Here's what you should do if you're struggling to pay your bills

Brits are being encouraged to contact their local council to find out how they can help with the cost of living crisis.

struggling to pay bills local council England cost of living crisis help
© Colin Watts / UNSPLASH
struggling to pay bills local council England cost of living crisis help

As winter draws closer and the UK prepares for Storm Babet, the Government is encouraging Brits who are struggling to pay their bills to ask for help. We are currently in household support awareness week, which runs from 16 to 22 October, and local councils are ready to hear from you if you are having difficulty covering costs.

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The DWP’s Household Support Fund was launched in October 2021 and has since issued 26 million awards to vulnerable households in the UK. states that:

The Government has invested over £2 billion into the fund over the last two years, with almost £800 million already paid to households with children to ease the cost of living between October 2021 and March 2023.

Now, councils in England are encouraging people in need to reach out for extra financial help.

Who can ask for help?

The fund is designed to help people who are struggling to pay for essentials such as heating and water bills, food, hygiene products or warm clothes. However, you don’t necessarily need to be receiving benefits already to get help from your council.

Eligibility criteria may vary between different councils, as will the application process. Some councils tend to share out money through local associations and charities. To find your local authority, enter your postcode on the Government’s ‘Find your local council’ page.

How councils are using their share of the funding

According to

Councils are using their allocation in many innovative ways to support local people. In Buckinghamshire, a warm box scheme will ensure people can stay warm in the colder weather, in Kent essential white goods and furniture is financed for those who can’t afford it, and in Devon, the District Council Hardship Fund is providing targeted support for the most in need.

This support comes on top of other schemes designed to help people cope with costs over the upcoming months. Up to £900 in direct cost of living payments will be paid out in installments for those on means-tested benefits by Spring 2024.

There’s also the Warm Home Discount, which will see an automatic one-off £150 payment help eligible people in England, Scotland and Wales pay their energy bills.

Moreover, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Mel Stride MP, said that this investment in helping Britain’s most vulnerable households is not just short-term:

And alongside this unprecedented cost of living support, we’re taking the long-term decisions to reform the welfare system to help thousands more people benefit from the income boost provided by employment.

Government and Amazon’s Alexa collaborate

The Government has also teamed up with Amazon to launch a free public information campaign. According to The Standard, if you ask Alexa how to save money on your energy bill, you will receive the Government’s latest advice. If you don’t have a device that uses Alexa, you can download the free Alexa app which works just as effectively.

Read more:

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Sources used:

The Standard: Households struggling with costs encouraged to speak to their council Families in need encouraged to check for local cost-of-living support as 26 million awards already made

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