Cost of living

Page last updated: 28 July 2022

Millions of households across the UK are struggling to make their incomes stretch to cover the rising cost of living. That is why the government is providing over £15 billion in further support, targeted particularly on those with the greatest need.

The Cabinet Office has recently launched the ‘Help for Households’ campaign which explains the 41 different government schemes available to help with the cost of living, including new one-off payments as well as existing benefits and schemes.

These schemes have now been brought onto one Cost of Living Support website.

More information about some of the support available is also available on this webpage.

  • £400 Energy Bills Support Scheme

    Households will get £400 of support with their energy bills through an expansion of the Energy Bills Support Scheme.

    As well as doubling the £200 of support announced earlier this year, the full £400 payment will now be made as a grant, which will not be recovered through higher bills in future years.

    Energy suppliers will deliver this support to households with a domestic electricity meter over six months from October. Direct debit and credit customers will have the money credited to their account, while customers with pre-payment meters will have the money applied to their meter or paid via a voucher.

    This support will apply directly for households in England, Scotland, and Wales.

    This support is in addition to the £150 Council Tax rebate for households.

    Read more about the Energy Bills Support Scheme - GOV.UK.

  • £650 Cost of Living Payment

    More than 8 million households on means tested benefits will receive a payment of £650 this year, made in two instalments. This includes all households receiving the following benefits:

    - Universal Credit

    - Income-based Jobseekers Allowance

    - Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

    - Income Support

    - Working Tax Credit

    - Child Tax Credit

    - Pension Credit

    DWP will make the payment in two lump sums – the first from July, the second in the autumn. Payments from HMRC for those on tax credits only will follow shortly after each to avoid duplicate payments.

    For recipients of DWP benefits: To get the first Cost of Living Payment, you must have been entitled to a payment (or later found to be entitled to a payment) of either:

    1. Universal Credit for an assessment period that ended in the period of 26 April 2022 to 25 May 2022
    2. income-based JSA, income-related ESA, Income Support or State Pension Credit for any day in the period of 26 April 2022 to 25 May 2022

    For recipients of tax credits: To get the first payment, you must have received a payment, or an annual award of at least £26, of tax credits on any day in the period 26 April 2022 to 25 May 2022.

    HMRC and DWP will provide further guidance, and the government will set out the qualifying dates for the second instalment, in due course.

    This payment will be tax-free, will not count towards the benefit cap, and will not have any impact on existing benefit awards.

    The government will make these payments directly to households across the UK.

    More information can be found: Cost of living payment - GOV.UK

    Frequently Asked Questions on Cost of Living Payment (PDF File, 479kb)

  • £300 Pensioner Cost of Living Payment

    Pensioners are disproportionately impacted by higher energy costs, and many low-income pensioner households do not claim the means tested benefits they are entitled to.

    So pensioner households will receive an extra £300 this year to help them cover the rising cost of energy this winter.

    This additional one-off payment will go to the over 8 million pensioner households across the UK who receive the Winter Fuel Payment and will be paid on top of any other one-off support a pensioner household is entitled to, for example where they are on pension credit or receive disability benefits. Eligible households currently receive between £200 - £300, so the payment will represent at least double the support for this winter.

    The Winter Fuel Payment (including the extra Pensioner Cost of Living Payment) is not taxable and does not affect eligibility for other benefits.

    All pensioner households will get the one-off Pensioner Cost of Living Payment as a top-up to their annual Winter Fuel Payment in November/December. For most pensioner households, this will be paid by direct debit.

    People will be eligible for this payment if they are over State Pension age (aged 66 or above) between 19 – 25 September 2022. There are certain circumstances where an individual above State Pension age does not qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment - see Winter Fuel Payment - GOV.UK

    The government will make these payments directly to households across the UK.

    Read more on the Cost of Living Payment - GOV.UK.

  • £150 Disability Cost of Living Payment

    Around six million people across the UK who receive the following disability benefits will receive a one-off payment of £150 from September:

    - Disability Living Allowance

    - Personal Independence Payment

    - Attendance Allowance

    - Scottish Disability Benefits

    - Armed Forces Independence Payment

    - Constant Attendance Allowance

    - War Pension Mobility Supplement

    People with disabilities may face a wide range of additional costs, such as specialist equipment, specialist food, and increased transport costs, and this payment will help with these costs as they are likely to have increased. Claimants must received a payment (or later receive a payment) of, one of these qualifying benefits for as of 25th May 2022 to get the payment.

    For the many disability benefit recipients who receive means tested benefits, this £150 will come on top of the £650 they will receive separately.

    These payments will be exempt from tax, will not count towards the benefit cap, and will not have any impact on existing benefit awards.

    The government will make these payments directly to eligible people across the UK.

    Read more on the Cost of Living Payment - GOV.UK.

  • Household Support Fund

    To support people who need additional help, the Government is providing an extra £500 million of local support, via the Household Support Fund, which will be extended from this October to March 2023.

    The Household Support Fund helps those in most need with payments towards the rising cost of food, energy, and water bills.

