Record number of Britons heading into winter with energy debt
A record number of people in the UK are heading into the winter with energy debts as they borrow to pay bills, amid Britain’s ongoing cost of living crisis, a charity organization has warned.
Citizens Advice said it urged the UK government to step in with fresh support for gas and electricity bills, The Guardian reported.
The charity says 2023 has been its busiest year, with the number of people struggling with debts and the amount of money they owe “at record levels and rising”. It has suggested the government considers offering more support this winter.
More than 46,400 people asked Citizens Advice for support in the first six months of this year, marking a 17% rise compared with the same period last year.
On average, those contacting the charity had about £1,711 worth of unpaid energy bills, with analysis showing disabled people and families with young children were the most likely to be struggling with high levels of debt.
The sector regulator, Ofgem, recently estimated that the collective gas and electricity debt owed by UK consumers was about £2.3bn. Nearly 8 million people had to borrow money to pay their energy bills in the first half of 2023, a number Citizens Advice expects to rise over the coming months.