As the UK continues to suffer from a cost of living crisis, made worse by rising energy and food costs, a large number of people will find themselves in a hard situation this winter, with some people in Harrow and across the UK sadly having to choose between heating and eating.
The expected rise could see energy bills for a typical household hit over £4,000 with food prices also increasing, and wages not moving. As part of the government’s cost-of-living support package, every household will receive a £400 payout to help, but is it enough? will it help those people that are fighting hard to maintain their current lifestyle whilst energy prices rise at a rate not before seen in our lifetimes?
We asked the members of the Harrow Online Group to tell us how they feel about the rise in October, what they are doing to prepare and what their concerns are as we head into what could be a difficult winter period…
“Keep doors closed in every room. Wear more layers, and sit under blankets when watching TV. Only heat the room we are using. Hot water bottle in my little boys bed to warm it before he goes to sleek. As cold as we feel in winter they have been mild so hopefully it won’t be too bad. As kids my mum would turn all the lights off, we watched TV in the dark, she would iron by the gas fire as the central heating would be turned off. After a bath, we would get dressed by the fire. We would have a wool blanket on top of our duvet and woollen vests my gran would knit. As a child I actually never realised that this was to save money, I thought everyone lived like this. I have resigned myself to the fact that we won’t have the heating on during winter so now I worry less about it.”
“Some people can’t afford to make any changes other than don’t use elec or gas. Government need to review and offer that allowance for the rising cost of living to everybody not just people on benefits as we all feel the pinch whether we work or not. Not fair.”
“This could be the most challenging situation we have faced before, I’m not sure how we are going to cope not just as a household but as a country, it could be that we need to change the way we think about electricity usage and power in general and make changes that we have never thought we would need to make.”
“I charge more for my work. We moved out from London. Money outside are better.”
“Yes we are concerned. I live with my 80+ year old mother and we are all we have. We have been watching this situation and have been stepping up our ways to save energy. We already have a Calor Gas heater we can use to heat our main room. We’ve had that before and not because of this crisis. We have gas in tank unused from last Winter but expect the price to rocket for a replacement tank. But at least we can keep the central heating off. I have just bought a butane fired single gas stove people take on camping holidays in case of winter power cuts but also just to save on bills so we can cook or heat mum a hot water bottle. We are looking at how we use water. Have cut down on our washing machine usage. We only have showers, mine is under 2 mins. We’ve reduced the amount of times we turn on a light and turn the TV off when it is of no interest. All sounds pretty extreme and maybe in October we can look at bills and say yes ease up we were morons. Until then we don’t know.”
“We’re lucky in Harrow that we are in a built up area really, if you are in the countryside its going to get even colder and people will need to spend more on heating, I am hopeful that with changes we’ll all be ok.”
“I don’t think it will be as bad as predicted, there may be answers between now and then as there’s still a good few weeks to go and its not impossible to imagine that the government could come up with a way to support people a bit more, maybe its just positive thinking.”