Harrow - Cost of living

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Find out if you are entitled to receive any benefits from either the government or the council by using our benefits calculator.

After you have entered your details, the calculator will tell you how to claim any benefits you are not already receiving. It will also work out the amount you should receive, so that you can check if you should be receiving a different rate.

Find out more:


Council Tax energy rebate

The council tax rebate scheme has now been paid to or credited to the council tax accounts of eligible council tax payers.

If you are not the council tax payer, but are responsible for paying for the gas or electricity bills, you may still qualify for an award. Find out more here https://www.harrow.gov.uk/council-tax/council-tax-energy-rebate

Winter fuel payments

If you were born on or before 25 September 1956 you could get between £250 and £600 to help you pay your heating bills. For more details see https://www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment


Water tariffs

You may qualify for a lower water tariff if you are: in receipt of certain benefits or have a household income below £16,480 have a water meter and consume more water due to having a large family or medical condition https://www.affinitywater.co.uk/billing/struggling-to-pay


Energy efficiency

View our tips for all residents on Energy Saving Advice. Find out more here


Energy saving advice

You can save energy by making small changes to your home and habits, which can have a big impact in saving you money and your carbon footprint.

Here are some changes you can make without spending a penny:

  • Close your curtains at dusk to stop heat escaping. Make sure that your curtains don't block radiators as this will stop heat flowing into the room.
  • Don't leave appliances on stand-by.
  • Turning your thermostat down by 1 °C can cut your bills by up to 10%. Rooms temperatures should be around 18 °C, except the living room that should be set at 21 °C. For vulnerable people and small children keep room temperatures at 21 °C.
  • Switch off lights when you leave a room. Energy saving bulbs can save you up to £8 per year per bulb compared to traditional ones. Residents in receipt of benefits can receive two free bulbs from the council.
  • Wash your clothes at 30 °C instead of 40 °C. This uses a third less electricity.
  • Only boil the amount of water that you need when using the kettle.

Check to see if you are eligible to receive a grant for your home.

For more information you can email climate.change@harrow.gov.uk

If you are struggling with the cost of housing, you should first check that you are receiving the correct amount of benefits using the Entitlement Calculator.

After checking you are receiving the correct benefits, if you are still struggling to pay your rent, you may be able to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment.

If you think are are going to become homeless, please read our information on What to do if you think you will be homeless.

For help with mortgage payments see Mortgage arrears advice.

Find out more here:

We have put together a List of local foodbanks check here:




Help Harrow provides residents with access to food supplies as well as advice and information, on topics such as energy, health, wellbeing and benefits. Help Harrow allows residents in need of food to make food requests online.

This winter, Help Harrow will also be opening ‘Warm hubs’ across the borough, more information will be added to this webpage soon. Help Harrow will also distribute ‘Winter Warmth Packs’, containing items such as, gloves, scarves, hats and blankets, to residents who may be struggling to pay their energy bills.

To find out more about the services they provide visit https://helpharrow.org/

If your child attends a school in Harrow and you would like to apply for a school clothing grant, you will need to contact the school directly to make an application.

The following organisations may be able to provide you with advice and support to help with the cost of school clothing:

If you get Income-Based Jobseekers Allowance, Income Related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support or Pension Credit, you may be able to receive an interest free budgeting loan from the Social Fund to help with the cost of school clothing.

Some school governing bodies or parent's associations can help with school clothing. This help is usually provided by the school keeping a stock of second-hand clothing which it gives to pupils who fall within its criteria for help, or by running a second-hand uniform shop where the clothing can be bought cheaply by any parent.

Various charities may be able to provide small grants to help with the cost of school uniforms, but this may take some time and can be subject to conditions. You may be able to apply to Harrow Mayor's Fund for a small grant subject to availability via the Mayor's office. You can also view the Directory of Grant Making Trusts. If you have a social worker you may be able to seek help from them. To learn more click there https://www.harrow.gov.uk/schools-learning/school-clothing-grants


School grants

Travel grant for children attending a school outside of Harrow

The school travel allowance is a financial assistance to cover your child's travel costs to school and back.

You can apply for the allowance if we were unable to offer your child a school place within Harrow and they meet the following criteria:


  • they are aged between 8 - 10 and live more than 2 miles from the nearest school for which they have been offered a place
  • they are aged between 11 - 16 and live more than 2 miles but less than 6 miles from one of the schools for which they have been offered a place
  • they are aged between 11 - 16 and lives more than 3 miles but not more than 15 miles, from the school preferred by his or her parents on grounds of religion or belief and where no other suitable school is available.


Travel grant for students aged 16 - 19

To apply for a travel grant you must be:

Living in Harrow

  • studying at a centre which is at least three miles from your home and within 1 hour and 15 minutes travel from your home by public transport
  • studying a course which is not available in a school, academy or college
  • receiving free school meals or received free school meals in year 11 at school

If you are on a low income you may be entitled to Council Tax Support. Find out by using the Entitlement calculator.

