MORE than £5million has been given to Devon County Council to help households struggling to pay bills. 

The authority announced the government funding as Citizens Advice reported that average energy costs are as high as last winter for many homes despite energy prices falling this month.

Devon County Council confirmed the funding to help households with bills for energy, food, water, and other essential items.

This will be the fifth round of Household Support Funding received from the Department for Work and Pensions, to run between April and September 2024.  It will take Devon’s total level of Household Support Funding received so far to just over £30 million.

The funding is to support households in most need, but specifically those that may not be eligible for other support that is already available from the government.

Plans must be submitted to the Department of Work and Pensions by mid May, setting out how DCC, with district councils and voluntary and community partners, will make the latest funding available.

Plans are expected to include a funding allocation to specifically support families in receipt of Free School Meals, to provide food vouchers that can be exchanged at supermarkets to buy food during school holidays. 

Some funding will also go to provide financial support for food, energy and other essentials to eligible low income households with children and young people, through the County Council’s Early Help service

Team Devon’s district, city and borough councils will plan to continue helping households that are in greatest financial need and struggling to pay for food, energy and other related essentials. 

Citizens Advice Devon will continue to receive funding to support households that are using pre-payment and credit meters, to help with energy costs.

Devon Community Foundation will deploy funds to voluntary and community organisations that support specific groups who may struggle to access the help and support they need.

Councillor Roger Croad, Cabinet Member responsible for public health and communities, said: ‘With our partners, we are doing what we can to help families and households through these difficult times.’