North Tyneside 0191 262 0305
Northumberland 01670 946 188

Blog

Cost of Living Support in the North East | Get Help Now

Cost of living support in the North East

The cost of living is a big issue for many in the UK, particularly in the North East. Due to this, support is being offered. This help is for things like energy bills and the cost of food. In the North East, councils have £24.2 million to spend on this support. This money is for those who really need it, helping with daily living expenses.

Since October 2021, people in the North East have benefited a lot from the Household Support Fund. They have received a combined total of £145.2 million. The fund is part of a big package aimed at easing the cost of living. Through this package, 1.3 million people have been kept from poverty, with £108 billion put towards this cause.

Key Takeaways

  • Significant funding allocated to councils in the North East to address living costs
  • The Household Support Fund has provided £145.2 million in assistance to North East residents
  • Cost of living support package worth £108 billion has helped prevent 1.3 million people from falling into poverty
  • Tax cuts and increases to the National Living Wage aim to boost household incomes
  • Additional support available for housing, energy bills, and childcare costs

Introduction to Cost of Living Crisis in the North East

The North East of England is facing a big problem with the cost of living. Soaring energy prices and high inflation have hit household budgets hard. People there are in a tough spot. They must choose between heating their homes, buying food and paying for other important things.

Impact of Rising Energy Prices and Inflation

Energy costs are rising fast, making the cost of living go up too. This is especially hard for those with low incomes. The UK’s inflation rate is also at its highest since 1982, which means people can’t buy as much with their money.

In the North East, child poverty is at 38%. This is the highest in the UK. Single-parent families and people with disabilities are hit the hardest. They are more likely to experience poverty than others.

Importance of Seeking Support and Assistance

Given the challenges, getting help is really important for North East residents. There are many organisations ready to offer support.

These support services include food banks, energy advice, and mental health support. They play a vital role in helping families get through these tough times and get back on their feet.

cost of living crisis north east

“The cost of living crisis has had a profound impact on the North East, with many individuals and families struggling to make ends meet. It’s crucial that we come together as a community to support those in need and ensure that no one is left behind.”

– Local community leader

Financial Support and Benefits for Low-Income Households

The UK Government is helping low-income families in the North East with cash during tough times. They’ve introduced support payments and benefits to ease financial strain.

Government Cost of Living Support Payments

The Government’s Household Support Fund (HSF) gives out grants. These are from April 2024 to September 2024 to help out those who have less. You might get this help without even asking, like if you use adult social care. The scheme also includes £60 in school meal vouchers for each child over the summer.

If you still need more help, you can apply for the HSF between the end of June and September 2024. The council is backing this up with more aid too, for places like foodbanks. If something unexpected comes up that you need help with urgently, there’s also money available for food, fuel, and even for buying some key household items.

The Financial Wellbeing Support Hub and the Cost of Living Hub can direct you to even more help.

Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Eligibility Check

It’s not just the direct government support that could help. There are welfare benefits and tax credits ready for those who qualify. These can be a big help for low-income families. For those who missed out on earlier help, the Household Support Fund is a new chance.

If you’re eligible, this fund can cover a variety of what you might need. This includes food, utility bills, and even your rent. They will need to see some of your financial records and might ask for a utility bill. If you need help with the application, there are people available to guide you. Remember, they will never ask for your bank details over the phone to avoid scams.

With all these schemes in play, the government is working hard to help families in the North East. Over 8 million homes are getting a special payment. It’s a big effort to make life easier during these challenging times. The £299 Cost of Living payment will reach about 400,000 homes in the region.

Veteran and Communty Kitchen in the MEM in Wallsend, North Tyneside

( This Project is currently not funded )

“The government has announced a total of £104 billion to be spent on cost of living support between 2022 and 2025, equating to roughly £3,700 per household.”

Housing Support and Rent Assistance

In the North East, people dealing with housing issues can find support. They may face high rent or risk evictions. This support guide offers tips for those in private or social housing. It also mentions help available for rent debt.

Advice for Private and Social Housing Tenants

If you rent in the North East, ways to lower housing costs are out there. For private renters, the Warm Home Discount Scheme cuts £150 off winter electricity bills. People on benefits could also get help. They might reduce heating bills or get more housing benefit.

