Help for Households: deals and discounts you can claim now

Savings with Asda, Vodafone, Amazon, and Hollywood Bowl part of new government scheme to help with the rising cost of living

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The government has launched a campaign to help customers struggling with the cost of living, with companies like Asda (opens in new tab), Morrisons (opens in new tab) and Amazon (opens in new tab) offering special discounts.

Under the Help for Households initiative, families will be able to access free or cheap meals, free theatre tickets and discounted ten-pin bowling, a low-cost phone tariff, plus other deals.

David Buttress, the government’s cost of living tsar and former boss of Just Eat, who helped negotiate the deals, called it a “good start”, but added there was more to do and more discounts to announce, “not just over the summer holidays but when kids return to school and in the run-up to Christmas when costs are typically higher”.

Here we round the deals announced as the first part of the Help for Households scheme. Plus more ideas on how to cut the cost of kids’ meals during the summer holidays.

Help for household deals

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The supermarket’s “Kids eat for £1” scheme allows children aged 16 and under to buy a hot or cold meal for £1 in any of the 205 Asda cafes across the country. The deal had been scheduled to finish in September, but will now run until the end of 2022. Adults do not need to buy a meal at the same time to get the £1 kids’ meal, and baby food is free.

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Morrisons is offering a free meal for every child at in-store cafes when a parent or carer buys an adult meal.

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Sainsbury’s is launching a “feed your family for a fiver” scheme, helping customers with budget-friendly meal ideas for a family of four for less than £5.

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The online retail giant has launched a “7 ways to help you save (opens in new tab)” webpage. It includes access to free entertainment, such as Freevee and Amazon Music, free maths and science resources for school-aged children, and links to low-price groceries like bread, cereal and toilet roll that are price-matched to Tesco Clubcard Prices.

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London theatres are running Kids Week (opens in new tab), which gives children the chance to see a West End show for free throughout August with a full-paying adult. Two extra children in the same group can attend for half-price.

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Hollywood Bowl and Puttstars

Hollywood Bowl (opens in new tab) and Puttstars (opens in new tab) are offering 25% off ten-pin bowling and mini-golf games before 11am throughout the school summer holidays. Hollywood Bowl has 63 centres across the UK, while Puttstars operates indoor mini-golf centres in Leeds, Harrow, York and Rochdale.

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Vodafone has a mobile social tariff of £10 a month, called VOXI for Now (opens in new tab), which is available to anyone claiming Jobseekers Allowance, Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance. It includes unlimited 5G data, and unlimited calls and texts. There is no contract or credit check.

Is Help for Households doing enough to help?

Unveiling the campaign, Boris Johnson said “both the public and private sector have a role to play” in helping households through “incredibly tough global economic headwinds”. He added that the “new deals and discounts will provide much-needed respite at the checkout”.

However, Labour has criticised the scheme saying it did not not amount to “real help”, while some Twitter users have also questioned how useful it will be.

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Unlike the “Eat out to Help out” scheme in 2020, which the government funded, allowing companies to offer 50% discounts on food, the government is not compensating businesses that provide Help for Households discounts.

Some offers also look rather familiar. Indeed, some were already available to customers, but are now being promoted as part of Help for Households to raise awareness.

The campaign comes as inflation hits 9.4% and experts warn that families could pay an extra £380 (opens in new tab) on their food shopping over the next 12 months.

The offers will feature on the government’s Help for Households website (opens in new tab). There is also a separate government page (opens in new tab) that includes other cost of living support, such as the £400 energy bills grant

Ed Fleming, managing director of discount code and charity fundraising site Savoo (opens in new tab), said some of the offers would help families stretch their budgets further. However, he added: “We're worried about those who are already at rock-bottom who may not be able to afford the minimum spends on some of these promotions. We're looking forward to seeing further measures introduced by both government and business to address the cost of living crisis.

Ruth Emery

Ruth Emery is contributing editor at The Money Edit. Ruth is passionate about helping people feel more confident about their finances. She was previously editor of Times Money Mentor, and prior to that was deputy Money editor at The Sunday Times. A multi-award winning journalist, Ruth started her career on a pensions magazine at the FT Group, and has also worked at Money Observer and Money Advice Service. Outside of work, she is a mum to two young children, a magistrate and an NHS volunteer.