Millions of households across the UK are eligible to receive support from the government to help pay for bills this winter.
An emergency £37 billion package of support was unveiled earlier this year and is set to provide at least £1,200 to the most vulnerable homes to cope with the rising cost of living.
The universal energy price guarantee will come to an end in April after which support will be more targeted, with a review being launched on how to help the worst affected households after this period.
New Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said the government’s changed approach will “cost the taxpayer significantly less than planned” and will target those most in need. However, energy market analysts Cornwall Insight warned that a typical household could be facing bills of £4,347 a year when the price guarantee comes to an end if further support isn’t offered.
Campaign groups and industry organisations have warned that the end of the price guarantee could “heap huge financial pressure” on households come April, with National Energy Action saying questions need answering “quickly” on who will continue to get support.
The energy price guarantee will limit the unit cost of energy for the next six months so that a typical household will pay a maximum of £2,500 per year. In addition to this, the following cost of living payments will all rollout to eligible households before Christmas.
October to March - £400 energy bills discount
All UK households will get £400 off their energy bills from October as a non-repayable grant. A discount of £66 will be applied to energy bills in October and November and a discount worth £67 in December, January, February and March.
The universal support is being doubled from £200 to £400 and is an expansion of the Energy Bills Support Scheme.
Energy suppliers will deliver this support to households with a domestic electricity meter in six instalments from October to March.
October to March - extension of Household Support Fund
The government will provide an extra £500 million of local support via the Household Support Fund, which will be extended from this October to March 2023.
The Household Support Fund helps those in most need with payments towards the rising cost of food, energy, and water bills.
The government will issue additional guidance to Local Authorities to ensure support is targeted towards those most in need, including those not eligible for the cost of living payments set out on 26 May 2022.
The Household Support Fund is administered by local councils in England and further information will be available directly from them. Eligibility will be determined by individual councils.
The Barnett formula provides a share of this funding to the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland so they can decide how to provide support.
8 and 23 November - second instalment of the £650 cost of living payment
More than one million households receiving tax credits, and no other means-tested benefits, will get the second instalment of £324 from 23 November, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has confirmed. The payment will be paid into most eligible customers’ bank accounts automatically between that date and 30 November across the UK.
It follows the first instalment of £326 which eligible families received from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) from July and from HMRC from September.
The government recently announced that households receiving DWP benefits will get their second cost of living payment from 8 November continuing through to 23 November. This includes tax credit claimants who also receive other income-related benefits from DWP. HMRC said it is making payments shortly after the DWP in order to avoid duplicate payments.
The second payment will automatically be paid into the bank accounts of those eligible in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland who receive a qualifying benefit, meaning they will not need to do anything to receive the money.
HMRC deputy chief executive and second permanent secretary Angela MacDonald said: “This second cost of living payment will provide further financial support to eligible tax credit-only claimants across the UK. The £324 will be paid automatically into bank accounts, so people don’t need to do anything to receive this extra help.”
November - reversal of National Insurance hike
The government will reduce National Insurance rates from 6 November 2022, in effect removing the temporary 1.25 percentage point increase for the remainder of the 2022-23 tax year.
The 1.25% Health and Social Care Levy will not come into force as a separate tax from 6 April 2023 as previously planned.
It means 28 million people across the UK will keep an extra £330 a year, on average, in 2023-2024.
November - £150 Warm Home Discount
Households could get £150 off electricity bills for winter 2022 to 2023 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme, which will reopen again in November.
It is a one-off discount on your electricity bill between October 2022 and March 2023.
If you live in England and Wales, you qualify if you either:
- get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit - known as ‘core group 1’
- are on a low income and have high energy costs - known as ‘core group 2’
If you live in Scotland, you qualify if you either:
- get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit - known as the ‘core group’
- are on a low income and meet your energy supplier’s criteria for the scheme - known as the ‘broader group’
The Warm Home Discount scheme is not available in Northern Ireland.
How you apply for the scheme depends on how you qualify for the discount and it is up to individual energy companies to decide when to give customers the discount.
November to December - £300 pensioner cost of living payment
Pensioner households across the UK will receive a one-off £300 payment in November or December.
The payment will go to more than eight million households who receive the Winter Fuel Payment and it will be paid on top of any other one-off support a pensioner household is entitled to.
People will be eligible if they are over State Pension age (aged 66 or above) between 19 and 25 September 2022. For most pensioner households, the payment will be paid by direct debit.
November - March - Cold Weather Payment
You may be eligible for a Cold Weather Payment if you receive certain benefits or Support for Mortgage Interest.
Eligible households will get a payment if the average temperature in the local area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below over seven consecutive days.
A payment of £25 for each seven day period of very cold weather will be issued automatically between 1 November and 31 March.