- Posted by: Valerie Vaz MP
- Category: News
I tabled a Written Parliamentary Question (WPQ) to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on the use of the Household Support Fund for helping those struggling to afford essential items, energy and water bills:
“To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of the number of people using the Household Support Fund to pay off debts to energy companies; and what assessment he has made of trends in the level of people using the Household Support Fund to pay off those debts.”
The Minister responded:
“The Household Support Fund is a discretionary scheme run by Upper Tier Local Authorities in England to provide support to the most vulnerable households. The Household Support Fund is primarily used to meet immediate need including energy and water bills, food, as well as wider related essentials. It is for Local Authorities to decide how they distribute their funding within the parameters of the scheme’s guidance and grant determination.
The Government collects high level data on the broad categories of the support provided by the scheme in order to ensure that funded activities are within the scope of guidance. The Household Support Fund data does not provide sufficient information to allow for an analysis of trends in the level of people using the Household Support Fund to pay off debt to energy companies.”
As Local Authorities are the distributor of the housing support funding, they should be able to specify to the energy companies that the funds should be used appropriately to pay off the current bills and not the arrears.