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Is Scotland getting household support fund?

The Scottish government has announced a new £80 million Household Support Fund to help families and individuals who are struggling with the cost of living crisis this winter. The fund will be distributed by local councils to provide support to those most in need with food, energy and water bills, and other essential costs. With energy prices and inflation continuing to rise, many households are facing difficult choices just to make ends meet. This new fund aims to provide extra support during these challenging times.

What is the Household Support Fund?

The Household Support Fund is a new pot of money being made available by the Scottish government between October 2022 and March 2023 to help households with essential costs. It builds on previous hardship funds provided during the Covid-19 pandemic. A total of £80 million will be allocated to Scotland’s 32 local councils to distribute to eligible households in their areas.

The fund is intended to provide short-term financial assistance to households who would otherwise struggle with food, energy, and water bills over the winter period. It can also be used to support households with essential costs related to energy, clothes, broadband, housing, and transport among other essentials.

Each local council will determine the exact eligibility criteria and how the fund will be administered in their area. However, the Scottish government has advised the funding should primarily be used to support low-income households not already receiving welfare support or in receipt of state pension credit. There is flexibility for councils to assist other households experiencing financial hardship based on local needs.

Why is this fund being provided?

The Household Support Fund aims to provide extra help for financially vulnerable households in Scotland impacted by the cost of living crisis. With inflation at a 40-year high of 10.1% and energy bills skyrocketing, many families are facing impossible choices trying to cover basics like food, heating, and housing costs this winter.

Research shows lower-income households spend a larger proportion of their budgets on gas and electricity. The exponential rise in energy prices combined with higher food costs and interest rate rises is putting these households under increased pressure.

By targeting support for essential costs, the fund will hopefully prevent more households falling into severe financial difficulty or poverty over the coming months. It provides a safety net for struggling families who may not be eligible for welfare programs or disability payments.

The Scottish government has a duty to assist those most impacted by the cost of living crisis. The £80 million fund forms part of a broader package of measures aiming to support Scottish households through this challenging period.

How will the fund be distributed?

Scotland’s 32 local councils will be responsible for administering the Household Support Fund in their areas and getting the money to those who need it most. The Scottish government has allocated funding to councils based mainly on population size and levels of deprivation.

Councils have discretion over precisely how they distribute the funding, provided it is targeted at low income households. Most councils are expected to operate application schemes where residents will need to demonstrate eligibility and their need for financial support.

Potential distribution methods councils could use include:

– Direct payments into bank accounts of eligible applicants

– Issuing vouchers for use at supermarkets or prepayment meters

– Funding school meal vouchers over holiday periods

– Additional discretionary housing payments

– Increased welfare and hardship payments

– Grants or credits paid directly to energy/utility providers

Councils will also decide whether the fund will be administered via existing local welfare assistance schemes or through new systems and teams. Some key sites through which people may be able to apply include council websites, helplines, and welfare teams.

Who will be eligible for the fund?

As the scheme will be administered at the discretion of local councils, the full eligibility criteria, requirements and application process will vary across Scotland. However, the Scottish government has provided the following guidelines:

– The primary focus should be on supporting low income households not already in receipt of welfare benefits, state pension credit or other financial support. This includes households in employment, unemployed, students or pensioners.

– Councils can determine if there are other groups in their area facing financial hardship who will benefit from the fund, such as larger families, single parents, carers, people with disabilities or health conditions, or those experiencing sudden crises like bereavement or redundancy.

– The fund should complement, not duplicate other forms of support like Discretionary Housing Payments, Council Tax Reduction, and Scottish Welfare Fund.

– Applicants will likely need to provide evidence of low income, outgoings, and financial pressures or crisis. Proof of ID, address, household bills, bank statements may be required.

– Multiple applications can be made if further support is needed, subject to funds still being available.

Overall, councils are advised to establish simple, fast and flexible application processes to get financial support to as many eligible households as possible. Clear guidance will be published explaining what costs could be covered in each area.

What costs can the fund help with?

