The Energy Prices Bill
The Bill will provide households and businesses with urgent support by delivering the legislative framework for the Energy Price Guarantee and Energy Bill Relief Scheme. The Bill will enable the implementation of the following schemes:
The Energy Price Guarantee
Under the Energy Price Guarantee a typical household will pay around £2,500 a year on their energy bill.
The Energy Bill Relief Scheme
The Energy Bill Relief Scheme means the Government will assist all eligible non-domestic customers, such as businesses and public sector organisations, including schools, hospitals, care homes and charities. Regulations to implement these measures will follow.
The Energy Bill Support Scheme Alternative Funding
This will provide the £400 of support for households across the UK that would otherwise miss out on the Energy Bill Support Scheme as they have no domestic electricity contract.
Alternative Fuel Payments (Domestic)
This will deliver a one-off £100 payment to UK households who are not on the mains gas grid and heat their homes with fuels like heating oil.
Alternative Fuel Payments (non-domestic)
The Government will support non-domestic consumers who are unable to get support for heating costs through the Energy Bill Relief Scheme because they use heating oil or alternative fuels, not gas, likely be in the form of a flat rate payment.
Pass-through Requirement on Intermediaries
The Government will ensure end users will get support in cases where intermediaries procure energy on their behalf. This includes landlords passing benefits on to tenants.
The Bill will ensure that heat networks that benefit from the Energy Bills Relief Scheme pass on savings to consumers. The Bill provides for the creation of an Alternative Dispute Resolution body to handle any complaints raised by consumers.
Income support and benefits/universal credit
Many constituents are not always aware of their entitlement to Income Support and other benefits.
There are a range of benefits available for individuals not in work, on low incomes and or with a health or disability need. Information about benefits which can be applied for, including their eligibility criteria are available at the Gov.uk website here.
The simplest way to check eligibility is via a benefits calculator which asks for details about your financial situation to determine whether you might be eligible. Once completed, the calculator will give you an indication of what you might be entitled to apply for.
The Gov.UK website also provides information and links to the three most commonly used Benefits Calculators. These are, Gov.UK, entitled to and Turn2Us. Simply select which benefits calculator you would like to use here.
If you are still unsure whether you might be eligible and you would like to speak with someone in person you can do so by contacting either one of the advisory bodies such as Citizens Advice Bureau or speak to the relevant Government Department, directly. If you wish to contact the relevant Government Department, directly please use the following information and contact numbers for some of the main benefits constituents frequently contact me about.
Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living costs. You may be able to receive it if you’re on a low income, out of work or you cannot work.
For more information about Universal Credit please visit:
Universal Credit applications can now be made online using the following link:
Apply for Universal Credit
- Alternatively, you can call DWP on 0800 328 5644
- Or for textphone users please use 0800 328 1344
- Relay UK is also available if you cannot hear of speak on the phone; dial 18001 then 0800 328 5644
- A video relay service is also available for British Sign Language users. Check if you can use this service by using the following link; Universal Credit: Contact Universal Credit – GOV.UK
Help to Claim
If you struggle with understanding complex information or need some help with completing forms the Citizen’s Advice Bureau provide a Help to Claim service for Universal Credit. For more information about the Help to Claim service please visit:
To speak with the Help to Claim service please call 0800 144 8 444. For Relay calls please dial 18001; then 0800 144 8 444.
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
You can apply for ESA if you have a disability of health condition that affects how much you can work
You may also be able to get ESA if you were unable to work whilst self-isolating because of Coronavirus.
You can apply if you are employed, self-employed or unemployed.
You could get Universal Credit at the same time or instead of ‘new style ESA’ to check if you are eligible use one of the benefits calculators and make a claim by applying online for ESA using the following link;
If you cannot make an application online or you are an appointee for someone please call the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644 and select Option 3 or by Textphone by calling 0800 328 1344 also choosing option 3.
Relay UK and Video Relay are also available. For more information about these services please visit:
Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
Personal Independence Payments (PIP) can help with extra living costs if you have both:
- A long term physical or mental health condition or disability
- Difficulty doing certain everyday tasks or getting around because of your condition
You can get PIP if you are working, have savings, or are in receipt of other benefits.
If you need help understanding or applying for PIP you can get help from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau. For more information about the support they provide please visit the following link:
To apply for PIP you need to call DWP to start your claim using the following telephone number,
- 0800 917 2222
- For textphone please use 0800 917 7777
- Relay UK is available by dialling 18001 then 0800 917 2222
- Video Relay is also available. Check if you can use this service by using the following link:
If you need someone to help you, you can ask for a person to be added to the call (not available via textphone) or you can ask someone to call on your behalf (you will need to be present during the call)
If you are applying for PIP a carer (or someone who looks after you) might be eligible for Carer’s Allowance. For more information about Carer’s Allowance please visit:
Tax Credits have now been replaced by Universal Credit. They were provided to those on low incomes for help with living and childcare costs. You can only make a claim for Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit if you already get Tax Credits.
