Unprecedented numbers of people are seeking help from Citizens Advice because they cannot afford the basics during the cost of living crisis.
A new data dashboard from the service shows the stark realities of soaring prices. There are more people than ever approaching the service because they can’t afford food, need advice on their energy bills or they can’t afford to use energy at all.
Citizens Advice is seeing a “truly unprecedented number of people who can’t afford to top up their prepayment energy meter”. That means they can’t afford the basics like turning on their fridge or heating their hob. By the end of June, more people had approached Citizens Advice about their energy bills than in each of the past three years.
In another unwelcome record, more people than ever are coming to the service because they can’t afford to eat, and so need a food bank referral.
The number of people needing referrals or another form of charitable support has already exceeded the rate for 2020 and 2019. In May this year, 91,923 people were referred to a food bank or charity by Citizens Advice. It is estimated that, by December, nearly 213,000 people will be referred to crisis support each month. And the numbers are only expected to rise from there.
Particular groups are “faring worse”. The numbers of single people, social housing tenants and disabled people needing food bank referrals has risen dramatically over the course of the past year.