Thousands could receive up to £300 to help with energy bills

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UK inflation dips as food and energy costs remain high

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Hard-up families across the country could be eligible to claim additional financial support worth hundreds to help with energy bills this month through the Household Support Fund. Now in its third phase, the Household Support Fund is distributed through the local councils and aims to help those most in need with food or energy vouchers, and applications have reopened again for many this January.

The energy price guarantee introduced in October 2022 bumped the average energy bill for an average household up to £2,500 a year. While this remains far lower than Ofgem’s October price cap and its forecast for January, which would have seen January’s bills hit a staggering £4,279 a month, prices still remain notably high.

The Government’s £400 energy rebate scheme, which is being paid in instalments of £66 and £67 over the course of six months, has also marginally helped lower costs so far, but it still isn’t quite enough to reduce bills to a more tenable level.

However, with Household Support Fund reopening to applicants, struggling families may able to claim some additional help with finances.

While the scheme was launched by the Department of Work and Pensions, funding is allocated to councils, which then distribute the money in a way that meets the needs of their local communities. This means Household Support Fund schemes may vary slightly in different parts of the country.

People can find out if and what their local councils are offering through the Household Support Fund by visiting the respective websites. The funding has been extended until March 2023 and any remaining money in the pots will be divided at each council’s own discretion.

Some councils are offering support this month through food vouchers, such as North Yorkshire County Council, while others are offering help through energy bill vouchers.

To name a few, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council has said from mid-January, eligible households in their constituency will receive a voucher, exchangeable for money, to be used to help pay energy costs.

Vouchers worth £100 will be allocated to households with children and vouchers worth £55 will be allocated to households without children. People aged 18 to 25 who have left care will receive a voucher worth £75.

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In Blackpool, an award of £200 will be made by the council to qualifying households of one or two people (including children) and £300 to qualifying households of three or more people (also including children) to help with energy. If successful, awards will be paid directly to the person’s energy provider and will appear as a credit on their bill or pre-payment electric or gas meter.

Bromley Council has said it will use its Support Fund to help families with energy bills. The support has been made available this month (January) and residents will need to check whether they are eligible and then apply.

According to its website, eligibility details will be published alongside the application advice on January 16, 2023, when this scheme is launched.

Sheffield City Council is also accepting applications for its Household Support Fund to help families with surging energy bills.

It is also using the fund to help with food and essentials, telephone and broadband bills, school uniforms, and white goods.

However, it notes to have received a high volume of applications so far already, so warns there may be a delay in response.

Borough Councils across Lancashire, including Burnley, Chorley, Fylde, Hyndburn, Lancaster, Pendle, Preston, Ribble Valley, Rossendale, South Ribble, West Lancashire, and Wyre, are either open for applications or will be sending out letters in January to inform eligible households that they will receive some additional cash support.

Hillingdon Council will also be offering help with energy bills this month.

Those eligible for benefit-related free school meals, in receipt of food assistance and are a resident in Hillingdon, will be entitled to a one-off cost of living voucher of £80 per household to help towards utility costs.  According to the council, this voucher will be sent in January 2023. 

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