Help with rising living costs

Help if you’re concerned about how to pay for everyday costs and financial support.

Reduce your energy bills

Some of our highest costs come from heating and running our homes - but there are often things that can be done to cut those costs.

With the Better Housing, Better Health service you’ll get practical advice on saving energy, and accessing grants and financial support. This is a free service, supported by Oxfordshire County Council, which could save you money, make your living space more comfortable, reduce stress and improve your health.

It’s also worth planning ahead now, before the colder months, so you can get things in place and make the changes you need.

Fill in a quick form to access telephone support. In certain cases, a home visit may be offered to help identify ways you can cut costs by saving energy or accessing grants.

You can contact the Better Housing, Better Health service by calling 0800 107 0044 (Monday - Friday, 9am – 5pm).

If you can’t pay your energy bills now, contact your energy supplier.

Further information about the help available with energy bills can be found on gov.uk.

    Help with food costs

    The Oxfordshire food access map allows you to search for community food services such as food banks, community larders, and food projects.

    Most food banks need a referral to access them - this can come from many groups - a doctor, housing association, local council, charity, the council.

    Larders and fridges do not work on a referral basis and give either low-cost or free food which otherwise would go to waste. 

    If your child is eligible for free school meals, you will also be able to get equivalent support during the school summer holiday. Children with similar qualifying criteria in early years provision may also be eligible for support. Your school or early years setting should be in touch directly but if not, please contact them.

    If you're at least ten weeks pregnant or have a child under four years old, you might be able to get free vitamins and Healthy Start vouchers for milk, fruit and vegetables and infant formula milk.

    Help with housing

    For help and advice on finding housing, get in touch with your district council.

    Tax rebates and government financial support announcements

    Your district council is distributing the £150 council tax rebate announced in February to help with the cost of living along with a discretionary scheme for those not eligible for the original rebate. Visit your district council website for more information.

    The government announced (May 2022) that all domestic electricity customers in Great Britain will receive a £400 reduction in their electricity costs from October 2022 through the Energy Bills Support Scheme. There will be no requirement to pay it back. Households will not need to apply for the scheme and, in most cases, the government expects electricity suppliers to apply the reduction automatically to bills from October 2022.

    The government announced extra support (26 May) that will give further funding for some of these measures. This government guidance explains how and when people receive certain benefits or tax credits will get an extra payment to help with living costs.

    Further information about the support available with household costs can be found on gov.uk.

    Income-related benefits

    An estimated £15bn of benefits are believed to go unclaimed each year. If you think you could be eligible for support, use a free benefits calculator to find out what you could be entitled to. Or contact Citizens Advice Oxfordshire for one-to-one help to do this.

    If you are turned down for a benefit, get advice on whether to challenge the decision. Many benefit decisions are overturned, and organisations like Citizens Advice can offer advice about challenges.

    If Housing Benefit or Universal Credit doesn't cover all your rent, check to see if you can make a claim for a discretionary housing payment.

    Some broadband providers offer cheaper packages for those who receive certain government benefits. These are known as social tariffs. Ofcom has a list of broadband providers who offer these packages. You should always check with your existing provider before starting any new contracts to make sure there are no charges for stopping your existing contract.

    Support in Oxfordshire

    If you need to talk to someone on any topic regarding your mental health, there are local organisations who can help: