Ofgem has announced the energy price cap will rise to £3,549 from the beginning of October, thrusting higher bills upon millions of households across the country.
So, how are people coping with the rising costs of living?
In Wigan, Sky News reporter Katerina Vitozzi spoke to Amy Dempsey and her son, Brandon.
“It’s not an easy conversation to have with a 10-year-old,” Ms Dempsey said. “But he’s from a family of grafters, so he understands.”
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She told Sky News that Brandon has been selling some of his toys to help the family cope with the rising cost of living.
Ms Dempsey and her partner, who live in Wigan, both work two jobs – they have a shop and Amy also works as a carer – but she said she’s “incredibly worried” about rising energy prices and the impact that’ll have on their family.
“I could work every hour of the day, but then I wouldn’t see my son, so we have to make choices and savings where we can,” she said.
“We used to joke about wearing an extra jumper in the house, now we’re doing it.
“Brandon watches the news, so knows what’s happening. By selling some of his old toys, it means he doesn’t have to ask us for pocket money.”
She adds: “We’re lucky in that we just have one child – I honestly don’t know how larger families will manage. You just have to hope that things will improve.”
Asked what he thinks of having to sell his games consoles, Brandon replied: “It’s okay. I know costs are going up, and that mum has to pay to feed us, and help us.
“I also play on my computer less each day because mum says we need to save on electricity.
“So, I just try and play outside instead or be with my family.”
‘It’s a massive problem’
James Anderson, who is the founder of Depher, a plumbing charity in Wigan, said that he expects people to die after having to choose between heating and eating.
“It’s not a crack any more, it’s not a little problem, it’s a massive problem. A lot of people are going to starve or turn to things they don’t want to to support their families,” he said.
“A lot of people come winter will be choosing between eating and heating. A lot of people are going to be put in the position where they will die and suffer. I have had countless people ringing me wanting to commit suicide.”
‘I don’t want to go into debt’
Godfrey and Jeanette Ward spoke to Sky News about their rising bills.
Mrs Ward has pneumonia and her husband said he has to “watch my pennies”, otherwise they will go into debt.
Mr Ward said that he usually puts £50-60 a week on his pre-paid gas and electric meter.
“I can manage but we will have to see about that (in October). We only switch on things when we want it, like the television. We only usually put the television on round about 5pm,” he said,
Asked about how they will manage their bills in the winter, Mr Ward said they will heat “possibly two rooms upstairs and the front room”.
“We’ve had nice weather and we don’t need it, it’s only the evening when it gets a bit chilly but it’s when winter comes, I can’t tell you how I am going to do it but I will have to.
“We will have to manage somehow or go into debt and I don’t want that. I don’t want to borrow any money. At the moment, I have had a bit of pocket money so I can save up to go on days out. It’s nice to go out especially with the weather as it is.”
‘I don’t know how long I’m going to continue’
East London-based jewellery seller Lola Tamakio, 56, told Sky News correspondent Milena Veselinovic that she is “really worried” at the prospect of paying higher energy bills and said she has lowered her prices because people weren’t buying anymore.
“I would expect to have money in my account, but I go there and there would be no money, the electricity and gas has taken it,” she said.
“So I don’t know how long I’m going to continue, or how other people are going to continue like that.
“Something that I am selling for £25 I just sold for £20. What we’re selling is not cheap. You pay for the stock early in the morning, and then you pray, ‘oh God, please let me sell’.
“If you don’t sell, then you can’t pay your rent. You can’t buy anything extra, you have to pay rent to the council. And this is the only work I know how to do.”
‘We’ve lost 20% of our customers’
Another trader, Alek John, believes his carpet business will lose even more customers soon.
“I worry very, very much that I’m going to lose the market spot because we can’t afford our electricity bills,” he told Sky News.
“It’s summer and daylight now, but soon it will be winter – we’re going to have to pay a lot of money, and I’m not sure we can afford it.
“We’ve lost 20% of our customers, and we’ll lose more in January. We sell carpets, which are not cheap. People will have to spend money on gas and electricity, they won’t have money to spend here.”
