Help with the cost of living
People in communities across the country are facing an unprecedented cost-of-living crisis. Costs are increasing daily, with food, fuel and energy prices all going up. On top of everything else, I know it can often be difficult to know where to start and where to go when it comes to getting support. That’s why I’ve pulled together this information and I hope that it’s a handy starter for ten, setting out some of the support and guidance that’s available and how to access that support.
The Welsh Government has stepped in where it can and with the limited levers available to it and it has also set up a comprehensive page dedicated to the support that’s available for people in Wales with the cost-of-living crisis. Find out more at www.gov.wales/get-help-cost-living
Of course, as always I am here to help as your local Member of the Senedd and you can also contact my office if there’s something you think I can assist you with. My team and I are on hand to offer support either by email at email@example.com or by phone on 01352 753464.
YOUR GUIDE TO GETTING SUPPORT
WALES FUEL SUPPORT SCHEME
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 September 26 and applications can be made to local authorities via their websites. Please note that applicants must also be responsible for paying the energy bills for the property.
FUEL VOUCHER SCHEME
The fuel voucher scheme is available 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 selfdisconnected, or making choices which may cause significant detriment to ensure that energy is funded.
GAS AND ELECTRICITY
You can get help if you are struggling to pay for your energy bill or topping up your pre-payment meter by speaking to your energy supplier.
If you are having difficulty paying your water bill, you should contact your supplier immediately. If you are with Dŵr Cymru / Welsh Water, they have outlined the support they can provide, which includes payment plans and water rate reductions.
BROADBAND AND MOBILE PHONE BILLS
If you are concerned about paying your broadband or mobile bill, you
should contact your supplier immediately, as they may be able to put a
payment plan or other support in place to help you stay connected.
BANKS, CREDIT CARDS AND LOANS
If you are unable to keep up with your credit commitments, your creditors
may agree to a short-term payment holiday. You can request this, but
creditors do not have to agree. The missed payments will usually be
treated as arrears and interest may continue to be added. If you are
concerned about paying your bank or credit card payments, you should
contact your financial services provider immediately to see what support
they could offer.
Whether you’re a tenant in the social sector or private sector, it’s
important that you talk to your landlord at the earliest opportunity if you
think you will have difficulty paying your rent and bills, as they may be able
to help you. You could also be entitled to help with your housing costs.
THE DISCRETIONARY ASSISTANCE FUND
The discretionary assistance fund is available to support people facing
extreme financial hardship or difficulties. It provides two types of grants
to support households, the emergency assistance payment and the
individual assistance payment.
COUNCIL TAX DISCOUNTS AND REDUCTIONS
You may be entitled to a Council Tax discount, exemption or reduction
depending on your circumstances. There are a few different schemes
available. Check your eligibility below.
CLAIM WHAT’S YOURS
Many people are unaware they may be entitled to benefits that could
offer them the support they need. If you are unsure about what benefits
you can claim, Advicelink Cymru can help you check and claim what’s
CALL: 0808 250 5700
PUPIL DEVELOPMENT GRANT (PDG) ACCESS SCHEME
PDG Access helps families with the costs of the school day and can be
used for items such as school uniform and equipment. Learners currently
eligible for free school meals can apply for the grant of £225 per learner
and £300 for those learners entering year 7, recognising the increased costs
associated with starting secondary school.
FREE SCHOOL MEALS
Free Schools Meals are available to eligible pupils who attend school full-time in
Wales. To find out if your child or children are entitled to a free school meal, you
can contact your local authority to find out more information and if your child or
children are eligible.
FREE BREAKFAST CLUB
Children who have the opportunity to eat a healthy and nutritious breakfast
prior to the start of the school day are healthier and are more likely to achieve
their full educational potential. Your child or children may be entitled to receive
free breakfast if the primary school they go to is maintained by the local
authority and if it provides free breakfasts. You need to ask the school for free
breakfasts for your child to receive them.
The Childcare Offer for Wales provides up to 30 hours of government-funded
early education and childcare to eligible working parents of three and four-yearolds for 48 weeks of the year.
CITIZENS ADVICE CYMRU
Citizens Advice Cymru has a page dedicated to getting help with the cost of
Click here for more details | CALL: 0808 278 7923
MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT
The C.A.L.L. Helpline is a dedicated mental health helpline. It provides
confidential help to find support available in your local area. This includes
voluntary and charitable organisations.
CALL: 0800 132 737 or TEXT: 81066
The Trussell Trust has a network of 428 foodbanks which work to tackle
food poverty and hunger. They work with referral agencies to issue food
vouchers to those in need of emergency food in times of crisis and can
provide a three-day emergency food parcel.
Click here for more details | CALL: 01352 757235
COMMUNITY FRIDGES AND WARM HUBS
Community fridges are running at Parkfields Community Centre in Mold
and at Refurbs in Flint where, for a small donation, you can top up your
shopping with donated items. Flintshire Council has also set up Warm
Welcome hubs across the county where you can get a hot drink and warm
up – for details, see the online map on this link.
Housing problems often begin because of financial difficulties. If you don’t
have much money it can be difficult to find a decent home and if you can’t
pay the rent or mortgage you could face eviction. Shelter Cymru has a
section on their website dedicated to the help available to pay for housing.
HEALTHY START SCHEME
If you’re more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under four, you may
be entitled to get help to buy healthy food and milk. You’ll be sent a Healthy
Start card with money on it that you can use in some UK shops to buy items
such as milk (fresh, frozen) and tinned fruit and vegetables, instant formula
milk, Healthy Start vitamins.
If you are struggling financially and looking to borrow, you should always
make sure it is from an affordable, safe and ethical lender. Credit unions
will only lend what you can afford to repay, helping to avoid further
unmanageable debt. They are particularly good for those who find it difficult
to borrow from banks due to having a poor credit history. Cambrian Credit
Union runs an office at KIM Inspire The Hub in Holywell.