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York Talk Money - Help with Cost of Living

York Talk Money


Get hints, tips, advice, support and much more

The cost of living crisis has made it more important than ever to start conversations about money. Talking about money helps us to be more financially confident, resilient and face whatever the future throws at us:

  • Feel more confident about managing your money
  • Know where to get good information and advice
  • Know what financial support is available and how to get it
  • Be confident about getting the best deal on your bills, such as gas, electricity and internet
  • Know where to get debt advice to help deal with problem debts
  • Know where you can go for support both online and across the city


You can apply for a range of support depending  on your circumstances.
Some benefits and support schemes are administered by local authorities and others by central government.
Find out now, if you are missing out on financial support, what benefits you could get and how to claim.Use an independent, free and anonymous benefits calculator

             Twenty and ten pound notes

Find out about the different benefits available

If you need more information and support, have a look at the Money & Benefits Advice page. 

Ofgem energy price cap
Between 1 April to 30 June 2024 the Ofgem energy price cap is set at £1,690 per year for a typical household who use electricity and gas and pay by Direct Debit. This is £238 lower than the cap set between 1 January to 31 March 2024 (£1,928).

The price cap is based on typical household energy use. Read how typical household energy use is worked out in our Average gas and electricity usage guidance.

The price cap also makes sure that prices for people on a standard variable tariff (default tariff) are fair and that they reflect the cost of energy.

You are covered by the price cap if you pay for your electricity and gas by either:

- standard credit (payment made when you get your electricity and gas bill)
- Direct Debit
- prepayment meter
- Economy 7 (E7) meter

For more information on the energy price cap see www.ofgem.gov.uk/energy-price-cap 

Energy social tariff
An 'energy social tariff' is a discounted energy deal for those on lower incomes and with specific needs. If implemented it would represent a crucial element in ensuring that UK households with vulnerabilities can afford the energy they need to keep warm and well.

Contact your energy supplier to make sure you are on the cheapest tariff available.

Grants and services from energy suppliers
Many energy companies offer schemes or grants to help with home heating and energy costs. Some are open to anyone – you don’t need to be a customer.

Contact your supplier to find out what they offer.

Citizens Advice lists grants some larger suppliers offer

Ask about being put on your supplier’s Priority Services Register. This is a free energy support service if you are vulnerable. 

Help with energy costs
See what support is available to help with the cost of living and save money with our energy saving tips


Whether you’re worried about rising rents, covering higher energy costs or tackling debt, we’ve brought together our most useful tools, calculators and guides to help you keep on top of your money.


Energy at home - How to save money on my energy bills         www.energysavingtrust.org.uk

Household support fund
The Household Support Fund provides grants to people in York who are struggling to pay their fuel bills. Check if you are eligible.

Energy bill support
The Government energy bill support for 2023 and 2024 has now ended. All those eligible will have received their payments.

For more info, including edibility criteria, payment amounts and when these will be paid see www.gov.uk/guidance/cost-of-living-payment

Saving on energy bills

You can make saving on household bills and get help if you are struggling.

Use the Live Well York directories to discover hundreds of free or low cost groups and activities happening across York.

For free or affordable food and support have a look at Community Food Projects.

You might think that buying healthy food will be hard on your wallet, but, with a little creativity, eating healthy food doesn’t have to be expensive. Money Helper has ideas you can use to help you eat a healthy diet and reduce your food bill.

Get the family involved and make tasty, healthy meals with recipes from NHS: Better Health. 

Household Support Fund

The Household Support Fund provides grants to people in York who are struggling to pay their food bills. Check if you are eligible.

Low-cost or free meals and, or groceries 

Look no further than the welcoming food clubs in your area. Many community groups across York work with FareShare and other providers to offer Pay As You Feel cafes and other food support. 

For details of regular cafes, drop-ins, food banks and other food projects, search Live Well York 'Food and Drink', the growing list of entries under 'Community Food Help', or visit the council's help with food page. 

Get help to buy food and milk - Healthy Start
If you’re more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4, you may be entitled to get help to buy healthy food and milk.

