At the time of writing, the UK is in a recession which is predicted by some economists to last throughout the year, interest rates have just risen by a further half a percent, energy bills and the cost of living at the highest it has been for decades, you may not be feeling too optimistic regarding finances. The country is facing fresh waves of industrial action and strikes due to pay disputes and we hear the words recession and hardship on a daily basis.
It is certainly not easy and if you are on a lower wage then it can be extremely worrying about making ends meet. With anything that causes worry, it's important to bear in mind that it won't last forever and we will eventually come out the other side. However, this certainly does not detract from what we are experiencing right now and how it can feel impossible at times to make ends meet, especially not knowing when things might get a little easier on our pockets.
To recap very briefly on previous articles, it's always wise to check if you are receiving the right benefits by contacting your local benefit office, citizens advice bureau and your local council office. Most local councils do have funds specifically for people suffering financial hardship and can make discretionary payments. It is certainly worth enquiring about. We have all heard of food banks but there are also different types such as larders where for a small weekly fee you can choose an adequate supply of food and toiletries. In addition, energy and utility suppliers may be able to offer grants, discounts, caps or offer other support regarding your bills, depending on your circumstances and all have specialist advisors.
So what extra help is coming this year? The government has announced more cost of living payments for those who claim certain benefits and tax credits which will be paid automatically into bank accounts. The first payment of £301 will be paid in Spring, another payment of £300 in Autumn then a further payment of £299 in Spring of next year. People receiving disability benefits will also receive a one off payment of £150 in the Summer of this year. Specific dates are yet to be finalised.
DWP benefits are set to rise with inflation in April of this year which is expected to be a 10.1% increase and if you are receiving the national living wage, this is also due to increase in April of this year.
According to recent statistics published by the ONS, in the last quarter there were well over a million UK job vacancies.