Explainer

Where can I get help in the Midlands as the cost of living soars?

Charities predict the cost of living crisis will further push people into hunger, fuel poverty, and crippling debt. Credit: PA

Almost everyone will have heard of the cost of living crisis by now, but no-one can be sure exactly how it will affect them.

From soaring energy and fuel bills to an increase in National Insurance and council tax payments, prices are set to increase dramatically over the next few days and weeks.

Charities predict it will further push people into hunger, fuel poverty, and crippling debt.

What costs are rising?

  • Ofgem has said the energy price cap will rise by 54% from April 1, affecting around 22 million customers.

  • People paying for energy on default tariffs by direct debit will see an increase of £693 from £1,277 to £1,971 per year, while prepayment customers will see an increase of £708 from £1,309 to £2,017.

  • Council tax bills increased at the beginning of the month. The increase depends on which local authority you live in and which band your house falls under.

  • Food prices are being affected by the inflation rise, with prices 5.2% higher than a year ago.

  • From April 6, National Insurance (NI) will increase by 1.25%.

    Energy bills will rise by around £700 Credit: PA

From free debt and employment advice, to providing affordable and healthy food, here's a list of who is on hand to help across the Midlands:

Money Matters, Leicester

A group of volunteers with the aim of tackling the ever growing problem of debt.

Money Matters Leicester is affiliated to Community Money Advice (CMA), a national charity that enables community groups and churches to establish local, free to client, face to face debt advice services.

The charity says it currently has a waiting list of six to eight weeks.

Step Forward, Nottingham

Step Forward is based on Lenton Lane and is in the process of opening up a number of satellite centres in various locations across Nottingham.

The charity provides an employability training programme for individuals who are seeking training, education or employment.

Citizens Advice says that turning your thermostat down by just 1C can save you around £65 a year Credit: PA

Affordable Nottingham

This is an affordable retail shop on Derby Road dealing in surplus foods and goods and a free to use social lounge.

Those behind the project say they're working to alleviate the impact of poverty, poor health and social isolation.


Marches Energy Agency, Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin, Derby, Derbyshire & the Black Country

Provides free advice and support to residents across the East and West Midlands, in order to help them lower their energy costs and insulate their homes.

The charity makes hundreds of home visits a year to help tackle fuel poverty.

From April 6, National Insurance will increase by 1.25 percentage points for all taxpayers in the UK Credit: PA

Birmingham Settlement 

Founded in 1899, Birmingham Settlement is one of the oldest charities in Birmingham.

The organisation offers money services such as free impartial advice and help with access to a hardship fund.

It runs a Job Club every Tuesday and Thursday to help people match their skills with the right career path for them.

Just Finance Foundation, Black Country

The Just Finance Foundation works across Wolverhampton, Dudley and Sandwell to help people avoid and find ways out of financial distress.

It aims to help people build their financial capability and it provides support and signposting to self-help and services.

Energy prices are set to rise Credit: PA

Foleshill Community Centre, Coventry

This community centre is home to the city's first social supermarket, where people can fill up a groceries bag for just £4.

It was launched by the Feeding Coventry charity, and allows people to stock up on items including fresh fruit and vegetables, tinned and frozen food, breakfast cereal, tea and coffee and toiletries.


Melton and District Money Advice Centre, Melton Mowbray

A free service aiming to help people get out of debt, where people can access advice, support and a free budget planner.

Support is available to those who live in Melton Mowbray and the surrounding borough.

National helplines and websites:

  • Turn2us: Provides practical help to those struggling financially. Access their resources via their helpline 0808 802 2000 (open 9.00 am - 5.00 pm Monday-Friday) or via their website.

  • If you need support, call Citizens Advice on 0808 223 1133 (or 0808 223 1144 to contact a Welsh-speaking adviser), or visit their website

  • If you are struggling to make payments, then contact the company you are making payments to or your council.

  • The National Debt Helpline can be reached on 0808 808 4000 or you can choose to webchat with an adviser.