We know many people are worried about the rising cost of energy bills, fuel and food, the cost of living crisis is affecting many of us.

Whatever your worries may be, we've put together some helpful information.

You can also find further help and advice from Leicestershire County Council

Financial support

From 1 October, a new ‘Energy Price Guarantee’ will mean a typical UK household will now pay up to an average £2,500 a year on their energy bill for the next two years. This is automatic and applies to all households.

Council tax energy rebate - Most households in council tax bands A to D qualified for a one-off paymant of £150 (this did not need to be paid back). Households receiving the money via Post Office vouchers must claim the money before 30 September 2022. If you're struggling to claim the money in person speak to us as we can discuss other options with you. Give us a call on 01530 454545 option 3 and then option 1.

Discretionary council tax energy rebate - For households that did not qualify for the main council tax energy rebate, we have introduced a discretionary scheme of £150. The scheme will use Post Office vouchers to allow households to claim the money directly from any Post Office branch. Look at eligibility criteria and how to claim.

Council tax discount and exemptions - Find out if you could receive a discount or exemption for council tax.

Council tax support - Learn more about ways we can help you pay your council tax bill.

Discretionary housing payments - Already getting Housing Benefit or the housing costs element of Universal Credit but it’s not enough to cover your rent? You may be eligible for extra help.

Energy Bills Support Scheme - Homes in England will receive a £400 discount on their electricity bill to help with rising costs from October 2022 onwards.

Ways to reduce your energy bills - Get advice and support for paying energy bills and grants that may be available for you.

Universal Credit - Universal Credit is a benefit for people of working age who are on a low income or out of work.

Housing Benefit - Housing Benefit has been replaced by Universal Credit. Those of pension age can claim housing benefit. Find out if you could be eligible.

Household support fund - Funding provided to local authorities to support families with children and individuals most in need. Applications were limited to one per household. Applications to the scheme closed on 26 September 2022.

Claiming all you're entitled to? If you're not sure if you're eligible for, you can use an independent, free and anonymous benefits calculator to check what you could be entitled to. More information on benefits calculators.

Cost of Living Payment - you may be able to get a payment to help with the cost of living if you’re getting certain benefits or tax credits.

Pensioner Cost of Living Payment - a £300 payment that will be paid with Winter Fuel Payments to all pensioner households across the UK.

Disability Cost of Living Payment - a £150 payment for those on an eligible UK disability benefit, in September.

Personal Independence Payment - help with extra living costs if you have a long-term physical or mental health condition or disability and find it difficult doing certain everyday tasks or getting around because of your condition.

Carers Allowance - financial support for those who care for someone at least 35 hours a week and they get certain benefits.

Clockwise Credit Union - a range of financial products and services for Leicestershire residents and communities.

Stop Loan Sharks - investigates and prosecutes illegal money lenders and provides support for borrowers in the UK.

Budget advice and debt support

Struggling to pay your rent or council tax?

If you're a council tenant and you're struggling to afford or pay your rent, or your council tax speak to us as soon as possible.

If you live in a housing association property or private rental let your landlord know you're struggling.

If you're struggling to pay your council tax account call customer services to discuss available options.

If you're struggling to pay your mortgage, let your mortgage provider know as soon as possible.

Useful links

Citizens Advice - the independent organisation, with a helpdesk in our offices in Coalville, offers free, confidential advice over the phone, in person and online about a range of subjects including debt and money, budgeting and the cost of living.

If you're struggling to pay your utility or energy bills then you should speak to your provider. Whether it's electricity, gas or water, providers will be able to discuss ways to pay. Suppliers must work with you to agree on a payment plan you can afford. They will also be able to let you know about any hardship funds that you may be eligible for. Read more about Ofgem's rules for energy providers

StepChange Debt Charity - providing free financial and debt advice

Breathing Space - A government scheme designed to give households 60 days of breathing space from debt. Officially known as the Debt Respite Scheme, if you pass the eligibility checks for the scheme,your creditors won't be able to add interest or fees to your debts, or take enforcement action, for 60 days. You'll still need to keep making your regular payments if you can afford to.

National Debtline - the charity provides free debt advice, including information on how to make the most of your money. 

Dealing with high gas and electricity bills

Help with living costs, food and essentials

Food banks

A number of food banks operate across the district. The Trussell Trust runs the Ashby and Coalville food banks that also visit surrounding areas. Contact our customer service team on 01530 454545 to discuss a referral, speak to Citizens Advice or your GP.

Community Fridges

The Coalville Children and Family Welfare Centre is home to the Coalville Community Fridge, which saves food from being wasted and provides it for free to anyone who needs or wants it. Find out more

Love food, hate waste

The Love Food Hate Waste programme from WRAP has lots of delicious recipes to use up leftovers, handy hints and tips for storing food to make it last longer, a portion calculator to help you cook the right amount, and information on what food labels mean.

The Leicestershire Waste Partnership runs Less Waste, to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill. The site includes advice on reducing food waste, making meals stretch and meal planning.

Plenty 2 Cook social supermarket

The MRC Plenty 2 Cook social supermarket runs in Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9am to 2.30pm offering cooking demonstrations, affordable food and a community cafe.

Budgeting Advance or Budgeting Loans

You may be able to claim a budgeting loan, or budgeting advance if you have been on certain benefits or Universal Credit for six months. The lowest amount you can borrow is £100 and the amount you get depends on your circumstances. You only have to pay back the amount you borrow, repayments are automatically taken from benefits.

Household items 

The district is home to a wealth of charity shops, including the Marlene Reid Centre (MRC) furniture warehouses. Many of these shops sell second-hand furniture and tested appliances to help furnish your home for less.

Leicestershire Welfare provision - we're working with Leicestershire County Council and Charity Link to provide essential homes to those in need including furniture, closing, kitchen appliances and medical equipment. Applications can be made through Citizens Advice or call the Goods Depot on 0116 2874971 or email info@thegoodsdepot.org.uk.

Cheaper mobile phone and internet services

Many mobile phone and broadband providers offer social tariffs to help people struggling to afford their services. 

School uniforms 

Many schools and some shops and organisations in the district offer uniform exchanges. You may also be able to find free or cheap second-hand uniforms being sold locally.

Work

Career advice and guidance 

Job fairs - We hold annual virtual and in-person job fairs to help people find new careers and to support businesses recruit to their roles. As well as our own fairs, we also support other organisations in and around the district to support people get back into work or to take on a new challenge.

Health and wellbeing

Our Health and Wellbeing team holds free online fitness sessions during the week on Facebook. The session can be watched live, or you can watch after and join in at any time. The team also shares details of free and cheap sport and activity information on its Instagram page.

Mental Health and Money Advice is a free online service providing help and support to people affected by poor mental health and money issues.

Housing and homelessness

If you're concerned about homelessness, our housing choices team are available to offer advice and support, find out more about how the team can help.

The team also provides help and advice to people who are sleeping rough, anyone leaving care and people suffering domestic abuse.

Last updated: Tue 27 September, 2022 @ 10:20