Cost of Living Advice Hub
Following my recent Cost-of-living Advice Day, I would like to make it as easy as possible for Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney residents to access any help they may be entitled to.
Below I’ve included links to support for utilities, and any benefits or discounts you may be entitled to – and some links to support agencies who will be able to assist you if needed.
This page will be regularly updated with the most recent information.
Welsh Government Advice Hub
The Welsh Government website has a range of support options available. Click the button below for the most up-to-date support available.
Fuel support scheme
The Welsh Government is extending its Fuel Support Scheme this autumn and winter, meaning more households will be eligible to benefit from a £200 payment to help keep their homes warm. More than 400,000 households will now be eligible for the £200 payment. Click here for more information:
Cost of Living Support Scheme
The £150 cost of living support payment is being provided to all households in properties in council tax bands A to D, and all households which receive support from the Council Tax Reduction Scheme regardless of their council tax band.
Payments will be made directly into people’s bank accounts by their Local Authority. If you do not pay your council tax via direct debit in affected residents will receive a letter from the council with further instructions.
Discretionary Assistance Fund
A grant to help pay for essential costs, such as food, gas, electricity, clothing or emergency travel if you:
- are experiencing extreme financial hardship
- have lost your job
- have applied for benefits and are waiting for your first payment
Link here – https://gov.wales/discretionary-assistance-fund-daf
National Energy Action
If you or someone you know can’t afford to heat their home NEA offer a range of advice and support directly to people in need.
Call 0800 304 7159, Monday to Friday 10.00 am-12.00pm or visit www.nea.org.uk.
Warm Wales provides advice, referrals, and access to grants. Their Healthy Homes Healthy People project and HHHP+ project are available to everyone to help support you to reduce your energy bills, apply for grant schemes and support those affected mentally by fuel poverty.
Call 01656 747 622, Monday to Friday 9.00am – 5.00pm or visit https://www.warmwales.org.uk/.
The Nest scheme offers a range of free, impartial advice, and offers free energy efficiency improvements for those eligible. For more information visit:
www.nest.gov.wales or call 0808 808 2244
Power Up is an advice hub offering a range of income, tariff and energy efficiency support to those who could potentially be vulnerable in the event of a power cut.
Call 0808 808 2274, Monday to Friday, 9.00am – 5.00pm or visit https://www.westernpower.co.uk/customers-and-community/priority-services/power-up.
Energy Saving Trust
Energy Saving Trust is an independent organisation working to address the climate emergency. They are a respected and trusted voice on energy efficiency and work to empower householders to make better energy choices. For more information visit:
Welsh Water – HelpU tariff
The HelpU tariff helps the lowest income households in our region. If you qualify, we will cap your water bill so you won’t pay over a certain amount for the year.
If you have a water meter, you will never pay more than the amount you have used. If your consumption is less than the HelpU cap amount, you will only be billed for the amount of water you have used. Click here for more information:
Broadband ‘social tariffs’
If you are on certain benefits, you may be entitled to cheaper broadband. Many companies offer these social tariffs, but they are not well advertised. For more information visit:
Help with your energy bills – UK Government
Millions of the most vulnerable households will get £1,200 of one-off support in total this year to help with the cost of living and their energy bills, with all domestic electricity customers receiving at least £400. Find out more, visit:
Merthyr Valleys Homes
MVH Homes provides tenancy support for the local area. This service can be provided to both MVH tenants and to tenants of other housing associations, private landlords and owners/occupiers.
Call 0800 085 7843, Monday to Friday, 9.00am – 5.00pm or visit https://www.mvhomes.org.uk/money-support/tenancy-support.
Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association
If you are struggling to pay your rent or any other household bills, Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association have a specialist team who are trained to be able to help and advise you.
Call 01685 352800, Monday to Friday, 9.30am – 4.30pm.
Hafod provide a wide range of housing, support and care services in Merthyr Tydfil.
Call 0800 024 8968, Monday to Friday, 8.30am – 4.30pm for support.
Wales & West Housing Association
If you are struggling with paying your rent or other household bills, contact your housing officer. If you do not know your housing officer, call 0800 052 2526 or visit https://www.wwha.co.uk/en/faqs/who-do-i-contact-about-rent-queries/.
Care and Repair Cymru
Care and Repair helps older people in Wales live independently in their own homes. They deliver practical help to create safe, warm and accessible homes. For more information visit:
Shelter Cymru offers free, confidential, and independent advice to support you with your housing difficulties. For more information visit:
www.sheltercymru.org.uk or call 08000 495 495
Supporting people – Caerphilly Council
If you live in the Caerphilly county borough area, are over 16 years of age and struggling to keep your home, at risk of losing your job, need to move or need help with your finances or any type of debt, the Supporting People Team could offer you support.
To access housing related support services from the Supporting People Team you will need to complete a referral form by following the link below:
Alternatively, you can text HOUSUPPORT to 81400 and a member of the Supporting People team will contact you.
You may be eligible to apply for Universal Credit if you are working but on a low income, out of work or you cannot work. Claim online at:
www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit or call the Universal Credit Helpline on 0800 328 5644 (Welsh Language Line: 0800 328 1744).
Pension Credit is a tax-free means-tested benefit aimed at retired people on low incomes. If eligible you could be entitled to access other benefits such as council tax discounts and free TV licenses for the over-75s. Around 850,000 eligible households aren’t claiming this benefit that they are entitled to.
Claim online at www.gov.uk/pension-credit or call 0800 99 1234.
Personal Independence Payment
Payments to support the cost of living for individuals who:
- Have a long-term physical or mental health condition or disability
- Difficulty doing certain everyday tasks or getting around because of your condition
Further information here – https://www.gov.uk/pip
Marriage Tax Allowance
You can benefit from Marriage Allowance if all the following apply: you’re married or in a civil partnership; you do not pay Income Tax or your income is below your Personal Allowance (usually £12,570); and, your partner pays Income Tax at the basic rate, which usually means their income is between £12,571 and £50,270, before they receive Marriage Allowance. For more information visit:
Tax Relief for Employees
You may be able to claim tax relief if you use your own money for things you must buy for your job and you only use these things for work. There are several different tax relief schemes available. For more information visit:
Citizens Advice gives people the knowledge and confidence they need to find their way forward – whoever they are, and whatever their problem. The national charity and network of local charities offer confidential advice online, over the phone, and in person, for free. For more information visit:
www.citizensadvice.org.uk/wales or call 0800 702 2020
Age Connects Morgannnwg
If you are over 50 and would like information on the type of benefits you may be entitled Age Connects offers a range of advice and support, such as free welfare benefits checks and assistance with completing forms.
Call 01443 490650, Monday to Thursday 9.00am – 5.00pm, Friday 9.00am – 4.30pm or visit https://www.acmorgannwg.org.uk/.
Advicelink Cymru offers free and confidential advice on a range of subjects such as:
- welfare benefits
Get in touch with an advisor today by calling the free helpline on 0800 702 2020 or visit https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/wales/about-us/our-work/advice-partnerships/advicelink-cymru/.
Savings, Loans and Debt
Stop Loan Sharks Wales
Stop Loan Sharks Wales is here to protect those who borrow money. They offer a range of support to help you look for alternative forms of financial assistance and credit, as well as providing advice on how to maximise your income and benefits.
Call 0300 123 3311 for support. The hotline is open 24 hours a day and operated in the strictest confidence.
Merthyr Tydfil Borough Credit Union
Merthyr Tydfil Borough Credit Union is an ethical and responsible lender. They provide access to affordable and low interest rate kiabs, without resorting to high street interest loan sharks.
Call 01685 377888, Monday to Friday, 9.30am – 3.30pm or visit https://www.mtbcu.org.uk/
BAG Credit Union
Bag Credit Union is an ethical and responsible lender. They provide access to affordable and low interest rate kiabs, without resorting to high street interest loan sharks.
Call 01443 838605, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday, 10.00am – 12.30pm or visit http://www.bagcreditunion.co.uk/index.php.
Provides free confidential support over a range of areas, such as income maximisation, financial & budgeting advice, debt relief, welfare benefits and emotional support.
Call 029 2034 1577, Monday to friday, 10.00am – 1.00pm and 2.00pm – 4.00pm.
