Please contact us if you are unable to pay any money owed to the council - we may be able to help.
You may find it helpful to pay 12 (lower) monthly instalments towards your Council Tax, rather than 10 (higher) monthly instalments. The total you pay will not change, but it will bring down the monthly cost.
You can easily switch to 12 instalments by registering for an online account. You will need the ‘online key’ from your latest Council Tax bill.
People on low incomes may be eligible for Council Tax Support – to reduce the amount of Council Tax you will owe. Other Council Tax bill reductions are available, such as the Single Person Discount. And we also have a Discretionary Council Tax scheme. Please contact us for more information about help with your Council Tax payments.
If you are of working age and on a low income you may be able to receive help with the cost of rent by applying for 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/or on a low income may be entitled to Housing Benefit. Housing Benefit is available to both social and private renters.
If you are already receiving Universal Credit or Housing Benefit and this does not cover the full cost of your rent, you can apply to us for a Discretionary Housing Payment.
You may get help with all or part of your rent. There’s no set amount of housing costs support and what you get will depend on whether you rent privately or from a council or housing association.
Use a benefits calculator to find out if you can get benefits to help pay your rent.
Mortgage interest payments or loans
If you’re a homeowner on qualifying benefits, you might be able to get help towards interest payments on your mortgage or loans you’ve taken out for certain repairs and improvements to your home.
Check if you’re eligible for Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI).
Make sure you are claiming all the benefits you are eligible for. Use our benefit calculator to check your entitlement to Universal Credit, Council Tax reductions or other benefits.
If you are of working age and on a low income you may be able to receive help with the cost of rent by applying for Universal Credit.
You can also find support from charity Turn to Us which helps people access the money available to them, through welfare benefits, grants and other help.
The MoneyHelper website can also help you to find out what benefits you’re entitled to, how to claim them, when you qualify, and what to do if things go wrong.
Check the government’s income support pages for more ideas, including:
- claiming the Marriage Allowance
- eligibility for Carer’s Allowance
- Pension Credit
- help if you can’t pay your tax bill
You may be eligible for a Budgeting Loan if you’ve been on certain benefits for six months. You have to pay back the amount you borrow, and repayments are taken automatically from your benefits.
You can't get a budgeting loan if you’re on Universal Credit, but you might be able to get a loan as part of your Universal Credit if you need to cover a specific expense - this is called a ‘budgeting advance’.
Discretionary housing payments
If you claim Universal Credit or Housing Benefit and need extra help with your housing costs if you are facing exceptional hardship, we can award a Discretionary Housing Payment.
The payments are usually awarded for a short time only and each case is considered on its own merit.
Contact us for more information. Funds are limited, so in the long term you may need to consider moving to cheaper accommodation, starting work, increasing your hours, or making changes to your household.
Check your wage and deductions are correct
Check the National Minimum Wage calculator to see if you’re being paid the right amount. You can also check when your employer can make deductions from your pay (such as for income tax, national insurance and student loan repayments).
If you believe you are not being paid the right amount, or your deductions are incorrect, you can seek support from Citizens Advice to correct this.
You could save up to a third on train journeys with a railcard.
If you’re on Universal Credit you may be eligible for a Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card for up to 50% off.
If you're a pet owner, visit the RSPCA's cost of living webpages for advice and support, including help with vet bills and locating pet food banks.
Visit the government’s childcare webpage for information on:
- tax-free childcare
- 30 hours free childcare
- 15 hours free childcare
- Child Benefit
- a one-off payment of £500 for help with maternity costs.
Please follow both groups on Facebook to find the most up-to-date information about the pop-up events or to contact the organisers if you are not able to attend an event.
Free Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme
Cambridgeshire County Council runs the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) Programme through which eligible children can attend free holiday activities during school holidays.
Families in receipt of income-related free school meals can access a holiday scheme for up to 64 hours (summer) or 16 hours (Christmas and Easter) per child and will receive enriching experiences, a meal and snacks daily.
Cambridgeshire financial support scheme
Cambridgeshire’s Local Assistance Scheme (CLAS) supports people facing unexpected financial difficulties. CLAS can provide information, advice and practical support and assistance in times of exceptional pressure.
Following an assessment, you may be eligible for a CLAS award. The awards can be in the form of supermarket vouchers, energy vouchers, new white goods, decorating packs, beds, mattresses, recycled white goods and furniture. You can self-refer, contact CLAS directly.
Cambridgeshire Home Improvement Agency
Our partners at the Cambridgeshire Home Improvement Agency can help you save money. They can:
- help reduce older and disabled residents’ fuel costs by fitting new, energy efficient boilers
- use Disabled Facility Grant funding to replace a boiler for a homeowner whose health is impacted by a lack of warmth. They may be eligible for a grant because their existing boiler doesn’t work (or doesn’t work as well as it should)
- provide Special Purposes Grants, which are means-tested for people on low incomes. They can also pay for replacement doors and windows, roofing repairs, damp proofing or security improvements
- for a small fee, they can support those not eligible for grants, but who struggle to organise the work themselves
Internet: access and devices
If you do not have access to a computer, tablet or smartphone or are unsure how to use them, local charity Cambridge Online can provide help with skills and access to the internet or internet devices. You can contact them on 01223 300407 or via the Cambridge Online website.
Map of reductions and money saving tips available in Cambridge
See Cambridge Carbon Footprint climate map for reductions and money saving tips available in Cambridge.
Health cost help
Check your eligibility for free help from the NHS for things like prescriptions, dental or glasses.
Recycled or low cost items
Try local free or recycling websites to purchase low cost items. Some examples in Cambridge include: