A mother has “self-turned off” the gas supply to her home due to rising energy prices, an anti-poverty charity has claimed. Kirsty McKechnie of Child Poverty in Action Group Scotland said the woman was still being charged after making the decision to disconnect the gas last year.
She told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland: “We already had a parent contact one of the counseling agencies who had unplugged, unplugged, their gas over a year ago because she was struggling with prices. She is a single mother with two young children. And she’s still getting hit with a permanent charge.
“I worry about the sheer number of families that will find themselves struggling with the next decisions about whether to heat the house or feed their children.”
McKechnie said the new package of support measures for low-income families to manage the cost-of-living crisis was “welcome” but argued that they were temporary. She added: “The package will go some way to helping low-income families. It’s more generous than we expected.
“We were delighted to see the chancellor using the social security system to bring money to low-income families. However, this is temporary. It is a temporary package and we know there are many families that have been facing our cost of living crisis for some time now. It’s a rising tide, it’s taking more and more families.”
Faye Dearnaley, of Levenmouth, Fife, said she was having “sleepless nights” because of her rising costs. She told Good Morning Scotland: “The pressure is a little unbearable. You are already counting pennies and having to depend on the third sector with food donations and things like that. With rising food and fuel bills and all, you are becoming more and more dependent on them.
“Sleepless nights are all that happens with the energy crisis because there is no guarantee at the end of each month that I will have enough money to pay my bills. I was already quite frugal with my gas and electricity – turning off everything on the walls and turning on the heater when I really needed it.”
This week, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a package of measures to support families in tackling the rising cost of living in the UK. Each household will receive £400 to offset the increase in energy bills with those receiving resource-tested benefits receiving £650. Pensioners will be entitled to an additional payment of £300 and people with disabilities will receive £150.