Getting help with the cost of living
On this page you will find information and links to help if you are being deeply affected by the rising cost of living.
Please click below to find what help you can receive.
Make sure you're getting the right benefits SHOW
It's important to make sure you are claiming all the benefits you can and accessing government funding. Even if you are already getting benefits like Universal Credit or Pension Credit, there may be extra money you can get:
- You can access a benefits toolkit
- The free Turn2Us website benefits calculator can help you understand what you might be eligible for
- The Citizens Advice website has information about benefit calculators, so you can check you're getting what you're entitled to
- If you are eligible, you can apply for Housing Benefit or Council Tax reduction
- If you have No Recourse to Public Funds, you won't be able to claim benefits. Contact CLEAR Project or Citizens Advice Southampton for advice
- If you are a council tenant, the Welfare Rights and Money Advice team can help offer support and check you're receiving the right benefits
Help with debt SHOW
If you're finding it hard to pay your bills, we have a dealing with debt toolkit to guide you through how you can ease your money problems.
Further support services include:
- Step Change Debt Charity - a specialist debt charity
- Debt Advice Foundation - a specialist debt charity
- Money Helper - set up by government, they provide advice including tax and NI advice
- National Debtline - provides a four-step guide to preventing and dealing with debt
- Money Saving Expert mental health guide - provides resources to help manage the stress of debt
- Money Navigator Tool - provides help and guidance for your finances
- Money Adviser Network - free, confidential and independent debt advice.
Help with transport costs SHOW
Whether you take a bus to work, or to see family and friends, almost everyone relies on some form of public transport.
The most recent bus offers include:
- £1 evening bus travel – travel for just £1 after 6pm
- Single bus fares reduced to £2 - Extended to 31 October 2023
And remember, residents of Southampton who are of pensionable age can apply for their English National concessionary bus pass on a SmartCities card. This will entitle them to free bus travel during off peak times. Find out more about the senior bus pass.
Wellbeing and safety
Mental health and wellbeing SHOW
Your wellbeing and that of your loved ones is really important. We know that financial worries can lead to stress and anxiety.
If you have urgent concerns about a mental health problem and need immediate help you can:
- Call 111 and select the Mental Health option – this is how to access the NHS urgent mental health triage helpline 24/7 for all ages. You can also go to 111.nhs.uk
- Call the Samaritans on 116 123 – for 24/7 telephone support
- Text “HANTS” to 85258 – for 24/7 crisis text support
- In a life-threatening emergency call 999 or visit A&E
You can also seek general advice and support:
Concerned about domestic abuse SHOW
Additional pressures at home from the increase in cost of living can lead to issues around domestic abuse. If you are worried about yourself or another person you can find information on the support available.
Cost of living scams SHOW
If in doubt – check it out. Unfortunately, during these difficult times there are many scams circulating, targeting the most vulnerable in our communities. Be aware these scams will try to con you out of money. They may be received by post, email, telephone, text or face to face.
When times are hard it can be tempting to think an offer or some extra cash may be helpful. If it sounds too good to be true it often is. It is always worth checking if you are not sure, remember reputable companies won’t contact you out of the blue for bank details.
For more information on what to look out for visit Take Five.
How to report scams
Reporting to Action Fraud can be done online or by calling 0300 123 2040.
Latest scam advice
Specific information about avoiding TV Licensing scams is available on their website.
Never borrow money from loan sharks. Loan sharks are not regulated and are likely to add huge amounts of interest, costing you much more than you actually borrow.
If you think you or someone you know may have borrowed money from a loan shark, you should report it to Stop Loan Sharks.
Phone: 0300 555 2222 (lines open 24 hours a day, seven days a week)
Or text information about the lender to 07860 022116.
Staying safe while making changes because of the cost of living SHOW
Hampshire fire and rescue service
Hampshire fire and rescue have some advice and guidance on how to stay safe during this time.
Other advice and support
Independent advice and support SHOW
Citizens Advice have lots of information about getting help with the cost of living.
Advice in Southampton
Advice in Southampton offer free, confidential and impartial advice. Visit their website for more information and contact details.
They have also produced a series of YouTube videos about what to expect when getting debt advice.
You can view the full series here.
Frontline Debt Advice
Christians Against Poverty
Christians Against Poverty has money and debt advice, including how to build a budget and deal with enforcement agents. Visit the Christians Against Poverty website for more information.
Southampton Advice and Representation Centre (SARC)
SARC provides advice and representation around benefits and employment issues. SARC aims to ensure all members of the community can receive support and assistance from their specialist team of advisors.
Support for veterans SHOW
The Royal British Legion are offering some means tested grants for veterans to support them with energy costs. Find out more from the Royal British Legion.
I need support for my business SHOW
The cost of living crisis in not just affecting individuals and households, it’s affecting businesses too. The cost of doing business is higher, due to energy prices and the rising costs for raw materials and staffing. At the same time, customers have less money to spend.
But the cost of living crisis also affects your employees and this adds another layer to the difficulties you are facing as a business. To find more information and support for businesses during the cost of living, visit our GROW Business pages.
Winter wellness SHOW
The colder weather during the winter months can make some health problems worse and lead to serious complications, particularly if you are aged 65 or older, or if you have a long-term health condition.
Low cost activities and entertainment SHOW
There are plenty of free and low-cost activities and entertainment opportunities on offer in Southampton which will help you to have fun whilst not worrying about your wallet.
Find out more about what’s on offer in Southampton.