Cost of living support
As the cost of energy, fuel and food rises, you may find it harder to pay your bills. Here’s more information on support available and ways to save money on your living costs.
What to do if your income doesn’t cover your costs
If you can’t afford to pay your bills or debts, try not to borrow money as you could end up in a worse situation.
Everyone’s situation is different. Get advice about your options. There are services in Newcastle that can help you with: debt, reducing your bills, claiming welfare benefits to increase your income. This could make a difference to your quality of life. Keep reading for more details.
Support for people on a low income tells you more about services in Newcastle that can help you manage your money, avoid getting into debt, access bank accounts and affordable credit.
Struggling to pay your bills
Check if you can move to a cheaper supplier for essential services at home. You may be able to get a better deal using comparison websites such as:
If you’re struggling to pay your bills contact your provider. They may be able to offer you a discount or a repayment plan.
Read more on InformationNOW about other utility services you may be paying for:
Debt advice and budgeting support
Help for people on means tested benefits
The Government Cost of Living Support Payment is being made to people on means tested benefits, such as Universal Credit and Pension Credit. This is to help with the rise in the cost of living. If you are eligible you do not need to apply. You will be paid automatically, the same way you usually get your benefit or tax credits
If you are eligible but did not receive the first payment you can report a missing Cost of Living payment online.
Check you’re getting all the benefits you can
People who receive Universal Credit speak to your Universal Credit Work Coach about a referral for specialist Personal Budgeting Support if you are struggling to manage your living costs.
Where to get benefit advice has a full list of benefit advice services available across Newcastle.
Where you go for help first will depend on who your landlord is.
Citizens Advice Newcastle give anyone in Newcastle free, confidential, independent and impartial advice. Appointments are available. Contact them by making a self referral, use their online chat, or phone 0808 278 7823
Speak to your landlord to let them know you are struggling with your rent and to see what support they can offer.
Private Rented Service at Newcastle City Council can give you advice about your tenancy and help if you are struggling to pay your rent. Phone 0191 277 1438 or email email@example.com
Social housing or housing associations
Speak to your housing provider if you rent your home and are struggling to pay your rent. They can give you advice and support. There are a number of housing providers in Newcastle such as:
Methodist Homes Housing Association (MHA) provides specialist care homes, retirement living and supported housing homes to rent in Newcastle. They have online information for their tenants.
Places for People support their tenants with issues such as energy advice, problems with paying your rent, digital skills, community activities and wellbeing. Contact them if you’re having problems managing your bills. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01772 666 446
Help with rent costs
Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) are available for people who are finding it difficult to pay their rent, who receive housing benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit.
If you are struggling to pay your mortgage speak to your mortgage lender to find out if you can arrange a longer repayment period to lower your monthly charge. You can change this when you have more money available to avoid higher interest charges.
Council tax discounts are available to some people depending on your circumstances, income and if you receive certain benefits. You may be entitled to a discount or help to pay your council tax if you: live alone, are a carer, have a low income or have an empty property.
Energy Services, Newcastle City Council give energy advice on their telephone helpline. This includes how to reduce your fuel bills and keep warm. They can help with dealing with gas and electricity suppliers and reducing your fuel debt.
Citizens Advice Newcastle provide energy advice to anyone in Newcastle. This includes home visits and face to face appointments to discuss support as well as phone and email.
Search Newcastle give energy advice to people living in postcodes NE4, NE5 and NE15.
NEA Action for Warm Homes have a free service to help with energy and heating difficulties.
Priority Services Register: Register as a priority customer if you would struggle during a power cut, for example if you have young children, medical condition, sensory or mobility issues.
If other adults live in your home you could ask them to pay their fair share of the household bills, such as board, heating and electricity.
Reduce your energy costs
Make sure you claim any winter energy support allowances that you are eligible for:
Cold Weather payment: £25 for each 7 day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March. You get the payment automatically if you qualify.
Winter Fuel Allowance: if you were born on or before 26 September 1955 you could get between £100 and £300 to help you pay your heating bills. You should get this payment automatically if you are eligible – although you may need to claim if you do not get State Pension.
Warm Home Discount: you may be eligible for £150 off your winter energy bill.
Get help to improve your home’s energy rating check if you are eligible for energy saving improvements such as insulation, solar panels and heating
Make sure your bills are accurate: Send regular gas and electricity meter readings to your supplier or think about getting a smart meter fitted. Pay for the energy you use, not an amount estimated by your supplier. So you don’t end up paying too much
If other adults live in your home, make sure that they pay their fair share of the household energy bills
Read our energy saving tips for ways you can save money.
Help with heating problems and how to pay for them has more information about insulating your home, help with energy debt and more.
Help to pay energy debts
If you’re in debt to your energy supplier, you might be able to get a grant to help pay it off. The following energy suppliers offer grants to their customers:
- British Gas Energy Trust
- Scottish Power Hardship Fund
- Ovo Energy Fund
- EDF Energy Fund
- EON Next Energy Fund
If you can’t get a grant from your supplier, check if you can get a grant from the British Gas Energy Trust. These grants are available to anyone. You don’t have to be a British Gas customer.
Prepayment energy costs
If your prepayment meters are about to run out of credit and you don’t have any funds to top up, you need to contact your energy supplier. Your supplier should be able to issue a credit voucher or extend your emergency credit.
If your supplier tells you that they won’t help, then you can ask the Citizens Advice extra help unit to speak to them on your behalf:
- phone the Citizens Advice consumer helpline
- complete the extra help unit online referral form (do not use this option if you need help the same day)
If you are struggling to pay for food or cook meals there are places in Newcastle that can help you with:
Emergency food parcels Find out which foodbanks are open during the week and how to use them. You may need to be referred by an organisation registered with the foodbank as such as the Council, a support worker, a charity or a GP surgery.
