Today I received an email from a lady entitled HELP. It was from a single mum, who was at her wits end. She had seen an article about me living in a caravan a couple of months ago. The rising fuel costs had literally driven her to the point where she had walked into a pharmacy to buy as many strong painkillers as possible with the idea to end her life, and leave her 6&4yo. She had contacted the financial ombudsman, only to be told there was nothing they could do. The rising fuel costs aren’t just pushing people into poverty, they are literally pushing people to the brink, the brink!
When you are a single parent, mum or dad, you have noone to share your financial concerns with, expected to get on with it. Fears rise up, you have no partner to share your concerns with. How can you look after your kids, pay your rent, your bills, look after your mental health, look after your kids mental health, eat well, meditate, yoga, find time for you, homeschooling your kids, managing everything is fucking tough enough, so rising inflation, petrol costs, food costs is enough to push anyone over the edge. I have been there. It is fucking hard so lets start having these tough conversations with people. Let’s start talking money. Do you have enough money to buy your food, fuel, nappies etc? What do you need help with? How can collectively we start to make a difference?
I did some research the other day around some of the energy companies in the UK. It’s not difficult to find. I search for the companies on the Companies House website. It shows financial accounts and directors of the company. The National Grid in 2020 earnt £8billion profit. One of the directors of British Gas, I believe, is a Dr based in Hull. I say believe because I looked through that many companies and directors I lost track. Needless to say, when Martin Lewis is on TV talking about these energy companies, it is often easy for us to forget that behind the companies are people. And these people are probably not struggling financially on a day to day basis.
These are my top tips for dealing with the rising electric & gas bills
1 Make sure you are on the cheapest rate possible
2 Ring your service provider and tell them you cannot afford to pay your monthly bill and you can only pay x amount per month, you choose the amount which feels ok to you. It could be £5 per month, it could be £20 per month. Have a conversation with them.
3 I stopped paying my water bill to see if I got cut off. Eight months later I hadn’t. They did however, send me at least 20 letters and call me three times a day for several months. If you are planning to do this you need balls of steel as it does get frigging annoying. Or you can change your mobile number.
4 There are groups looking into public ownership for these companies, which you can join such as We Own It
5 For me my priority bills go like this: Rent, Food, things kids need, petrol
If you are struggling you can reach out to Citizens Advice, Samaritans or your local GP. Rising fuel prices are triggering many anxieties & stress, it is OK to talk about these and share your concerns as many of us are going through the same stuff.