Nearly half of UK households say that they would struggle to cope if their monthly outgoings rose by £99. We look at how you can create some financial 'breathing space' to help you out if you lose your job or become ill.
More energy price hikes 'likely'
Increased tariffs will have an impact on millions of SSE customers
Consumers have been warned to brace themselves for the possibility of further energy price hikes and urged to take action to keep their bills down as a "matter of urgency".
SSE, formerly known as Scottish & Southern Energy, has already announced that from Monday next week it will increase tariffs by 9% on average in a move impacting around five million electricity customers and 3.4 million gas account holders.
Concerns have been raised that other energy giants could follow suit as temperatures plummet, in a further blow to households squeezed by high living costs and low wage rises.
E.ON has said that while it will not raise prices in 2012, no decision has been taken about what will happen when January comes around.
Martin Lewis, founder of consumer help website MoneySavingExpert.com, said: "Energy companies are like sheep - where one leads, the rest will follow. It is likely but not guaranteed that price hikes are coming. People should be taking preventative action."
Mr Lewis said people on a standard tariff should be looking into a cheap fixed tariff, which could save them more than £200 a year. Some fixed-rate tariffs also guarantee no price hikes for two winters.
He said people should act as "a matter of urgency" as some of the cheapest fixed deals have already disappeared.
"That is what happens in a price hike environment," he said. "There is only a finite amount of fixed money."
A survey published by Consumer Focus last month estimated that around six million households are planning to cut back on their heating this winter. Nearly four out of 10 households (39%) are worried about affording their energy bills this winter, and 70% of those, or six million households across England, plan to reduce their heating, the survey found.
Citizens Advice warned that many households are so financially stretched that "every penny counts". It is running Big Energy Savings Week from October 22 to 27 to help people get a better deal on their fuel bills and help them to use less energy. The event is funded by the six largest energy companies.
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You constantly Police the stories dictating what people can and cannot comment on!!??
Why have a comment site and what gives you the right to determine ?? You are in breach of the publicity law, dictating freedom of speech!!
Take this pathetic story< allow comment? when we have so many relevant and important things in the past, present and future news to have comment on and also have a right to do so!!
Like, Crap lying self serving Politicians, Immigration, NHS, Benefit system, Transport, Education, Heritage, Social Fabric of GB, Industry, LACK OF JOBS and Unemployment, stupidity and weakness of our laws, governed by Europe, Euro referendum - never allowed to comment on any of these!
Yet every single one of them affected by weak politicians and there after every single facet affected by obscene and mass immigration!
Its about time the flexible and giving people of the UK stood up and demanded these things are dealt with properly!!
Isn`t it lovely, the good giving, flexible British people, despised by immigrants and foreigners, treated with disdane where ever they go, treated like crap by foreigners in there own country and continually S @ i T on by their own government/s....
And now we the British people suffer disgracefully because of policies which single them out - its about time that great old saying that our parents and grandparents said often - charity should begin at home!! Was heeded by the Government!! still what would they give a monkeys about it! They have never had it hard or tough any of them!
No matter how hard or difficult it becomes for Real British people it will never affect them (politicians) and never has...
I think the British people should comed down hard and stamp out ANY denegration of British people, or Great Britain by foreigners or immigrants or other countries or ridiculous and rubbish policies..
I think any foreigner abusing our soldiers or protesting against our veterans and war dead on remembrance day should arrested charged/fined and immediately deported to their country of origin or families country of origin and never allowed back to the UK, no questions, no appeals done gone! and that goes for any illegal, or criminal immigrants from wherever!
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