Families on lower incomes are to get more cash help from Portsmouth City Council.

Eligible families will get a total of £150 in supermarket vouchers, per child, by the end of 2023. They will get a £70 voucher this summer, and an £80 voucher towards the end of the year.

As with previous voucher schemes, this one is paid for by the government’s latest allocation of household support funding, which is given to councils to distribute according to local circumstances.

This time round, the council is working to make vouchers available to even more lower-income families.

Families with children in years R to 11 will be given their vouchers automatically, by their schools, and this will also include children who are due to start school in September. There is no need to apply for a voucher if a child is on the school register. To qualify for a voucher, a child needs to have been registered for benefits-related free school meals before 30 June.

Other lower-income families, with children not of school age, will need to apply for vouchers online. Applications are expected to open in August, and eligibility details will be announced soon, along with information on how to apply. In the meantime, families can register their interest now.

Cllr Suzy Horton, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education, said: “The cost of living crisis is still hitting local families hard and I’m really pleased that we can continue to provide support. We know that every penny counts, and I’m sure these vouchers will make a difference.

“We’re working hard to get this support to the largest number of families as quickly as we can. Once schools have sent out vouchers to families who qualify automatically, we will be asking other families to apply to us so they can benefit from vouchers too.”

The council is also using the government funding to give more people access to help to make their home warmer via Switched on Portsmouth.

The council is also providing funding for local organisations that are already supporting people with the cost of living, including foodbanks and community pantries.

More information on the help available for local residents can be found on our household support fund page.

To find more cost of living advice and help, residents can go to the council’s online cost of living hub – a one-stop source of local advice and support. It has information on topics including food, housing, energy bills, warm spaces, saving money and wellbeing. If residents need to talk to someone, they can call 023 9284 1047 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Thursday or 9am to 4.30pm Friday.