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Gloucestershire Business News

Second round of cost-of-living payments on way

Millions of people across the country are set to receive significant cost-of-living support ahead of winter, from October 31, with the government freezing bus fares in England and the second instalment of the cost-of-living payment.

The bus fare cap had been due to rise to £2.50 but fares are staying at £2 until the end of next year to help millions of people make significant savings on their travel costs. The fare cap has helped cut bus fares in England outside London by 7.4% between June 2022 and June 2023, with even bigger savings in rural areas where fares have dropped by almost 11%.

This extension has been made possible due to the redirected Network North HS2 funding.

Over 8 million eligible households across the UK will also receive the second of up to three payments from today, totalling up to £900 through 2023/24 with a further cost of living payment due to be made by Spring next year.

These payments are tax-free, do not count towards the benefit cap, and do not impact existing benefit awards.

Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, said: "I know that winter can be a particularly challenging period for many families across the country. That's why we have put in place a package of immediate support for vulnerable households over the coming months.

"We are lowering travel costs through the bus fare cap, which we can do because of our long-term decision to cancel phase 2 of HS2. We are also providing an extra top-up to help pay energy bills and direct payments to cover the cost of day-to-day essentials.

"But the best way to put more money in the pockets of hardworking people is to focus on the long-term decisions that will help not only them but future generations too. We're on track to halve inflation which will help people's wages go further, and we're growing the economy to create better-paid jobs and opportunities across the country."

Mark Harper, Transport Secretary, said: "Buses are the most popular form of public transport and help people across the country get to work, attend medical appointments, and see loved ones - that's why we are extending the 'Get Around for £2' scheme to 31 December 2024.

"Extending the £2 bus fare cap has only been possible with the redirected HS2 funding secured by this Government making the right long-term decisions for a brighter future, delivering immediate benefits and helping people save money."

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