A DESPERATE mum has revealed she spends all day in shopping centres to stay warm because she cannot afford to heat her home.
Margaret Morris, 51, hasn’t put the heating on for more than four years – and has no plan to amid the soaring cost of the living crisis.
She told the Daily Record: “If I want to get a heat, I go to my mum’s or walk about the shopping centres.”
Incredibly, Margaret manages to act as a full-time carer for son Scott, 21, in her freezing Haghill home in the east end of the city.
The pair tough it out by wrapping themselves in their duvets and wearing extra clothes in the face of gas and electric bills which burn through a crippling £200 per month.
Her decision has taken a toll on her personal life, too, as she admits “no one” visits her home anymore because it’s so cold.
But the mum – who also volunteers by meeting others like her struggling with fuel poverty – knows she isn’t the only one hanging around shopping centres to stay warm.
“They [people struggling] go out at 8am and don’t come home until 10pm at night because of the heating costs”, Margaret admits.
She adds that it is “very common” for people in her area to make excuses to go round other people’s homes for a chat just to warm up.
And amid rocketing costs of energy, the mum says there should be places people can go to get out the cold and stay warm.
It comes as worried Brits expect the cost of living crisis to spark a crime wave, deaths and riots, a shock poll reveals.
Some 70 per cent of the public expect many to refuse to pay energy bills, while 80 per cent expect more shoplifting and 51 per cent think riots will take place.
The soaring price of energy is linked to wholesale gas prices, which hit a record high of 530p per therm on Wednesday after Russia reduced supplies through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany.
The higher wholesale gas prices has meant BFY has increased its forecasts for October’s energy price cap to hit £3,420 and for January’s price cap to hit £3,850.
This is despite BP chief Bernard Looney expecting to rake in £11.4million this year — as Brits face crippling gas and petrol costs.
The fat cat boss could also land a £3.1million bonus and £6.94million in shares on top of his salary which is set to rise 4.35 per cent to £1.39million, results will show this week.
If you you’re struggling with bills, there are things you can do to get help.
GET HELP WITH YOUR BILLS
The following support is available if you need help with your energy bills:
Welfare Assistance scheme
Help available varies, but you could get free cash, food vouchers, and help for bills like rent and energy.
There was a spike in grants dished out over the Covid crisis, with the number of councils handing out grants soaring by 210% in some places, a Sun investigation found.
Household Support Fund
It’s best to check in with your own local authority to find out what may be up for grabs as well as how you can apply.
Check your benefit entitlement
Entitledto’s free calculator works out whether you qualify for various benefits, tax credits and Universal Credit.
Make sure you have key financial information to hand, such as bank and savings statements, and information on pensions and existing benefits.
Once you’ve used the tools you can use the contact information on Gov.uk to get the ball rolling and apply for what you’re owed.
Energy bill grants
Energy suppliers offer cash grants to those hardest hit by bills rises.
Ask your supplier what’s on offer and how to apply, or check here:
Apply for council tax support
You may be eligible for Council Tax Support (sometimes called a Council Tax Reduction) if you’re on a low income or on certain benefits.
As each council offers different support, you’ll need to contact your local authority for more information.
Support for water bills
Lower income families can apply to the WarerSure scheme to save hundreds of pounds on their bill each year.
The Consumer Council for Water estimates you’ll save £270 on average if you sign on to the scheme.
As well as offering the WaterSure scheme to struggling households, suppliers offer their own help schemes too – and you could save much more money.