Portsmouth people on lower incomes may be able to get supermarket vouchers or special payments to help with the cost of living.

Portsmouth City Council is launching two new schemes on 27 September 2023 designed to get financial help to groups of residents who have missed out on other support schemes.

Under government rules, people need to apply for the help.

One scheme is aimed at lower-income families with children who didn’t qualify for a voucher from a school this summer. Families expecting a baby in less than 20 weeks can also apply. Their total household take-home pay, in the month before applying, needs to be £1,350 or less.

They could get a £70 supermarket voucher for each eligible child, and there will be a chance to apply for another voucher, this time worth £80, this winter.

A second scheme is aimed at people who missed out on the autumn 2022 and spring 2023 cost of living payments from the government. It’s open to households who first claimed a means-tested benefit after 26 September 2022, or who get housing benefit and no other means-tested income benefit. They could qualify for a £120 cost of living payment.

To see more details about these schemes and to apply, residents should go to www.portsmouth.gov.uk/household-support  If they need help applying, they can contact Advice Portsmouth on 023 9279 4340 or (if they’re a council tenant) their area housing office.

A third scheme, to be launched later this year, will be aimed at people below state pension age who get disability living allowance or personal independence payments. They could qualify for £150 to help with energy costs. This scheme is not yet open for applications, but residents can go to www.portsmouth.gov.uk/household-support and leave their email address to be notified when it starts.

Household support funding is given to local councils by the government so they can support their most vulnerable residents with essential daily costs, such as food and energy.

Cllr Steve Pitt, Leader of the Council, said: “With the limited amount of funding we have, we’re trying to make sure the neediest people in the city get a bit of a boost.

“These new schemes are aimed at people who might not have been reached by previous schemes but who would still welcome some support.

“We know every bit helps at the moment. If you think you might be eligible, please find out more and apply.”

The council is also using household support funding to give more people access to home energy advice visits.  To find out how to save energy and money, residents can visit Switched on Portsmouth or call the freephone helpline on 0800 260 5907.

It is also providing funding for local organisations that are supporting people with the cost of living, including foodbanks and community pantries.

To find cost of living advice and help, residents can go to the council’s cost of living hub – a one-stop source of local advice and support. It has information on topics including food, housing, energy bills, warm spaces, saving money and wellbeing. The hub is at www.portsmouth.gov.uk/costofliving  Or if residents need to talk to someone, they can call 023 9284 1047 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Thursday or 9am to 4.30pm Friday.