Hardship warning over energy price increases

A charity has warned that without further government action people across Richmondshire risk falling into severe hardship in order to shoulder energy price hikes.

Citizens Advice Mid North Yorkshire, which has offices in Richmond and Northallerton, says it has seen the number of people needing help with energy debts increase by 66 per cent since last year.

The charity also found that:

  • 18 per cent in North Yorkshire are currently unable to afford energy bills, even if they cut back or fall behind on other essentials
  • This jumps to 32 per cent of people after the energy price cap hike on April 1

Carol Shreeve, CEO at Citizens Advice Mid North Yorkshire, said:“The people we’re helping are already 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 and this is before the 54% rise to energy prices that comes into effect very soon.”

The charity says it is particularly worried about the number of vulnerable people needing its support across the region.

It said 64 per cent of referrals in the last quarter, needing support from our Warm in Well in North Yorkshire project which supports people in fuel poverty, were from clients who were disabled or had a long-term health condition.

Carol added: “Current measures announced by the government do not go far enough.

“Only 6 per cent of people across the region think the energy rebate will make a significant difference to their ability to pay their energy bill from October.

“We were hoping for much more support for families in last week’s Spring Statement and that benefits would have risen with the current rising inflation rate. We want people across the region to know we are here for them and are expanding to deal with increase in demand for our services.”

Frontline Citizens Advice Help Through Hardship adviser Mike added “We are seeing an increase in clients who have done all they can to budget and we can’t identify any further entitlement, they are still having to rely on foodbanks.

“It’s frustrating for us as advisers when we can’t help”.

If you need support from Citizens Advice Mid North Yorkshire you can contact their free adviceline on 0808 278 7900 or visit https://citizensadvicehrs.org.uk/