Cost Of Living
Magenta Living is committed to supporting our customers through this challenging time. In response to the cost-of-living crisis, we are delivering a series of roadshows throughout the year in our neighbourhoods to offer support and advice to customers. Alongside this, we have put together useful information and links which aims to highlight some of the support available to you and your family.
Winter Cost of Living Tips
Winter can be an expensive time for many households, and with bills increasing and Christmas around the corner, money can be tight. Don't suffer in silence, there is a lot of advice and support available!
Ensure you are receiving the benefits and support you are entitled to with our Benefit Calculator. It only takes 5 minutes to complete and you could find that you are entitled to more support.
Alternatively, contact our welfare and benefits team who can offer advice and support - contact us today for more information.
If you are struggling to pay your energy bills, ensure you contact your energy supplier. Under Ofgem rules, they have to help you:
- They can offer a range of options
- A full payment plan review
- Affordable debt repayment plans
- Payment break
- Payment reductions
- More time to pay
- Access to hardship funds
Alternatively, contact our welfare and benefits team who can advise you further about your options and refer you to Energy Projects Plus who can support you.
Martin Lewis has helpful tips and tricks on what to do if you are struggling with your energy bills click here for support
If you are struggling to heat your home during the day, there are warm hubs you can visit. Many offer users a hot drink, chat and often some activities (Book Swaps, Newspapers, puzzles) visit Wirral Info bank to find the nearest warm hub to you.
Before you borrow money ensure you are borrowing from a Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Registered provider. Money lenders who aren’t authorised by the FCA are breaking the law. They are known as loan sharks.
Loan Sharks will often take advantage of people who are looking for quick cash loans (especially leading up to Christmas). You may feel under pressure to borrow money from them, but don’t be tempted! They will often offer cash but then demand a huge amount of interest on your repayments, often taking other illegal action to collect the money they've lent you, such as threatening violence or taking away your credit cards or valuables.
If you can answer yes to one or more of these questions you might be borrowing from a loan shark:
- Did they offer you a cash loan?
- Did they not give you paperwork?
- Did they add huge amounts of interest or APR (annualised percentage rate) to your loan?
- Have they threatened you?
- Are you scared of people finding out?
- Have they taken your bank card, benefit card, passport, watch or other valuables from you?
If you do owe money to a loan shark you can get help. Stop Loan Sharks can support you - they will investigate and prosecute a loan shark if they are reported. You can report a Loan Shark confidentially here.
With lots of activities and events happening for Christmas, there are lots of ways you can save money while still eating out.
You can find a range of restaurants which offer Kids Eat Free across the country here.
Download the TooGoodtoGo app, this is available for everyone. You can save money while reducing waste. Many restaurants and cafés, including Starbucks, Costa and Toby Carvery, will offer food for a reduced price you just need to pick it up. You cannot choose the food which you get and will be a surprise!
This is all year round.
Visit your local Social Supermarket - with 100s across Wirral offering big brands for a reduced price find your local Social Supermarket here.
This is all year round.
Wirral FUSS, offer free school uniforms all you need to do is register your school, size and the items you need on their website here. You can also donate and recycle old uniforms to prevent them from going into landfill at your local drop-off point.
If you are travelling this year you could be entitled to 50% Off if you’re on universal credit. Find out more on the government website.
You could also be entitled to a rail card which offers 1/3 off of travel if applicable find out more here.
Why not get involved with our Magenta Connect projects with lots of vouchers, prizes and lots more, for completing short surveys.
Mental Health Support
If you are struggling this winter don’t suffer in silence there are options for mental health through the Samaritans website here or call 116 123 (Open Monday to Sunday).
Welfare and Benefit Advice
Magenta Living has a team of advisors who are here to help you, by providing specialist support and advice on how you can better manage your money and help claim welfare support. Between April 2021 to March 2022, we helped secure an additional £ 2.4 million in benefits for our customers that they didn’t know they were entitled to. To get started, use the benefits calculator below to check if you are entitled to any additional support and contact Magenta Living’s Income Team on 0808 100 9596 for assistance.
