New research publishedby Citizens Advice shows predicted £145-a-month hikes to energy costs in October could mean one in four adults – equivalent to 14.5 million people – will be unable to afford their bill.
This is up from around five million saying they already can’t afford April’s price increase of £60-a-month. The charity included the government’s support measures in its calculations.
Two in five of those warning they’ll be pushed into the red next month have already borrowed money to pay for essentials.
The stark findings come ahead of next week’s Spring Statement where the Chancellor has been urged to announce further support for families struggling to pay their bills.
Citizens Advice issued a ‘red alert’ warning last month as demand for its services soared. Its frontline staff are continuing to help record numbers access crisis support like food banks and one-off charitable grants amid the cost-of-living crisis.
In the last week alone, Citizens Advice advisers have supported:
A woman who couldn’t afford to top up her prepayment meter after a hospital visit meaning she was left with nothing but spoiled food in the fridge
A parent who had to turn off their appliances and wash their children’s clothes at their mother’s house to save on energy costs
A woman in her 70s in with a chronic health condition who wears multiple layers and her duvet to keep warm as she can’t afford to put her heating on
Dame Clare Moriarty, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:
“These staggering findings must be a wake-up call to the government. With one in four unable to afford their bills come October, measures announced so far simply don’t meet the scale of the challenge.
“Parents shouldn’t have to decide between giving their kids a hot bath or saving the money to buy them new school shoes.
“The Chancellor has a crucial opportunity to bring forward more support for those most in need in his Spring Statement next week. Increasing benefits in line with inflation, expanding the Warm Home Discount and announcing a more generous energy rebate should be top of his list.”