Those in social housing can find tools to manage spending, too. Electric companies must help with bill pay methods, and those in need may slash water bills by 90%. Additionally, there’s cheaper internet and phone plans for certain benefit claimants.

Discretionary Housing Payments for Rent Arrears

For those behind on rent, the local council in the North East might step in. They could offer discretionary housing payments. This help is for those finding it hard to pay rent, aiming to avoid homelessness. Tenants should reach out to their council to see if they qualify for this support.

By looking into housing and rent help, North East folks can tackle the high cost of living. Government aid, local programmes, and community efforts are all helpful resources. They can lessen the financial strain and keep living situations stable.

Council Tax Discounts and Exemptions

People in the North East might get council tax discounts or be exempt. This depends on their situation and how much they earn. The government is giving £15 billion to help with high energy bills, with a £400 grant for all households. Also, households in Bands A to D get a £150 non-repayable rebate. This help is to ease the cost of living issue.

Council Tax Rebate

Eligible households can get a £150 one-off payment for help with expenses. To qualify, your house must be valued and you must live there on 1 April 2022. In the North East, local councils will make these payments.

Council Tax Discounts and Exemptions

  • People facing financial hardship, claiming certain benefits, or with a disability might get a council tax discount. The amount varies by area.
  • Homes only for students or those with serious mental issues may be exempt from council tax.

For more on council tax discounts in your area, contact your council or visit their site.

Council Tax Bands Newcastle upon Tyne
Band A £1,528.03
Band B £1,784.70
Band C £2,041.38
Band D £2,298.05
Band E £2,811.40
Band F £3,324.75
Band G £3,838.09
Band H £4,584.08

The table lists the council tax rates for Newcastle upon Tyne for 2024-2025. Rates have gone up by 4.99%, with a 2% rise for adult social care.

In the North East, the Council Tax Reduction Scheme is increasing to help with higher living costs like food, mortgages, and rent. Plus, £144 million in discretionary funds will aid more households in need.

Learning about council tax discounts and exemptions can ensure you get the support you need now.

Energy Advice and Saving Tips

Many in the North East are feeling the pinch of higher costs, especially increasing energy prices. But, support is at hand to cut energy use and save money for both homeowners and renters.

Energy Services and Priority Services Register

The North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA) has received almost £2 million to set up a new energy advice service by spring 2024. This service will offer specific tips to make homes cosier, use energy more efficiently, and save cash, plus, recommend local tradespeople. The Energy Saving Trust, with 30 years of experience, will provide this advice.

Aside from the above, locals in the North East can join the Priority Services Register. It gives a helping hand to those who need it most, such as older people, those with disabilities, or folks facing financial challenges.

Improving Home Energy Efficiency

Making your home’s energy use better is a top way to cut your bills and help the environment. Over 60% of homes in the North of Tyne have an EPC rating of C or less, which might mean more expensive bills. To help, projects are assisting those in need or living in remote areas with advice.

Residents also can get financial help and grants for improvements, like the Boiler Upgrade Scheme’s £7,500 for an air source heat pump. In Newcastle, companies can get free checks to find how they can cut energy use and lower emissions.

By tapping into these resources, North East households can lower their costs and help the planet.

“The energy advice service will provide tailored recommendations to help residents make their homes warmer, use less energy, and save money, as well as refer them to local installers.”

Cost of living support in the North East

People in the North East can use local schemes to get help with living costs. These efforts work with national and regional services. They help link up individuals with the support nearby.

Local Initiatives and Community Programmes

Anxious Minds teams up with Wallsend Memorial Hall (MEM) in Wallsend. They provide a food bank and community kitchen. This helps those finding it tough to cope with increasing costs. 

  • Its aim is to aid families who find it hard to buy broad essentials. This includes internet, phone bills, clothes, and necessary travel expenses.
  • The scheme will help households till 30 September 2024 or until the money runs out.
  • The Council wants to help children getting Free School Meals, households with Council Tax Support, and local food banks. It aims to support emergency food and essential items initiatives.

The Cost of Living Payment from the government is also crucial. It aids over 395,000 homes in the North East, around 5% of all UK payments. Each eligible household gets around £3,300. This includes a £300 payment from 31 October to 19 November 2023, the second of three payments up to £900.

Local and national actions show a real effort to help the North East in these hard times. By spreading the word about what’s available, we help everyone get the support they need. Together, we can reduce the financial pressure on our communities.

