The last two years has created the perfect storm for cost-of-living problems across the UK and it’s speculated that things could get worse by April. As many households struggle to reach the first payday since before Christmas, we explore the measures households can take now to help make things more manageable.
New research shows that lower income households in the UK may have to spend half their income on energy. The industry regulator, Ofgem, has also announced that it will increase price caps in April, painting a bleak picture for some consumers.
UK households should double check they’ve made use of all the help available this winter such as:
- Government schemes: research government schemes like the Winter Fuel Payment which provides £100 to £300 to help pay heating bills. Customers are eligible for the scheme if they were born on or before 26 September 1955.* Be aware that the government is also exploring options such as making payments to energy suppliers to soften the blow to consumers.
- Switch providers: according to Ofgem, households can save around £360 every year. Switching provider doesn’t just help save money, it can also allow consumers to seek out more environmentally friendly suppliers and those with better customer service.
- Tax relief: check out the tax relief option, which allows anyone working at home on a regular basis to claim relief on gas and electricity bills – as well as metered water and business phone calls. HMRC are offering relief worth £312 per year with no need to provide receipts or factor in any complicated calculations.
- Discounts and efficiency checks: use energy efficient lightbulbs – a relatively inexpensive solution which helps to reduce costs over a long period of time. Also, look out for schemes such as the Warm Home Discount that provide a one off discount of £140 off the winter electricity bill between September and March.**
Greg Wilson, Founder of energy comparison website Quotezone.co.uk, comments: “Given the upcoming rise in energy price caps in April, it’s important that people get on the front foot and look for ways to save.
“If you’re eligible, making use of the government’s schemes to help with the cost of energy bills is a good start. There are many schemes out there, including the Warm Home Discount and Winter Fuel Payments scheme, that should make bills a little easier to pay. These schemes are targeted to both the elderly and those on a low-income, providing support to the most vulnerable demographics.
“But there are also many other ways to tackle increasing energy cost – one of the most effective ways is to switch provider, a process which has never been easier. By choosing an Ofgem-accredited comparison site, consumers can get an understanding of what’s on offer across a range of energy suppliers – instantly providing an overview of more competitive prices.”
Quotezone.co.uk is one of the leading price comparison websites in the UK, helping over 3 million users find more competitive deals.