The 41-year-old added: “We know we’re going to lose a lot of customers because the electricity and the gas is going to go up.
“We know we’re going to lose, like, more than 50% of our customers. Definitely, we know.”
‘Lots of people are really going to struggle’
Osman, 33, who owns a footwear stall, has seen the cost of living crisis bite his customers and start eating into his livelihood
“People no longer want to pay full price – I still have to pay for the stock, but people say their bills are too high and want a discount.
“It’s very worrying because I don’t know I will make my rent – even if I don’t sell I still need to make rent,” he said.
Lorna Fillingham, from Lincolnshire, said the latest increase will have a “huge impact” and “lots of people in our situation … are really going to struggle”.
Her daughter, Emily-May, 12, has a rare genetic condition which means she has physical disabilities and severe learning disabilities.
They use the washing machine “constantly” for bedding and clothes, use extra heating as Emily-May has problems regulating her temperature, and often batch cook, freeze and reheat separate meals for her as she has multiple allergies.
Ms Fillingham, 50, is calling for disability benefits to be increased in line with rising inflation, and said the one-off £150 cost of living payment heading to millions of disabled people from next month will “not touch the sides”.
The former nurse, who stopped working in 2014 so she could care for her daughter, said: “I don’t know what we can cut back on if energy prices get so high that we can’t afford it any more without going into potential debt.
“I cannot see how this is going to go unchallenged at the ballot box at some point, because if you cannot afford to eat, heat your home, and keep the most vulnerable people in society safe and without hardship, I can’t understand how people can turn a blind eye to that and vote the same way.”
‘Everybody has unique situations’
Michael and Paul Atwall-Brice are full-time carers for their two sons who have autism, epilepsy and other disabilities and they are also foster carers to twin boys.
They told Sky News that their gas and electric bill has doubled from £200 to £400 a month, and it will probably go up to £600 now.
Michael said: “I think we’re just noticing, like everybody else, increases, bills keep on going up and up. Obviously, for families like ours, with children with disabilities, you’re in the house a lot more and there’s a lot more equipment like electric wheelchairs, electric beds, the whole building for the sensory equipment.
“It’s just getting ridiculous with the fuel and everything on top because we have a one vehicle which is a wheelchair accessible vehicle.
“So it’s a big van and that’s taking £120 a week in fuel, now, just to get the boys to their appointments and to school, it’s just getting ridiculous.”
Paul added that “it’s a very worrying time” for his family.
“As a parent, to a severely disabled child, your time is given up. You’re needed to be in home a lot more, and you know, you are there to care for them,” he said.
“If we don’t, who’s going to do it for those children in our property? We have a lot of specialised equipment. We have a three-floor lift. And, you know, this is all linked to electricity.
“They have beds which are electric to keep them safe, all that specialised equipment that people don’t often think of but to us is the norm.
“But there are so many families out there that are in the same situation as us.”
He added that the government must start looking at “situations personally, it doesn’t work for everybody in the same situation”.
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‘We will pull together, that’s all we can do’
For Gordon and Florence Mitchell, the energy price rises come at a time when their pregnant daughter has been diagnosed with breast cancer and Gordon has prostate cancer, while also waiting for a triple heart bypass.
Mr Mitchell was diagnosed four and a half years ago and was given about four years.
He said his biggest worry is that with bills going up, he doesn’t “look forward to my wife having to face it all next year”.
Mrs Mitchell said: “It has to be managed and, you know, when you go shopping, you’re watching prices, pulling back on luxuries, not going out for meals maybe as often as you would have, just generally trying to be mindful that we don’t have to because we’ve got a future to cover as well.”
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The couple said they also want to support their daughter, who lives in Ipswich, and travelling down their from their home in Dundee has come at a cost.
“We feel we should be available to help, but Ipswich is a long way off. The fuel costs are horrendous now. It’s just ridiculous,” Mr Mitchell said.
“We will pull together, that’s all we can do,” his wife added.