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Cost of living

Global increases in the prices of essentials like energy, food and fuel mean many households across the UK are struggling with the rising cost of living.  Find out what support is available to help.  

Supporting your income

Raising the threshold for paying National Insurance

The UK Government has changed how much you can earn before paying National Insurance.  From July 2022, you can earn £12,570 a year completely tax-free.  This means employees who earn £36,600 or under (around 70% of workers) will pay less National Insurance. A typical employee will save over £330 a year.

Increasing pay

The National Living and National Minimum Wage rates rose in April.

Check your pay to make sure you are getting the pay rate you’re entitled to.

Check if you’re eligible for Universal Credit

If you’re on a low income, out of work, or cannot work, you may be eligible for Universal Credit.

The UK Government has introduced changes to Universal Credit so workers can keep more if they increase their earnings.  These changes mean working families on the benefit are on average £1,000 a year better off.

Use a benefit calculator to check if you’re eligible for Universal Credit or other benefits

Extra money available for carers

You could get £69.70 a week if you care for someone for at least 35 hours a week and the person you care for gets certain benefits. You do not have to be related to, or live with, the person you care for.

Check if you’re eligible for the Carer’s Allowance

Pension Credit for those on low income

You could get extra money to help with your living costs if you’re over State Pension age and on a low income, even if you have savings or own your own home.

Check if you’re eligible for Pension Credit

Help with bills

Energy Bill Discount

£400 will be taken off your energy bill from October if you live in Great Britain.

This is an automatic grant, which does not need to be paid back and requires no action.

Cost of Living Payment

Households on means tested benefits, including Universal Credit, Pension Credit, and Tax Credits will receive a payment of £650 this year.

This will be made automatically in two instalments, one in summer and another in the autumn.

Check if you’re eligible for the Cost of Living Payment

Disability Cost of Living Payment

Individuals on disability benefits will receive a one-off £150 payment in September to help with extra costs, such as for specialist equipment or transport.

This is in addition to the £650 Cost of Living Payment for disabled people who also receive means tested benefits.

Check if you’re eligible for the Disability Cost of Living Payment

Winter Fuel Payments and Pensioner Cost of Living Payment

In the winter months pensioners can get between £100 and £300 to help pay heating bills.

This winter, they will also receive an extra £300 Pensioner Cost of Living Payment per household, which will be paid as an automatic top-up to the Winter Fuel Payment.

Check if you’re eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment

Cold weather payments

£25 extra a week if you’re getting certain benefits is available during the winter when the temperature is zero degrees or below for more than seven days.

Check if you’re eligible for the Cold Weather Payment

0% VAT on energy saving materials

It will be cheaper for you to install energy saving materials such as thermal insulation or solar panels with 0% VAT for the next five years, helping to improve energy efficiency in your home and keep heating bills down.

Find grants for energy saving improvements and ways to save energy in your home

Warm Home Discount

This autumn nearly 3 million low-income households are eligible for a £150 rebate on their winter electricity bills.

Check with your energy supplier to see if you are eligible for the Warm Home Discount

Budgeting Loans

You may be eligible for a Budgeting Loan if you’ve been on certain benefits for 6 months. This can be used for household items, rent in advance and travelling costs.

Check if you’re eligible for a Budgeting Loan

Cheaper phone and broadband

You may be eligible to move onto a social tariff if you’re struggling to afford your broadband or phone services.

Check the Ofcom website to see if you can switch to a social tariff

TV Licence fee freeze

The TV licence fee will remain at £159 until 2024 before rising in line with inflation for four years.

That means households will not see any change to the licence fee until 1 April 2024.

Help with childcare costs

Tax-free childcare

You can get up to £500 every 3 months (up to £2,000 a year) for each of your children to help with the cost of childcare.

Claim tax-free childcare

Claim back childcare costs

You may be able to claim back up to 85% of your childcare costs if you’re eligible for Universal Credit, with up to £646 back each month for one child or £1,108 for 2 or more children.

Find out more about claiming back childcare costs

More schemes in Scotland

Other schemes apply in Scotland that you may be eligible for, including:

Housing support

Get help with all or part of your rent

You may get help with all or part of your rent. There’s no set amount of Housing Benefit and what you get will depend on whether you rent privately or from a council.

Use a benefits calculator to find out if you can get benefits to help pay your rent

Council Tax support schemes

Councils run support schemes to help people on low incomes with their Council Tax bill.

Contact your local council to find out what support is available

Help with transport costs

Cutting fuel duty

Fuel duty for petrol and diesel has been cut by 5 pence per litre across the whole of the UK until March 2023. It saves £100 for the average car driver, £200 for the average van driver and £1,500 for the average haulier.

Save a third on rail journeys

You can get up to a third off train fares with a railcard in Great Britain, saving up to £142 a year on average.

Save one third on rail journeys with a railcard

50% off travel if you’re on Universal Credit

You may be eligible for a Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card if you’re on Universal Credit.

Find out more information on the National Rail website

More schemes in Scotland

Find out what public transport schemes and bus passes you may be eligible for.

Help finding work

Get help looking for jobs

You can search and apply for jobs across a range of industries across the UK through the Find a job website.

Personalised job support

You can get personalised support, tips and advice to find your next opportunity through JobHelp.

Get support, training and advice on finding your next job

Extra support for working families

The Flexible Support Fund is available to those on Universal Credit and can help pay for things you need to get into work and progress your career, such as initial childcare costs, training, uniforms and work tools.

Speak to your work coach to find out whether this support is right for you

More Information

See how the UK Government can help you with childcare costs.

See if you could save money with the Marriage Allowance.