Important costs like gas, electricity, fuel and food are rising steeply. It's a real worry and is affecting many people across the country. We've pulled together some advice, tips and resources to support you. This page will be updated regularly with the latest advice and help for you.
Energy costs are due to rise on average £700 a year from April 2022. This might feel overwhelming and worrying, but there are lots of resources you can turn to for help and advice.
If you're falling behind with your energy bills, and finding yourself struggling to pay, the best thing to do is contact your supplier as soon as possible. Under rules from regulator Ofgem, your supplier has to help you – usually by negotiating a payment plan that you can afford.
So don't panic – your supply won't be cut off. Due to ongoing additional support measures put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic, disconnections of standard credit meters have been suspended.
Martin Lewis has a detailed advice page to help if you're worried or struggling to pay your energy bills.
National Energy Action (NEA) can also help. They offer a free support to people in England and Wales to help with their energy bills and keeping warm and safe in their home.
If you find it difficult to pay your energy bills, whether you pay monthly or have a pre-payment meter, visit the Fuelbank Foundation, who have a wealth of information to help you.
With the increasing cost of energy, it’s worth knowing that according to the Energy Saving Trust, on average, 16% of a household’s energy bill is from heating water for activities such as baths, showers, washing up and water-using electrical appliances.
Most people don’t realise that on average, each person uses around 142 litres of water every single day – that’s enough to make over 450 cups of tea! So it really adds up.
So small changes to the way we use water at home can make a big difference to reducing your energy bill. Keep an eye out for leaky loos, turn the tap off when your brushing your teeth and try to spend one minute less in the shower.
United Utilities have some great tips and resources to help you save water and money.
If you're using United Utilities and are struggling with debt, they have help on offer and you can apply for their Trust Fund here.
If you’re looking for budget friendly recipes, have a look at award-winning food writer and anti-poverty campaigner Jack Monroe’s food blog. Jack started her blog after having to feed herself and her young son on £10 a week. She writes recipes for people who are living on extremely tight budgets, including people relying on food banks. Her recipes are designed with the simplest, cheapest ingredients in mind and often cost under 50p.
If you’re struggling to pay for food, find your local foodbank. The largest foodbank organisation in the UK is the Trussell Trust. It has over 1,200 foodbanks across the country. You can use their website to find your local foodbank. There are also smaller organisations running foodbanks too.
There are a number of social supermarkets across the North West, who distribute surplus food donated from retailers, charities or individuals for free. We'll be adding to this list as we come across more:
We know it can be tempting to avoid talking about money concerns but the sooner people act the better. Our Welfare Team can offer you help and advice on a wide range of money matters - nobody has to struggle alone. Call 0800 169 2988, use our live chat service or contact us via our mobile app.
Try our Benefits Calculator to help you figure out what you may be entitled to - it's worth checking with the recent changes in Universal Credit.
We also have a Budgeting Tool to help you maximise your income and keep track of your outgoings. This is always the first step in managing your finances and taking control of your money.
Martin Lewis has a detailed section on his MoneySavingExpert website covering budgeting and debt help, and how to deal with the Cost of Living crisis.
The Government-backed MoneyHelper website offers free, impartial advice on all things money related - from pensions to budgeting and managing debt.
If you're struggling to cope with the rising cost of living, there is help available - you don't need to struggle and suffer in silence.
If you have money worries, then our Welfare team can support you to access all of the benefits that you are entitled to, help you manage your household budget, and signpost you to any other support you may wish to access. The important thing to do is make sure that you get in touch with us. If you are worried that you might be falling into arrears then give us a call on 0800 169 2988 (during office hours) and discuss your situation with us; if you’re having problems then we can try to help you if you let us know.
We have a range of support services in place to help anyone who might be struggling, including support to access employment and training opportunities, or if you are feeling isolated or lonely. You can find more information about these services on our website here, or by calling the number above.
If you feel like you're struggling with your mental health Mind UK are here to help, with a range of resources available.