Hampshire single mum 'at breaking point' over soaring energy bills
A single mother from Hampshire says she is struggling to sleep at night, worrying about her family's future and how much her monthly energy bills are going to cost.
Natalie Parker says she will have to pay between an extra £70 and £100 every month after today's planned rise in the energy price cap came into force.
From Friday 1 April, the energy price cap will rise by 54%, affecting around 22 million customers.
It means the average household will now pay nearly £2,000 per year for gas and electricity, leaving many families wondering just how they're going to cope.
Natalie says she's going to have to try and secure some extra hours at work, and has cut back her TV subscriptions, and her use of the internet in a bid to save some extra money.
"At the moment, things are quite difficult, trying to find the extra money for people for childcare for my son.
"For me it's a worry of how to find that money, where I'm going to get it from if things carry on increasing.
"It worries me loads, because things have to be paid, and I'm the only person who can pay them as I don't have anyone else I can depend on."
Single mum Natalie Parker says rising energy bills has left her 'really worried'
Natalie works full time in a dementia care home with extra help from Universal credit, but she says it isn't enough to see her through when bills rise.
"When it's near the end of the month and I know the bills are coming out, I lay awake at night checking my banking app, knowing that's coming out and that's coming out.
"I check what I'm going to be left with for the month after the cost of petrol to get to work.
"My daughter understands how hard it's going to be as she is a little older, but I don't want to worry my son with it.
"When he asks for stuff I have to say 'maybe next month.'
"We know that the cost of living has to go up sometimes, but I think the minimum wage should match it."
Jan Verrall, 80, from West Sussex lives on her own, and has told ITV News that things weren't even this bad during the second world war.
Se saiid, "I remember using foodbanks during the war, and now it's essential for a lot of families.
"The war saying was 'tighten your belts' and that's exactly how it's going to be.
Jan has been told her gas and electricity bill is going up by just under £1,000.
"My bills are going up by 54% which is just under £1,000 a year. The £150 that the Government are offering isn't going to even pay last month's energy bill.
"I live on a budget - as do so many others.
"Now I have to make allowances and put extra money by for the heating, for the council tax and water rates and everything.
Jan Verrall says the cost of living crisis is worse than during the war
"Everything has gone up, so all I can do is try and live on a tighter budget," she added.
"I'll have to use the car less - and limit it to short journeys for only two or three times a week.
"And I'm going to stop going shopping and only shop for household goods so only things you need.
"I am worried for next winter. If I can't afford to put the heating on, it'll be a case of extra jumpers and hot water bottles.
"It's ok during the summer months, but once October arrives, that's when it's going to hit home."
Tap to watch a video report by ITV News Meridian's James Dunham