RISING energy bills will “devastate” the UK’s poorest families including single parents and those on low incomes, a new report has claimed.
Worrying research shows that families may have to spend as much as 54% of their income on energy bills as the cost of living crisis continues.
Energy prices are expected to rise again in April
Low-income households will have to spend 18% of their income after housing costs on energy bills following prices rise in April.
And single adult households on low incomes will shell out a massive 54% of their income – a 21 percentage point increase since the 2019/20 financial year.
Single parents and couples without children are expected to spend around a quarter of their incomes on gas and electricity costs.
The research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that hard-up families will be more severely impacted by forthcoming price hikes.
Meanwhile, middle-income households are set to spend on average 6% of their incomes on energy bills, and no more than 8%.
The new analysis also showed that 1.8million children are growing up in deep poverty – an increase of 500,000 kids since 2011.
Katie Schmuecker, deputy director of policy and partnerships at JRF, said: “Rising energy prices will affect us all, but our analysis shows they have the potential to devastate the budgets of families on the lowest incomes.
“The Government cannot stand by and allow the rising cost of living to knock people off their feet.
“The alarm is sounding loud and clear and the case for targeted support to help people on the lowest incomes could not be clearer.”
A Government spokesperson said: “We recognise the pressures people are facing on their household bills, which is why we have taken decisive steps to support them.
“The Energy Price Cap has been protecting around 15million households from high global gas prices. We are also supporting vulnerable and low-income households with the cost of fuel bills through schemes such as the Warm Home Discount and our £500m Household Support Fund.
“Working families on Universal Credit are already seeing more money in their pockets, with an average of £1,000 more a year, and we’re increasing the living wage again in April. We will continue to look closely at the pressures facing people and what further measures might be needed on abating high energy costs.”
Separate research published yesterday showed that number of families in fuel poverty will soar by 200% when the energy price cap goes up in April.
About 6.3 million households will have to spend 10% or more of earnings just to cover bills, according to Resolution Foundation research.
The cost of heating and electricity increased in October and is set to rise further in April.
The energy price cap – which currently stands at £1,277 per year per household -limits how much providers can charge on default energy bills so Brits aren’t ripped off.
But it will likely be raised twice next year to keep up with record market prices and the cost of supplier failures.
Low income families may be able to get extra help with their bills if they are struggling this winter.
Universal Credit and benefits claimants could get up to £800 to help with bills through the Household Support Fund.
A number of postcodes may also be eligible for Cold Weather Payments as the temperatures drop.
While there have been calls for the Government to step in and help families, some energy firms have massively missed the market.
Energy firm E.ON last week angered customers by sending socks to help them lower their bills.
Meanwhile, Ovo told customers to “cuddle your cat” to stay warm.