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Help with the cost of living

We understand that many residents may be struggling to cope with the rising cost of living, particularly with food and energy costs.

This page provides information about various forms of help that may be available.

Help with energy bills

Council Tax payers living in homes with a Council Tax band from A to D are entitled to a £150 Energy Rebate from the Council. This will be paid automatically to anyone who pays their Council Tax by direct debit. 

Households that do not pay by direct debit will receive a letter explaining how to claim the rebate by completing a simple online form. Please visit our £150 Council Tax energy payment page for more information.

A discretionary rebate of £150 will be available for households;

  • Who moved into a property with a Council Tax band from A to D after 1 April 2022 and were not entitled to a rebate for another property; and
  • In Council Tax Bands E, F, G and H who are receiving Council Tax support

We will be contacting eligible households as soon as possible with information about how to apply for the rebate

The Citizens Advice Bureau provides lots of advice about help that may be available with energy costs.

You can find advice about how to cut down on your energy and water use to save money here and on the Energy saving trust website.

Help with food

If you are on a low income and have an unexpected crisis or an emergency that means you cannot afford food, the Council may be able to help by referring you to Bedford Foodbank. 

Please contact 01234 718033 for more information.

Difficulty paying Council Tax of other Council bills or invoices

Please contact us if you are unable to pay any money owed to the Council - we may be able to help. 

Residents with the lowest income do not pay any Council Tax due to our Council Tax Reduction Scheme. Unlike many Councils, Bedford Borough still offers a discount of up to 100% to households with the lowest income. This is worth over £400 of extra help a year to a household in a typical band B or band C property.

  • If your circumstances have changed and you think you may now qualify for Council Tax Support, please tell us by going to our Council Tax Support page to claim online.
  • If you are having immediate difficulty paying your Council Tax bill, please get in touch with our trained advisors who will be able to help. Telephone us on 01234 718097.

Free school meals and school holiday vouchers

Your child may qualify for free school meals if you receive certain benefits.

During the upcoming school holidays, the Council will be providing families receiving income related free school meals a £15 voucher for each child. The £15 voucher will be provided for each week of the school holiday.

Help paying your rent

If you are of working age and on a low income you may be able to receive help with the cost of rent through Universal Credit.  If you already receive Universal Credit, help with rent should already be included in your Universal Credit payment.

People who are pension-age and on a low income may be entitled to Housing Benefit.

If you are already receiving Universal Credit or Housing Benefits and this does cover the full cost of your rent, you can apply to the Council for a Discretionary Housing Payment.

Universal Credit and other welfare benefits

If you are on a low income you may be entitled to Universal Credit, this includes people who are working or self-employed. You can apply online for Universal Credit.

See more information from the Government about other types of welfare benefits.

Free advice about money management, dealing with debts, claiming benefits and more

Bedford Citizens Advice can offer free and confidential help with managing your money, dealing with debts and a wide range of other advice.

Visit Bedford Citizens Advice or phone 01234 867944.

If you are a bpha tenant, you can find further advice from its Money Advice Service.

Crisis or emergency grant

If you are on a low income and have an unexpected crisis or an emergency the Council may be able to help with a crisis grant.

Household support grants

The Council will be paying a household support grant to;

  • £175 to pension-age households who are receiving 100% Council Tax Support
  • £75 to pension-age households who are receiving less than 100% Council Tax Support
  • £50 to working-age households that receive 100% Council Tax Support

If you received a Household Support Grant for 2021/22 and you still qualify, you will receive a payment automatically during June 2022. 

If you have not received a grant previously, we will write to you to let you know how to apply.

Please check this page regularly for updates on how to apply.