Father of daughter with life-limiting condition warns of cost-of-living 'tsunami' ahead

ITV News Political Reporter Shehab Khan speaks to a father struggling with the soaring cost-of-living costs which threaten to strain the finances of millions of households across the country

A father caring for his 14-year-old daughter with a life limiting condition has said he does not want to be "fighting for every penny" as rising bills and prices threaten to push the family further into debt.

Nick Flaherty's family were already in around £30,000 worth of debt from having to take out a loan to convert Rhia's room to be accessible for her needs, before the cost-of-living crisis had properly taken hold.

He believes that time with his daughter Rhia - who has a metabolic condition called pyruvate dehydrogenase deficiency and is blind and deaf - is precious, so wants to spend as much of it with her without having to stress about bills.

Nick Flaherty said his family receives the same amount of support now as they did when Rhia was three-years-old. Credit: ITV News

"The changes we can make are tiny compared to the tsunami that is coming," Mr Flaherty, who lives in Bristol, told ITV News.

"We know we only have a few more years with Rhia and actually I don't want to be fighting for every penny."

His comments come as a new report showed that most Britons noticed their living costs rise in July and many reduced spending and energy usage to save money.

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The latest ONS figures revealed that between March and June 57% - around 26 million - of people spent less on non-essential items, while 51% - around 24 million - reduced their energy use.

Charities have cautioned that many lower-income households could have to choose between eating and heating their homes in the colder months of the year, with a recession predicted in winter.

Energy prices have risen dramatically in recent months with the price cap set to hit £3,729 per year from April next year for the average household, consultancy Cornwall Insight warned this week.

It comes as calls grow for the two Tory leadership candidates - Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak - to set out more radical plans to help struggling households, as inflation and food prices also surge.

Ms Truss, the current favourite to succeed Boris Johnson as prime minister, has acknowledged there will be a “tough winter” ahead but said there is a need to move away from the “business-as-usual” policies to help “reform the economy”.

Liz Truss has insisted her tax cuts could avert the recession forecast by the Bank of England. Credit: PA

The foreign secretary, speaking during a visit to meet key investors in the City of London, told reporters: “The reality is we’re facing a recession if we carry on with our business-as-usual policies. “People are struggling – whether it’s to pay food bills or fuel bills – that’s why it’s very important we reverse the national insurance increase, we have a temporary moratorium on the green energy levy to help people with their fuel bills. “The most important thing is getting the economy going so we avoid a recession and the business-as-usual policies aren’t working, we need to do more, and that’s why I am determined to reform the economy and keep taxes low.”

Meanwhile, Mr Sunak, the former chancellor, has announced he would scrap VAT on all domestic energy bills for the next year, saving the average household £160, if he becomes PM.