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Eight million people receiving benefits and on low incomes will receive their £900 cost-of-living payments in three instalments, the government has said.

The first payment of £301 will be made in the spring, with a second of £300 in the autumn and a final £299 instalment in the spring of 2024.

Exact dates are yet to be finalised, but ministers said the money would help households with high energy bills.

A £400 discount for all energy billpayers looks set to end by April.

Charities have called on the government to do more to protect vulnerable households from soaring costs, claiming that support had not improved for those already struggling.

The government also confirmed that a £150 cost-of-living payment would automatically go to those with disabilities during the summer, and a further £300 payment would be paid to pensioners during the winter of 2023-24.

Graphic showing government help with energy bills (November 2022)

Cost-of-living payments have provided additional support for more vulnerable households, or those with higher energy costs, since the summer. The government also set a cap on the unit price of energy for households, which means the typical household pays £2,500 a year. This will rise to £3,000 a year when the cap is reset in April.

However, the universal £400 discount, which is being paid in monthly instalments over this winter is not expected to be continued.

Myron Jobson, senior personal finance analyst at Interactive Investor, said: “The various cost-of-living support schemes and measures past and present have and will help to ease the inflationary crunch on budgets – but most have a shelf life.

“It remains important to have a comprehensive understanding of your financial position and make the necessary adjustments to ensure that your financial position holds strong long after the cost-of-living measures expire.”

Fuel poverty campaigners have argued that support for the most vulnerable people has not increased on what was announced last year.

“In fact, with the end of the Energy Bills Support Scheme looming, households will be worse off than they were this winter,” said Simon Francis, co-ordinator of the End Fuel Poverty Coalition..

“The government must go further to help the millions of homes in fuel poverty throughout 2023.”

Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride said: “We are sticking by our promise to protect the most vulnerable and these payments, worth hundreds of pounds, will provide vital support next year for those on the lowest incomes.”

A survey for charity Nesta suggested that concerns about higher energy bills had pushed almost all households in the UK to try to save energy in at least one way, but many did not know which cut their bills the most.

The charity has a guide to turning down the boiler flow temperature on a combi boiler to save energy.

Source: BBC

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