    For residents in Newark and Sherwood, the Household Support Fund is being administered by Nottinghamshire County Council and further information can be found on its website: Household Support Fund - Nottinghamshire County Council.

    Residents who are most in need are being provided with vouchers towards food and energy bills, and for holiday food vouchers for those on free school meals.

  • £150 Council Tax Energy Bills Rebate and discretionary funding

    This is a £150 one-off payment to those living in households in Council Tax bands A-D and to those who live in a band E property who receive a disabled band reduction. 

    The government also provided the District Council with discretionary funding with no guidance as to how this was to be issued.  Time was spent by the District Council to ensure that a fair scheme was drawn up so those most in need received this additional funding.  In Newark and Sherwood the discretionary funding is being paid as follows:

    - Households in receipt of Council Tax Support in Bands E-H will receive £150

    - Households in receipt of Council Tax Support in Bands A-D (and Band E where Disabled Band Reduction is awarded) will receive an additional £28

    For those who pay their Council Tax by direct debit, payments are being made directly into bank accounts where records match.  A letter will be issued to confirm when this has happened. 

    While over 75% of payments have already been processed, this has taken longer where additional verification is needed if the name on the bank account and Council Tax bill do not match.

    Households who do not pay by direct debit will receive a letter with information on how they can receive the payment. Each letter will include a unique bar code that can be scanned at any Post Office to receive their cash payment.  Residents can find their nearest Post Office branch at postoffice.co.uk/branch-finder.

    The Council Tax payer will need to take the letter along with two forms of identification and proof of address. This can include:

    1. Valid passport
    2. National Identity Card (photo)
    3. Photo driving licence
    4. Other photo identification (e.g. bus pass)
    5. Utility bill
    6. Post Office Easy ID

    The letters have to be sent out in batches to ensure that the Post Office is not overwhelmed.

    For those unable to get to a post office

    For any claimant that will have difficulties getting to their nearest Post Office branch, they can contact the District Council to receive a link to a form where they can submit their bank details for payment instead. These bank details will need to be verified with the Council Tax records held.

    If a payment is not claimed before 31 August 2022, the rebate will instead be applied as a credit to a household’s Council Tax account or, once the Post Office has confirmed with us which payments have not been claimed, we will write a letter to those households asking them to complete a form so we can process their payment to be credited to their bank account.

    More information and frequently asked questions: Council Tax rebate to help with your energy bills

There are also several options available that might be of some assistance to residents as follows:

Maximising your income / benefits

Universal Credit (UC)  the DWP wants to encourage people who could be better off financially to consider moving to UC. They estimate that more than half of current claimants will be better off. For further information go to: Universal Credit: What Universal Credit is - GOV.UK

Pension Credit - this is one of the most under-claimed benefits by those of pension-age. If you are entitled to Pension Credit this can lead to additional help with Council Tax and free TV licences for over 75's. To check if you, or a family member might be entitled to Pension Credit, please go to:Pension Credit calculator - GOV.UK

Housing Benefit / Council Tax Support - if you are pension-age and live in rented accommodation and are on a low income you may be able to claim help with your rent. If you pay Council Tax and are on a low income you may be able to claim Council Tax Support. To check potential entitlement and to make a claim go to: Apply for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support

Attendance Allowance - this helps with extra costs if you have a disability severe enough that you need someone to help look after you. It’s paid at 2 different rates and how much you get depends on the level of care that you need because of your disability. You could get £61.85 or £92.40 a week to help with personal support if you’re both:

It does not cover mobility needs.

Find out more about attendance allowance

Food clubs - offering healthy food at affordable prices to benefit residents struggling with the cost of living. Search for local food clubs in the district. 

General benefit advice - for all general benefits advice go to:

Benefit calculators - there are also various benefit calculators available which provide independent advice regarding benefits you may be entitled to:

Managing your money / expenditure

If you need help to manage your money and general budgeting advice, there is a useful tool available on the Citizens Advice website: Work out your budget - Citizens Advice

If you are experiencing difficulties with your household energy costs in the first instance, please discuss this with your provider.

The Citizens Advice website also contains some useful information regarding grants and benefits available to help pay energy bills, see: Grants and benefits to help you pay your energy bills - Citizens Advice

If you are having difficulties with your water payments Severn Trent's Big Difference scheme is available for those on a low income, see: Big Difference Scheme | Help with paying your bill | Help when you need it | My Account | Severn Trent Water (stwater.co.uk)

Other help available

If you are in private rented or Housing Association accommodation and your rent is not covered in full by Housing Benefit or the Housing Element of Universal Credit  the council has limited funding to support some shortfalls via our Discretionary Housing Payment scheme, please go to our Discretionary housing payment page to find out more.

If you require more specialised housing advice, our Housing team have a number of options available on our Losing your home page.

Debt Advice

If you need specialised advice on debt issues, something useful sites include:

StepChange Debt Charity - Free Expert Debt Advice

Home - Shelter England

The Money and Pensions Service | Building financial wellbeing

Debt and money - Citizens Advice