The £299 payment will go directly into bank accounts of those eligible before 22 February without the need to claim. No further payments of this kind are scheduled and charities are urging the government to consider more support. However, questions have been raised over whether such payments were the best way to help struggling households.
This payment of £299 is the last of three instalments that totalled £900 that will have been paid within a year. Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride said: "The economy has turned a corner, and with inflation falling we are providing millions of the most vulnerable households with another significant cash boost." Those on low incomes and receiving benefits such as universal credit are eligible, but they should be wary of scams in which fraudsters use the opportunity to try to personal details. They often purport to be from government bodies. Some are designed to capture financial information. On legitimate payments, there will be a reference on a recipient's bank account of their national insurance number, followed by DWP COL, or the reference HMRC COLS for those who are eligible through tax credits.
After this final instalment, no further cost-of-living payments are currently scheduled, with some pressure on Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to announce more support in next month's Budget. "Our data shows that the cost-of-living payments do offer some respite to people, but this is short lived. Historically high energy bills, unaffordable housing and other spiralling costs are keeping people in crisis," said Morgan Wild, of Citizens Advice. "The government has responded with temporary support but we need more than quick fixes. Long-term commitments are needed to raise people's incomes and standard of living." Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told Radio 5 Live that the government had provided "considerable support for the most vulnerable in society... totalling about £100bn". He added: "Taken in the round, there's lots of support for the people who need it."