Haringey Council has come under fire for failing to spend almost £1million of government funding earmarked for helping people on low incomes.

The Support Fund, given to local councils by the Government, can be spent on helping people with their living expenses in financial emergencies.

£200,000 of the fund has been spent, leaving £800,000 unspent.

The council said that the fund was under-applied for, and that they are encouraging people to come forward by meeting with charities and voluntary groups to help them understand the application process.

A Haringey Council spokesman said: “Our support fund spending is broadly in line with other London boroughs, and we are working with independent researchers to understand why more people are not accessing the fund.

“We are committed to supporting families in Haringey hit by the rising cost of living, which is why we are exploring whether we can use unspent funding in future years – given the Government will cease funding the scheme in April 2015.”

Cllr Richard Wilson, Haringey Liberal Democrats Leader, said: “It is a scandal that Labour-run Haringey Council have failed to distribute almost £1m of Government cash intended for local families who are in desperate need or facing a crisis.

“This heartless incompetence makes a mockery of Haringey Labour's claims that they care about the most vulnerable residents of our borough.”

Labour councillor Joe Goldberg said: “It’s disgraceful that the Lib Dems are accusing us of neglecting the most vulnerable people in Haringey when their government scrapped this fund earlier this year. This is a prime example of Lib Dem hypocrisy at its worst and they should be ashamed.

“Money was only left over because their Government also changed how the fund was administered, making it harder for people to claim.

“Because we know how valuable this support can be, Haringey Labour are conducting an independent review into its demand and accessibility."