Find out how we will be impacted by the rising costs of living and what help might be available to you
Millions of us will be worse off in 2022 thanks to new taxes, rising inflation and those high energy bills.
Inflation, which measures how much the price of everyday items is rising, has recently had its highest rise since 1992 at 5.4%.
National Insurance contributions will increase in April, with some people paying hundreds of pounds more each year.
All of this is happening at the same time as our gas and electricity bills are increasing to unprecedented levels. On 3 February 2022 it was announced the energy cap will increase to 54%. This has doubled in the space of a year.
So what does this mean for you?
If your energy bill is approximately £1,200 per year, expect an increase of an additional £700. If you are on a prepayment meter, expect it to be even higher. Take into account this all depends on the amount of energy you use.
What help will I be able to get?
The government has announced that in April 2022, people living in council tax bands A to D will receive a £150 rebate on their council tax bills. Free money and no repayment.
In October 2022 everyone will receive a £200 rebate on their energy bills, but we will have to repay this by £40 a year over five years from 2023.
Extra funding will be given to local authorities to help lower income households who live in higher council tax band properties, as well as households in bands A to D.
What about energy comparison websites?
The energy companies have pulled all of their deals because the market for gas and electricity is so volatile.
Where can I go for advice?
- Moneyhelper.org.uk is a site fully funded by the government. You can either access it online using your smartphone, laptop or desk PC, or chat live to them via web chat. They can answer a lot of your money troubles.
- Nationaldebtline.org is a site that can help you with any arising debt. They can help you with budgeting, they provide an excellent fact sheet and a good selection of sample letters where you can write to your creditors explaining your situation and come to a more affordable arrangement.
- Citizens advice (formerly Citizens Advice Bureau) can get you on the right path with a wide range of issues.
- Samaritans.org a phone service with someone always on the other end of the phone to talk if you need help.
Is there any other help I can get?
- Warm Home Discount – Under the Warm Home Discount Scheme, you could get a one-off deduction of £140 from your electricity bill between October 2021 and March 2022. You may be able to get a discount on your gas bill, rather than your electricity bill if your supplier provides both your gas and electricity. Find out if your supplier supports this scheme.
- Foodbank – If you feel that you simply cannot make ends meet, even though you are working, you can acquire an E-food voucher directly from Kriss Graham, the Welfare Benefits Team Leader. Your details will not be shared with anyone in Lewisham Homes or Lewisham Council as the information only goes to the Trussell Trust.
One thing we can all do is review our spending and come up with a revised budget for our day to day living costs. Here are a few helpful tips:
- Shop around for groceries – many supermarkets will offer excellent new customer deals when you sign up for online shopping. Don’t stick to the same shop and you could be quids in.
- Check your water bill – are you entitled to any discounts or would you be better off with a water meter?
- Check your council tax – are you entitled to any discounts or would it help you to spread your payments over 12 months instead of 10?
- Check your mobile phone bill – would you be better to switch to a SIM only deal? Some providers will buy you out of your existing contract. Ask about social tariffs which offer better deals for people living in social housing.
- Broadband/internet – shop and switch – check for offers for free trials/voucher codes. For example, NOW TV rather than Sky package give big savings and no contract so you can have it just when you need it. You can even scrap it altogether and toggle your mobile device to use this data! Again, ask about social tariffs which offer better deals for people living in social housing.
- Home insurance – switch and save – also check your policies to ensure you do not have more than one policy that covers the same thing!
Keeping warm for less
- DIY Quick fixes to reduce heating bills:
- Tin foil behind radiators to reflect heat
- Thermal curtain/linings
- Draft excluders for windows and doors
- Insulate unused fireplaces
- Clean radiator system – Making sure your heating system is working properly can save you a lot of money. Sludge can build up in your heating system over time, blocking the flow of the hot water. This sludgy build-up could add a massive 25% more to your bill. A sign of a build-up of dirt is cold spots at the bottom of the radiator, or individual radiators taking longer to heat up than others
- Keep all doors closed and turn off valves in any unused rooms
- Turn down your thermostat – Turning your thermostat down just one degree can cut your energy consumption (and your bills) by 10%.
Our Welfare Benefits team are on hand to help you with any benefit issues or concerns you may have coping with the cost of living. They can be contacted on 0800 0282028 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org