Citizens Advice in the Ribble Valley offers support to people struggling with high energy costs

The chair of Ribble Valley Citizens Advice has expressed his concerns for the people of the rural borough who are facing hardship due to the rising energy costs saying "it is horrendous for the least well off".

Coun, Stewart Fletcher is concerned about how local people are increasingly under pressure due to gas and electric bills. "Our advisers are seeing more and more people being affected by the stress of managing their outgoings," he said. "To some food inflation is not noticeable, but the cost of value or basic range food has risen massively over the last few months. And in our area, the high cost of renting is a big part of the problem as government support for housing costs falls far short of rents in Ribble Valley.

"We are seeing more people struggling and household debts are piling up for some. The team at Citizens Advice Ribble Valley help people on benefit to apply to Ribble Valley Borough Council for help with their rent through Discretionary Housing Payments.

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"We also refer people to Ribble Valley Food Bank but this is for crisis only not for managing long term, which is a problem for many households since the removal of the Universal Credit uplift.

Coun. Stewart Fletcher

Stewart added: "This is an energy crisis and we need a change in government support for people. It is inevitable that we will see more debt, divorce and suicide as a result of this growing pressure. The whole community will suffer as a result."

Citizens Advice Ribble Valley are part of the Healthier Energy Project, which is free, impartial advice for local people. The energy advisers offer information on how to reduce bills, make your home warmer, check energy use, how to access home improvement grants and work with Homewise to make improvements to keep warm. The energy advisers can be contacted on 01254 304129 or email [email protected]This is a joint project delivered with Homewise and funded through the Energy Industry Voluntary Redress Scheme and the British Gas Energy Trust.

Citizens Advice Ribble Valley is available for advice on 01200 427336 on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 am to 4 pm or contact via http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/ribble-valley