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One in five British households 'in the red' on energy bills

Daily Express logo Daily Express 6 days ago Daily Express Reporter
Energy Bills © Getty Energy Bills

STACEY Victoria has just £27 a week left after paying her bills.

The mother of two, 35, spends almost £300 a month on gas and electricity, which leaves her with no choice but to shop in the reduced section of supermarkets.

The stay-at-home mother said: "The rising costs have affected me massively and have given me even more of a drive to cut costs."

The savvy shopper, inset, from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, shops around to find food bargains and spends around £40 a week.

She said: "I can make my family meals from as little as £1.33 per head. I bulk up a lot of meals with vegetables so it goes further and lots of fruits and vegetables get reduced before they are thrown."

At least 17 per cent of adults have missed a payment - with the figure climbing to 36 per cent among 18 to 34-year-olds.

The nation is now bracing for the "most expensive winter in living memory" after forecasters warned yearly energy bills could rise above £3,600 in the new year.

Nearly half (47 per cent) of the 2,000 people polled by shopping app ZipZero were not confident about paying their energy demands this year without falling into debt or arrears.

Co-founder Mohsin Rashid said: "These findings show how aggressively the cost-of-living crisis is hitting the British public, particularly younger adults."

Energy consultants Cornwall Insight last month estimated yearly energy bills would typically rise to £3,244 from October and then to £3,363 from January.

Other experts predict £3,800.

Cornwall Insight's Craig Lowrey said surging gas prices and concerns about Russian supply had prompted the increase.

And he warned: "Given the current level of the wholesale price, this level of household energy bills shows little sign of abating."

Charity National Energy Action predicts a third of households will be in fuel poverty if the average bill reaches £3,250 a year.

Which? called for more targeted support.

While we are experiencing some of the warmest weather on record, other records are being broken too - with energy firms and their shareholders enjoying eyewatering profits.

These are the companies whose prices are so high that our society's poorest have been forced to choose between paying their bills and eating.

At Gingerbread, I regularly hear heartbreaking stories of families who already cannot afford basic essentials.

They are being pushed into poverty and debt because their outgoings far outstrip their income. Yet prices keep rising.

Yes, we live in a capitalist society and companies need to make money - but it is immoral if it means that people are struggling to feed their kids.

Single parents are excellent problem-solvers, but when every so-called non-essential has been stripped from your budget, what can you do?

One mum told me she has turned off her fridge to save on electricity, while another said she does not eat when her kids are at their dad's house.

Things will get much worse when winter comes and energy prices soar yet again. Even more single-parent families will find themselves in poverty.

The Government needs to put more money into the pockets of vulnerable people - and if that is at the expense of energy company profits, then that is the price that must be paid.

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