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8 November 2020

Government announces a new £170m Covid Winter Grant Scheme and extends the Holiday Activities and Food programme to cover Easter, summer and Christmas in 2021

Summary

The government announces a new ring-fenced £170m Covid Winter Grant Scheme to 'support children, families and the most vulnerable over winter'. The scheme will be run by councils in England, with funding made available from early December 2020 and covering the period until the end of March 2021. At least 80% will be earmarked for support with food and bills. The press release states that 'councils understand which groups need support, and are best placed to ensure appropriate holiday support is provided – which is why they will distribute the funds, rather than schools, who will continue providing meals for disadvantaged children during term time'.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will provide the grant scheme funding to county councils and unitary authorities (including metropolitan councils and London boroughs). Funding will be dispersed according to the population of each authority, weighted by a function of the English Index of Multiple Deprivation. The grant will be used to support with the cost of food, energy and water bills, and other associated costs.

The Holiday Activities and Food programme will also be expanded to cover Easter, Summer and Christmas in 2021, and will cost £220m. The press release also states that Healthy Start payments will increase from £3.10 to £4.25 a week from April 2021.

Source(s)

Gov.uk press release

Gov.uk guidance