Thousands will get free cash or vouchers from £421m scheme to help with bills

THOUSANDS of households can get free cash or vouchers under a new fund to help pay for soaring bills and essentials.The government has released new funding for local councils to dish out to hard-up residents under the Household Support Scheme.
1The Household Support Fund helps hard-up households with bills
The new £421million pot of cash will be available from October this year until March next year.
It will replace the current pot of funding which runs out today, September 30.
Each council gets a different portion of funding depending on the size of the catchment area, population, and need.
Birmingham will receive the largest slice of cash, worth £12.8million – in total since the scheme started, it has been given £38.4million.

Kent will get the second biggest award worth £11.1million, and Lancashire will get £9.7million.
Not every council will get as much funding as this.
The authority with has been given the least amount of cash is the Isles of Scilly, with £11,130.
While the City of London has received £63,080, and Rutland £157,371.
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Councils which have a higher percentage of struggling families than others will get more cash, because of the demand.
Tower Hamlets, the most deprived area in London, will get £3million, for example.
How do I apply?
Usually, you have to be in receipt of a council tax reduction, or prove you’re in financial difficulty, to get the help.
You’ll need to ask your local authority for more information on how to apply, because each one will have a different application process.
To see what help is on offer in your area, contact your local council – you can find out who yours is by using the authority tool checker.
The last round of funding saw some households apply for the help, while others received it automatically.
For example, households living in Warwickshire County Council’s catchment area received free energy bill vouchers automatically.
While other councils were offering direct cash payments worth up to £500 – like Bromsgrove and Redditch.
Other authorities were offering vouchers – like Coventry City Council.
Residents of Effingham, near Guildford, cou …