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Cost of living support payments: Work and Pensions Committee publishes Government response to report

25 January 2024

The Work and Pensions Committee has today published the Government response to its report that called on Ministers to consider widening the eligibility for any future cost of living support payments and for them to take account of the financial difficulties faced by disabled people and families.

The cost of living support payments report, which was published in November, concluded that payments had not been sufficient to meet the scale of the problem and offered only a short-term reprieve for many.

In its response, the Government rejects the recommendation that any future cost of living support payments should take account of family size and does not accept the Committee’s suggestion that anyone who misses a payment due to receiving regular earnings on a non-monthly basis should be issued the missed payment in the mop-up system.

The Government also rejects the Committee’s calls to clarify guidance to local authorities on Household Support Fund eligibility for people with no recourse to public funds, suggesting that the range of different circumstances is too broad to capture in guidance.

Chair comment

Rt Hon Sir Stephen Timms MP, Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, said:

“Despite the support payments making an important impact in helping those in need, some either did not receive sufficient help or missed out.

“It is also important that councils receive clear guidance on who is eligible for the Household Support Fund, which acts as a crucial safety net for those who do not qualify for payments or means tested benefits. The possibility that there will be no Household Support Fund in the next financial year is causing widespread alarm.”

Sir Stephen will be leading a Westminster Hall debate on the Household Support Fund on Wednesday next week at 4.30pm.

Further information

Image credit: Tyler Allicock/UK Parliament