken as to how be able to reach all communities.


It was queried how the Council would ensure the funding was being allocated to those most in need.  In response it was explained that the priority was to make the decisions that could be taken easily to enable funding to be accessed in those areas immediately and then ascertain how vulnerable pensioners can supported to access the funding.


It was noted that other support is also required for households, such as support with prescriptions, dental treatment, eye tests, period poverty however the challenge would be how to identify those in need and what support could be provided to them via this funding in such a short space of time.


In response the Leader explained that the Council did offer a large amount of support either through its own services or those of its partners however he acknowledge it could be hard for a member of the public to navigate to the relevant services for them.  This could be resolved by the information being pulled together on the Council’s website.    


In response it was confirmed that the vouchers provided for the free school meals scheme were general supermarket vouchers. 


Resolved that:

1.    That Cabinet be advised that the recommendations be supported.




Supporting documents: