‘I feel unworthy and isolated’ – Man with arthritis struggles to afford vital energy bills

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Millions of Britons are now struggling with their energy bills, and making tough financial decisions. Express.co.uk spoke exclusively to Anthony Droughton, 53, from St. Helens, Merseyside who is experiencing challenges in this sense.

Mr Droughton currently lives with arthritis, a condition which means he needs to keep the heat on to help with his pain.

That, however, has resulted in his gas and electric bills doubling from £50 to £100 per month, and with the rising cost of living, he fears for his financial situation.

He explained: “With the current price rises on everything, I’ve had to make decisions about whether to eat or whether to pay my bills.

“I’m regularly getting post from my energy supplier saying I’m behind on payments.

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“I am feeling constantly anxious about my finances, which is making my mood low everyday.”

In the past, Mr Droughton has taken out a loan to help, but when he struggled to pay this off, it impacted his credit score.

It means he has previously turned to Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) for birthdays and occasionally treating himself. 

Mr Droughton also explained he is waiting on the £150 council tax rebate first announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in his Spring Statement.

Some councils have struggled with processing these payments, and errors have arisen in certain circumstances.

He said: “I am yet to receive my rebate, but I am desperately in need of it – if only to get my energy company off my back.

“The Government needs to make good on these promises and ensure we get the support we need while everyone is struggling.”

Mr Droughton has stated he is unable to plan ahead, making on the spot financial decisions, made increasingly difficult due to his illness.

He added he “ends up suffering one way or another” due to the knock on impacts of the choices he must make. 

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In an effort to offset his bills increasing, Anthony now drives less to save on petrol. However, this too, also has an impact on his day to day life. 

He added: “I feel isolated because I can’t get out – I can’t afford to put petrol in my car.

“I feel unworthy having to claim benefits that are barely enough to allow me to have a decent quality of life, something I believe every human being deserves.”

Mr Droughton is not alone in his financial struggles, with many others sharing their concerns at the rising cost of living.

Creditspring found some three in 10 over 55s are feeling stuck in their financial situation, and that there is nothing they can do to make things better.

In a similar sense, some 13 percent of over 55s have said they are terrified about their finances, nearly double compared to those asked last year.

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