The Household Support Fund is designed to support vulnerable households with essential daily living costs. The types of costs the fund can potentially help address include:

  • Food
  • Energy bills – gas, electricity, oil for heating
  • Water bills and sewerage charges
  • Clothing
  • Broadband and phone bills
  • Housing costs – rent, mortgage, repairs
  • Council tax payments
  • Boiler and heating unit repairs
  • Essential transport costs – public transport, taxis, vehicle costs
  • Essential white goods replacements
  • Medical costs, mobility aids and adaptations

The fund is focused on daily living necessities rather than luxuries. Councils will provide guidance on which costs could be covered in their areas. Bill payments may be made directly to utility companies rather than households in some cases.

How much could I get from the fund?

The amount of support any household can receive will depend on the local council’s scheme and assessment of individual circumstances. Most councils are still developing application processes and eligibility criteria.

Indicative examples of potential payment levels from the fund include:

– £100 towards food costs

– £200 credit towards an energy bill

– £150 towards school uniform costs

– £500 emergency housing cost grant

Some councils may provide one-off crisis grants while others will give regular instalments. Multiple payments can potentially be accessed over the duration of the scheme if funds allow and households remain in difficulty.

Total payments will be subject to the level of funding allocated to councils and demand in each area. Those in severe financial crisis may be able to get thousands of pounds to help get through the winter, but payments are likely to be capped.

How will the fund help tackle inequality?

An important aim of the Household Support Fund is to tackle inequality by targeting those most acutely impacted by the soaring living costs. Lower income households typically spend larger portions of their budgets on household essentials compared to higher earners.

Those on the lowest incomes or benefits have been worst affected by energy and food prices rising at up to 5 times the rate of wages and social security. They have little money left after paying bills, falling into debt, and needing to rely on food banks.

By providing means-tested financial support for daily necessities, the fund will hopefully narrow the inequality gap and reduce the disproportionate strain on poorer households. This can improve health outcomes, educational access and social welfare for deprived groups.

However, critics argue a temporary £80 million fund is inadequate to fully address the vast scale of inequality. Far greater investment in welfare systems, wages and public services is required to make a lasting difference. The fund is also designed to complement, not replace government welfare programs and long-term financial support.

How does this fund differ from previous Covid-19 support?

The Scottish government previously provided around £375 million towards three Bridging Payments and two Hardship Funds during the Covid pandemic from 2020-2022. These aimed to assist low income households impacted by the crisis.

The new Household Support Fund shares some similarities but differs in the following ways:

– It is focused on rising living costs rather than Covid hardship

– £80 million is lower than previous pandemic funding

– It runs until March 2023 rather than as one-off payments

– Councils have more flexibility on eligibility and how funding is distributed

– There is no limit that 50% must be allocated to families with children

– Applicants do not have to be on benefits or Council Tax Reduction to qualify

So while the new fund is building on previous hardship schemes, it takes into account the different challenges caused by soaring inflation and energy bills. The temporary expanded support acknowledges the current crisis facing households across Scotland.

When will the fund launch and finish?

The Scottish government announced the £80 million Household Support Fund in September 2022. The funding covers the period from October 1st 2022 through to March 31st 2023.

Local councils are currently designing their schemes, eligibility criteria and application processes. Most aim to open applications in late October or November 2022.

Councils will promote launch dates locally and on their websites. The deadline for applications will depend on demand and funds remaining. Most schemes are likely to operate on a first-come, first-served basis.

If further cost pressures remain in April 2023, the Scottish government may consider extending the fund or establishing a similar successor scheme. Discussions around additional UK-wide fiscal measures to help households are also ongoing.

How can I apply to the fund?

Applications for the Household Support Fund will be run by individual local councils rather than centrally. When schemes launch, people should apply directly through their council using the advertised process.

Key steps to receive funding will likely include:

– Check if you meet the eligibility criteria

– Find out how to apply in your council area through helplines or websites

– Gather evidence of income, household costs and financial difficulties

– Complete the application form or process and provide supporting documents

– Wait for decision on whether funding has been granted and how much

– Funds may be paid into your bank account or as vouchers

Ensure you provide all requested details accurately. Applications will bemeans tested and assessed on need. Find out when the scheme launches in your area and act fast before funds are exhausted.

Where can I get help with the application?

Applying to the Household Support Fund may involve filling in detailed forms and gathering lots of financial evidence. This could be challenging for some people to complete alone.

