A PARTNERSHIP is warning against a 'perfect storm' of fuel poverty due to potential benefit cuts and rising Energy Bills in April for Ryedale.

Warm and Well in North Yorkshire say many more families may soon find themselves in heat or eat situations with the announcement by Ofgem that energy bills are to rise by £96 to £1,138 a year in April for households on standard or default tariffs.

Warm and Well in North Yorkshire, which is managed by Citizens Advice and funded by North Yorkshire County Council, has seen a 198 per cent increase in referrals compared to this time last year.

The partnership says combined with the possibility of the loss of the £20 uplift to Universal Credit in April and persistent cold weather may create the perfect storm of fuel and food poverty.

Julia Priestnall, project coordinator for Warm and Well in North Yorkshire, said: “We have seen a huge increase in people needing our help and many families simply having to choose whether to heat their home or put food on the table.

"We are particularly worried about vulnerable people on pre-payment meters customers whose costs will increase by £87 to £1,156 a year."

In 2017, an estimated 2334 properties were suffering with fuel poverty across Ryedale, that is 10 per cent of the population.

However, this is thought to be much higher now due to the financial effects of the pandemic on families.

"With many families living in rural areas, often in older properties with poor insulation, the energy cost rise and cut to universal credit and tax credits could create a perfect storm of fuel and food poverty," added Julia.

"If you, a loved one or a family member are at risk or are already suffering from fuel poverty contact us today, our specialist energy advisers can save you a lot of money."

For more information, visit at www.warmandwell.org.uk/Referral-Form.