Published: Friday, 8th March 2024

The Royal Borough of Greenwich acknowledges the government's efforts in the Spring Budget 2024, particularly the extension of the Household Support Fund.

We alongside dozens of other councils across the country and the 1,000+ residents that have signed our petition, have been campaigning to see this vital cost of living support extended. However, we express deep concern that the allocated six-month extension falls short of providing adequate security and stability for our most vulnerable residents. 

With no signs of the costs of essentials like food and housing going down we need long-term solutions. It is clear the Household Support Fund is providing targeted relief to our most vulnerable residents and will continue to call on the government to make this permanent.  

By committing to this funding long term councils can look to ways to administer this more efficiently, and effectively. This approach is in line with the governments ambition to invest in better more productive public services. 

The Council is battling ongoing challenges brought by the cost of living crisis, pandemic, years of austerity and the growing housing emergency, which continues to impact those already struggling to make ends meet.  

The Spring Budget fails to address the housing emergency which has left 1,900 households in Royal Greenwich in temporary accommodation, plus places financial strain on our resources with £18million per year spent on tackling homelessness.  

To ignite the issue, the government has cut Right to Buy receipts which are vital in helping build or buy new homes across Royal Greenwich. Not letting local authorities keep 100 per cent of the revenues from sales of council homes will further decimate budgets and put a barrier in reducing the wait on our Housing Register. This is likely to add further weight to the rising levels of households in temporary accommodation and force councils to keep replying on hotels and other insecure accommodation. 

London-wide, one in 50 people are homeless, without appropriate solutions, local authorities will be left on the brink of bankruptcy to ensure everyone has a safe and secure roof over their heads. 

We welcome investment in Children’s and Adult Social Care, however, the combined figure of funding for local authorities does not address the growing needs of both children and adults in our borough and across the UK, with more and more people requiring additional support.  

In 2023 alone it cost £127 million to support adults in our care, and £99million to support children and young people in the borough. Children are our future, and safeguarding and supporting them to reach their full potential is essential – the government should be doing more to address the increasing specialist support needed for declining mental health and wellbeing. While we’re pioneering a new initiative in our borough, by opening eight new Our Greenwich Support Hubs which helps protect the mental health and wellbeing of young people, this isn’t being addressed by central government on a national scale. 

In collaboration with local partners and stakeholders, we will continue to advocate for comprehensive and compassionate measures that address the diverse needs of our community, striving towards a future where no one is left behind.