'Next stop, a nursing home' - pensioner struggling to pay the bills despairs at soaring energy costs

  • Watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Sarah Cooper

As energy bills are set to rise by nearly £700 a year, one pensioner has told ITV News Anglia he can't cut back any more in the cost of living crisis.

Leonard White, 79, lives alone in St Ives in Cambridgeshire says he's continually struggling to make ends meet.

"I sometimes feel like throwing my arms up in despair and saying the next stop is a nursing home and you look after me.

"I need a certain quality in my life. If I haven’t got that then life is not worth living is it?"

The annual cost of the gas and electricity price cap is going up by nearly £700 in April Credit: ITV Anglia

The cost of living crisis was laid bare on Thursday as the Chancellor was forced to step in to offset the spike in energy bills, while the Bank of England warned inflation would hit its highest point in more than three decades.

Energy bills are set to soar by 54% for 22 million households from the beginning of April, adding £693 to the annual bills of a typical household.

Meanwhile, inflation is set to hit an eye-watering 7.25% in April according to new Bank of England forecasts released on Thursday. The prediction would mean that disposable incomes fall by around 2%, according to Bank estimates, the worst impact since records began in 1990.

Cambridgeshire pensioner Leonard White talks to ITV News Anglia about how he can't afford to live the quality of life he needs

Leonard White says he can't cut back any more: "I won’t be able to pay it.

"In a nutshell I’m prudent enough to know the gas, electricity and water and as I’m vulnerable, they can't turn it off.

"So I’ll just have to suck it and say if I can’t pay, I can’t pay. If I can pay I will.

"I want some quality in my life I don’t just want to be alive.

"I go to bed quite often to save money, sometimes nine at night, but I wake up at 3 o’clock in the morning because I don’t need all that sleep."

Pensioner Leonard White says he buys cheaper food to help cut back on his bills Credit: ITV News Anglia

The government has pledged to help households through the energy price rises.

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak a £200 rebate on energy bills, which will have to be paid back in the future.

Mr Sunak also revealed a £150 reduction in council tax for millions in England, which will not have to be paid back and £144 million for councils to help support vulnerable households.

The Chancellor's £150 council tax rebate will cover homes in bands A to D, impacting80% of households in England.

The Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was in the Bletchley area of Milton Keynes talking to voters. He pledged to tax energy companies to help cut bills.

He said: "The Labour Party is going to tax oil and gas companies to make sure those bills come down by up to £600 for those who need to most."

Mr White said he had to think about everything he spent. "What I tend to do now is rather than shower every day, I’ve cut that down to every other day," he said.

"So I have a wash one day and a shower the next day because I roughly work it out at over £1 per shower."