Step Change Debt Charity
Step Change has helped hundreds of thousands of people a year to deal with their debt problems. With nearly 30 years’ experience they can provide the advice and support people need to achieve long-term financial control. For more information visit:
www.stepchange.org or call 0800 138 1111
MoneyHelper is here to help, so you can move on with life. Here to cut through the jargon and complexity, explain what you need to do and how you can do it. Here to put you in control, with free, impartial help that’s quick to find, easy to use and backed by government. For more information visit:
www.moneyhelper.org.uk or call 0800 011 3797
Money Saving Expert
For hints, tips and guides on all money related activities. Tips on how to spend less and make the most of any deals and offers. For more information visit:
Ty Pantri is a low-cost food initiative run by Merthyr Housing.They provide fruit and vegetables as well as cupboard staples such as tins and pasta to help your shop go further.
Call 01685 352800, Monday to Friday, 9.30am – 4.30pm to order your box.
Trussell Trust Foodbanks
To access a foodbank, you must be referred for a voucher by a local agency. These include: Doctors, Social Workers, Health Visitors and Citizens Advice. Both Gerald Jones MP and I, are also able to refer residents in need.
Once you have been issued with a voucher, you can exchange this for a minimum of three days of emergency food at your nearest foodbank centre.
www.rhymneyvalley.foodbank.org.uk or call 07944 354 175
www.merthyrcynon.foodbank.org.uk or call 07427 537 437
www.taffbargoed.foodbank.org.uk or call 01443 450 832
Healthy Start Scheme
If you’re more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4, you may be entitled to get help buy healthy food and milk. You’ll be sent a Healthy Start card with money on it that you can use in some UK shops to buy items such as: milk; fresh, frozen, and tinned fruit and vegetables; instant formula milk; Healthy Start vitamins. For more information visit:
Children & Families
Free School Meals
Free school breakfasts are available for all children in Wales.
Free school meals are available to eligible to children in Wales, and are continuing to be provided through school holidays.Further information below:
Merthyr Tydfil – https://www.merthyr.gov.uk/resident/benefits-and-grants/apply-for-free-school-mealspdg-access-clothing-grant/
Caerphilly – https://www.caerphilly.gov.uk/Services/Schools-and-learning/School-dinners-and-breakfast-clubs/Free-school-meals
Pupil Development Grant
Helps families with the costs of the school day and can be used for items such as school uniform and equipment.
Learners currently eligible for free school meals can apply for the grant of £125 per learner, and £200 for those learners entering year 7, recognising the increased costs associated with starting secondary school. Further information here:
Childcare Offer for Wales – Welsh Government
Under the Childcare Offer for Wales, you could claim 30 hours of early education and childcare in Wales a week, for up to 48 weeks of the year. It aims to make life a bit easier for parents by offering help with childcare costs. For more information visit:
Support at Work
Trade Union Congress (TUC)
On average union members get higher pay, better sickness and pension benefits, more paid holiday and more control over things like shifts and working hours. This is because workers join together to negotiate pay and conditions rather than leaving it up to managers. Union members may also be entitled to additional benefits such as cheaper car insurance or health insurance. For more information visit:
Live Fear Free
Live Fear Free provides easy to access, confidential information and advice to all victims and survivors of violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence and those close to them, including family, friends and colleagues on a variety of matters which may be relevant to your situation. It is open 24/7, is free and will not show up on phone bills. The following options are available for support:
By phone: 0808 80 10 800 (Croesawir galwadau yn Gymraeg / Calls are welcomed in Welsh)
Text service: 07860 077333
Live Chat: http://gov.wales/live-fear-free
The C.A.L.L. Helpline is a dedicated mental health helpline. It provides confidential support to help you find support available in your local area. This includes voluntary and charitable organisations.
Contact 0800 132 737 or text ‘help’ to 81066.
Offering a safe place for you to talk any time you like, in your own way – about whatever’s getting to you. For more information visit:
www.samaritans.org or call for free on 116 123 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
GamCare provides information, advice and support for anyone affected by gambling harms. They operate the National Gambling Helpline, provide treatment for anyone who is harmed by gambling, create awareness about safer gambling and treatment, and encourage an effective approach to safer gambling within the gambling industry. For more information visit:
www.gamcare.org.uk or call 0808 8020 133
Wales Drug & Alcohol Helpline
The Wales Drug & Alcohol Helpline, also known as DAN 24/7 is a free and bilingual telephone helpline providing a single point of contact for anyone in Wales wanting further information and / or help relating to drugs and / or alcohol. For more information visit:
https://dan247.org.uk/ or call 0808 808 2234 or text DAN to 81066.
Help me Quit
Help and support to quit smoking. For more information visit:
www.helpmequit.wales or call 0800 085 2219.