Oxford City Council has announced that it is ready to help people as utility prices rise on 01 October.
Inflation means more people are struggling to make their budget cover basic costs like rent and food, even before the utility price rise.
Help is available in Oxford, and the council and its partners are already providing support and information for anyone worried about the increased cost of living.
This week, people are advised to give their energy company meter readings before 01 October, so they only pay the new higher rates from 01 October.
For people worried about winter costs, the City Council has staff trained to help.
- helping people to check and apply for the benefits and other support they may be entitled to,
- energy advice and support,
- managing debt and payment plans,
- cost-saving food services, and
- housing support for council and private tenants.
Mental health support and community connections are also really important, and the council can help residents find local groups and services.
The council can be contacted on 01865 249 811 or view the Cost of Living directory online. Printed copies of the directory are available at local advice centres, libraries and community centres.
The council is also working to create warm spaces and will map places and events that can provide warm and welcoming spaces through the colder months.
Last week Oxfordshire County Council approved a plan for libraries to be used for this, and the City Council is looking at opportunities for community and leisure centres to do the same.
“When someone comes to us for help, we look at everything we can do to make their budget stretch further. Things like taking the pressure off the groceries bill mean there’s more money for other things.
“One resident we helped with vouchers for his electricity meter got back in touch to let us know what a difference it has made. He says he smiles when he walks past it now, knowing that he has a good amount of credit on there and he doesn’t need to stress anymore.”
—Leanne Cooper, a locality manager at Oxford City Council
“This winter will be hard on so many people. We are doing all we can to support people in Oxford, working with partners as we did during the pandemic because we know we can do so much more when we work together.
“I know our communities will pull together to help each other through this winter and the cost of living crisis. The government must provide urgent and better support so everyone, especially the hardest hit and most vulnerable, is financially secure.
“In the meantime, there is local help available and professionals ready to listen and offer advice. I encourage anyone who is worried to get in touch.”
—Councillor Shaista Aziz, Cabinet Member for Inclusive Communities and Culture at Oxford City Council