Advice on clever budgeting for single parents
Helping single parents in the transition to Universal Credit
Project duration: September 2016 ongoing
CSE is giving advice sessions and workshops on financial capability to single parents in the Wessex Water distribution area. The workshops will concern all aspects of financial capability with a particular focus on water and energy saving, payments and debt. The project is funded by Wessex Water.
“We really felt it was important to particularly target single parents because they are so much more likely to be in poverty or on a low income than families with two parents. And, single parents have been hit the hardest by cuts to benefits and public services,” explained Lisa Evans, CSE’s project manager.
Many households living in poverty or on a low income use pre-payment meters to pay for their fuel. These are typically the most expensive way to pay for energy and users can often access cheaper tariffs by switching to a direct debit payment plan.
However, this requires a bank account and the ability to budget monthly. The roll out of monthly benefits payments through Universal Credit represents an opportunity to support households with pre-payment meters wanting to switch their meter and begin paying with direct debit, as well as providing assistance with the changeover to the new system of benefits payments.
“Universal Credit represents an opportunity to switch to more efficient ways of paying for fuel, but it’s also a challenge for many families as it requires learning new financial skills and budgeting in a different way. We want to help people make the most of this change” said Lisa.
The workshops will help participants to:
- Plan for Universal Credit.
- Budget monthly and make payments for fuel and other expenses.
- Set up bank accounts and direct debits.
- Understand energy and water bills (e.g. payment options, tariffs, metering options and supplier switching).
CSE will also provide in-depth support to individual households in need of extra assistance and will help them to deal with financial difficulties and increase their income.