Help With the Cost of Living

July 2, 2024

We understand that it is a difficult time, and many are struggling financially. As the cost of living increases, it is becoming more difficult to afford even the essentials. Here are some examples of ways to help save your money.

Government schemes to help save on your bills

The government have several different schemes available, where they can help fun some of your bills, depending on your circumstances. Here are some examples of government grants that you may meet the criteria for:

  • Council Tax Reduction

Depending on the area you live in, if you’re on a low income or what benefits you are on you could receive a reduced rate for your council tax.

  • Household support fund

This payment is applicable to those who are considered most in need due to the rising cost of food, gas, electric and water bills. The specific requirements to evaluate if you could receive this payment differ for each local council.

Saving on heating bills
  • The energy company obligation

This is available to those who live in social housing or claim certain benefits and live in private housing with the purpose of funding insulation work for your home or replacing/repairing your boiler.

  • Great British insulation scheme

This scheme could fully or partially fund for new insulation in your home, which in turn reduces your home’s energy bills. You could qualify for this if your home has an energy performance certificate of D to G and your Council Tax band is A to D. This could fund for cavity wall insulation, loft insulation, underfloor insulation and many more.

  • Warm home discount

The government could grant you a one-off payment of £150 to help with the cost of energy bills over winter and is usually added as credit to your electricity bill. You will be entitled to this payment if you or your partner receive the Guarantee Credit part of Pension Credit, or if you are on certain qualifying benefits and have higher energy costs.

  • Home upgrade grant

You could be eligible for this grant if you are a homeowner who does not use a gas boiler as your main heating system (depending on your household income). This grant provides funding for home improvements such as electric radiators, air source heat pumps or insulation. Your local council will arrange a home survey to see how your home could be made more energy efficient, which your council will organise and pay for once everything is agreed with you.

Non-government schemes

There are also other schemes from other companies that can help you save on your bills, such as:

  • Social tariff scheme

These are available for those who are on a low income and can help to reduce your water bills. Eligibility differs depending on the water company that you use.

  • Free NHS prescriptions, dental treatments and eye tests

Depending on your age, income, where you live, what benefits you receive, if you’re pregnant or if you have a medical condition, you could receive discounted or free NHS treatments.

Energy saving tips

There are many simple things that you can do to cut down on your energy bills. These changes might not be huge, but when carried out consistently they can make a huge difference, such as:

  • Turning off the lights after you leave a room.
  • Replacing the bulbs you currently use for more efficient ones (for example, LED bulbs use less energy than traditional lightbulbs).
  • Take showers instead of baths.
  • Fix any dripping taps.
  • Switch off any appliances when they are no longer being used.
  • Insulate your home or invest in double glazed windows.
  • Try to only heat the rooms that you use most and to a stable temperature.
  • Keep radiators clear so that the heat can circulate around the room.
  • Only use the amount of water that you need (for example, if you’re boiling the kettle, only boil the amount of water that you need).

Issues with debt

If you are regularly worrying about your debt and are struggling to pay it off, it is important to reach out for help and guidance. There are several organisations that can offer free support and advice on how to manage your debt.

  • Contact your local Age UK and they can direct you to organisations that can help.
  • Citizens Advice offers support, either face-to-face, over the phone or email. https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/debt-and-money/
  • Debt Advice Foundation has a free helpline which you can reach by calling 0800 043 40 50.
  • National Debtline offers advice by calling 0808 808 4000 and you can receive a free self-help information pack.
  • Shelter offers advice related to housing and homelessness, managing debt while dealing with rent/mortgage payments and dealing with eviction or repossession. https://england.shelter.org.uk/get_help

We hope this information and relevant links are useful and can help you to improve your financial concerns.

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