Finance

Thousands of families can get up to £800 towards council tax and £350 towards other bills – how to get help


FAMILIES struggling to pay bills this winter are able to get up to £800 to help pay council tax or rent arrears.

The free cash is being dished out of a £500million government pot as part of the Household Support Scheme. 

Vulnerable families still have time to claim financial help from their local council this winter

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Vulnerable families still have time to claim financial help from their local council this winterCredit: Alamy

For many people, the cost of living crisis is eating up people’s wages, and money isn’t stretching as far as it used to.

That’s particularly true as inflation has now hit a 30-year high of 5.4%.

Many households are struggling to even cover bills before anything else – and some are having to make tough choices about which costs to prioritise, like the choice between heating or eating

The government created a scheme to help vulnerable families cope with soaring costs during winter.

Each council has been handed their own budget to dish out to residents in the local area.

For example, Sutton Council has been given £1.1million, while Birmingham was handed just under £13million

You can check which local authority you fall under on the government’s website by using their local council checker tool.

Each authority decides the type and amount of support it will offer to families, with many councils opting to give out food or fuel vouchers. 

It’s best to contact your local council directly to find out what support you could claim, as most help is provided on a case-by-case basis. 

Runnymede Borough Council has an expansive list of support for its residents, locals can apply for more than one type of support. 

But the overall cap for cash is £800 per household.

Residents can claims up to £800 to help with costs like rent arrears or council tax in cases of emergency and where existing support schemes don’t cover genuine need.

Families can also get up to £350 to help with other bills including broadband or phone bills, clothing and school uniform.

What other help can I get?

Runnymede council is also offering up to £500 towards the cost of repairing or replacing white goods such as boilers, fridges, freezers and ovens. 

For essential travel expenses like MOTs or repairing vehicles, £350 is available per household.

And households can also get £150 towards electricity, gas and water bills.

The council also has a plan in place to help with food.

Households with children could get £80 to support shopping bills, while those without kids could get £40. 

All households in the area can apply for help with food up to four times, but only once per month. 

To qualify for any of the support from Runnymede council, you’ll have to meet eligibility criteria.

This is listed on its website in a helpful table that outlines exactly what is on offer and to who.

If you’re eligible, you will need to register on Grant Approval by Runnymede Borough Council, and fill out a form with all required information.

If you find that you’re not eligible for the Household Support Scheme, you can still find support from other charities and organisations this winter. 

For example, low income families can get free or cheap fridges, carpets and furniture.

The Sun explains how hard-up Brits can free money to help with other costs like clothing or food, and there are six ways. Here’s how to apply.

Some cash-strapped households are having to take drastic measures to cope throughout the cold months such as turning off fridges – if this is you, you can read how to prevent this here.

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