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Get free confidential advice

Do you have money worries or want to make the most of your money but aren’t sure where to go for advice and support? We can help. There is plenty of free, confidential and local advice available to help you:

Advice Portsmouth, supported by Portsmouth City Council, can help you if you are not sure what to do. It is for anyone who lives or works in Portsmouth. It offers free, confidential and local advice on bills, benefits, debt, housing and employment issues.  Call 023 9279 4340, text 07789 550593 or email advice.portsmouth@theyoutrust.org.uk.

Citizens Advice Portsmouth have a team of specialist money advisers on hand to advise and support you with all of your money and debt queries. To speak with a specialist money adviser call 023 9400 6600 or email contactus@caportsmouth.org.uk

If you are struggling to afford food, there are several local foodbanks and community meals that can help.

If worrying about money is affecting your mental wellbeing, there are local services that can give you help and support. The mental health charity Mind also has helpful tips and information about how to manage anxiety around bills, organise your finances and understand your money and mood patterns.

Check which benefits you're entitled to

A change in your household or your work situation are just two reasons why you may be missing out on benefits support you’re entitled to. Universal Credit and other payments, such as Council Tax Support, are designed to help you when you need them most.

Don’t be put off if you’re unsure how to apply or are confused about the changes to Universal Credit. Help is on hand to check what you could be entitled to and make sure you know how to apply. If you want to find out more:

If you are a city council tenant, you can get advice on claiming benefits from your housing officer

Here are some extra help you might not know you can apply for:

Cut to Universal Credit

This month, the standard allowance of Universal Credit is being cut by £20 per week (£86.67 per month). This is the end of the temporary increase in response to the pandemic.

This will affect all Universal Credit payments that are received from 13 October.

The same reduction applies to every household on Universal Credit, whether you are single, a couple, have children, or have any additional needs such as a health condition or disability. The only people on Universal Credit who will not be affected are the approximately 700 families in Portsmouth who are subject to the Household Benefit Cap, who never received this temporary increase.

While we know it isn’t easy, if possible, you should try to find work or increase your hours to replace this lost income, but you will need to earn between £20 and £80 per week more in order to replace the reduction in Universal Credit. The amount required varies between households depending on your eligibility for a Universal Credit work allowance, tax and national insurance liabilities.  To find out how much you need to earn, use a free online benefit calculator such as Turn2us or Entitledto.

Turn2us Benefits Calculator

Benefits calculator (entitledto.co.uk)

If you can’t replace this lost income, there are three steps you can take to get back on track with your finances:

  1. Check you are receiving everything you are entitled to
  2. Find ways to reduce your bills and household spending
  3. Get free and independent debt advice to help you manage any unaffordable debts

Get support with debts

If you’re struggling with unmanageable debt, you’re not alone. You might feel like you don’t want to talk about it, but getting help to manage your debts can make you feel a lot better, and let you take back control of your finances. So the sooner you seek support, the better.

You don’t need to pay for debt advice. Don’t borrow more money if you’re struggling to pay your debts; instead, get free advice and get back on track.

A debt adviser will:

  • keep everything you say confidential
  • never judge you or make you feel bad about your situation
  • always be happy to talk to you, however small or big your problem is
  • suggest ways of dealing with debts that you might not know about
  • check you have applied for all the benefits and entitlements available to you (they will need details of your current income, any savings, housing costs and Council Tax)
  • give advice about better ways of managing your money

Tips for getting on top of debt:

  • Work out what you owe on each of your debts
  • Work out which debts are a priority – the Money Advice Service explains how to prioritise your debts
  • Use a Budget Planner to make sure you how to prioritise your debts
  • Use a Budget Planner to make sure you know what money you have coming in, and what you are spending it on
  • Work out what you can afford to pay, and speak to the people you owe money to

Make sure your plan to clear your debts is realistic and one that you can stick to. The Money Advice Service has lots of information and tips to help you regain control of your debts.

Keep your bills and everyday costs down

Make sure you’re not paying more than you need to on bill and everyday costs, like gas, electricity and everyday essentials:

If gambling is affecting you, or those close to you, get free, confidential and non-judgemental advice and support from GamCare – call free on 0808 8020 133, or use their free self-help resources.

Private sector tenants and homeowners

If your landlord is not doing enough to maintain your home, or if you own your own home but cannot afford to bring it up to a decent standard – contact the Private Sector Housing Team for help and advice.

Electric heaters can be loaned for short term emergencies, these are expensive for households to run so should only be used in an emergency. Phone 023 9268 8369 or email housing.privatesector@portsmouthcc.gov.uk.

Help for council tenants

If you’re struggling to keep your home warm, or to meet the cost of your energy bills, contact your local housing office. They can check whether any improvements are needed in your home, and give you advice about your bills.

Housing association tenants

Contact your housing association customer service team and ask about help to make your home more energy efficient.

Priority Services Register

If you:

  • are 66 years old or more, or
  • have a long term disability or health condition, or
  • could be vulnerable for any other reason,

let your energy company know, and ask to be added to their free Priority Services Register.

If you are a homeowner and:

  • you are registered for Priority Services, or
  • you have children under five and are receiving certain benefits,

you should also be eligible for a free annual gas safety check. Contact your gas supplier to request one.

Warm Home Discount

This is a one-off payment of £140, made each winter, towards your electricity bill or meter. Find out on the Gov.Uk website if your electricity supplier is part of the scheme, and if so, whether you will receive this automatically, or if you are eligible to apply for it. If you need to apply, do it as soon as possible, as there is a limited amount of funds available.

Make your money go further

Do you know how much all of your outgoings come to each week, and how much you have left to spend?

Write down or use the Money Advice Service’s online budget planner to record every penny you spend in a month, including all your bills, like rent or mortgage, council tax, gas and electric, as well as all your shopping for food, toiletries clothes etc.

Then, write down all the money you have coming in, including wages, benefits, pensions etc. When you compare the two, do you have enough money coming in to match what is going out? If not, don’t panic – here’s what you might be able to do:

Find out if you are eligible for Help to Save, a government scheme which pays a bonus to savers who qualify.

Set a savings goal so you have a safety net for emergencies.

Help for people in financial hardship - directory

Money problems? Struggling to afford household essentials, like furniture or food? Use the help for people in financial hardship directory to look for local and national services that could help.