Cost of Living Crisis: Thousands contacting Sheffield Citizens Advice every month as energy bills soar

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​​​​​​‘Help is out there’ says Sheffield Citizens Advice as people contact the service in record numbers.

Cost of living queries doubled in July compared to last, and this year set five consecutive monthly records.

In total, the 150-strong team helped an unprecedented 2,700 people in July alone, according to communications manager Kirsty Sandamas.

But despite record numbers the service is still urging people to seek help.

In total, the 150-strong team helped an unprecedented 2,700 people in July alone, according to Sheffield Citizens Advice communications manager Kirsty Sandamas.In total, the 150-strong team helped an unprecedented 2,700 people in July alone, according to Sheffield Citizens Advice communications manager Kirsty Sandamas.
In total, the 150-strong team helped an unprecedented 2,700 people in July alone, according to Sheffield Citizens Advice communications manager Kirsty Sandamas.
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Kirsty said: “Compared to the beginning of the pandemic there are more people in crisis situations. In terms of demand it’s breaking records, definitely.

“People are really struggling mentally and financially.”

The top queries are welfare, benefits, energy and debt.

People are facing bills they can’t pay even with all the advice experts can offer, Sheffield Citizens Advice saysPeople are facing bills they can’t pay even with all the advice experts can offer, Sheffield Citizens Advice says
People are facing bills they can’t pay even with all the advice experts can offer, Sheffield Citizens Advice says

Sheffield Citizens Advice helps with everything from food bank referrals to charitable grants.

But more and more people are facing ‘negative budgets’ where their money isn't enough to cover essentials including rent, bills and food.

The government this week announced a typical household energy bill will be capped at £2,500 annually until 2024.

But there are concerns the measures are not targeted enough, with no additional support for the most vulnerable. As a result, millions are still expected to be in fuel poverty this winter.

Kirsty said: "The price cap is welcome, but it is still significantly more than those on the lowest income can afford."

The service works to stop energy companies forcing people to have pre-payment meters which can result in them paying more, unable to spread the cost and at risk of ‘self-disconnecting’ to save money, she added.

Go to citizensadvice.org.uk or call 0808 2787820.

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