Sheffield foodbank braced for rising numbers as energy crisis will push 'significant number' into poverty
Sheffield’s S6 foodbank is preparing for a growth in demand as the ongoing gas crisis will force people to choose between food and warmth.
Gas prices in the UK have soared by 250 percent since January, and a new higher price cap is to be implemented from October 1.
Households on fixed tariffs and pre-payment meters will see their energy costs increase, and those on fixed tariffs will be affected when their contract ends.
There is concern at Sheffield’s S6 Foodbank that more people will now have to choose between heating their homes and buying food.
Chris Hardy, S6 manager, said: “Any increase to any bill pushes a significant number of people into food poverty and a big chunk into entrenched poverty, especially with the £20 universal credit uplift ending.
“A lot of people that use food banks are on pre-payment meters and you can’t get any deals on them, you just pay the highest price, so they pay a lot more.
“People already can’t afford to put their heating on, that is a big problem already. This is about people not having enough benefits or wages to pay the bills.
“I think people in full time work will be using our food banks this Christmas - we see it already but it will increase because what people are earning in their wage packet, especially in part time or zero hours contracts, doesn’t cover it.”
Rising wholesale gas costs have forced small suppliers out of business. There is concern that more companies will go bust, leading to further price rises.
This newspaper and its sister titles have launched a Keep Us Warm This Winter campaign to keep audiences informed, put pressure on the Government and stand up for families.
Chris added: “It’s going to be a difficult winter, it will be for all of us. The stress of not being able to feed your kids or the health impact of not being able to heat your house, it will put more pressure on people.
“We need food and we need money because we want to support as many people in Sheffield from Woodhouse over to Parson Cross because they are going to be in for a tricky winter.”