Food Banks and Community Kitchens

In the North East, food poverty is growing, adding to the cost of living struggles. Luckily, there’s a strong network of food banks and kitchens. They help by giving emergency food to those who need it.

Emergency Food Parcels and Free Meal Services

Many organisations in the North East help people struggling to eat. For example, the Newcastle West End Foodbank gives out three-day food parcels full of nutrition. Vinnie’s Support in Newcastle gives both food parcels and packs with other essentials, like clothing and hygiene items.

The Kenton Food Bank provides larger food parcels for up to seven days, fitting single people, couples, and families. These cost between £3 and £5, depending on the family size. The Connect25 Food Bank in Newcastle offers up to three food parcels a year for each individual.

Organisations like Cornerstone Benwell and CDW Food Bank also help with food parcels that last a few days. CDW Food Bank opens on Tuesdays and Thursdays for extra support. The Holy Spirit Church in Denton gives out parcels for up to three meals and offers refreshments during their sessions.

These places are open on different days each week, making sure help is always available. They form a crucial safety net for those struggling with food insecurity.

New data shows more people in the UK are using food banks now. 15% said they’d used one in the last month, up from 11% in October 2021. Also, many are choosing cheaper cooking methods and cutting back on food due to money issues.

Now, there’s new advice to help food charities keep food safe. This includes tips on best-before dates and handling food. The Food Standards Agency keeps an eye on how people are coping and helps with donations and food safety. They share monthly reports on food bank use and ways people are saving money.

Despite the growing living costs, the North East’s food banks and kitchens are a key support. They offer not just food but also safety advice to help people going through hard times. Their sustainable practices fight food poverty and waste by reusing safe-to-eat food.

Debt Management and Budgeting Support

Many families in the North East face harder times now. They struggle with money because of the high cost of living. Thankfully, there’s help out there. People can get support to manage their debts, learn to budget, and get advice on money and debt.

Money Advice Services and Debt Counselling

The Money and Pensions Service certifies free debt advice groups. It started in 2019 to aid money management. The MoneyHelper website combines help from Money Advice Service, Pensions Advisory Service, and Pension Wise. The National Debtline gives free debt advice across the nation.

Locally, the Newcastle City Council Money Matters Team helps with debt management. You can call them at 0800 1707 008 during certain times. Citizens Advice Newcastle has a freephone AdviceLine for debt advice at 0808 278 7823. Also, Your Homes Newcastle offers debt advice at 0191 278 8600. For further help, you can contact Karbon Homes at 0808 164 0111 or by email.

People on ‘legacy’ benefits can get budgeting loans from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). These loans are there to ease financial burdens. The Discretionary Housing Payment scheme offers more help, especially with paying rent.

In the North East, people can also turn to the Moneywise Credit Union in Newcastle. Call them at 0191 276 7963 to learn about saving options. If you spot illegal borrowing, get in touch with the Trading Standards Service. And for support against loan sharks, visit the Stop Loan Sharks website.

By using these debt management north east and budgeting support services, people can improve their financial situation. The help available can make a big difference during tough times.

Mental Health Support During Financial Hardship

The North East is facing a big challenge due to the high cost of living. Many people’s mental health has suffered because of this. Feelings like stress, anxiety, and depression have become common. It’s very important for people in this situation to get help for their mental health. Thankfully, help is available.

Anxious Minds is at the forefront of this battle. They work closely with MHM in Wallsend. Together, they run a food bank and community kitchen. They also provide mental health support. This support aims to help people deal with the stress of not having enough money.

Many local and national organisations are working hard to support mental health, too. The British Gas Energy Trust, Citizens Advice and others are stepping up. They offer debt advice, free counselling, and more. These services are crucial for anyone struggling with the high cost of living.

Those in need can get help with debt and plan their finances. Free counselling and therapy sessions are also available. By using these services, people can get through the financial crisis. They can protect their mental health and well-being.

If you’re in the North East and facing tough times, remember, you’re not alone. There is help available for your mental health. By using these support services, you can start feeling better. You can take steps to manage the stress of financial difficulties.

“Taking care of your mental health is just as important as managing your finances during tough times. Don’t hesitate to seek the support you need.”