Help accessing and applying to the fund is available from:

– Your local council’s welfare team and helplines

– Citizens Advice Bureau advice services

– Scottish welfare rights organisations

– Your housing association or social landlord

– Local food banks and community organisations

– Money advice services like StepChange or Christians Against Poverty

– Family, friends, neighbours or support workers

Don’t struggle alone. Reach out to use the free help available to ensure your application is completed properly and has the best chance of success.

When will I find out if my application is successful?

Councils will aim to determine eligibility for the Household Support Fund and issue payments to approved applicants as quickly as possible. However, demand is likely to be extremely high.

You should get an acknowledgement when you first apply. Councils will then confirm their decision and next steps by letter, email, phone or text within a few weeks.

If approved, funds may be paid within days into your bank account. Vouchers could also be issued or bills credited even sooner.

If your application is rejected, the letter should explain why and if you can reapply. Keep chasing politely if you have heard nothing after 4 weeks from applying. Unfortunately long delays are possible with high volumes of applications.

Where can I get further information?

Further details on the Household Support Fund in your area will be published on your council’s website and promoted locally as application schemes open.

In the meantime, the following resources provide more information:

– GOV.SCOT guidance:

– EntitledTo benefits calculator:

– Turn2Us grant search:

– Society of St. Vincent de Paul:

– CHECK charity finders:

Look out for updates in your local area and from national charities as this vital scheme aims to help those struggling most with rising costs this winter.

What other help is available?

The Household Support Fund provides short-term assistance. If you are still facing ongoing financial hardship, check eligibility for the following:

  • Universal Credit welfare benefits
  • Pension credit
  • Disability living allowance
  • Council tax reduction
  • Payment breaks on loans and bills
  • Fuel vouchers and discounts
  • Free school meals
  • Low-income railcards and bus passes
  • Grants from charities
  • Local food banks and soup kitchens
  • Debt management plans

Also try to cut costs, switch energy providers, negotiate deals with lenders, and maximize your income. Financial advice and support is available.

Will the fund meet the increased need?

With living costs spiraling, the £80 million Household Support Fund aims to help alleviate pressure on lower income Scottish households. However, there are concerns over whether this level of funding can adequately meet the unprecedented levels of need.

Various factors suggest the fund risks being overwhelmed:

– Estimates suggest over 500,000 Scottish households now living in poverty

– Typical energy bills rising to over £3500 this winter

– Food inflation at 14%

– Private rents rising amid high demand

With such high numbers impacted, the fund may struggle to meet demand. If councils distribute £500 to every household the fund would help just 160,000 homes – a third of those in poverty.

Success will depend on efficiently targeting resources at those facing the very worst hardship. Even then tough decisions will have to be made with limited resources. Calling for increased UK government action, critics argue the Household Support Fund is simply not enough to protect all those in need.

How else is the Scottish Government helping?

Alongside the £80m Household Support Fund, the Scottish Government has unveiled a package of wider measures to help households through the cost crisis this winter:

  • £150 Council Tax rebate for households in bands A to D
  • £200 Winter Heating Payment for low income households
  • £10 Winter Heating Payment to households with a disability benefit recipient
  • £130.50 – £140.50 per week Scottish Child Payment for eligible families
  • £520 Child Winter Heating Assistance for families getting school meals
  • £400 Fuel Insecurity Fund for interest-free loans
  • 2.85% cap on rent rises for private and social tenants

The government has also provided extra funding for pedestrian bus services, active travel, energy efficiency, and skills training.

However, critics say the response still falls well short of matching the scale of the crisis. There are widespread calls on the Scottish and UK governments to freeze energy prices, provide more direct support with bills, raise benefits, scrap VAT on fuel bills and impose a larger windfall tax on energy giants.


The new £80 million Household Support Fund aims to provide vital assistance to Scottish households worst impacted by soaring inflation and energy costs this winter. The money will be distributed through local councils to help those struggling most with essential daily costs like food, bills and housing.

Eligibility criteria is still being finalized by councils, but is set to target low income households not already receiving welfare support or pension credits. Multiple payments can potentially help address different costs like food, bills and school uniforms.

While the fund will bring relief for many, concerns remain over whether it can adequately meet unprecedented levels of poverty and financial hardship. Critics argue more radical government intervention is required as bills outstrip incomes across the country.

Nonetheless, the Household Support Fund provides some additional help for vulnerable Scots facing impossible choices this winter. Applying as soon as schemes launch in your local area is advised, as funds may soon run dry.