Cost of Living Crisis – Advice & Guidance
The Directory of Social Change has put together this comprehensive document explaining the current cost of living crisis.
What is the cost of living crisis?
The current cost of living crisis is a result of stunted economic growth from the pandemic, along with a surge in the global demand for fuel. Both have inflated the price of energy and consumer goods at a faster rate than the rise of wages and benefits.
What is the latest government action?
The UK government has prepared various financial packages to limit the impact of the crisis. These packages include £37 billion in support for the most vulnerable, as well as energy bill rebates and council tax rebates. Alongside this, the government has announced an energy price guarantee, meaning a typical household will pay no more than £2,500 a year until April 2023.
For a full list of the ways the government is aiming to mitigate the crisis, visit the GOV.UK website.
Practical guidance and tips
Many people are entitled to statutory support but aren’t aware of this. To make sure that you get all the help that you are entitled to, there are some useful places to begin:
There are three reputable benefits calculators that you can use to find out about income-related benefits, contribution-based benefits, Universal Credit, tax credits, Council Tax Reduction and Carer’s Allowance. These are:
- The Turn2us benefits calculator
- The entitledto benefits calculator
- The Policy in Practice benefits calculator
By providing your postcode on the Advicelocal website, you can also find a local benefits adviser to support you to find what you are entitled to. Similarly, you can chat to an advisor online through Citizens Advice, who also provide a wealth of information on topics including benefits, work, debt, and housing – as well as a short guide to help with the cost of living.
If you feel that you cannot pay your energy bill, you should speak to your energy provider to let them know and see if there is a way they can help you: according to Ofgem rules, suppliers must offer payment plans you can afford’.
For practical solutions related to your energy consumption, feel free to take a look at the following:
- The organisation Warm and Well, managed by several local authorities, have developed a ‘bumper list of energy efficiency ‘life hacks’ to help you make small changes that make a big difference to how you use energy at home’, including around heating, insulation and ventilation, laundry and appliances, transport, and more.
- The Money Saving Expert website has an energy myth-busting page which aims to provide evidence-based guidance on perhaps less well-known ways to save energy.
- The energy regulatory body Ofgem have a help page with the latest details on government schemes and benefits, grants and services from energy suppliers and charities, and a home energy check (including how to generate personalised energy-saving advice based on their energy efficiency calculator).
- You may be eligible for support and advice from the Local Energy Advice Partnership (LEAP).
- For recipes, cook-alongs, and tips on how to save food, visit UK Harvest’s Nourished.
- For money-saving recipes from a best-selling author, take a look at Jack Monroe’s website.
We think it’s important to remember to do things for yourself, or to enjoy time with friends and family. The following resources are things we have found or have used ourselves to enjoy films, theatre, activities or other events at discount prices.
- Sandsfilms is an online club for free online film screenings and concerts, and there may also be a discussion prior to the event.
- TodayTix offers tickets to a range of shows in London at discounted prices.
- Central Tickets and ShowFilmFirst are both seat-filling sites, but make sure to check the terms and conditions before you book.
- You can also apply to be in the audience at shows or tours on the BBC and elsewhere through SRO audiences and ApplauseStore.
- Virtual Village Hall is an online activity hub and community, which offers over 700 free sessions on activities such as crafts, music, cooking, exercise and more. Either join in live or watch later at a time that suits you.
- To help stay active – both at home and elsewhere – for free, visit Sport England’s website.
- You’re probably already aware of the Money Saving Expert, Martin Lewis. But you might not be aware that his organisation shares a free weekly email with tips on how to save money, which you can subscribe to here.
- An alternative to searching manually for vouchers or coupon codes for a particular website is the Honey plug-in for your browser. This PayPal product automatically searches for and applies (the best saving) voucher codes at checkout to save time and money.
- You can use your Nectar points at a range of retailers, including Argos and eBay.
- By signing up to the website Charity Worker Discounts you can get discounts at a large range of retailers, both online and in-store.
- If you’re struggling with money, you can get free and impartial help from MoneyHelper.