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Energy Price Peaks: ‘I Can’t Afford Food’ – The Cost of Soaring Prices Exposed | United Kingdom | News UK News

Martin Lewis gives three tips to save money on the energy bill

Energy prices are soaring for millions of households, with Ofgem’s price cap dropping from £1,277 to £1,971 next month. Estimates suggest that this rise will bring the number of UK households in fuel poverty to 6.5 million.

This is on top of rising inflation, a rise in national insurance and record fuel prices at the pump. For some already struggling, the cost of living crisis is a source of shame, fear and uncertainty.

Nona, who is not her real name, managed to get back into the black after paying off £2,000 in debt to Scottish Power.

She had agreed to pay £40 a month on a flat rate and was building up credit with her energy supplier which she hoped would help her manage any future price hikes.

But with energy prices soaring beyond her expectations, she now has to pay £68 a month on a monthly income of £1,200. His rent alone costs just over £1,000.

Nona said his situation forces him to eat cold food from a tin can so he can afford to take a hot shower.


Energy price cap increases in April (Image: Getty)

Frost coats the roofs of West Yorkshire houses

Frost coats the roofs of West Yorkshire houses (Image: Getty)

When the money runs out after paying her utility bills, she relies on support from her church and the local food bank to be able to eat.

She said: “I’m scared of what’s going to happen from April. Prices will go up again and I dread it.”

Last year help was at hand when Nona received £100 to help her with her utility bills thanks to a government grant from Christians Against Poverty (CAP), a charity providing relief and debt advice.

CAP external affairs director Gareth McNab said: “The cost of living is rising for everyone – but what is a pressure for some, who need to cut back on luxuries or dip into their savings, is a crisis for many others.

“The cost of basic necessities – food, fuel and transport – is rising much faster than we’ve seen in a generation, while incomes are shrinking even for the poorest.”


gas bills fall this winter after the Office for Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) reduced its price cap

The Office for Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) raises its price cap in April (Image: Getty)

Pensioners protest against rising fuel prices during a demonstration outside Downing Street

Pensioners protest against rising fuel prices during a demonstration outside Downing Street (Image: Getty)

He added that the reduction in incomes of those who depend on Social Security cannot continue as costs rise.

He urged the government to act, recommending Chancellor Rishi Sunak choose to boost Social Security in the spring statement to ensure it matches the current rate of inflation.

Suffering from osteoporosis, depression and anxiety, jobless Nona explained that she wouldn’t let her friends come to her home in north London because it was so cold. She uses a hot water bottle to warm herself.

The government this autumn announced a £200 cut on energy bills for domestic electricity customers in Britain, which will be repaid automatically over the next five years.

A £150 non-refundable rebate for households in England in council tax brackets A to D has also been introduced and will come into effect early next month.

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How the Energy Price Cap Changed (Picture: Express)

But Nona was skeptical of the £200 energy bill rebate, which applies in England, Scotland and Wales.

She said, “It means I’m going to go into debt again. I don’t want to go back. I don’t know how I’m going to survive. How am I going to pay this back?”

Nona, 56, urged utility companies to join ministers and charities in coming together to work on a better solution.

She said: “I’m very uncertain – I’m scared – about the future and I’m incredibly anxious. My rent is going up by £100. The energy is going up. I can’t afford to buy my own food.

“I’m embarrassed by my whole situation.”

A volunteer works with food items donated to the Trussell Trust's Colchester Foodbank

A volunteer works with food items donated to the Trussell Trust’s Colchester Foodbank (Image: Getty)

CAP Energy director Paul Walmsley said: “This is a really difficult situation which will see us all paying more for our energy, but for those on low incomes or already in debt it will be devastating.”

He explained that the CAP has seen demand for emergency energy fuel assistance double from last year, which was already at an increased level due to the impact of the pandemic.

Mr Walmsley said: “Unfortunately, we expect this rise to continue unless urgent action is taken to mitigate the impact of rising energy costs and broader inflation. .”

He added that government support will bring some relief to millions of British households, but PAC fears the £9billion package will only cover half of the rise in energy prices at which households face on average.

Mr Walmsley continued: “Increased support is needed to prevent low-income households from falling into further fuel poverty.

CAP advises anyone who fears falling into energy arrears to first contact their supplier.

For those already in debt with energy or other arrears, CAP recommends seeking free debt help from Christians Against Poverty, which offers free debt, or other charities offering free advice and famous.

Peter Smith, director of policy and advocacy for National Energy Action (NEA) on energy poverty, said: “The October price hike was bad enough, but the April hike is going to be devastating for the poorest households.

“We estimate [it] will push the number of fuel-poor households in the UK to 6.5 million.”

He added that the charity’s advisers face heartbreaking situations.

Mr Smith added: “People who have struggled to choose between eating and heating will no longer be able to afford either.

“Unfortunately, the government’s recent support package is not doing enough to help these households. However, there is still time to get it right before the April hike and further hikes expected in October.”

The latest statistics on energy poverty show that around 13.2% of households were in energy poverty in 2020. However, NEA warns that the true level is much higher.

This is partly because official statistics on energy poverty published by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) are two years out of date and relate to the number of households in fuel poverty in 2020 – at least 24 months ahead of current energy price increases.

UK-wide legislation in 2000 defined a person living in energy poverty as a member of a household living on a lower income in a house that cannot be heated at a reasonable cost.

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This notice was published: 2022-03-12 15:01:00

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