If you cannot apply for Tax Credits you can apply for Universal Credit instead using the previous details provided for the Universal Credit Helpline.
You cannot claim Tax Credits and Universal Credit at the same time. Your Tax Credits will stop if you or your partner apply for Universal Credit. To check how Universal Credits and Tax Credits affect each other please visit:
How tax credits and other benefits affect each other
For those in receipt of Tax Credits you can now manage your tax credit claim online using the following link:
Manage your tax credits
Household Bills, Utilities, Winter Fuel & Council Tax
Help with Household Bills: (including help for; Utility Bills, Heating and Winter Fuel and Help with paying Council Tax)
Many constituents approach my office seeking advice and support about how they can manage their household bills or reduce debts they may have incurred with their utility providers. The following information provides advice and contact details which can help reduce your household bills, and manage debts associated with these.
Gas, Electricity and Water
Since 2015 Energy companies have been required to put customers onto the cheapest available tariff suitable to their needs. If you are unsure whether you are on the cheapest tariff or you would like to compare the costs of your energy bills please contact your energy provider direct or visit the Money Saving Expert website at the following link:
You can also use price comparison tools to check your usage and costs for energy providers which are readily available on the internet by searching price comparison tools.
If you are on a low income or over a certain age you might also be able to receive help.
For more information on the schemes and payments available and whether you might be eligible please use the links below:
Additionally, for those struggling to pay energy debts, grants are available to help. Contact your energy supplier directly to find out more. If your energy supplier does not provide a grant scheme you can apply to the British Gas Energy Trust for help. These grants are available to everyone whether you are a British Gas Customer or not. To check if you are eligible use the following link:
Grants Available – British Gas Energy Trust
Broadband and TV
For those on low incomes or in receipt of certain benefits there are low income broadband packages available which provide a basic broadband connection with some packages offering to waive connection fees. For more information about the packages available and to check eligibility please visit Uswitch at
Broadband deals for low income families
Further advice and information on how to reduce broadband and TV costs is also provided at the Money Saving Expert website at the following link
Broadband & TV Guides
Most advisory organisations recommend contacting your provider directly for help if your struggling with your mobile phone bill. Your provider may be able to help by sorting a payment plan, reducing your bill, giving you more time to pay, increasing your data or download limit or moving you to a contract which suits your needs better.
Detailed advice is provided by the Citizens Advice Bureau in relation to options that might be available if you are struggling to pay your mobile phone bill on their website at
If you’re struggling to pay your mobile, phone, internet or TV bill – Citizens Advice
Alternatively, you can call the Citizen’s Advice Consumer helpline Line directly for help on 0808 223 1133.
Targeted Winter Support
Cold Weather Payments
Cold weather payments have been triggered in parts of the constituency for the period 8/12/2022 to 14/12/2022. This means that those eligible will be entitled to £25.00 extra per day over the course of a 7-day period as assistance for dealing with colder conditions.
You may get Cold Weather Payments if you’re receiving:
- Pension Credit
- Income Support
- Income-Based Job Seekers Allowance
- Income Related Employment and Support Allowance
- Universal Credit
- Support of Mortgage Interest
You do not need to apply. If you’re eligible to get a Cold Weather Payment, you’ll be paid it automatically into the account registered for your current Government Payments.
Local Welfare Assistance Scheme
This county wide scheme is now self-referral as well as partner referral. Full details can be found Suffolk Local Welfare Assistance Scheme | Suffolk County Council
This scheme can help individuals and families experiencing financial hardship (eligibility criteria below) with a one off payment. In order to apply individuals can complete the online form, or can be completed by an agency supporting the individual or family. Eligibility criteria is as follows:
- Be able to demonstrate you are in financial hardship
- Live in Suffolk
- Be 16-years old or over
- Not be subject to immigration control or have no recourse to public funds
- Have a combined household income of £25,000 a year or less?
- Have less than £500 available in any current and/or savings accounts across the household
- Have not made an application in the previous 6 months
If you are a professional or work for a voluntary sector organisation you can make a direct referral for a winter warmth pack to be sent to a person or household in need. You will need to provide your contact details and get the consent of the household to share their details with us too
More information and referral form can be found here: Winter warmth referral » East Suffolk Council and further details/posters attached. The scheme is countywide although hosted by East Suffolk Council
BBC Children in Need Emergency Essentials Fund
This fund supports children and young people who are facing exceptionally difficult circumstances. The programme provides items that meet a child’s most basic needs such as a bed to sleep in, a cooker to provide a hot meal and other items or services critical to a child’s wellbeing. All applications must be made by a registered referrer. If you wish to become a registered referrer the application process along with further details can be found on the website: BBC Children in Need Emergency Essentials Programme - Family Fund Business Services (familyfundservices.co.uk)