Struggling with the cost-of-living increases?… You are not alone
At the end of March Citizens Advice research revealed that around 5 million people would be unable to pay their energy bills from April even accounting for the support the government had already announced. This number was expected to almost triple to 1 in 4 people in the UK – over 14 million – when the price cap rises again in October based on current predictions.
But it isn’t just energy bills which are affected – transport fuel, food, council tax, mortgage interest rates, water, child care, adult care, car maintenance, insurance, phones, internet and TV packages, clothing etc. are all affected at a time when INCOMES – wages, pensions and benefits – have (for most people) either not increased or have gone up by a lower amount than their outgoings.
These rising costs have all come at the same time, leaving people suddenly unable to budget properly for the sharp increases. These costs will rise further, and people will need help and support to deal with them.
At Citizens Advice locally we have seen an increase in those we see in hardship. We have supported people through advice and guidance in budgeting and checking benefit entitlements. We have distributed more food vouchers than ever before when the choice has been to ‘heat or eat’.
The negative impact of money problems on mental health and wellbeing is often interlinked and is becoming more apparent.
As well as causing significant financial difficulty, rising costs are opening opportunities for those who thrive on exploiting the anxiety experienced by others – e.g., SCAMMERS
£150 Council Tax Rebate scam is an example. Criminals are pretending to be calling from your local council and asking residents for their bank details so that they can receive this payment.
Councils are stressing that:
- They will not call to ask for, or to verify, bank details over the phone to administer this rebate
- Households who pay council tax by direct debit will receive the payment directly into their bank account, so do not need to do anything
- For those who pay by other means, the council will send a letter with details of how to claim.
- If you are not eligible for the rebate, but you are struggling with energy bills, you may still be eligible for a discretionary payment, so ask for details.
Never give personal details over the phone
- If you think you may have handed over your bank details or made any payment to a scammer, please contact your bank and report the matter to Action Fraud on 0300 1232040
- If you get a message that you believe to be fraudulent, you can report it to your mobile phone provider or by forwarding the message to 7726, a free reporting service provided by phone operators.
SCAMMERS ARE CLEVER, WHAT SHOULD I LOOK OUT FOR?
Look on your bank or building society’s statements or website for their guidance on fraud. They will usually tell you what they will not ask for.
You can also look up general advice on our national website (click here)
If you are struggling, we are here to help.
Citizens Advice provides free, confidential, independent advice whoever you are and we have access to many forms of help. If you’re concerned about cost-of-living issues, please contact us by any of the means suggested below.
Citizens Advice Waverley contact details:
Tel 0808 278 7980 (freephone) to speak to an adviser
Leave online message
Search our national site by topic
Mole Valley contact details:
Contact East Surrey Domestic Abuse Services on 01737 771350 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Surrey Domestic Abuse 9am-9pm Helpline – 01483 776822
In an emergency always dial 999
Reigate and Banstead contact details:
Phone Adviceline: 0808 278 7945 (free) to speak to an adviser (Monday – Friday 9.00 – 16.00)
Email: Use an enquiry form
Self help (website)