Cost of Living Crisis

The last year has been very difficult with large increases in lots of everyday costs, especially for energy and food. This is making it hard for people to meet all their obligations, and to keep themselves and their households warm and well fed. 

On this page you can find information about the various help that is available specifically around meeting the current cost of living challenges, as well as ideas about how to save money.

This is accurate as at October 2023. We will publish regular updates – so remember to come back and see what might have changed.

Help with fuel costs

Warm Home Discount

You could get £150 off your electricity bill for winter 2023 to 2024 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme.

The money is not paid to you – it’s a one-off discount applied to your electricity bill between early October 2023 and 31 March 2024.

You’ll usually get the discount automatically if you’re eligible.

If you might be eligible, you’ll get a letter by early January 2024.

If you do not get a letter and you think you’re eligible, you must contact the Warm Home Discount Scheme before 29 February 2024.

You may be able to get the discount on your gas bill instead if your supplier provides you with both gas and electricity and you’re eligible. Contact your supplier to find out.

The discount will not affect your Cold Weather Payment or Winter Fuel Payment.

You can find out more about eligibility here

Saving on energy use:

Not everyone finds it easy to save money on the amount of energy that they use, but if you can, it will play a part in helping you cope with the sudden rises in costs. A useful, and reliable source of advice on how to save on energy can be found on the Energy Savings Trust website. 

If you would like someone to visit your home to check on whether you can save any more money contact Groundwork Trust, a Greater Manchester charity that undertakes home visits.

Financial Support if you are on a low income

Low income benefits and tax credits Cost of Living Payment eligibility

You may be entitled to up to 3 Cost of Living Payments of £301, £300 and £299 if you get any of the following benefits or tax credits on certain dates:

  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit
  • Universal Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit

The payment will be made separately from your benefit payments.

You will not get a payment if you are only getting New Style ESA, contributory ESA, or New Style JSA.

If you have a joint claim on the qualifying dates, a single payment of £301, £300 and £299 will be sent using the same payment method used between these dates, if you’re eligible.

£300 Cost of Living Payment eligibility

Universal Credit

You are eligible for the Cost of Living Payment of £300 if you were entitled to a payment (or later found to be entitled to a payment) of Universal Credit for an assessment period that ended in the period 18 August 2023 to 17 September 2023.

Income-based JSA, income-based ESA, Income Support and Pension Credit

You are eligible for the Cost of Living Payment of £300 if you were entitled to a payment (or later found to be entitled to a payment) of income-based JSA, income-related ESA, Income Support or Pension Credit for any day in the period 18 August 2023 to 17 September 2023.

You are also eligible if you are entitled to one of these benefits for any day during this period but you do not receive a benefit payment because your entitlement is between 1 penny and 9 pence.

Tax credits

You are eligible for the Cost of Living Payment of £300 if you received a payment of tax credits for any day in the period 18 August 2023 to 17 September 2023, or if you later receive a payment for any day in that period.

£301 Cost of Living Payment eligibility

Universal Credit

You are eligible for the Cost of Living Payment of £301 if you were entitled to a payment (or later found to be entitled to a payment) of Universal Credit for an assessment period that ended in the period 26 January 2023 to 25 February 2023.

Income-based JSA, income-based ESA, Income Support and Pension Credit

You are eligible for the Cost of Living Payment of £301 if you were entitled to a payment (or later found to be entitled to a payment) of income-based JSA, income-related ESA, Income Support or Pension Credit for any day in the period 26 January 2023 to 25 February 2023.

You are also eligible if you are entitled to one of these benefits for any day during this period but you do not receive a benefit payment because your entitlement is between 1 penny and 9 pence.

Tax credits

You are eligible for the Cost of Living Payment of £301 if you received a payment of tax credits for any day in the period 26 January 2023 to 25 February 2023, or if you later receive a payment for any day in that period.

£299 Cost of Living Payment

This guidance will be updated with the qualifying dates for the £299 Cost of Living Payment when they have been announced.

When you will not be eligible: DWP benefits

You will not be eligible for the Cost of Living Payment if your benefit is reduced to £0 for the qualifying period. This is sometimes called a ‘nil award’.

Reasons your benefit may be reduced to £0 include:

  • you got more than one payment of earnings in your Universal Credit assessment period
  • your or your partner’s earnings went up
  • your or your partner’s savings went up
  • you started getting another benefit
  • you got a ‘sanction’ because you did not do something you agreed in your claimant commitment

You may still be eligible for a Cost of Living Payment if your benefit is reduced to £0 and one of the following applies:

  • money was taken off your benefit for other reasons, such as payments of rent to your landlord or for money that you owe
  • you had a hardship payment because you could not pay for rent, heating, food or hygiene needs

When you will not be eligible: tax credits

You will not be eligible for the Cost of Living Payment if your tax credits entitlement for the tax year is below £26.

Payment dates for low income benefits and tax credits Cost of Living Payment

For dates of cost of living payments visit this page

 

Help from Salford Council

Salford Assist (the council’s emergency help scheme):

The council might be able to help you in emergencies through the Salford Assist Scheme. See the council’s other Cost of Living services here.

Help with your food costs

The Healthy Start Scheme:

The healthy start scheme gives families of children under 4, or where someone is 10 weeks or more pregnant a credit (on an electronic card) to be used to buy milk; fresh, frozen, or tinned fruit and vegetables; pulses; or infant milk.

