A further £24.2 million to help those most in need with the cost of essentials has been allocated to councils across the North East.

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) is awarding the money through an extension to its Household Support Fund from April 1 – which councils use to support vulnerable residents with the cost of essentials including food, energy bills, and emergency costs like new boilers.

It means people across the region will have received £145.2 million of Household Support Fund investment since it launched in October 2021.

The Fund, totalling £2.5 billion since its inception, is part of the unprecedented £108 billion cost of living support package which has prevented 1.3 million people from falling into poverty.

This extension comes as the economy is turning a corner, with inflation more than halved, tax cuts worth an average of £900 for 29 million hardworking people, and a huge boost to the National Living Wage coming into effect from today.

Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride said: “We’ve protected vulnerable people from the cost of living pressures with the biggest support package in Europe, preventing 1.3 million people falling into poverty.

“Extending the Household Support Fund means people in the North East can access help with essentials, as we grow the economy by making work pay - cutting taxes by £900 for the average worker, raising the National Living Wage after seven successive months of real wage growth, and driving down inflation.”

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Direct support such as the Household Support Fund comes on top of government plans to help over a million long-term unemployed, sick and disabled people back into the world of work.

The £2.5 billion Back to Work plan will help break down barriers to work, while the Chance to Work Guarantee will give people the opportunity to try work without risk of losing any benefit entitlement.

The Fund is being extended for a fifth time with £421 million for local authorities across England. £79 million is being allocated to the devolved administrations as a result of the Barnett Formula.

The move comes alongside a raft of Government measures kicking in today that will see millions of people better off, including:

  • National Living Wage increase to £11.44 an hour for people aged 21 and over.
  • Increase in Local Housing Allowance – worth £800 a year for 1.6 million eligible households.
  • 15 hours free childcare for every eligible working parent in the UK
  • New, lower Energy Price Cap as energy bills fall again.