If you’re eligible, you’ll be sent a Healthy Start card with money on it that you can use in some UK shops. This card will be automatically topped up every 4 weeks with your payment.

To find out if you are eligible and to apply visit the Healthy Start website. 

Free School Meals
You may be entitled to apply for free school meals for your children if you receive income-related benefits. Check if you are eligible

Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme
The sessions are currently running during school holidays. They include a variety of fun activities, including sports, music, arts and other exciting opportunities to learn and develop skills, alongside a nutritious meal each day. More information about HAF.

Top tips for borrowing

Here are some tips to help if you need to borrow money, take out a loan or use credit cards:

  • spend time shopping around,
  • work out your budget 
  • never borrow money on the spur of the moment.
  • be careful about borrowing more money to pay off existing debts.
  • avoid going overdrawn on your bank account without agreement.
  • don't borrow from Loan Sharks. If you're finding it difficult to get credit, see if there's a Credit Union in your area instead or see if you can borrow from the Social Fund.

Check out Citizens Advice guide for 'Top tips for borrowing'.

Community First Credit Union - Credit unions are financial co-operatives that offer a safe and secure place for people to save and borrow. Credit unions encourage members to save regularly, provide loans at low rates, and help members in need of financial advice and assistance. York residents may be able to receive a £25 savings bonus through the proceeds of crime scheme. Open a Community First Credit Union savings account today.

Beware of Loan Sharks - Over 310,000 households in the UK use illegal money lenders every year. People may borrow because they have a poor credit history; are newly arrived in the UK. Or they might think they can’t get a loan from a mainstream legal credit provider or, more commonly, just believe they are borrowing from a friend or colleague. Find out how to spot a Loan Shark

If you have borrowed from a loan shark or are worried about someone else, you can safely contact the Stop Loan Sharks: Illegal Money Lending Team.

The Illegal Money Lending Team also use proceeds of crime money as an incentive to encourage people to save, and to raise awareness of the dangers of borrowing from illegal money lenders.

Save if you can - Saving smaller, regular amounts is often more effective than saving larger amounts now and again. This is because you get into the savings habit, and you’re not overcommitting too much money. It also lets you budget your spending from week to week or month to month more effectively.

If this isn’t possible, save what you can as regularly as you can. Every bit makes a big difference.

Setting a savings goal is a great way to watch your savings grow.

Find out where to start and what a suitable savings goal is for you.

The Help to Save scheme was launched to help low-income earners. It pays a 50% bonus on the amount saved, up to a maximum of £1,200 over four years – here's how the account works.

York Learning offers courses and programmes to help you get into work or support you whilst in work. York Learning 

The 'Finding a job' section of the gov.uk website is updated regularly with useful information for jobseekers including CV tips, advice from recruitment experts and interview tips. Finding a job - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Visit York Apprenticeships for more information about apprenticeships. If you're already in employment, you could do an apprenticeship as part of your professional development

Sign up to receive the weekly York Apprenticeships bulletin, which gives information about vacancies and events across the city.

Would you like to feel more in control of your finances?

Money worries weighing on your mind?

If you’re feeling the squeeze, struggling to keep on top of bills, or worried about what the future may hold, MoneyHelper is here to help.

No matter your situation, MoneyHelper has a range of specialist tools and expert guidance completely free to access. 

The guides provide you all you need to know to make the right choices, including help you can get if you’re worried about keeping up with essential bills and payments.

Find out about this and about making the most of your money at the Money Helper website, or see their living on a squeezed income or money troubles pages.

Learning how mental health and money are connected might help if you're struggling. Sorting things out might feel like an overwhelming task. And lots of things may be out of your control. But try taking things one step at a time. Practical tips on managing your money and improving your mental health

Get the free MSE Mental Health & Debt guide
The Money Saving Expert is a free 44-page PDF booklet supported by Mind, Rethink, CAP UK and others, for people with mental health problems and those caring for them.

It covers how to handle debts when unwell, work with banks, free debt counselling, specific tips for bipolar disorder or depression sufferers, whether to declare a condition and more.
Download it here for free.

mental health and debt pdf guide

Gambling can be more than just losing money.