Service Contact Information Support Offered
Anxious Minds 0191 262 0305 Food bank, community kitchen, mental health support
British Gas Energy Trust 0800 389 2745 Financial assistance for energy bills and debt
Citizens Advice 0808 250 5702 Debt advice, budgeting support, benefits guidance
Granton Information Centre 0131 551 5723 Assistance with benefits, housing, and financial pressures
National Debt Line 0808 808 4000 Money management, debt advice, and cost of living support
Ofgem 0330 303 7723 Information and support for energy bill payments
StepChange Debt Charity 0800 138 1111 Free, confidential debt advice and money guidance
Turn2Us 0808 802 2000 Benefits advice, grants, and support for essential costs

Whether local or across the UK, these groups are a lifeline. They are here to assist those hit hard by financial troubles.

It’s important to look after your mental health, especially now. Don’t be afraid to ask for the help you need. There are services ready to support you through these tough times.

Utility Bill Assistance and Energy Debt Relief

If you live in the North East and find it hard to pay your energy bills, there’s help available. You can get support from your energy supplier and through other relief schemes. These are here to lessen the stress of high utility costs and energy debts.

Energy Supplier Grants and Support Schemes

Need help with your utility bills or energy debts? You can call for free from a mobile or landline. They might give you fuel vouchers as codes in messages or emails to help with your gas or electricity. If you have a smart meter, you can use these vouchers online. But remember, you must use your voucher within 15 days of getting it.

If you’re over Pension age or have a disability, you could get extra help through the Priority Services Registers. For those with long-term health issues or who might be at risk, support is available. Landlords should share any energy discounts they get with their tenants if it’s from a government scheme.

You might be eligible for grants to pay off your energy debt. There are also schemes to make your home more energy-efficient. The Warm Home Discount can help with electricity costs or top up your meter if you’re on benefits. For winter, there are grants to help with heating. If you’re getting specific benefits and it’s really cold, you might get extra support.

There’s a special fund of £4.6 million for low-income and vulnerable people in the North East. It covers from April 1, 2024, to September 30, 2024. This fund can be accessed by those who are eligible directly or through local charitable organisations. If you’re a young person in education and have free school meals, you might get a £70 payment.

“The government’s commitment to providing cost of living support in the North East is commendable, and we encourage all eligible residents to explore the available assistance to ease the burden of rising utility bills and energy debt.”

Resources and Helplines for Further Assistance

If you’re in the North East and need help during the cost of living crisis, there’s assistance available. You’ll find support for money advice, debt help, mental wellbeing, and community projects. These services aim to help in various ways.

Many libraries in Gateshead are part of this network. They allow free use of PCs, the internet, email, Microsoft Office, scanning and printing for everyone over 8. The Stop Loan Sharks service is also critical. It helps folks avoid risky loans by showing them safer ways to borrow.

Gateshead’s Family Hubs support families with kids aged from 0 to 19 (up to 25 if there are special needs). They provide advice on parenting, work, and personal wellbeing. They also offer help during the school holidays for families on free meals.

If you’re struggling with your mental health, Mind is there to help. They have helplines, legal support, and help for those at work or in the community. Tyne Housing can also help. They offer a place to stay and advice about housing and staying well in the North East.

The Birtley Hub is a great resource. It provides many services for free or at low cost, including internet, computer use, food, and help with printing. The Scottish Power Hardship Fund supports customers who find energy bills hard to pay.

If you need more help, you can contact Connected Voice at 0191 232 7445 or connect@connectedvoice.org.uk. They offer further support and information.

By turning to these helplines and resources, people in the North East can get through the tough times of the cost of living crisis.

Conclusion

The cost of living has really hit homes in the North East. Around 9 in 10 people have seen prices go up, that’s about 46 million adults. Yet, there are many support services and initiatives to help with the financial strain.

In Sunderland, they’re tackling the issue head-on. They’ve ranked 33rd out of 317 councils for areas of need in the UK. To help, they’ve come up with a Financial Wellbeing Strategy. This plan deals with making things fairer and lessening the impact of the crisis in the short and medium term. Their plan includes helping vulnerable people, making homes more affordable, and pushing for greener energy options and travel.

This article points people in the North East towards important help and info. It’s designed to aid in facing the rising cost of living. The support plan here is very focused. It really tries to understand and meet the community’s needs.

The North East is not just offering quick help. It’s also planning for long-term support and resilience. These actions should help people there get through this tough financial period.

Post a comment