Cost Of Living Financial Stress

Cost Of Living Financial Stress

Help and information on cost of living support

Published 05/10/2022   |   Last Updated 25/10/2022   |   Reading Time minutes

Many households, businesses, charities and public sector organisations across Wales are facing considerable challenges from rising costs.

Senedd Research answers questions from Members and their staff through the usual enquiry process, but we’ve also collated some links to reliable information from official and reputable sources to help people in Wales.

The Welsh Government has a webpage for all its cost of living information, a page dedicated to the Wales fuel support scheme and local authorities will also provide information on the support available to help with the rising cost of living.

Advicelink Cymru is a Welsh Government funded Citizens Advice service designed to help those who are unsure about the benefits they can claim and claim what they are entitled to.

The UK Government also has a webpage to all its cost of living support, and the House of Commons Library produces regular articles on the increasing cost of living.

We will be updating this page regularly. If there is any information missing or something you would like to see included, please contact Senedd Research.

You can jump to each section below:

Assistance for households

Welsh Government

The Welsh Government has a single web page which provides advice and support on the cost of living. The main support for households are:

  • A Discretionary Assistance Fund to support people experiencing extreme financial hardship through providing grants for essentials such as food, gas, electricity and clothing. There is also support available through this fund for off-grid households until the end of March 2023. This provides households experiencing extreme financial hardship with up to £250 for a one-off oil payment, or up to three £70 payments for Liquefied Petroleum Gas.
  • A Fuel Voucher Scheme for households who pre-pay for their fuel, including off-gas grid properties reliant on oil, coal or liquid gas. In order to be eligible, households will be referred for support by one of a network of referral partners. They must be experiencing intense financial crisis and at immediate risk of self-disconnection, or have already self-disconnected, or making choices which may cause significant detriment to ensure that energy is funded.
  • The Wales fuel support scheme 2022-2023. Eligible households can claim a one-off £200 cash payment from their local authority to help towards paying fuel bills. This is in addition to the winter fuel payment offered by the UK Government. The scheme opened on 26 September and applications can be made to local authorities via their website. Please note that applicants must also be responsible for paying the energy bills for the property.
  • The discretionary element of the Cost of Living Support scheme is operating in a number of local authorities, although the main scheme closed for applications on 30 September. Check your council’s website to see what support is available in your area.
  • Council tax discounts and reduction
  • Help to ensure people are accessing benefits they are entitled to.

UK Government

The UK Government has a single page which links to all its cost of living support and an Energy bills support factsheet. The main support for households are:

  • A Cost of Living Payment which means individuals on certain benefits and tax credits may be entitled to a payment of £650 paid in two lump sums of £326 and £324.
  • A ‘Energy Price Guarantee’ which means that from 1 October a typical UK household will now pay up to an average £2,500 a year on their energy bill until the end of March 2023. This is automatic and applies to all households. From April 2023, further targeted support will be in place, following a review by HM Treasury.
  • The Energy Bills Support Scheme provides a £400 non-repayable discount to eligible households to help with their energy bills over winter 2022 to 2023. The discount is automatic. An equivalent payment will also be available to off-grid homes. Details of how and when this will be paid are yet to be confirmed.
  • A Winter Fuel Payment for those born on or before 25 September 1956 they may automatically receive between £250 and £600 to help towards heating bills. The amount will include a Pensioner Cost of Living Payment. Most payments are made automatically in November or December.
  • A £150 Disability Cost of Living Payment for those on certain benefits.
  • Budgeting Loans for people in receipt of certain benefits for at least six months to be spent on items such as furniture, white goods and costs associated with moving house.

Further assistance

In addition to support for the cost of living, there is a range of other benefits and financial support which is available. You can check eligibility via:

Business support

You can read our article for a summary of the challenges businesses across Wales are facing and support available to help with these.

Children, young people and education

Under 16 years of age

Over 16 years of age

Employment
Energy and water

Under regulator Ofgem’s rules, energy suppliers must work with customers to agree an affordable payment plan if they are worried about paying energy bills.

Energy suppliers recommend that customers contact them if they are worried about being able to pay energy bills. They are able to provide a range of support including grants, income maximisation, and providing energy-efficient appliances.

You can read our article on fuel costs and fuel poverty.

Energy Suppliers

Citizens’ Advice has published details of grants that energy suppliers provide to customers in debt with their bills – typically for their own customers although the British Gas Energy Trust sometimes has grants available to customers of other energy suppliers.

Energy Advice

Energy efficiency support

Water

Equalities and vulnerable groups

You can read our articles on the impact of the rising cost of living on unpaid carers and domiciliary care, and disabled people.

Carers and older people

Disabled people

Ethnic Minorities and migrant communities

Food banks and vouchers
Health and social care

Mental health

Our constituency guide provides information to help Members of the Senedd and their staff respond to constituents’ mental health concerns, and signpost people to relevant sources of support.

Housing

Tenants in social housing can contact the local authority or housing association they rent from for help and support. Anyone who is homeless or at risk of homelessness should contact their local authority.

Sources of advice

Debt advice, savings and loans

Scams and consumer rights

Travel and transport

Public transport services

Concessionary fares

Multi-operator / multi journey tickets

  • Plusbus: bought with a train ticket, offers unlimited bus and tram travel around rail-served British towns and cities.
  • Ranger and Rover Tickets: Unlimited travel for one day on Transport for Wales Rail train services and some bus services on some parts of their network.
  • South East Wales Network Rider: A daily or weekly ticket valid on services run by a number of operators across South-East Wales.
  • 1Bws: bought on their first journey, a 1Bws ticket is valid for the day on virtually all local bus services operating in North Wales (Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Gwynedd, Isle of Anglesey and Wrexham).

Active travel

Driving

Voluntary sector

Article by Claire Thomas and Gareth Thomas, Senedd Research, Welsh Parliament