You should also check if you qualify for any discounts or exemptions depending on if the residents in your household meet certain criteria. For a full list see Council Tax discounts and exemptions.

Discounts and exemptions for occupied properties

Discounts and exemptions are available for occupants who are:

  • sole adult occupiers (single person discount)
  • students / student nurses
  • people with physical disabilities (disabled band reduction)
  • severely mentally impaired (e.g. Alzheimer's)
  • a dependant living in an annex
  • care leavers
  • care workers or carers
  • diplomats and visiting forces
  • members of a religious community
  • parents in receipt of child benefit
  • school or college leavers
  • youth trainees or apprentices
  • all occupants are under 18
  • 18/19 year olds in full-time education
Discounts and exemptions for unoccupied properties

Discounts and exemptions are available if a property is unoccupied because the former occupant is:

  • in a nursing or care home
  • deceased
  • imprisoned or detained
  • providing care elsewhere
  • studying elsewhere
  • UK service personnel in service accommodation or overseas

Exemptions are also available for empty property that is:

  • being held empty for a religious minister
  • an annex
  • prohibited from occupation by law
  • repossessed
  • owned by a charity
  • Full council tax must generally be paid in all other circumstances. Long term empty properties may be charged an Empty Property Premium.

Households on low incomes or benefits

  • If you are on a low income or benefits you can also find out if you can qualify for council tax support.

Support Services

  • Good thinking: Mental health resources for Londoners supported by the NHS, GLA and Public Health England.   
  • 5 steps to mental wellbeing: hints from the NHS to help you feel more positive.
  • ACAS:  gives employees and employers free, impartial advice on workplace rights, rules and best practice.
  • Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust: information for carers. Caring responsibilities can be stressful and negatively impact a carers’ own health and wellbeing.
  • Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust Recovery College: a range of educational courses, workshops and resources free to people who use Central and North West London NHS Foundation services, their supporters, friends, family, carers and staff. Free to people who have been discharged from the Trust’s services within the last 12 months.
  • Debt advice: no matter how desperate things seem, there are ways to manage your debts.
  • Harrow CAMHS: provides community mental health services to children and young people up to the age of 18 with complex mental health difficulties, and their families.
  • Harrow Horizons: a targeted mental health and wellbeing service for children and young people delivered throughout the community of Harrow.
  • Harrow Talking Therapies: a range of Talking Therapies in Harrow for people who feel anxious and worried or down and depressed.
  • Keeping well: an online resource for health and care staff
  • Kooth: an online mental wellbeing community for young people
  • Mental Health Foundation: anyone can follow this advice, which is free. Why not start today?
  • Mental health helpline and websites: collected resource guide from the NHS showing contact details for a range of charities and support groups.
  • Mind in Harrow Mental Health Information Directory: a directory contains listings for organisations and services that can help people in Harrow with many mental health and related issues.
  • More steps to wellbeing: suggestions from Mind to help your mental health and wellbeing
  • Need to Talk: counselling services in Harrow. Funded by the National Lottery, the charity offers a non-judgemental, understanding and safe place where concerns and issues can be worked on and explored by a fully qualified counsellor on a one-to one basis.
  • NHS Every Mind Matters: General mental health support and specific help for those anxious about coronavirus and its effects.
  • NHS mindfulness resources: Reconnecting with the world around us and improving awareness of our own bodies can help with a variety of mental health issues.
  • Samaritans:  Call 116 123. Every 10 seconds, Samaritans responds to a call for help. No judgement. No pressure.
  • Shout text crisis service: 85258
  • Young Harrow Foundation: a membership organisation that supports voluntary organisations delivering services and activities for children and young people in Harrow. 





















The organisations below can provide debt advice and financial support:

  • Step Change Debt Charity - provide debt advice and can help you create a personal plan
  • National Debtline is a helpline providing free confidential and independent advice on how to deal with debt
  • Money Advice Service provides the facts about financial products and services, helping you to make an informed decision
  • Pensions Advisory Service is an independent non-profit organisation that provides free information, advice and guidance on the whole spectrum of pensions covering State, company, personal and stakeholder schemes
  • Christians Against Poverty provide free debt counselling to all residents regardless of religious beliefs. They will support you to budget effectively until you are debt free
  • Citizens Advice Bureau provide free confidential and independent advice on how to deal with debt
  • You can also check if you may be entitled to any benefits.

Advice relating to Housing is available on the Council website:

  • Advice if you are worried about becoming homeless
  • Rent and Mortgage arrears advice

Cost of Living Hub

  • The Mayor of London has launched a new Cost of Living Hub for Londoners facing financial hardship. The hub helps Londoners access information, support and advice about claiming benefits, dealing with debt, financial management and mental health support.

It includes targeted information for groups of Londoners for example disabled, older Londoners and low-income families.

To explore the hub, please visit London.gov.uk.









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