Cheaper phone and broadband
You may be eligible to move onto a social tariff if you’re struggling to afford your broadband or phone services.
Check the Ofcom website to see if you can switch to a social tariff.
Check on a comparison site whether you could be on a cheaper broadband deal.
If you’re from a low-income household and are experiencing data poverty, you may be eligible for a free SIM card through the National Databank at Cambridge Central Library.
SIM cards are available with data for a maximum period of 12 months. All you have to do is visit Central Library and speak to a member of staff.
Cambridgeshire Libraries also offer laptops, tablets and MiFi devices which you can borrow free of charge for seven days at a time. Loans can be renewed for another seven days as long as no one else has reserved the equipment.
Help paying your water bill
Many water companies run hardship schemes or fund independent charitable trusts which can help you pay your bills. Get support paying your water bill.
Cambridge Water have created some tips to help you save water.
Get a water meter
A water meter may save you money.
Cambridge Water, on behalf of Anglian Water, are offering support to anyone who is struggling to pay. Customers will receive a discount on their fresh water supply. A discount is automatically received on sewerage charges.
If you’re struggling to pay your water bill or want to see if you may be eligible for a discounted rate, you can contact Simon, who works for Cambridge Water, on 07425 425855 who will see what he can do to help.
If you're eligible for a discount with Cambridge Water, this is automatically applied to Anglian’s Water charges too.
Anglian Water are also providing additional support for those struggling to pay.
This includes discounted tariffs on water bills of up to 50 percent for eligible customers, temporary payment plans, forgiveness schemes, payment breaks in certain circumstances, and also includes direct support through the Anglian Water Assistance Fund, which is specially designed to help cover the cost of bills when people are going through the most challenging times.
For more information please contact the Extra Care Team directly on 0800 169 3630.
Prioritise your bills and payments
The bill prioritiser can help you sort your bills and payments in the right order and tell you what you need to do if you’re struggling to pay before you miss a payment.
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 cannot afford your rent (private tenants)
You may find it useful in the first instance to access free, confidential financial advice from Citizens Advice. You should speak to your landlord at an early stage if you are concerned about being able to pay your rent.
If you are facing difficulties that may lead to the loss of your tenancy, you should contact the council’s Housing Advice Service for support as soon as possible.
If you cannot afford your rent (council tenants)
We would encourage tenants who are concerned about their ability to pay rent to contact our financial inclusion officer, who can offer:
- Budgeting advice
- Help with arrangements to clear rent arrears or other housing related debts
- Support to check you are accessing benefits you are entitled to or to make a claim for additional benefits
- Help to make a Universal Credit claim (if vulnerable and unable to do it themselves)
- To check Universal Credit awards to make sure they are correct (if the person feels they should be getting more and think their entitlement may be wrong)
- Help to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment
- To issue food vouchers
If you cannot afford your interest payments on mortgages 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 the Government’s Support for Mortgage Interest.
If you cannot afford to pay your mortgage
If you’re struggling to pay your mortgage or are already behind on your payments, we would advise you to seek support from our Housing Advice Service, or Citizens Advice, about how to access expert advice; work out what you can afford; talk to your lender and make an offer to your lender; or access any schemes to help with mortgage payments.