London pensioner eyes up living in a tent as bills soar in cost of living crisis

Clarris Christopher described the extreme measures she was prepared to go to during the cost of living crisis

A London pensioner said she was considering living in a tent and staying warm using a sleeping bag as spiralling energy prices forced her to switch off the gas.

Clarris Christopher, who volunteers at food bank in Lewisham, said she might as well go and live outside because she can't afford to use energy.

She survives on Universal Credit but said the money was not enough to get through the month so "something had to give".

"I prefer to sit in the cold than sit in the dark," Clarris told ITV News.

"I'm thinking of getting a sleeping bag and a tent, I'm being serious. If I'm going to be with the elements in my house I might as well be outside.

"I won't be using any gas or electric. And if I can preserve it for a couple of extra days so when I do get Universal Credit all I'm doing is topping up and giving it a boost," she explained.

Clarris said she would also visit friends to sleep on the sofa but worried her presence would appear "selfish".

She added: "I'm using their electric or their gas because I can't afford to use my own. The government needs to take a step back and see how people are struggling."

Clarris works at the We Care Food Bank in Lewisham which faces an uncertain future as costs rocket.

The charity provides fresh food which needs to be kept in the fridge, but the increased cost of keeping food cool could force them to close.

Ray Barron-Woolford, who co-founded the We Care Food Bank in Lewisham in 2014 along with friend Barbara Raymond

'Bills per freezer of £1,000-a-month'

"Our fridge energy bill has gone from £68-a-month in January to £198 in March and this month it is £498-a-month just to run our fridges!" said charity co-founder Ray Barron-Woolford.

"Come next year they have estimated our bills per freezer of £1,000-a-month.

"We don't have an energy price cap we're a charity, but a business as far as bills are concerned.

"We are charged whatever the market thinks we are willing to pay," he explained.

Ray said if the food bank was forced to close its doors 3,000 people in south London would have no where to go for food.

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