How to get help paying your rent if you're struggling as government announces £65 million support

LOW income households could be in line to get extra support as the government announces £65 million of funding for vulnerable renters.

Ahead of the Budget this Wednesday, the government has announced more support for families as part of its "levelling up" agenda.

It comes as Chancellor Rishi Sunak has revealed plans to hike the national minimum wage to £10 an hour by the next general election.

The funding for vulnerable renters will be in addition for £500 million of support for helping families with essentials over winter.

Millions of people are struggling to make ends meet as rising inflation and soaring gas prices have sent energy bills soaring and an increase in food prices.

The price of petrol has today hit a record high of £1.43 a litre, adding to motorists' misery.

At the same time, millions of people have seen their weekly budget cut after the Universal Credit uplift was ended.

To help ease the strain, the government will give £65million to councils across England to support low-income earners who are in rent arrears.

We have previously looked at four steps to take if you're behind on rent, as it's estimate the number of Universal Credit claimants in arrears has rocketed by 70%.

Indeed, debt charity StepChange estimates that tenants are facing a £360 million backlog of debt built up over the pandemic.

Peter Tutton, head of policy, research and public affairs at StepChange, said the additional support is "helpful".

He added: "While more will be needed to turn the tide on the backlog of rent arrears built up during the pandemic, which still needs attention in this week's Budget, this should reduce the immediacy of the mounting eviction pressure facing some of the most vulnerable households with the most entrenched rent problem debt."

The government hopes the extra funding will help prevent homelessness and support families getting back on their feet.

Renters had additional support through the pandemic with an eviction ban helping to protect thousands of renters from losing their home. But that support has now come to an end.

Eddie Hughes, Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing, said it was vital support continue as we enter the winter months.

He added: "This new funding will support families that are struggling and help to get them back on their feet as we being to recover from the pandemic."

The support will be available through the winter months.

Households at risk of eviction or homelessness should contact their local council if they need help.

If you're not sure which is your local council, you can check on the government website.

Each council will determine the best way to support households in their area, and on a case-by-case basis.

The government said any payments were likely to be paid directly to the existing landlord, or to a new landlord if the money is used to support a household finding a new home.

What other help can I get?

If you're behind on rent, your first step should be to talk to your landlord as soon as possible.

You might be able to negotiate a lower rent or set up a repayment plan.

You could also be eligible for a discount on your council tax bill.

Those living alone get 25% off, and you can half your bill if you live with "disregarded people" – which means someone who doesn't need to pay council tax.

Citizens Advice has a full list of who qualifies for this.

Universal Credit claimants may be eligible for Housing Benefit. You should apply for this through your local council, who will assess your circumstances to decide how much you might be entitled too.

You may also be able to get help with your energy bills.

Some energy firms have charitable trusts to help you pay off arrears. Alternatively, you could get up to £300 off your bills through the coldest months of the year with winter fuel payments.

Low income households can get £25 a week to help through winter with the cold weather payment scheme.

And some councils run welfare assistance schemes which provide grants for food, furniture and to help cover bills.


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