Blog: Help with cost of living rises

Cabinet member for Social Care and Public Health, Councillor Frazer Lake, outlines the council’s role in helping vulnerable people, as the cost of living rises at the fastest rate in 30 years.

“Across Liverpool, families are deeply concerned about rising bills.

Many are just about keeping their heads above water and are really worried about the weeks and months ahead.

At the moment, around one in three households in Liverpool are in poverty, and a third of people on Universal Credit are in work.

Rises in the cost of fuel, energy and food are creating a perfect storm for families choosing whether to buy food or to heat their homes.

The Chancellor’s statement this week was big on promising tax cuts to come, but there was no mention of immediate support for people in low income jobs struggling to put food on the table.

As a council, despite the financial challenges we continue to face, we are taking the conscious decision to continue to fund a range of projects to help support those most in need, unlike many other councils.

From payments to people in crisis, through to help paying rent, we continue to spend tens of millions of pounds every year supporting struggling families.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need help.”

Useful links to support available from the council and other organisations:

Benefits advice

Request benefits advice or get help with Universal Credit claims today at www.liverpool.gov.uk/bms or check if you qualify online at www.gov.uk/benefits-calculators. You can also call freephone 0800 028 3697 or visit any One Stop Shop. You can also speak to your landlord if you’re a social housing tenant.

Debt

Your local Citizens Advice can help you deal with debt. You can book appointments with the city centre money advice team on 0151 233 2771. Call 0344 848 7700 or visit www.citizensadviceliverpool.org.uk to find your local office. For details of other organisations go to www.liverpool.gov.uk/debt 

Council Tax

Call us today on 0800 028 3686 if you’re having problems paying your Council Tax, have Council Tax arrears, are struggling to pay back overpaid Housing Benefit, or owe other debts to the council.

Free school meals

Apply today at www.liverpool.gov.uk/freeschoolmeals or call free phone 0800 028 3697 and your family could save over £400 per year and your child’s school can receive up to £1,900 additional funding for every eligible child.

Housing

Housing Options provides help and advice if you are homeless or threatened with homelessness.

Call us on freephone 0800 731 6844. Visit any of our One Stop Shops – www.liverpool.gov.uk/onestopshops or call 0151 233 3000

Fuel and energy bills

Our Healthy Homes team can provide free help and advice if you’re struggling to pay your fuel bills, and energy saving hints and tips to help keep you warm and your bills low. They may also be able to help with replacement boilers and windows.

Visit www.liverpool.gov.uk/housing/fuel-poverty-and-energy-efficiency/ or call them on freephone 0800 0121 754.

Council Tax Support

Council Tax Support helps you pay some of your Council Tax if you are on a low income or claiming certain benefits. You can claim whether you own your home or rent, or whether you’re working or unemployed.

Find out more: www.liverpool.gov.uk/benefits/housing-benefits/council-tax-support/

Discretionary Housing Payments

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) can give you short term help to pay your rent when Housing Benefit or Universal Credit does not meet your rent in full. You can apply if you receive Housing Benefit or the housing cost element of Universal Credit or there is a shortfall between your rent and benefit entitlement.

Find out more: www.liverpool.gov.uk/benefits/housing-benefits/discretionary-housing-payments/ 

Liverpool Citizens Support Scheme

If you find yourself in crisis you can apply for support to get food and basic necessities for you and your family including gas and electric vouchers (urgent needs) and furniture and household essentials (home needs). An emergency or crisis might be a fire or flood, or you have had to move due to violence or fear of violence, or you are leaving care or prison and need support to stay in the community.

Find out more: www.liverpool.gov.uk/benefits/help-in-a-crisis/liverpool-citizens-support-scheme/

Foodbanks in Liverpool

Your local foodbank can provide at least three days’ emergency food and support to people in crisis. You can get a voucher from your: health visitor, social worker, local citizens advice or charity organisation and take your voucher to your local Trussell Trust foodbank to receive your emergency food. Your local church or community centre may have their own system and you may not need a voucher.

Find out more: www.liverpool.gov.uk/benefits/help-in-a-crisis/foodbanks/

Short-term benefits advance

If you’re waiting for your first benefit payment and don’t have enough money to cover food and essential items such as rent, gas and electric you can ask your local Job Centre for a short-term advance.

Find out more: www.liverpool.gov.uk/benefits/help-in-a-crisis/short-term-benefit-advance/

Get Connected

Parents and carers of children eligible for free school meals can get a a free 12-month 4G connection. Families receive a MiFi router, meaning they can get online quickly and simply avoiding the need for an engineer visit. The deadline is 14 April.

Find out more: https://www.liverpool.gov.uk/getconnected

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