We know that for lots of kinship carers and their families, the rising cost of living is a real issue.
This month has seen a huge rise in energy bills for millions of people, whilst council tax increases and the change in National Insurance contributions will also impact many.
We’re stepping up our campaigning for better financial support for all kinship families – calling on the Government to introduce financial allowances for all kinship carers.
And in the meantime, we’ve rounded up some of the key rising cost of living issues below with some handy hints, tips and links.
Key rising cost of living issues
Like millions of people across the UK, you’re likely to find that your electricity and gas prices are rising, in some cases by more than 50%.
Whilst the winter fuel and cold weather payment schemes may have now closed, there are still things you can do to help ensure you’re getting the support that you’re entitled to.
The Household Support Fund has been extended by six months to September 2022 and boosted by an extra £500 million to tackle the cost of living crisis. A third of the new funding will be set aside to support families with children, while a further third will be dedicated to pensioners.
Support is accessed through your Local Authority (if you don’t know who that is, head to this website and enter your postcode) with funds available for help with the cost of essentials (e.g. energy, clothing, food). You can also contact your local councillor or MP who should have access to the details of the scheme.
Childcare can be a huge cost for many families and one that takes a significant chunk of income. Help is available and you’ll find lots of information specifically for kinship carers here. We’ve summarised two of the key points below too.
- Tax-free childcare: Up to £500 every three months for each child (up to £2,000 a year) or up to £1,000 (up to £4,000 a year) for a child with disabilities.
- 15 to 30 hours of free childcare: Available to all three- to four-year-olds in England and Wales
Petrol prices have fluctuated wildly over the past few months, prompting the chancellor to step in with a cut to fuel duty.
Prices continue to remain volatile, however you can use apps and websites like PetrolPrices to find the cheapest station near you where you can fill up the tank.
You can also save fuel and cut your costs by changing your driving habits. Driving smoothly in a high gear while sticking within the speed limit can knock 25 per cent off your fuel bill, saving the average motorist £300 a year.
Making sure your tyres are pumped up, turning off the air conditioning and losing extra weight by emptying the car boot of stuff you don’t need, are also small changes that can make a big difference!
As one of the biggest bills that households face during the year, council tax has a huge part to play in the rising cost of living. As this helpful article from Martin Lewis’s Money Saving Expert team sets out, council tax bills are set to rise for many this spring, yet there are steps you can take to try and reduce it.
- Thousands of homes are in the wrong tax band, dating as far back as 1991. Now is the perfect time to check that you’re not paying more than you owe. Check out the steps you need to follow here.
- You could be eligible for a council tax discount of between 25%-100% off your bill, but it’s up to you to tell your council. Take a look at the handy table on this page and see the wide range of discounts on offer
The good news is that if your property is in bands A-D, you should also receive a £150 rebate later this month. If you pay by direct debit, your council will use the bank account details they have on record and should receive the money automatically.
If you don’t pay by direct debit, you should be contacted by your council and invited to make a claim.
More tips and information to tackle the rising cost of living
Are there any money saving tips that you’d like to share to tackle the rising cost of living? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll share some of the best ones across our social media channels.
In the meantime, check out our website for more information and support about rights, entitlements and support available to kinship carers.