Record high energy costs and an overall surge in the cost of living will push many people into financial hardship this winter.

Thousands more will be plunged into fuel poverty and middle-income families will feel the pinch too.

Household bills will increase this month as a higher energy price cap, set by energy regulator Ofgem, takes effect.

But it is vital our readers understand they are not alone. Like we did during the coronavirus pandemic, we intend to stand by you again.

Today we’re launching our There With You This Winter campaign to recognise the financial challenges you face, raise awareness and offer support during the cold winter months.

Campaigners from a spectrum of organisations have warned fuel poverty could become endemic in Britain as energy suppliers fold, pushing customers on to higher tariffs and the country continues to reel from the Covid pandemic.

Simon Francis, of the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, said: “The latest rise in wholesale (energy) price means that we face the possibility of more households facing fuel poverty than ever before.”

Add to this the combination of rising living costs, the end of the £20 universal credit uplift, an increase in the cost of shopping essentials and a leap in the price of filling up your car, we know there is widespread concern.

As part of our awareness campaign, we pledge to:

  • Profile charities and organisations you can turn to for practical advice
  • Offer solutions to cut energy costs and become fuel-efficient
  • Publish expert advice on how, and when, to switch suppliers
  • Signpost essential nationwide services
  • Reveal tips to instantly reduce fuel consumption
  • Help you budget for Christmas and get expert advice on family financial planning all year round
  • Keep you updated on any grants and support available from government or local authorities
  • Bring you the best money-saving tips for everything from running your home, car and reducing your weekly shopping bill

We will not dwell on the things we cannot change, but offer solutions and profile those who have faced hardship and come through the other end.

If Covid taught us anything, it is that our power is bringing people together, using our special place in the community to make sure the vulnerable or struggling members of our communities have a place to turn.

What is fuel poverty?

There are three factors used to measure whether or not a household is classed as being in fuel poverty.

These are fuel prices, household income and energy efficiency.

Despite caps by energy market regulator Ofgem, rising fuel costs can impact on low-income families.

Households with lower incomes are likely to spend a higher percentage of their budget on fuel, and as a result, any leftover income is low enough to push the family below the threshold.

If homes are not using energy efficiently, there is a bigger chance that energy is being wasted and these households will spend more to keep their homes warm.

Here to Help

Struggling with your bills and not sure where to turn?

There is plenty of support out there if you’re looking in the right place.

There are plenty of local organisations and support groups offering advice. We will be profiling these throughout the campaign.

Here are some websites worth checking out: