Helping you with the cost of living

Helping you with the cost of living

We know people are worried about rising costs and may be struggling. We've produced a summary of our services which may be able to help you during this difficult time. See what cost of living support you could be eligible for.

We'll update this page as more support and funding becomes available.

Help for Households is offering support to help you prepare for a challenging winter. Make sure you're ready by finding out what you're entitled to.

Many local councils are also offering additional services and funding.

You can also get advice on money, debt and benefits.

Energy bills

From 1st October, a new ‘Energy Price Guarantee’ will mean a typical UK household will pay no more than £2,500 a year on their energy bill for the next two years.

A £400 government grant for all domestic energy customers will appear as a credit from energy suppliers from October 2022 onwards. This is known as the Energy Bill Support Scheme.

Visit Energy Saving Trust to find out how you can save money on your energy bills.

Funding for energy efficient improvements

If you're an Essex homeowner with a household income below £30,000, you may be eligible for £10,000 funding to make energy efficient improvements to your home through the Sustainable Warmth Scheme.

Save money on heating oil

If you're not connected to the mains gas supply, you can still save money on heating oil by joining the Rural Community Council of Essex (RCCE) community oil buying scheme.

Get specialist advice

You could get help from a specialist energy advisor if you are finding it hard to pay energy bills or have debts with energy suppliers. They might be able to help you get a grant to improve your home's energy efficiency. Visit Warm Homes Essex or contact the Citizens Advice Warm Homes team on 0300 3033 789.

Childcare costs

You could get help with childcare costs, including:

You can also find out about more help with childcare costs which includes national funding you may be eligible for.

Household costs

If you need emergency money or food, you may be eligible for a budgeting loan or grants and charitable funds.

Council Tax

The government has introduced a £150 Council Tax rebate. If you live in an eligible property and you pay your council tax by direct debit, your local council will generally make the payment directly to your bank account. Payments started in April 2022. If you live in an eligible property and you do not pay your council tax by direct debit, contact your local council.

You could be eligible for a Council Tax Reduction if you’re on a low income or claim benefits. You can apply if you own your home, rent, are unemployed or working.

Funding towards household costs

Anyone living in Essex can apply for the Essex Essential Living Fund. You will need to answer questions about your income, earnings and savings. You also need to give proof of your financial situation.

The Essential Living Fund can help pay for:

  • furniture
  • household furnishings
  • white goods
  • clothing and footwear, including school uniforms in exceptional circumstances
  • general living expenses such as groceries, nappies, toiletries and money for pay-as-you-go fuel meters

You must live in Essex and apply for the fund through Southend Borough Council.

Package of support for pensioners

Pensioners in receipt of means tested benefits or council tax support will receive extra funding.

Eligible pensioners will receive £80 to help with household bills and shopping. This will be paid into their bank account.

Pensioners who do not share their bank details with their local council will receive a £80 supermarket voucher by post. This can be used at their nearest supermarket.

Read more about the support for pensioners.

Food

Foodbanks give free food to people who are struggling financially. Visit the Trussell Trust to find a foodbank near you.

The Salvation Army also offers emergency assistance to people in need.

These voluntary and community organisations can help you to access support with food, fuel and essential items. You get help by contacting the organisation directly:

School meals

Children in reception, year 1 and year 2 automatically get free school meals. This is called Universal infant free school meals (UIFSM) and you do not need to apply for it.

Children in year 3 and above may be eligible for free school meals, you can check your eligibility.

Broadband

If you’re a low-income family receiving Universal Credit or other benefits, you could be eligible for a discounted broadband service.

Last updated 8 September 2022