Applications Open to Low-Income Households for Financial Support

  • Applications are now open for financial support for low-income households in Reading as part of the latest local Household Support Fund scheme
  • Cost-of-living vouchers will follow in the summer for families in receipt of free school meals and care leavers

APPLICATIONS are now open for financial support from the Council for low-income households in Reading who may be struggling to make ends meet during the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

The support is being offered as part of the latest tranche of Reading’s local Household Support Fund (HSF) scheme.

For the purposes of the local scheme, households in receipt of means tested benefits, or other related state benefits (such as a Personal Independence Payment), are automatically assumed to have a low income.  Support will be prioritised to households who fall into one or more of the following categories: 

  • Residents above state pension age
  • Carers
  • Care leavers
  • People with disabilities
  • Families with children receiving Pupil Premium
  • People living alone 
  • Residents with unsecure employment 
  • Large households 
  • People with energy inefficient homes 
  • Households with prepayment energy meters 
  • Residents in private rented accommodation 
  • Victims of crime 
  • Veterans
  • Residents with English as a second language 
  • Residents with ethnically diverse heritage  

It is currently planned to provide the opportunity for residents to apply for support until the end of July, but this may change depending on the volume of applications received.

Reading’s HSF allocation for the period from 1 April 2024 to 30 September 2024, totals £1,130,648 and is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Later this year - between July and September - an estimated 3,850 Reading families in receipt of free school meals, and an additional 260 local care leavers, will also receive cost-of-living vouchers. The Council holds details of eligible residents and vouchers will be sent out by post at the time. When they arrive, households will have until the end of August 2024 to cash these vouchers at a Post Office.

The Council is additionally providing funding to voluntary sector organisations that support residents affected by the cost-of-living crisis who are also from low-income households. Specific funding is being co-ordinated by the Council’s Public Health team and is ringfenced to voluntary organisations who support low-income households to buy school uniforms ahead of the start of the new academic year in September 2024.

Liz Terry, the Council's Lead Councillor for Corporate Services and Resources, said:

“We know that the cost-of-living crisis has not gone away, and certainly locally many households are continuing to struggle with increased costs which are still rising, whether that is food shopping or energy bills.

“The application phase is now open for low-income households in Reading, and this is in addition to the 4,000-plus vouchers, that the Council will begin distributing over the summer months to families with children in receipt of free school meals, and local care leavers.

“We also felt it was also important that funding was directed to the local voluntary organisations who are often the first port of call out in our communities for low-income households. That process begins shortly and will include support, via the voluntary sector, for families who will struggle to afford new school uniforms at the start of the academic year. It is a good example of the sort of purchase that many of us would take for granted, but the reality for many households is very different.

“We hope that a combination of this support, and the usual vouchers, will go some way to providing some temporary respite for households. We also await clarification from Government about whether the HSF will extend beyond the end of September 30th this year, which is all it has committed to at this point.”

Every local council which receives the HSF grant can decide how best to use the allocation to support residents in their area.  As a result, support available to residents can differ depending on where people live. For example, Wokingham or West Berkshire residents will receive different support from their local authority, depending on how their local schemes have been designed.

Between April last year and March 2024, Reading Council helped 10,821 households with cost-of-living vouchers to eligible residents across the town. A total of 2,651 successful applications for financial support were also made from low-income households and vulnerable individuals to help them with the high cost-of-living.

Residents with questions about the support that Reading Borough Council is providing to people through HSF, or who want to apply for financial support, should visit

Residents who require additional advice or help with managing during the cost-of-living crisis, can go to

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