Wiltshire households facing soaring bills will be supported by a £5.4m government scheme.  

Those struggling the most to to buy food, pay essential utility bills, or meet other essential living costs will be handed funds from the pot provided by the Department for Work and Pensions.  

Similar grants have been used to help provide free school meals to eligible families during school holidays as well as support to households on a low income where the residents are over 65 years of age. 

Wiltshire Council will submit its delivery plan of the fund to the DWP by mid-May.  

The funding was discussed by Wiltshire Council at a cabinet meeting on March 28.  

There was some concern raised at the meeting about how people who are difficult to contact but seriously struggling will be reached by the council.

Councillor Ian Thorn said: “We’ve got many residents that struggle frankly to engage through the internet and smart phones and so on. So clearly a large number of the people that would benefit are not plugged into the system."

Cabinet member for public health Ian Blair-Pilling responded and said: “I entirely take your point. We can’t just slap it on a website and expect people to get at it. But we have considerable experience in getting around this and reaching the difficult to reach people.”

A council officer added: “Across the council every directorate has a way of going into communities and talking to residents so this absolutely will not just be on a website.”

Council leader Richard Clewer said: “The Household Support Fund is proving to be vital to those who need it most at this continuing challenging time and we are working hard to ensure it gets to the right people.  

“We are currently in the middle of finalising our plans for the next phase of the fund and as soon as we’ve confirmed all the details we will engage with our partners to work with us to help us deliver it. 

“We can assure people that we’ll allocate this funding as quickly as we can and thank people for their patience while we get everything arranged.” 

Information about the next phase of the Household Support Fund will be available here. Wiltshire Council also has a range of cost-of-living advice and support, and this can be found here.