Energy bills: Cornwall man working two jobs on just a few hours sleep still struggling to survive

  • Watch Charlotte Gay's report

A man who is working 18-hour days says he does not know how much longer he will be able to carry on with the current cost of living.

Charlie Marks, from Camborne, has two jobs - as a labourer in the day and as a chef in the evenings - but he is struggling to get by with as little as "an hour to two hours sleep a night".

"I'm definitely fatigued," he said. "I go from eight-hour shifts to 18-hour shifts seven days a week without stopping."

He said he feels a lot of people are having their daily lives "effectively torn apart" by their finances.

Households across the West Country are bracing themselves for another huge rise in bills this autumn as the energy price cap will increase by more than 80% to £3,549 from October 1.

Charlie says things cannot carry on this way else and he fears "homelessness is right around the corner".

He said: "I don't have family that I can fall back on, and all of my friends are in very similar positions. Either they're living at home or they've literally had to go and live back with their parents. Some of these people are 35 years old and having to call up their 70-year-old mother and father to be like 'I can't cope'."

Camborne foodbank says they expect to see more people because people are not able to survive on what they're earning. Credit: ITV News

Joyce Duffin, from Tranformation CRP, manages the Camborne Foodbank. She is concerned they are going to see a lot more people in the coming months.

She said: "Low wages in Cornwall are a massive issue but now with the cost of living increase, it just doesn't cover people's everyday expenses.

"I think there will be some people that have some savings that are managing to use them and keep going and at some point that will also end."

People struggling with their bills are being put in touch with the Cornwall fuel bank.

Community Energy Plus is partnered with Cornwall Council to help vulnerable people with vouchers for their prepayment meters and practical support for those struggling with their bills.

It is taking around 200 calls a week from people who previously thought they had enough income to be ok.

Chief executive Tim Jones says "it's quite serious" with "people regularly in tears" on the phone "despairing" what to do about their utility bills.

He added: "Some people have already said they are so worried about their fuel costs they will not be planning to turn the heating on this year. We're really concerned about that level of reaction where people will be seriously underheating their homes."

The charity has been offering people thermos, hot water bottles and slow cookers all to help them keep the cost of living down.

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