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Families will need an additional £ 107 to cover basic ‘dreary winter’ bills from October


From October 1, rising energy bills, food inflation and squeezing universal credit for nearly six million people will mean families could find themselves in a worse situation by £ 107 every month.

A series of cuts go into effect just as the price hike kicks in

Rising energy prices, rising food bills and a gradual reduction of £ 20 per week in universal credit will leave families £ 107 per month worse from next month.

From October, the weekly £ 20 universal credit increase – which works out to £ 86.66 per month – is expected to be withdrawn for 5.9 million people.

Leave and self-employment schemes will also end in October, which could lead to job losses or reduced working hours, further reducing the incomes of some households.

In a context of rising gas prices, energy costs are also expected to increase from this October weekend for 15 million households on the energy price cap.

Those on a default dual-fuel tariff, paying by direct debit, will see an average annual increase of £ 139, from £ 1,138 to £ 1,277.

Are you worried about getting into debt this winter? Contact us: [email protected]

Inflation is at 3% and the crisis in the supply chain is already triggering food price hikes


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This equates to an increase of £ 95 to £ 104 per month.

Over 4 million prepaid customers will see an even larger annual increase of £ 153, from £ 1,156 to £ 1,309; an increase of almost £ 13 per month.

Moreover, with rising gas prices, failure of energy providers and higher winter usage, all UK households could see their energy prices rise over the next few months.

Last year, the average household spent £ 277 per month on food expenses, but the latest Consumer Price Index inflation figures of 3% suggest it could rise to £ 285 per month this year.

This means families will need an additional £ 107 per month to cover essential expenses this winter, according to Royal London.

Sarah Pennells, consumer credit specialist, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic is perhaps the biggest life shock our society has ever seen.

“As we continue to feel its effects, there has never been a more urgent need to help those who are financially vulnerable.”

Recent research from the Turn2Us charity found that 15.9 million UK adults are more financially vulnerable due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Starting in October, many families are going to be affected by significant changes in their monthly spending and many will have less money to pay their bills due to the reduction in universal credit,” Pennells continued.

“For those who are in financial shock or are worried about making ends meet, there are steps you can take.

“For example, if you are having trouble paying your energy bills, contact your supplier as they should help you with the means to pay and don’t be afraid to seek help from a charity consultancy. matters of debt if you are having difficulty. “

Thomas Lawson, Managing Director of Turn2us, said: “The coming months will undoubtedly be very difficult for individuals and families across the UK.

“The £ 20-a-week reduction in universal credit would already leave many families struggling to keep up with the cost of living.

“This, now combined with a sudden surge in energy prices, could spell disaster and push thousands more into financial insecurity or even poverty; especially those of us whose financial resilience has been worn down by the pandemic.

“Our own research tells us that more than half (52%) of people on universal credit will have difficulty paying their bills when the reduction takes effect, with another in four (25%) unable to pay their rent. or its mortgage payments.

“This means a very dark winter for the most precarious among us and urgent action is certainly needed on the part of the government to protect people from the financial crisis.

“We also urge everyone to check what support they are eligible for and to contact their utility providers if they know they are going to have a hard time paying the bills ahead.”

How can I control my expenses?

1. Write a monthly budget

If your income has gone down, you’ll need to factor in your expenses, and one of the best ways to do that is to budget on a monthly basis.

Start by determining how much money you will need to cover your essential monthly expenses such as your rent or mortgage, utility bills, council tax, and any other debt, such as credit cards and / or personal loans.

Once you’ve done that, you should have a clearer idea of ​​how much money you need to spend on things like your weekly store.

2. Check your entitlement to benefits

It can be complicated to determine which state benefits you are entitled to. Turn2Us has a benefit calculator to check your entitlement to means-tested benefits.

The results page will tell you what benefits and tax credits you may be entitled to and how much you may receive.

We have a Benefits Calculator to help you out here.

3. Shop around and change your household bills

You can save money by shopping and researching the best deals on broadband and auto and home insurance. If you’re on the energy price cap, you can already bet you’re getting the best deal because you’re protected, but it’s worth doing a quick comparison.

Normally, you could save money on energy bills by switching from the standard variable rate to a better deal. However, the volatility of energy prices means that it may be the cheapest option at the moment. It is worth checking with your provider that you are getting the best available rate.

Broadband tends to be more expensive for those who are “out of contract”, 20 million customers according to Ofcom are “out of contract” and are therefore likely to pay too much.

4. Check your eligibility for housing tax assistance

If you think you are unable to pay your housing tax because you now have lower income or are applying for benefits, you may be entitled to a reduction in housing tax.

What you get will depend on where you live, your situation, your household income, and whether you have children or other dependents living with you.

5. Check your subscriptions

If you have to manage on a reduced income, you should focus on covering essential costs like your mortgage or rent, utility and food bills, and reducing non-essential expenses.

It’s worth taking a quick look at your banking transactions and credit card statements over the past few months to remind yourself of all the regular payments that are made. You might be surprised to see some things that you still pay for, but no longer need or use.

Is the cost of living out of control? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below

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