Swindon Borough Council discusses what support is available to help with the cost of living

By Jessica Durston - 20 June 2022

Community

With many families in Swindon and across the country feeling the pinch as a result of the cost of living crisis, Swindon Borough Council say it is important to know what help and support is available.

Swindon Borough Council and Citizens Advice Swindon have joined forces to signpost the help available to Swindon families struggling with living costs.

It has been estimated that £15bn in benefits go unclaimed each year, including from one million pensioner households that could be missing out on Pension Credit. This tops up weekly income to a guaranteed minimum level of £182.60 a week for single pensioners or £278.70 for couples.

A checklist signposted at the top of each page of the council’s website lists 16 things that might benefit you, a family member, a friend or a neighbour, including:

- Use a benefits calculator to check if you’re one of up to 7 million people in the UK missing out on income-related state benefits - www.gov.uk/benefits-calculators   

- If you’re of State Pension age, call 0800 99 1234 to check your eligibility for Pension Credit or use the online Pension Credit calculator - www.gov.uk/pension-credit-calculator

- Households earning below £16,480 can apply for a 50 per cent discount on their water bill by searching online for ‘Thames Water’s WaterHelp scheme’ or call Thames Water’s Extra Care Services Team on 0800 009 3652.

- Check to see if you’re one of over a million families missing out on up to £2,000 a year towards childcare costs - www.gov.uk/childcare-calculator

Citizens Advice Swindon provide one-to-one advice and help to apply for benefits and other support. Check their website for opening times, www.citizensadviceswindon.org.uk or call 0808 278 7813.

The council are also recommending people take steps now to mitigate the impact of October’s energy price cap rise.

Energy regulator, Ofgem warned in late May that the typical household energy bill is set to rise by about £800 a year in October.

The energy price cap, which limits how much providers can raise prices, is expected to increase to £2,800 a year, due to continued volatility in gas prices.

The financial incentive has never been greater to find ways to make your home as energy efficient as possible and reduce energy use where possible. It’s also the case that the UK’s 30 million buildings - most of which are homes - account for more than 23 per cent of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

Of that, 79 percent comes from our heating systems that are largely powered by fossil fuels.

People living in Swindon can benefit from for free and impartial energy saving advice from the Warm and Safe Wiltshire Advice Service part-funded by the council. It also offers free visits to eligible residents in Swindon to help lower bills and keep homes warm.

Between April 2021-March 2022, Swindon and Wiltshire households accessed over £140,000 worth of energy bill savings. Visit www.warmandsafewiltshire.org.uk or call 0800 038 5722 (9-5pm, Monday to Friday).

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