Cost of living advice
Increases to cost of living and how you can get support
Across the country prices are going up – we’re all feeling it, particularly when it comes to food and energy.
Energy price increases
Most energy suppliers raised their prices by about 54% in April, in line with the change to the change to the price cap which sets a limit on what domestic energy suppliers can charge per energy unit. This means households that were paying £1,200 per year for energy before would now expect an annual bill of £1,824 if their usage stayed the same.
The price cap is set to change again in October (the energy regulator Ofgem is predicting a rise of another 42%), so there are likely to be more increases to fuel prices later this year.
The price cap only applies to domestic energy supply – households with their own individual meters – homes in blocks with communal heating are considered to be on commercial supply contracts. This means there’s no upper limit on the increases in fuel prices. However, it’s important to note that commercial supply is usually a cheaper unit price than domestic so while there is likely to be an increase, it will come from a lower base level.
There is some support available through government programmes:
Help for everyone
These schemes are widely available and you don’t need to do anything to benefit – they’ll be applied automatically.
Energy bills support scheme
This is a £400 grant from the government that all households with a domestic electricity supply will receive. You don’t need to apply for it, your energy company will apply it to your bills in the autumn.
Some of the homes we manage do not have a domestic electricity supply and receive all their heat and power on a communal bill. The government has confirmed this support will be extended to people on communal bills but have not yet clarified how this will be administered.
Council tax rebate
If you’re in council tax bands A to D, you will be eligible for a one off payment of £150. This will come to you directly from the council, you don’t have to apply.
If you’re not in bands A to D, you can apply to the council for help.
Help for people on lower incomes
If your household has a lower income level, for example if your of pensionable age, or are eligible for means tested benefits, there is some extra support available as well as the above items:
Warm home discount
If you get guarantee credit element of pension credit, or some other means tested benefits you may be eligible for a one-off discount of £150 from your energy supplier between October and March.
Your energy company will make decisions as to who is eligible for the discount. You should contact them if you think you’re eligible to make sure they are aware of your claim.
Winter fuel payment
If you are of state pension age and under 80 years of age you will receive a one-off payment of £200 per household. If you are over 80 the payment is £300.
You do not have to do anything to get this payment.
Household support fund
The government has set aside a billion pounds in a fund for people who need extra assistance with essentials like food, energy and clothing. To access the fund you need to apply directly to your local council.
Help from Southern Housing Group
At Southern Housing Group, we are working hard to provide support for residents who need it and are faced with tough decisions.
Contact Southern 360 for support with income maximisation and welfare benefits. We also have some funding that you might be eligible for to help you in the short term. You can also check out our helpful UC Tool if you need to apply for Universal Credit and check your benefit entitlements.
Help from other sources
Everyone’s situation will be different but if you are struggling with day to day living costs, there are some options you could explore and we have listed them below.
- Contact your energy provider to ask about social tariffs and talk to them about your bills and payments to see if they can help reduce your costs. You may also be eligible for specific advice and support with your energy costs and money saving ideas visit Connect for Help.
- Contact your water provider to see if you are eligible for a social tariff – you may be able to reduce your costs
- Contact your Broadband provider to see if they have a social tariff that you could switch to – you may be able to reduce your costs
- Check out Martin Lewis the Money Saving Expert for a range of ways to save money – his latest article shows 90 ways to survive the cost of living crisis
- Check whether you may be eligible for any other grants or financial assistance by looking at the Turn2Us website
- If you need the support of a Foodbank, you can find your nearest one here by checking the Trussell Trust website. It’s worth also doing an internet search for your nearest foodbank as you may have ones operated by other charities that won’t appear on the Trussell Trust website.