Cost of Living Support

Many of your service users may turn to you for advice and support over the next few months around how to cope with Cost of Living Increases.  This guide offers points of contact you can use so that you are better able and informed to talk about this issue with your community and also includes links that you can share to help people access the support they need.

Money Saving Expert, Martin Lewis, has produced a useful Survival Guide that explains the effects on living costs for many and possible means of support:

Over the coming months we will be promoting local groups offering support to people who are struggling and how to access this support for your community.  Please look out for up-and-coming Training Webinars and Network Events to support you to support your community, these will be promoted via our enews and on our Website.

The Big Issue have some excellent support pages, here is an example of the support they signpost people to:

Where can I get help if I’m struggling? 

If you’re struggling with increased costs, there are many different ways you can seek help.

  • The government is also offering £200 loans for energy bills in October which will be paid back on subsequent bills.
  • Water suppliers have schemes available to help customers pay their bills, so if you are struggling in this instance, this should be your first port of call. 
  • For rent, you may be able to get help through claiming universal credit, which has now replaced housing benefit. 
  • If you already claim benefits, and they don’t cover your housing costs, you may be able to get a discretionary housing payment through your local authority, which can help to cover the shortfall.
  • Council tax relief is also available via your local authority if you’re struggling to pay. Apply for council tax reduction through the government’s website.
  • If you pay your bill by direct debit and are in council tax bands A-D, you should get an automatic rebate in April. If you pay another way, you should check with your local authority to check how you can claim. 
  • Your local council may also be able to help you if you’re struggling to buy essentials like food – and you don’t necessarily need to be in receipt of benefits to get help.
  • Alternatively, you could seek help from a food bank if you’re having a hard time paying for meals. The Trussell Trust – the largest UK food bank organisation – has a list of food banks you can access on its website.
  • Citizens Advice has a comprehensive guide on what to do if you’re struggling with living costs of all kinds, and can help signpost you to services which can help.
  • The next step is to check what grants you’re eligible for. Turn2us has a grants search and there are other charities that might have grant schemes to help you.

Other Support Available

  • Advice from Which on – Energy/Food/Saving on Essentials:
  • National On-line Debt Support Charity StepChange, they also have an Emergency Funding page:
  • MoneyHelper set up a Money Navigator tool during the pandemic to help those struggling financially on how to manage their money:
  • Grants & Benefits information to help with rising energy costs from Citizens Advice and support to reduce Cost of Living expenses: