Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced £15 billion worth of support to help households across the UK cope with the rising cost of living.
The emergency package will see every home given at least £400 towards energy bills, while around eight million vulnerable households are in line to receive support of at least £1,200 this year, including a new one-off £650 cost of living payment.
Downing Street is also not ruling out further help later on as Ofgem is expecting a further rise in the energy price cap in October, with energy bills set to hit £2,800 per year.
The Prime Minister has warned that this year is “going to be difficult” and that the government “cannot solve every problem”, but said the package will help “get us through” until prices start to abate.
When will the cost of living payments be issued?
The new cost of living payments will be paid directly to households across the UK by the government later this year.
Listed are the full list of dates the payments will be issued, and who will be eligible to receive each package of support.
Now - £150 council tax rebate
Around 80% of households in council tax bands A to D in England and Wales are eligible to receive a £150 council tax rebate to help with the rising cost of living.
Councils began paying the rebates from April and many households who pay by direct debit should have already received it.
Those who do not pay by this method should be contacted by their council to provide details so the payment can be issued.
The government has said all rebates must be paid by 30 September and it will be provided as a separate payment, rather than as part of your council tax bill.
Scotland residents are also entitled to £150 off if they are in bands A to D, with councils able to either issue the rebate as a cash payment or as credit off future council tax bills.
July - National Insurance threshold goes up
The National Insurance threshold will rise from £9,880 to £12,570 per year on 6 July.
This means that workers will be able to earn £12,570 per year without having to pay any income tax or National Insurance.
It amounts to a £6 billion tax cut for 30 million people across the UK, and a tax cut for employees worth £330 per year.
July - first instalment of the £650 cost of living payment
More than eight million low-income households on means-tested benefits will be eligible for the one-off £650 cost of living payment.
The first £326 instalment will be paid to households on 14 July, the Department for Work and Pensions has confirmed, with the second instalment to follow in autumn. Payments from HMRC for those on tax credits only will follow shortly after each to avoid duplicate payments.
The £650 payment will be made to claimants of Universal Credit, Tax Credits, Pension Credit and legacy benefits.
Claimants will need to be in receipt of one of the benefits listed above, or have begun a claim which is later successful, as of 25 May 2022 to be eligible for the first of the two instalments.
The payment will be tax-free, will not count towards the benefit cap, and will not have any impact on existing benefit awards.
Autumn - second instalment of the £650 cost of living payment
The second instalment of the £650 payment for households on means-tested benefits will be issued from autumn, the government has said, but an official date is yet to be confirmed.
September - £150 disability cost of living payment
Around six million people across the UK who receive the following disability benefits will get a one-off payment of £150 in September:
- Disability Living Allowance
- Personal Independence Payment
- Attendance Allowance
- Scottish Disability Benefits
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- Constant Attendance Allowance
- War Pension Mobility Supplement
Claimants must be in receipt of, or have begun an eventually successful claim for, one of these benefits as of 25 May 2022 to be eligible for this additional payment.
For the many disability benefit recipients who receive means-tested benefits, this £150 will come on top of the £650 they will receive separately.
These payments will be exempt from tax, will not count towards the benefit cap, and will not have any impact on existing benefit awards.
October to March - £400 energy bills discount
All UK households will get £400 off their energy bills from October as a non-repayable grant.
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 over six months from October.
Direct debit and credit customers will have the money credited to their account, while customers with pre-payment meters will have the money applied to their meter or paid via a voucher.
This support will apply directly for households in England, Scotland, and Wales. It is GB-wide and the government will deliver equivalent support to people in Northern Ireland.
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.
October to March - £500m increase and 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.