The Northamptonshire dad who only eats three days a week to shield his daughter from rising costs

010422 Paul Howson Northampton cost of living crisis dad
Paul Howson is making sacrifices to make sure he look after his daughter when she visits at the weekend Credit: ITV Anglia

A father has said the cost of living crisis means he is going without food during the week so he can look after his daughter properly at the weekend.

Paul Howson said he has to make sacrifices so he can afford to give his eight-year-old girl a normal life when she comes to stay with him.

He also only has a proper bath once a week so he can conserve his energy supplies and shield his daughter from the realities of poverty.

Mr Howson, from Northampton, said: "I struggle... I only eat three days a week - that's the truth.

"I have to because my daughter is more important than me.

"When she comes to me we live normally at the weekends, three square meals a day, making sure the house is warm, but during the week everything is off."

Millions of people across the country are dealing with the biggest jump in domestic energy bills in living memory, with charities warning that 2.5 million more households are set to fall into “fuel stress”.

The energy price cap for those on default tariffs who pay by direct debit is rising by £693 from £1,277 to £1,971 from 1 April.

Prepayment customers will see a bigger jump, with their price cap going up by £708, from £1,309 to £2,017.

The regulator was forced to hike the energy price cap to a record £1,971 for a typical household as gas prices soared to unprecedented highs.

Meanwhile, experts have offered advice on how to mitigate the price rises.

Mr Howson was one of many people who spoke to ITV News Anglia about the impact of rising energy bills.

Christine Browne says it is a struggle to keep the house heated for her elderly mother Credit: ITV Anglia

Christine Browne is a carer for her elderly mum. They have to keep the house warm and are concerned by the steep rise in bills. Ms Browne has had a heart attack so is in the vulnerable category.

She said: "It's more hard keeping my mum warm. Mum's very old - she's 83 years old and she feels the cold very much.

"At the moment we're at freezing point so I mean the heating she has it blaring so I really do need to find the money for the heating. I think we're all in the same boat at the moment and life is pretty hard."

Both Ms Browne and Mr Howson are members of a food club based at Blackthorn Community Centre in Northampton.

They pay £10 a month to be a member and get food worth around £80 to £90.

Timothy Bedward, a volunteer at the Hope Centre, said there had been an increase in demand at the food club over the past three weeks and he expected it to get worse.