Many people are concerned about the rising cost of living and some may be in need of support at this particularly difficult time. Although many of the main forces driving inflation are global in nature – such as surging oil and gas prices due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the disruption to global supply chains following Covid – steps are being taken by the Government to ease pressures on households, such as the energy price cap and grants that have been distributed through the council tax bill.
Below is a summary of some of measures that have been taken and some further links on support available locally.
Difficulty with energy bills?
Energy Price Guarantee
From 1st October, a new ‘Energy Price Guarantee’ will reduce and then cap the unit cost of electricity and gas for UK households. This is automatic and applies to all households. This is in addition to the £400 energy bills discount for all households. For more information, click here.
Energy Bills Support Scheme
£400 off energy bills for households in Great Britain from October 2022. This automatic, non-repayable discount will be applied in six instalments between October 2022 and March 2023 to help households through winter.
There is no need to apply for the scheme and you will not be asked for your bank details. For more information, click here.
Warm homes discount
You could get £150 off your electricity bill for winter 2022 to 2023 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme. The money is not paid to you - it’s a one-off discount on your electricity bill, between October 2022 and March 2023. For more information on how to apply, click here.
Cold weather discount
You may get a Cold Weather Payment if you’re getting certain benefits or Support for Mortgage Interest. For more information on how to apply, click here.
Winter fuel payments
If you were born on or before 25 September 1956 you could get between £250 and £600 to help you pay your heating bills. This is known as a ‘Winter Fuel Payment’. For more information on how to apply, click here.
If you wish, you could have your energy bill paid directly out of any benefits you may claim: This could also help you pay back any debt to the provider. For more information on how to apply, click here.
Boiler upgrade scheme
The government is providing grants to encourage property owners to install low carbon heating systems such as heat pumps, through the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS). These grants can help property owners overcome the upfront cost of low carbon heating technologies. For more information click here.
KCC energy saving advice
Kent County Council have complied a useful guide on how to improve energy efficiency and save money on your bills, click here to watch.
Cost of living payments
You may be able to get a payment to help with the cost of living if you’re getting certain benefits or tax credits. If you’re eligible, you’ll be paid automatically in the same way you usually get your benefit or tax credits. This includes if you’re found to be eligible for a Cost of Living Payment or a Disability Cost of Living Payment at a later date.
You could get up to 3 different types of payment depending on your circumstances on a particular date or during a particular period:
- Cost of Living Payment, if you get a qualifying low income benefit or tax credits
- Disability Cost of Living Payment, if you get a qualifying disability benefit
- Pensioner Cost of Living Payment, if you’re entitled to a Winter Fuel Payment for winter 2022 to 2023
For more information on these schemes, click here.
Cost of childcare
There are a number of sources of help available to support families with childcare during this difficult time.
You can get up to £500 every 3 months (up to £2,000 a year) for each of your children to help with the costs of childcare. This goes up to £1,000 every 3 months if a child is disabled (up to £4,000 a year). For more information, click here.
15/30 hours free childcare
Eligible working families in England with 3 and 4 year old children can receive 30 hours of free childcare a week. Families in England who have 2 year old children and are on certain benefits can get 15 hours of free childcare a week.
For more information, click here.
You can claim Child Benefit if you’re responsible for bringing up a child who is:
- under 16
- under 20 if they stay in approved education or training
Only one person can get Child Benefit for a child.
It’s paid every 4 weeks and there’s no limit to how many children you can claim for. For more information click here.
Claim back childcare costs
You may be able to claim back up to 85% of your childcare costs if you’re eligible for Universal Credit, with up to £646 back each month for one child or £1,108 for 2 or more children. For more information, click here.
Apply for free school meals
Free school meals are available to pupils in England if parents get certain benefits. For more information, click here.
Claim Healthy Start vouchers
If you’re more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4, you may be able to get help to buy healthy food and milk. For more information, click here.
Help with maternity costs
You could claim a one-off payment of £500 to help towards the costs of having a child. For more information, click here.
50% off travel if you’re on Universal Credit
You may be eligible for a Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card if you’re on Universal Credit. For more information, click here.
Save 1/3rd on rail journeys
You can get up to a third off train fares with a railcard in Great Britain, saving up to £142 a year on average. For more information, click here.
In England you can get a bus pass for free travel when you reach the State Pension age. Click here.
If you’re disabled then you may be eligible for a disabled person’s pass if you live in England. Click here.
Extra money available for carers
You could get £69.70 a week if you care for someone for at least 35 hours a week and they get certain benefits. You do not have to be related to, or live with, the person you care for. For more information, click here.
Get help if you cannot pay your tax bill
Contact HMRC as soon as possible if you cannot pay your tax bill. We’re here to help, and you may be able to pay what you owe in instalments, depending on your circumstances and what you can afford. For more information, click here.
A large number of supermarkets, retailers, utilities and entertainment firms are offering discounts and deals to help customers with their cost of living.
For a list of the current offers available, click here.