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Cost of living

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

Households in Scotland are benefitting from around £7 billion of cost of living support from the UK Government in 2022-2024.  The average household in Scotland will benefit from around £1,850 in cost of living support from the UK Government.  The poorest 10% of households in Scotland will benefit from an average £2,445 from the UK Government.  This is the equivalent of an extra two months’ net salary for these households.  

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 2023.

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 Price Guarantee

From 1st October 2022, a new ‘Energy Price Guarantee’ will reduce the unit cost of electricity and gas for UK households. This is automatic and applies to all households. Beware of scams – there is no need to apply and you will never be asked for bank details.

Find out more about the Energy Price Guarantee

Energy saving tips to save money

There are several simple, quick actions you can take that could add up to serious savings on your energy bills, alongside some home improvements to reduce your bills in the long term.

Find energy saving tips

Cost of Living Payment

Cost of Living payments are helping nearly 700,000 households in Scotland that are on means tested benefits, including Universal Credit, Pension Credit, and Tax Credits.

The first payment of £326 was made in summer 2022. The second payment of £324 was made in November 2022. Three further payments totalling £900 are planned for 2023/24.

Find out more information on the Cost of Living Payment

Disability Cost of Living Payment

Around 607,000 people in Scotland on certain disability benefits could be eligible. There was a £150 payment from September 2022, and there will be a further £150 payment in summer 2023.

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

If you were born before 26 September 1956 you could get between £250 and £600 to help you pay your heating bills. This ‘Winter Fuel Payment’ applies to around 1 million pensioners in Scotland.

The amount you get includes a ‘Pensioner Cost of Living Payment’. This is between £150 and £300. You’ll get this extra amount in both winter 2022 to 2023 and winter 2023 to 2024. This is in addition to any other Cost of Living Payments you get with your benefit or tax credits.

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

Nearly 3 million low-income households in the UK 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

Explore Cost of Living support from the Scottish Government.

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

See if you could save money with the Marriage Allowance and Help to Save.