Cost of Living Support
I have been contacted in the past few months by so many constituents who are struggling with the rising cost of living.
The Government will bring forward its budget on Wednesday 6th March and MPs are invited to make ‘budget representations’ to the Chancellor. As I form my representation, I want to know what your priorities are, so the Chancellor is under no illusion what the key concerns are for residents in North Lancashire.
I therefore invite you to complete the survey which you can find here. The more responses I receive, the stronger a message I can convey to the Treasury about the need for them to act.
I understand how worrying it is for costs to continue to rise whilst wages have stagnated and how much financial worries can seem to take over your life. I have set up this page to be a reference point for support which is available both locally and nationally.
I am very aware that most of these schemes have strict eligibility criteria and not everyone will be able to benefit from them. Equally, I know that for many of you they simply will not provide enough to make a meaningful dent in the burden of rising costs.
I believe that the level of Government support provided is insufficient, ineffective, and too exclusive. I have raised this in Parliament several times and will continue to advocate for better support at every opportunity.
In the meantime, I hope that you know you are not alone in this crisis and encourage you as much as I can to reach out for support when you need it. My inbox (firstname.lastname@example.org) is always open to you to share any concerns, stories or questions you may have.
You may be eligible for benefits or financial support from the Government and not know it. Use this calculator to find out: https://www.gov.uk/check-benefits-financial-support
This web page: https://helpforhouseholds.campaign.gov.uk/help-with-your-bills/ provides an overview of the Government support available for energy bills. You can also contact your energy supplier if you are struggling – many are providing support at the moment.
The NHS Healthy Start Scheme: https://www.healthystart.nhs.uk/
- If you are more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4, you may be able to get help to buy healthy food and milk
Household Support Fund: Lancaster City Council: https://www.lancaster.gov.uk/sites/cost-of-living/financial-support-for-households
- A scheme aimed at providing longer term support to residents struggling financially – working with Citizens Advice
- See application information at the link above
Local Food Banks and Food Clubs: There are many different local food banks or food clubs who are there to help you if you are struggling to afford food and necessities. Lancaster and Wyre Councils have both listed what is available at the links below:
- Lancaster City Council list: https://www.lancaster.gov.uk/sites/cost-of-living/food-bank-help-with-essentials
- Wyre Council list: https://www.wyre.gov.uk/cost-living-support-3/foodbanks-helpful-resources
Warm Welcome: https://www.warmwelcome.uk/#find-a-space
- Organisations that have opened their doors to provide a warm, safe and welcoming space to meet others in the community whilst keeping warm and having a cup of tea
Cosy Homes in Lancashire: https://www.chil.uk.com/
- Access to cost effective ways of keeping your house warm
These are some of the many organisations providing free, independent and typically confidential advice about any financial worries you may have:
Local Energy Advice Partnership: https://applyforleap.org.uk/
- Offers free energy and money saving advice for low-income households
- Free guidance e.g. bill prioritiser, debt advice locator, budget planner
Money Saving Expert Cost of Living: https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/family/cost-of-living-survival-kit/
- Martin Lewis provides over 90 ways to save money and cope with the rising cost of living
- Free independent advice and support on issues from finances and work to housing and immigration
- Enter your postcode here https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/contact-us/contact-us/contact-us/ to find your nearest Citizens Advice helpline
National Debt Line: https://nationaldebtline.org/
- Free phoneline or web chat about any money problems or debts
Financial worries can also hugely impact your mental health. If you find yourself struggling, it is so important to reach out and talk to somebody. These are some of the many free helplines you can contact:
- Samaritans: 116 123
- SANEline: 0300 304 7000
- CALM: 0800 58 58 58
- If you identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, you can call Switchboard on 0300 330 0630
- If you are a student at Lancaster University call Spectrum Life Student Helpline: 0800 0318227