'People are reaching breaking point' - Citizens Advice calls for 'urgent help' with cost of living

Households and businesses are set to feel the pinch as costs including energy bills begin to rise. L

Costs, including energy bills, are soaring - Credit: PA

The Stevenage branch of Citizens Advice has found that the number of people in the town unable to afford energy bills will soar from 15 per cent to 26 per cent following the price cap hike. 

The charity is warning that - without further government action - people across Stevenage risk falling into severe hardship in order to shoulder energy price hikes.

Citizens Advice Stevenage is calling for urgent government help. Firstly by increasing benefits in April in line with the current rate of inflation, rather than last September’s rate.  And secondly, by offering further support to prevent families once again choosing between heating and eating in October when the price cap is predicted to rise again.

Jamie, energy advisor at Citizens Advice Stevenage said: “I am seeing more clients who are in debt to their energy supplier due to rising energy prices, clients are often resorting to turning their heating off or not using essential items in an attempt to save money.

"Speaking to the energy supplier with a client present is really important when they have energy debt as I am often able to arrange for emergency top ups, additional help and support they may be eligible for and provide reassurance to the client about their energy supply.

"I can also help clients make applications for any discounts or grants they may be eligible to claim as well as check their benefit entitlement.

"Our clients are also worried about the cost of living, those with young families are worried they will get into debt or increased levels of debt and not have enough money for food and general living costs.

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"The people we’re helping at Citizens Advice Stevenage are reaching breaking point. The heartbreaking truth is that many have simply nothing left in their budget they can cut back on. That's why we're seeing more and more people needing crisis support like food bank referrals and help with energy debts.”

READ MORE: 'Your Money Matters' cost of living campaign launch

Chief officer of Citizens Advice Stevenage Charlotte Blizzard-Welch added: "We’re seeing first hand that the budgets of people across Stevenage are being pushed to the brink.

"Current measures announced by the government don’t go far enough."

Citizens Advice Stevenage provides free confidential and impartial advice, if you are concerned about your energy bills visit www.stevenagecab.org.uk or contact Citizens Advice Stevenage on 0800 144 8848 to get help.

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