For many people gambling is a fun form of entertainment, but it can easily become a problem. Are you:

  • Spending more than you want on gambling?
  • Struggling to find the money for bills?
  • Taking out loans to cover gambling debts?

If you are not sure how much gambling has become a problem for you, find out how much of an influence gambling is having in your life.

If you need to talk to someone about money but aren’t sure how it will go, the Money Helper: How to talk about money guide can help you get started.

It includes tips on how to get a good outcome, share money goals and what to do if you think the conversation may be tricky or it doesn’t go as planned.

Join the conversation - Share your stories on social media with the hashtag: #YorkTalkMoney.

Help for Parents

We know that raising a family can be expensive, especially at the moment. Our #HelpForParents campaign will help parents find the support they might need.

The first step for anyone struggling is to make sure you're claiming all the help you're entitled to. To find out what benefits you could get, and how to claim, use a free benefits calculator like: Benefits calculators - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)


Benefits calculator | MoneyHelper

There are a wide range of benefits and financial support families might qualify for. To find out a little more about each one, visit these links


Child benefit - The government gives money to parents every month to help with the costs of raising a child. This isn't means tested, everyone can get this help. Find out more at:

Child Benefit: How it works - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)


Universal credit - can help parents who are unemployed, or parents who work but earn a low income. The amount of money depends on how much you earn, how many hours you work, and how much you pay for childcare. Find out more at: Understanding Universal Credit - Home


Healthy start - If you're more than ten weeks pregnant or have a child under four, you could be entitled to help to buy healthy food and milk. Find out more at: Get help to buy food and milk (Healthy Start)


There are also a range of benefits and support packages available to help with the cost of schools and childcare. These include:

  • Free school meals - Not sure if you qualify for free school meals? If you receive certain benefits, including income support and job seeker's allowance you could! Your school will also get extra funding too! Find out more, and make an application at https://www.york.gov.uk/FreeSchoolMeals.
  • Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) - provides fun activities and healthy meals for young people (between 4 and 16) who get free school meals, or young people with special educations needs and disabilities (SEND). Find out more at https://york.gov.uk/HAF.
  • Help with school uniforms - If your child receives free school meals at secondary school, you could also be eligible for a voucher to help with buying school uniforms Check your school or trust website for more info. Find out more at https://york.gov.uk/SchoolUniforms.
  • 16 - 19 bursary - Looking for support for families with older children? Young people aged 16-19 who stay in school or training can get money to help with things like books, transportation, and other learning costs. Find out more at https://gov.uk/1619-bursary-fund.
  • Childcare support - Looking for support with the cost of childcare? The government offers up to 30 hours of free childcare and up to £2000 per year to help with costs. Find more information, and check if you qualify at https://childcarechoices.gov.uk.
  • If you're a working family with children that are 3 or 4, you could qualify for up to 30 hours of free childcare per week for 38 weeks Find more information, and check if you qualify at https://childcarechoices.gov.uk.
  • If you're a working family with children under 16 that claim Universal Credit (but not getting tax-free childcare) you could be entitled to claim back up to 85% of childcare costs Find more info and check if you qualify at https://childcarechoices.gov.uk.
  • Looking to take on more work but worried how it will impact your childcare costs? There's a range of support you might qualify from to help with the costs of childcare Find more information, and check if you qualify at https://childcarechoices.gov.uk.


You can find more information on lots of different benefits and support on our website at https://york.gov.uk/BenefitsAndMoney.


More Useful Resources (including downloadable leaflets):

Here to help (City of York Council)

Making the most of your money (Money Helper)

Credit Unions and other alternatives to payday loans (Money Helper)

Fee-free basic bank accounts (Money Helper)

How to talk about money (Money Helper)

How to save money and use less energy (Ofgem)

How much do electric appliances cost to use (NEA)

Benefits: If you are disabled and working age  (Welfare Benefits Unit)

Benefits: For people over State Pension age (Welfare Benefits Unit)

Benefits Checklist (Welfare Benefits Unit)


Last updated: 17/04/2024

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