As doctors warn of the dangers of cold, cancer patient’s heating bill has risen to TRIPLE


Sally, a patient with cancer, has been advised by doctors to keep warm since her chemotherapy can cause severe side-effects.

With her monthly energy bills almost tripling, she will have to spend a quarter her income to keep her health safe.

The pensioner, who lives on just over £800 a month, has been undergoing gruelling treatment since being diagnosed with late stage-three cancer last year.

She said: “Due to the chemo I’m on if I get cold my mouth, throat and chest can go into spasm.

“It feels like there’s a lump of Lego stuck in my throat and I struggle to breathe and can’t get the words out.

“It can also be very dangerous, as my registrar has recently told me there’s a chance this can happen to my jugular vein – that can be fatal.”

Sally, a woman from Walberton in West Sussex, was one of those who lost out after their state pension age was increased suddenly.

She gets around £202 per week from her state pension and a small private pension from her previous work in financial management for charities.

She currently pays £81 a month for gas and electricity, but has been told this will increase to £201 when her fixed-term contract finishes at the end of next month.

That means nearly a quarter her income will go to fuel.

However, when she explained her health to her fuel company, it referred her the National Debtline.

She said: “After working for 50 years and being financially independent and not in debt my whole life, it felt like a real kick in the teeth.”

Sally, a single mother of two, lives in a council-owned house with only one bedroom. “I don’t know how I’m going to keep reasonably warm and be able to eat well paying this. All the worry and sheer despair is absolutely awful.”

Sally is now trying to ration central heating, electricity, and other heat in the hopes that she can. “bank”Credit can be used to offset future bills

She said: “I’m in my bed with five layers on, but I’m still struggling with my breath and speech.

“I’ve tried to keep in my bedroom without the central heating on. I have a very efficient, small electric fire that gives small bursts of heat.

“If I have a shower I have to rush in and out, and cooking can be a nightmare as when my hands get cold they lose all feeling and I drop things.

“I’m constantly looking at my meter and trying to calculate how to make savings here and there. It’s just wrong.”

Rebecca, a single parent, has struggled to pay her increasing electricity bills.

Her previous job was as a nurse associate in sexual health. However, her older son Jamael (six years old) was diagnosed with Autism in 2020. She had to quit.

“I wasn’t making a lot of money before but I have a lot less now,” Rebecca said.

“With my older son being autistic my younger one Joelle (three) copies him a lot. So they both want to use their devices and even have them on continuously when they’re not using them.

“Their latest thing is that there’s a monster so the light has to be on all night.

=“They’re only young so I don’t want them to have to sleep in the dark if they’re scared.”

Rebecca’s electricity bill for her three-bed flat was about £65 in November but this rocketed to £124 in December.

She was only able to pay £20 of this, falling into arrears and admitted: “I have so many bills, it’s worrying.”

It was the mother of two. “does get to that point”Where you can choose between food or fuel. She has tried her best to make ends meet by going to her mum’s house to feed her children and juggling a £400 overdraft.

In an effort to pay down her debt and keep up her payments, she has moved to a pay as you go electricity tariff.

Rebecca, who was living in crisis council accommodation, needed furniture help. The Salvation Army was able to assist her with the purchase of a home at a housing association. “social supermarket”East Ham Community Corner, East London

Those eligible can join the supermarket for an annual £5 membership with a £3 donation every time they shop. A family spending £100 a week in a regular supermarket leave the store with a comparable full food shop for a few pounds. It is a lifeline.

Captain Lee Raggett from The Salvation Army Stratford Corps said that the social supermarket was set up to reduce food prices for low-income residents. “We are seeing an increasing number of people struggling to pay their bills.

“A lot of people use the savings they make here to pay landlords and pay off debts,”He added.

‘I’d rather cut back on food to ensure I can heat my home and stay safe’

Roxanne is a cerebral palsy sufferer and lives on her own.

To live independently, her condition requires that she rely on electric gadgets.

“The price of fuel and heating is always a concern for me,”She spoke.

“It’s not only about me being warm. If I didn’t have electricity I wouldn’t have access to some of my essential equipment.”

She relies on technology to communicate with her friends, call for help if she is injured, and carry out daily tasks.

“These aren’t things you can turn off on the wall and just use them when you want, you always need them on because you don’t have care and support all the time,”Roxanne, Bournemouth

“With electricity it’s even above food for me. I’d rather cut back on that to ensure I can heat my home and stay safe.”

In November, she was shocked to learn her gas and electricity bills were going up from £52 a month to £74.

“I’ve been looking at cutting back on certain things to reduce my spending,”She spoke. “The cost of living is even higher for the disabled community. I’ve estimated costs for me have risen 20%.”

Pet owner is forced to sell his pet animals in order to pay his energy bills

Scott, 32, and Leanne, 33, struggle to heat their home for their six children, and the 94 animals they have.

He is a self-employed entrepreneur who visits schools, care facilities, prisons and other institutions with his wildlife collection. This includes snakes as well as skunks.

However, he is now afraid that some animals will be sold.

Scott, a Liverpool native, stated: “In October I was paying around £35 a week for electric, and £25 a week for gas. Now, both of those are £50 plus, so the costs have doubled.

“I’m having jobs getting cancelled due to Covid, so if these prices continue, I don’t know what we’ll do.

“It’s freezing outside and I’m spending £155 a week, or £600 a month, just to keep the house warm and be able to make food.”

He said: “There’s people that can’t pay that, sitting in a cold house not able to heat food up.”