Veteran, 75, ‘sits in dark’ every night with flask of tea amid battle with cost of living

An Army veteran has told how he sits in the dark every night with a flask of coffee or tea to last him the evening due to the cost of living crisis.

George Ford, from Hull, said he doesn’t know if he will be alive by Christmas as he is facing a harrowing choice between heating or eating.

The 75-year-old says he currently owes more than £1,400 on energy bills and has no idea how he will afford the rises in fuel, Hull Live reports.

Pensioner George also told how he has lost nearly two stone in just one month as he battles with his growing debts.

Hull Army veteran George Ford says he is struggling to pay bills with the rise in the cost of living

He told GB News: “I sit here until about 10pm with no light on. I make a flask of coffee or tea to last me all the time so I’m not using so much but my bills never seem to go down, I can ‘t afford it.

“I know the things I suffer, COPD, heart trouble, I’ve got no feeling in my hands or my legs, I don’t think I’m going to be alive by Christmas because I can’t afford to keep myself warm .

“I feel sorry for a lot of pensioners round here, It is going to hit them very much. It is going to hit the foodbanks more. I’ll be honest, I just feel like dying.”

Hull Army veteran George Ford says he is struggling to pay bills with the rise in the cost of living
Hull Army veteran George Ford says he is struggling to pay bills with the rise in the cost of living

Despite his own struggles, George still volunteers at the Beannie Street Foodbank in Hull and says he feels sorry for other pensioners hit by the rise in energy prices.

He said: “I won’t take anything from the foodbank because there’s families that need it, there’s children that need it more than I do.”

Founder of the Beannie Street Foodbank, off Anlaby Road, Robbie Keane says he has seen a big rise in the number of pensioners having to turn to foodbanks.

He said: “We are seeing an awfully big increase in pensioners using the foodbank and we are very worried. These pensioners are very worried and scared.

“We have seen an increase in people who have never used a foodbank before. It is up by around 30-50 per cent.

“The prices going up at supermarkets is very scary. There is also a lot of people in working poverty and that is creeping up as well and that has really risen in the last two to three weeks.

George is not alone, as many fear the energy price hike that came into force on Friday. Charities have warned that 2.5 million households are set to fall into “fuel stress” as domestic energy bills surge upwards.

Citizens Advice believes around five million people would be unable to pay their energy bills since April, even accounting for the support the Government has already announced. With energy prices set to increase again in October, this number is expected to triple as 14 million are forecast to be unable to pay energy bills.

As a 54 per cent increase to Ofgem’s price cap hit bills, the Resolution Foundation think tank said the number of English households in fuel stress – those spending at least 10 per cent of their total budgets on energy bills – will double overnight from 2.5 to five million.

The foundation’s senior economist Jonathan Marshall said: “Today’s energy price cap rise will see the number of households experiencing fuel stress double to five million. Another increase in energy bills this autumn hastens the need for more immediate support, as well as a clear, long-term strategy for improving home insulation, ramping up renewable and nuclear electricity generation, and reforming energy markets so that families’ energy bills are less dependent on global gas prices.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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