We want to help you maximise your income and benefit entitlement and ensure you are in a good position to pay your rent, charges and household bills. Our easy-to-use ‘Benefit Calculator’ will provide you with information about benefits that you may be entitled to claim and gives you the widest possible range of support. It will use the information that you provide to calculate your income and outgoings and help you plan from month to month, so you can really take control of your money and become financially stronger. You can access the calculator here.
Disability Cost Of Living Payment 2023
More than six million disabled people in the UK will receive their one-off £150 Disability Cost of Living Payment from 20 June. If you are claiming the following benefits you will be entitled-
- Disability Living Allowance (including Child Disability Living Allowance)
- Personal Independence Payment
- Attendance Allowance
- Scottish Disability Benefits
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- Constant Attendance Allowance
- War Pension Mobility Supplement
If you are eligible for this support you do not need to do anything, payments will be automatic.
Recipients must have received a payment (or later receive a payment) of one of these qualifying benefits for 1 April 2023 to get the Disability Cost of Living payment.
If you are unsure you are claiming the right benefits please use our benefits calculator here, it only takes a couple of minutes but you could be entitled.
New Cost of Living Payments from Spring 2023:
You may be entitled to up to 3 Cost of Living Payments of £301, £300 and £299 if you get any of the following benefits or tax credits on certain dates:
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Income Support
- Pension Credit
- Universal Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
The payment will be made separately from your benefit payments.
These will automatically pain on the following dates-
- £150 – Disability Cost of Living Payment – paid between 20 June - 4 July
- £300 – Second Cost of Living Payment – during Autumn 2023
- £300 – Pensioner Cost of Living Payment – during Winter 2023/4
- £299 – Third Cost of Living Payment – during Spring 2024
Those eligible will be paid automatically, and there will be no need to apply. For more information, please visit GOV.UK.
Further guidance will be published when more details have been announced, including the qualifying dates.
Do you need help paying your rent? We are here to help you. If you are struggling to pay your rent or with your finances, please get in touch with your Income Officer as soon as possible – they can offer you advice and support. Your Income Officer will work with you to reach a solution. To speak to your Income Officer, contact Magenta Living’s Income Team on 0808 100 9596.
You may be able to claim housing benefits to cover some or all of your rent. Housing Benefit is provided by Wirral Council to help people with low income pay their rent. To make a claim, you need to fill in a Housing Benefit Form or contact our Income Team for advice at 0808 100 9596.
If there has been a change in your circumstances, and you need to claim Universal Credit, you can do this by visiting Universal Credit here. Please inform us that you intend to make a Universal Credit claim as we can offer you advice and support, as well as agree on your next steps for paying your rent.
Discretionary Housing Payments
Discretionary Housing Payments are payments that can be made in addition to the main Housing Benefit or Universal Credit if housing costs are paid. These payments can be made in some circumstances to help tenants who are experiencing financial hardship and need extra short-term financial help with their rent. The fund to make these payments is limited and demand often exceeds the available fund each year. An application can be made online at Discretionary Housing Payment here, and /or speak to your Income Officer on 0808 100 9596 who can help you complete the form.
Millions of households will receive £400 through the Governments Energy Bills Support Scheme, this winter to help with the rising energy prices. This £400 will be provided between October 2022- March 2023. Click here to find out more about when and how you will receive this payment.
If you are on a prepayment meter you have until the 30th of June to redeem the Government energy voucher. If your voucher has been lost, expired or you have not received the vouchers you can contact your energy supplier who can issue you another voucher. To claim, you will need to take your ID and your voucher to your local Post Office or PayPoint shop, along with your gas or electricity top-up key or card. This could save you £400 so we are encouraging all customers who haven’t redeemed their vouchers to do so before the 30th June.
Alongside the Energy Bills Support Scheme, the government are offering payment to help with the cost of living if you are receiving certain benefits or tax credits. Please click here for more information. These payments will be paid in two lump sums.
