Related video: Keir Starmer describes his proposals to freeze energy price cap


As the cost of living crisis continues with a surge in the energy price cap announced for October, different communities are feeling the financial pressure in different ways. Disabled people face extra electricity costs which come with charging and using medical equipment, and one in five young people are considering ditching plans to study at university.

The troubling statistic, unearthed in a poll commissioned by The Open University, is just one of several figures revealed through the survey of 1,000 young people. Almost a third (32 per cent) say they are feeling the impact of inflation in their daily lives, while 18 per cent have reached out to a foodbank for help for the first time in their lives.

Nearly 25 per cent of young people polled say they are worried about what the future holds, and tragically, we can’t say we’re surprised.

“Although financial anxiety is at an all-time high for all, it’s particularly difficult for young people, since they are making vital decisions at a crucial point in their lives,” said Martin Upton, a senior lecturer in business at The Open University.

So what help is out there for young people struggling with the cost of living, exactly?

Government support

While their reluctance to appear on national television on the day an energy price cap increase is announced may not fill you with hope, the government has previously unveiled measures designed to lessen the blow of bills in the coming months.

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All households in Great Britain will receive £400 off their energy bills from October, spread out over six payments until March next year. No application is necessary and the money does not need to be paid back.

On top of this, those on means-tested benefits such as universal credit will receive a £650 payment. According to the chief executive of the YMCA in England and Wales, Denise Hatton, close to 800,000 of those on universal credit are aged between 16 and 24.

Lastly, for those on disability benefits, there’s a one-off £150 payment coming their month to help with extra costs such as charging specialist equipment or transport charges.

Short-term benefit advances

Also, a quick note on benefits: you can apply for an advance payment – including for those on universal credit – if you are experiencing financial hardship.

Local council support

Your local authority may also be able to help you with certain costs as well. They can point you in the direction of your local foodbank if access to food is an issue, as well as offer support around housing and energy costs.

Mental health support

Of course, there’s no denying that the cost of living crisis can also have a significant impact on an individual’s mental health, and there are organisations available to offer support with the challenges that can create – whether they are prompted by the cost of living crisis or something else entirely.

Samaritans offers support over the phone for free and in confidence on 116 123 in the UK and Ireland, on email at, and on their website where details can be found of their local branches.

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