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Cost of living relief as one in four families get first government payment

Cost of living payments

Almost one in four families across the UK will receive £326 from today, with the second instalment of £324 sent later this year as part of the government’s £37 billion support package to help with the cost of living.

Over eight million households on means-tested benefits will automatically get the first instalment of £326 from this month.

“Today’s payment is the signal to millions of families that we are on their side”

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson

The Government believes that combined with other support, millions of low-income households across the UK will receive at least £1,200 from the Government by Christmas to ease Cost of Living pressures.

On top of that, nearly one in ten people will get the £150 disability payment this Autumn, and over eight million pensioner households could get an extra £300 from Winter Fuel Payments in November and December.

Low-income families receive £37 billion

Total government support this year for low-income families stands at £37 billion, a figure which includes a recent rise to £12,570 for the National Insurance starting thresholds. This will benefit 30 million working people and is worth £330 to a typical employee.

Commenting on the package of measures, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Just as we looked after people during lockdown, we will help them get through these tough economic times.

“Today’s payment is the signal to millions of families that we are on their side and we have already promised more cash in the autumn, alongside other measures – including our Help for Households – to support the vulnerable and ease the burden.”

Administering the package of support measures, Work and Pensions Secretary, Thérèse Coffey said: “Our help for households will begin landing in bank accounts today as we make sure those on the lowest incomes get the support they need in the face of rising costs.

“This first instalment of £326 should reach all eligible low-income households by the end of July.”

Welcoming the package, the new Chancellor, Nadhim Zahawi said:

“It’s great that millions of the families who are most in need are starting to receive their Cost of Living Payments, which I know will be a massive help for people who are struggling.

“Alongside tax cuts, changes to Universal Credit and the Household Support Fund, these payments are a vital part of our £37 billion support package to help people deal with rising prices.”

Instalments in 2022

Most people entitled to the first instalment of the Cost of Living payment will receive it between now and 31 July 2022. Households who are eligible because they receive tax credits and no other eligible benefits will receive their first instalment from HMRC in the autumn, and the second instalment in the winter. DWP will administer payments for customers on all other eligible means-tested benefits, and customers do not need to contact the government or apply for the payment at any stage.

In addition to the £650 Cost of Living Payment, all domestic energy customers in the UK will receive a £400 grant to help with energy bills, and those in Council Tax bands A-D in England will get an extra £150, which has already been sent to many households. This brings support for millions to £1,200 by the end of the year.

The disability and pensioner payments come in addition to this, as does any support from the Household Support Fund, which was recently extended through to March 2023 with £421 million additional funding. It is now worth £1.263 billion, and combined with £237 million for devolved nations, means this support package now stands at £1.5 billion. The Household Support Fund is designed to help low-income households in England with food and energy bills, and is distributed by local authorities, who know their areas best.

Final Thought

If you were watching the news, you would be forgiven in thinking that the cost of living crisis had eased. The Conservative Party leadership race continues to dominate headlines at a time when people are struggling to afford a tank of petrol to get to work.

As the former Chancellor progresses to Day three of the race to Number 10, it has already been forgotten that it was he who worked with Boris Johnson to provide this support.

Over the next few weeks, it will be down to 100,000 members to decide whether Sunak’s measures are enough to mitigate the pressures facing households, or whether they think he should have cut taxes further.

This payment will certainly help but is not going to solve all the problems in isolation – neither will the full package that the Government has been keen to outline today. The new Prime Minister and their Chancellor will have to pull the proverbial rabbit to help household budgets in the Autumn.

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