You can get £4.25 a week if 10 weeks pregnant, £8.25 a week for children from birth to 1 year, and £4.25 for children 1 to 4 years of age. (It’s also useful to know that Sainsbury’s are offering to top the scheme up by £2 every week). 

You need to be in receipt of certain benefits, for more information on the scheme, and how to apply go to the Healthy Start website 

Don’t forget you should also be entitled to free vitamins as well – which is the case in Salford. These are available to any families with children under 5, regardless of income. See here for more information from Salford Council. 

Salford’s network of food clubs

There are food clubs in pretty much every part of the city. You need to be on a low income to join a food club. It works by people spending something like £3 each week to buy a weekly shop worth about £15 to £20. This is on a weekly basis. The food for food clubs comes from surpluses, or near to date produce from local supermarkets, or directly from the food industry.

Visit the Greater Manchester Poverty Action site to find out the nearest food club to you.

Food Banks

Salford has a comprehensive range of food banks – available throughout the city. If you need to use a food bank then you need to get an (electronic) voucher from an organisation like us, or your school, or your GP, etc. Food banks generally limit the help they can give to three food parcels in a six-month period. They are aimed at helping you manage a temporary food emergency. Find out more on the Salford Food Bank website.

Supermarkets

The various supermarkets have cost costing or loyalty discount schemes that can help save some money as well.

 consumer advice

Tesco

Clubcard scheme - offers reduced prices on selected items as well as the ability to collect points which create money off vouchers

Join Now

 benefits

Lidl

Discount and money offer coupons

Join Now

 debt and money

ASDA

Build up a cashpot to convert into money off vouchers

Join Now

 advice to banking

Morrisons

Discount and money offer coupons

Join Now

 health and community care

Sainsbury's

Collect Nectar points and save against future shopping

Join Now

Other Shopping

It’s always worth checking out with a particular retailer if you are a frequent shopper with them to see if they offer any loyalty schemes.

Does your employer offer a scheme which gives you access to discount vouchers?

Have you thought of shopping using Cashback websites to help save money?

Does your bank offer a rewards scheme when you use your debit card?

Also check Money Saving Supermarket for shopping tips

Children, school and help with costs of child care

Help with child care costs

There is a lot of financial support out there from nursery age children to 16 year olds at school and you don’t have to receive welfare benefits to get help. Check the different ways you can apply for support here.

Help with baby clothes, equipment and food for infants

Salford has two baby banks who can help with baby clothes, equipment and emergency food.  These can be used in addition to the health start scheme.

Don’t forget to also read our information about the healthy start scheme. You normally need to be referred by a professional that knows you, such as your GP, health visitor or us. 

Help with school uniforms:

Each run up to summer we work with our partners Wood Street Mission to deliver a school uniform project. You need to be referred to the scheme and we can do this for you.

We can also, throughout the year, refer you to our partners Emmaus Salford – who run a school uniform hub, providing free items of school uniform for Salford schools as well as school shoes.

Free School Meals

Find out more information here

Help with getting Christmas presents:

Our colleagues at Wood Street Mission will also provide Christmas presents for families that can’t afford them. You will need a referral from a local agency.

Help with broadband, free laptops and phone deals

For broadband social tariffs for low income households visit Uswitch 

Money Saving Supermarket also regularly update its offers information here

There is more general information about local digital deals deals from the Salford Digital Inclusion service.

Help with health costs

Prescriptions and help with NHS costs:

We often see people who do not realise that help might be able to meet the costs of prescriptions, or if not getting help it still might help with the costs of prescription to use the prepaid prescription scheme.

Check if you’re eligible automatically for full help with NHS costs (includes prescriptions, dental treatment charges, the cost of sight tests, glasses and contact lenses, the cost of travelling to receive NHS treatment and NHS wigs and fabric supports)

Apply under NHS Low Income Scheme (partial help with all the above) 

Telephone:  0300 330 1343 

Already entitled to help with NHS costs and need a refund ? (state which type of costs you need a refund for)

Telephone:  0300 330 1343 

NHS Prescription Prepayment Certificate. Pay NHS prescriptions for a set price. Saves you money if you need more than 3 items in 3 months, or 11 items in 12 months. (Apply online and pay on full at your local pharmacy)

Telephone: 0300 330 1341 to set up a monthly direct debit.

Some tax savings

Don’t forget the tax rebate you are due if you have been required to work from home. Check here

There is also a saving for some married couples if your partner is not using their full tax allowance and this might be transferred.

Other websites with more information

For more general advice it is worth reading the national Citizens Advice information and advice on dealing with the cost of living crisis by visiting: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/debt-and-money/get-help-with-the-cost-of-living/ 

Salford City Council has also produced a special webpage and a help line, just go to: https://www.salford.gov.uk/advice-and-support/support-with-the-cost-of-living/  or phone 0800 952 1000

You can also get information from the government’s website at: https://helpforhouseholds.campaign.gov.uk/?utm_campaign=H4H_UK&utm_medium=Search&utm_source=Bing&utm_content=Generic&gclid=CKKSwsrGpvsCFThDHQkdEKYNgw&gclsrc=ds 

Martin Lewis’s Money Saving Expert site has weekly tips and offers on making savings

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