Free meals or cheap food cooked by volunteers. You may be able to sit in to eat a hot meal or take it away. Find out more about what’s available. This includes food pantries and affordable or ‘pay as you feel’ supermarkets.
Free school meals for children of school age. There is some support during school holidays too. Read more to find out if you are eligible and how to apply.
Search our organisation directory to find foodbanks or food help near you.
Children and families
Children and Families Newcastle Early Help can support your family to stay on track. Being a parent can be a tough job and sometimes we all need a bit of help. You can ask for help with an ongoing problem or get help to prevent one from happening. They have hubs in Newcastle where you can help information, help, training and advice:
- Charlton Street Lemington Children and Families Hub
- Fawdon Children’s Centre
- Nunsmoor Centre
- Byker Sands Family Centre
- The Galafield Centre
- Cowgate Centre
Newcastle Support Directory is the website for children and families and children with Special Educational Needs (SEND) in Newcastle. You can find services and activities such as:
- children’s activities such as: baby and toddler groups, events, or youth groups
- childcare providers and nurseries
- pregnancy or family support services
- The Local Offer: services for Children with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND)
NHS Healthy Start Scheme is for people who are pregnant or have children under the age of 4, who receive certain benefits. You get a free prepaid card that’s topped up every 4 weeks to buy: milk, fruit and vegetables. You can also collect vitamins. You can use the card in shops that accept Mastercard payments and sell at least one of these Healthy Start foods.
Barnardo’s supports children, young people and families. They offer parenting advice, counselling and support services on matters such as: mental wellbeing, family breakdown, bereavement, discrimination and back to school.
Childcare Choices is the Government help to pay for childcare costs for parents of babies, toddlers or teenagers. Find out what support you can get by visiting the website and answering some questions. Depending on how much you earn there is:
- help to pay for childcare, if you earn less than a certain amount per year
- tax free childcare where you can save up to £2000 a year
- 15 hour of free childcare for 2 years olds in families earning less than a certain amount
- 15 hours of free childcare for children over the age of 3. You may be able to get 30 hours free depending on how much earn.
- tax credits for childcare
- support while you study
- universal credit for childcare
Help with help costs is available if you are on a low income, receive certain benefits or have a specific medical condition. You may get help with prescriptions, travel to health appointments, glasses, dental treatment or wigs.
Newcastle Stop Smoking Plus Service can help you to quite smoking, with access to free medical products to help with cravings.
Computers, internet and digital
Get Online Newcastle can show you how to access and use the internet. Call their helpline for more information
Newcastle Libraries are where you can use computers for free. Library staff can help with Council enquiries too. There are 14 libraries across Newcastle
Read more on InformationNOW about:
Public transport is a cheaper way to travel. A weekly or monthly ticket can be cheaper if you use public transport often.
Concessionary travel passes are available for people with certain medical conditions, disabilities or over the age of 66. You need to apply for the pass you need. There are local and national passes that give you free or reduced price travel on buses, metro, trains and ferry.
Tyne and Wear Metro give free travel to up to 3 children aged 11 with a fare-paying adult. This includes someone with a Gold Card. The Nexus Pop card gives under 16 year olds discounted travel on the metro.
Pets and animals
It can be expensive looking after a pet. As the cost of living increases you may worry if you can afford to have a pet. Food, vet bills, vaccinations, health checks and flea and worming treatments can be expensive. If you don’t have pet insurance and your pet becomes unwell or has an accident you may need to pay for medical care, an operation or medicines.
PDSA PetAid Hospital provides free veterinary care for owners who can’t afford private vet fees. This includes treatment for all popular domestic pets, such as dogs, cats, rabbits and hamsters. To qualify for help from the PDSA, you must live within the catchment area of a PDSA PetAid hospital or practice, and you must be in receipt of either Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit.
PDSA cost of living hub has more information about support available to help pet owners with health care and pet food costs.
Funds and grants
Newcastle City Council run the Supporting Independence Scheme (SIS) which can provide basic household goods, like beds and cookers, to help you to live independently in the community. The can help with moving costs. They help people on a low income, who are being supported by other teams in the council like adult social care and people at risk of becoming homeless.
Crisis Support Scheme helps with food, clothing, heating and emergency travel expenses to cover short term periods of crisis or disaster
Household Support Fund can provide help with utility payments, food vouchers and hardship fund. Check if you are eligible.
Gov.uk’s Find a Grant service is where you can search for government funding to help you pay for things such as a new boiler.
Turn2Us is a charity where you find charitable funds and grants to apply for, when you need money for essential things in life. For example, furniture, household items, white goods, electrical items, studying, bringing up children, experiencing life changing circumstances and more. They have a telephone helpline, benefits calculator and online information. If you have a support worker ask if they can apply to any charities for household goods
Cost of living help and support from Newcastle City Council
Cost of living support website from Newcastle City Council has information about where to get help and support with housing, energy, debt, benefits, money, council tax, school and learning costs
Cost of Living Helpline at Newcastle City Council freephone for help and support. You can complete their online form to ask for help or call the free helpline 0800 170 7001 They can signpost you to local help and support including:
- emergency food parcels
- wellbeing hubs
Wellbeing Hubs are warm welcoming place to spend time in Newcastle. Local venues, such as libraries and community centres, offer a range of support such as hot drinks, free wifi, place to charge your devices, information, advice and more.
If you are living in Gateshead you can find more information about Cost of living support on OurGateshead
If you live in North Tyneside you can find more information about Cost of living support and warm spaces on North Tyneside Council’s cost of living page
Last updated: November 29, 2023