Struggling Northumberland families to get more support with food and utility bills

Families in Northumberland are to receive extra support with food and key utility bills.

The government’s Covid Local Support Grant, first introduced in December 2020, has been extended through to September bringing it in line with the end date for furlough and other Covid-related support.

This is beyond the planned ending of restrictions, to help families get back on their feet as the economy recovers and the vaccine rollout continues.

Across the country, families have been benefiting from the scheme in a number of ways, with support designed by local councils to make sure the needs of the community are met. Since beginning of the scheme, support has included food vouchers and help with heating costs over the winter months.

County Hall in Morpeth.

With a new round of funding, councils will be able to continue this support and adapt their offer to suit the needs of families. Those who are in need of support should contact their council to find out how they can access it and what support will be available over the coming months.

Northumberland will receive £934,132 from this funding, in addition to the £1.57m previously received bringing the investment to a total of £2.5m.

To date, the grant has distributed more than £15.3m to North East regional councils since it was introduced in December 2020 to create new programmes of support tailored to people’s needs in their area. The funding is ring-fenced so that 80% is used to support families with bills for food, key utilities and other essentials.

Minister for Welfare Delivery Will Quince said: “This grant is ensuring that thousands of families get help with food and essential utility bills as we move back towards normality.

“The new funding extends this lifeline to those most in need in the coming months as we continue to help families back on their feet, including supporting people back into work through our multi-billion pound Plan for Jobs.”

Across England, the total new funding is £160m, bringing the overall value of the support since December 2020 to £429.1m. Devolved administrations have received appropriate equivalent funding.

Between December 2020 and mid-April, almost 6.3 million payments went to vulnerable households in England. Across England 92% of funding has been provided to families with children, and 94% has been used to support households with food or utility bills.