'I can't afford to heat home and cost of son's favourite treat has more than doubled'

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As the cost of living of crisis begins to balloon, so do more and more stories of real people who will be hit hardest by the increasing prices.

For many the crisis isn't just about paying a few extra quid on council tax or energy costs, it will be wearing an extra jumper to avoid putting the heating on, on cutting back on your weekly shop.

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Joanne Lao, from Newport, has even made the decision to stop buying her nine-year-old's son favourite cherry bakewells after they doubled in price, WalesOnline reports.

She said: “The ones we usually have from Asda are like 95p – we went in this week and they were £1.90 for the same box.

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'I can't afford to heat home and cost of son's favourite treat has more than doubled'

Joanne Lao, from Newport, has stopped buying her nine-year-old's son favourite cherry bakewells after they doubled in price ( Image: John Myers)

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“We've had to stop buying them now – it's just too much money.”

In recent months UK residents have seen rising costs from National Insurance, council tax, fuel prices and supermarket, with gas and electricity bills expected to increase in the coming month.

And despite announcing a host of measures to tackle the cost of living on Wednesday, Chancellor Rishi Sunak hasn't inspired many that he will be able to fix the problem.

The people of Duffryn in Newport are ones who will be penny pinching even more now after previously admitting they would need to borrow money just to afford their heating bills.

Single mum Joanne, 38, is one of many with a university degree, a reasonably well paid job and her own home who are nevertheless worried about creeping costs.

She said “I own my home but they own the heating, so I can't flex to a different provider.

“We're on a fixed rate, we can't move to a better rate. I think in today's climate there probably isn't a better one anyway.

'I can't afford to heat home and cost of son's favourite treat has more than doubled'

Ex-railway worker Dave Clark is worried after his electricity bill went up by £60 ( Image: Media Wales)

“My electric has gone up probably about £40 a month, incrementally. I've noticed every couple of months I get a new letter saying my direct debit has increased. Food costs as well – my average food has gone from about £70 a week to about £120, and there's only three of us in the house.

“Because I'm a single parent that works, I'm over the threshold for any help so I've still got to pay for my children's school meals and things like that. But obviously I'm still on one wage and I've got to pay my mortgage and everything. I feel I'm in a bit of a bad place with that.

“I think I'm kind of in the worst position. Sometimes I think I'd probably be better off not working at all, because I'd probably get help. It's difficult.

“I am worried about it. I've got nobody else to rely on for income – it's literally all on me. It makes me extra stressed in work, because if anything happens to my job, there's no backup.

“I have a good job, work full time, I went to university and got a masters. But it feels like it's still not enough. If I'm on a fair wage, over £30-40,000 a year, and I'm struggling to look after two children, I dread to think how people with a lower income can do that.

“I'm not sure what can be done. Some sort of cap, maybe. It feels like it's spiralling out of control, everything. How supermarkets can get away with increasing everything so significantly, is unbelievable really.”

Keith Bennett lives in Sandpiper Way in Duffryn with his partner.

The 62-year-old says his costs have spiralled in recent months and are set to go up even more in April.

“I was paying £17 a week for electric – that's gone up to £27,” he said.

“It was £940 a year and they've estimated it will be £1,358 in April. My gas has gone up from £152 to £201. Then you've water on top of that.

'I can't afford to heat home and cost of son's favourite treat has more than doubled'

Keith Bennett, who lives with his partner, says his costs have “spiralled” out of control ( Image: Media Wales)

“My benefits won't cover it. I've just got to try and work it out. My houses aren't warm anyway, they lose the heat very quickly. They were built in 1978. My thermometer is about 13 degrees in the winter – it's like a freeze box.

“There's the council tax rebate but you've got to go online and fill in [answer] questions. One of my friends stated he was on one benefit, and he couldn't get it.

“It's frightening – I can't afford to eat sometimes. My children put £20 onto my heating and say 'there you go, have a bit more heat'. Or they'll come around and cook me dinner and say things like 'we'll get the meat dad, you just get the vegetables'. That's what it's like.

“My family helps me a lot. My daughter is a nurse and she's struggling. Her husband is too, and they've got their own house and do as much overtime as they can.”

Keith said this week's announcement by the chancellor would make little difference to older people and those struggling with their energy bills.

He said: “It's not going to make no difference for the pensioners. Sure you can put the threshold up, but the income tax changes aren't until 2024. It might help the richer but on the lower end of the scale it won't help.”

Nan Cath Williams, 55, works in Asda but only does 20 hours per week due to health issues, meaning she has been struggling with finances recently.

'I can't afford to heat home and cost of son's favourite treat has more than doubled'

Residents in Mallard Way, Duffryn, feel they aren't being helped in the cost of living crisis ( Image: Media Wales)

“I can't work many hours because of my health. It is a struggle,” she said.

“It's been ongoing for a while. The heating is terrible – I put the heating on at 3 o'clock in the morning for three or four hours. That's all I can afford. Before I used to put it on in the morning for two or three hours if it was cold, and then in the evening.

“The electric has doubled. The heating, we had new systems one or two years ago. That made it soar. Before that, it was in with the rent. It's all separate now.

“Shopping's got to suffer. The prices in Asda have gone up, and it's not by 10 or 20p, you know – it's 70 or 80p. I buy unbranded things just to keep going. I've got two boys, they're grown up but they eat like horses.

“I haven't got savings, I can't save. Everything goes on the house. If you want to do DIY, you've got to save for a month just to get a tin of paint. It's not always been like that. I am coping, but it's a struggle.”

'I can't afford to heat home and cost of son's favourite treat has more than doubled'

Residents in Duffryn, Newport, don't think Rishi Sunak or the government have done much to help them combat the cost of living crisis ( Image: Media Wales)

“We need more help. We had the winter payment for the payment, but we put that in and it's gone already. Poll [council] tax, water, rent – it's all going up.

“I am on universal credit, but if I do any overtime they just take it off me. So I either work all the hours and get none, or the other way around.

“They're supposed to be giving us money for council tax, but then they're putting it up. The amount they're giving us isn't enough to go through the year.

“I am worried. I've got a smart meter, and it's in my face all the time. I feel like hiding it. If I put on the kettle, I only put one cup of water in. I won't be able to retire until I'm 70.”

While ex-railway worker Dave Clark is also another pensioner worried about the increasing cost of living.

The 73-year-old said: “I've just paid £290 for three months' electric, for the same amount that cost me £230 before.

“They're saying it's going up again in a week's time to about £400 a year.

“Does it worry me? It does and it doesn't – if you haven't got it you can't pay them. When you get older, it's not nice to go into the debt. They could help with the VAT or something, I think.

“I'm on my own and I've noticed costs going up, and that's not by a penny or two like it always does. A packet of frozen chips is going up by 30 or 40p. It's terrible.”

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