Energy Project Plus
Energy Projects Plus can help you:
- Switch your energy tariff to ensure you are getting the best deal
- Help you apply for a Warm Home Discount
- Help with installing energy-saving measures in our home
- Apply for funding for heating and insulation and support with fuel debt
For more information, call the Save Energy Advice Line on 0800 043 0151 or 0151 637 3670 or email email@example.com or visit their website here.
If you're falling behind with your energy bills, and find yourself struggling to pay. The best thing to do is contact your supplier who is obliged to help, they will often offer a payment plan which you can afford.
Big energy suppliers have charitable trusts and hardship funds to help if you're in debt and struggling to repay. In most energy firms you have to be a customer to apply for the hardship funds, however, British Gas offer help to non-customers as well. if you need support with applying please visit National Energy Action. There are a few requirements however these are different depending on what provider you are with.
To find your closest Warm Hub visit Wirral Info Bank for opening times and locations.
Energy Saving Tips
- Turn the thermostat down- Turning your thermostat down by 1° can save you up to £60 a year.
- Swap energy-efficient LED lightbulbs
- Switch off and unplug- Ensure all appliances are switched off and unplugged instead of being left on standby this could save £55 a year.
- Defrost your fridge and freeze- The more ice in your freezer the increased energy it uses.
- Switch to eco settings on appliances- by switching to eco settings and doing one less wash a week, it will save £40 a year.
- Take a shorter shower -By reducing an eight-minute shower to four it can save £95 a year
- Move furniture away from radiators to allow heat to circulate in the room.
- Use a microwave or air fryer instead of an oven as they use less energy.
For more energy-saving tips and tricks visit the Uswtich website here.
Pensioner Cost of Living Payment
If you’re entitled to a Winter Fuel Payment for winter 2023 to 2024, you will get an extra £150 or £300 paid with your normal payment from November 2023.
The full amount of Winter Fuel Payment (including the Pensioner Cost of Living Payment) you will get for winter 2023 to 2024 depends on when you were born and your circumstances during the qualifying dates.
You can get a Winter Fuel Payment for winter 2023 to 2024 if you were born before 25 September 1957.
This guidance will be updated with the qualifying dates for the payment when they are published.
You will be sent a letter in October or November telling you how much Winter Fuel Payment you’ll get if you’re eligible
Food Banks & Social Supermarkets
Emergency food support is available for those who need it. You can request a foodbank voucher from Wirral Council (0151 666 5050) or Citizens Advice Wirral (08082 78 78 48). Wirral Food Bank has centres across Wirral, open Monday – Saturday. Details are available on Wirral Food Bank. They provide food for three-days. If you don’t have cooking facilities, they can provide food parcels, that require no cooking. and can provide more than food. Foodbank Plus is a service delivered on our behalf by Citizens Advice Wirral, it can offer help and advice with debts, benefits, and other matters. Food vouchers are available through frontline professionals, like doctors, health visitors, social workers and CItizens advice.
Social supermarkets sell food at a reduced rate which can help stretch your budget for you and your family. Please click here to find a social supermarket in your area.
You can also find a social supermarket online and delivered to your door here and get £5 off your first shop when you use the code Weclome5 at checkout.
Furniture Pack Scheme
We work in partnership with NFS to provide leased furniture and household packages for your home.
If you would like to make an enquiry please click here.
Do you need help paying your rent? Are you struggling to pay your rent or worried about your day-to-day bills? If yes, please get in touch with your Income Officer as soon as possible – they can work with you to agree on a payment plan and offer advice and support on your daily budgeting. Contact your Income Officer on 0808 100 9596.
Debt Advice If you require Debt Advice please contact the National Debt line on 0808 808 4000 or Citizens Advice.
Involve North West, in partnership with Citizens Advice Wirral has launched an out-of-hours helpline for individuals struggling with the cost of living. This will be available every Tuesday 5pm - 8pm, until May 2023. This is a free service which provides support for helping manage your money, fuel & food positivity and debt. The number for people to call is 0808 175 3660, There may be a short wait when trying to connect.