County Durham carer 'planning to leave' job over increasing fuel prices

A carer from County Durham is considering leaving a job he loves because recent fuel price increases mean he is struggling to afford to run his car.

Stuart Dowson, 32, drives about 200 miles a week making house calls to elderly and disabled clients.

But since fuel prices started to climb in the autumn, he says the price of a tank of fuel has risen from about £65 to nearly £100.

He said: “The cost of running a vehicle these days is just horrendous.

“I'm just going to end up ruining myself in the long term.”

Stuart needs his car to make house calls as a carer Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

Stuart says the increase in the price of fuel is costing him several hundred pounds a year, while the mileage rate he can claim back hasn’t changed.

He’s now looking to move to a new role which is based in one location, and that if it paid the same wage he’d be “significantly” better off.

But he’d be sad to leave behind a job that he’s loved doing for the past six years.

He added: “It’s the only job I'm willing to get up at silly o’clock in the morning for.

"You have to have your heart on your sleeve, and you have to be a real carer to really do the job.“

Now though he says his “dream scenario” would be to land a job working in a warehouse or a supermarket.

Stuart is currently hunting for a new job Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

Meanwhile, he’s also having to cope with other increases in the cost of living.

When he’s shopping, he said, he now picks up food from the reduced section as much as possible.

“We're not talking 10p, 20p increases,” he said, “we're talking almost 50p on items. Luckily enough I’ve nobody else to support in this house. But I still have to think about what I am getting.”

And he worries that when rising costs are taken into account, even with a new job, a time might come when he has more money going out than he does coming in.

He said: “It's always a concern,” he said. “I’m always keeping an eye, just to make sure I keep ahead for my next bills. I just want my head above water.”

ITV News Tyne Tees is reporting from Watt Street in Murton, County Durham, on the impact of the cost of living crisis. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees