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Household water and energy bills soar 30% in four years

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Despite general inflation running between 1.8% and a maximum of 4% per year since 2015, the cost of some of the core utitilies has skyrocketed in that time, disproportionately impacting poorer households, including single parent families.

According to the September 2019 Money Statistics produced by The Money Charity, UK households spent £111.27 million per day on the core utilities of water and energy in Q1 2019, equating to £4.05 per household per day, or £28.35 per week.

This was up from £3.10 per household per day in Q1 2015, or £21.70 per week, representing an increase of 30.6% over the last four years on these essential services.

The  charity pointed out that the poorest households in the UK feel the greatest proportional pain, including single parent families.

The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) recently published its 2019 ‘Cost of a Child’ report, which each year calculates the total cost of raising a child from birth to its 18th birthday. This is achieved by taking the UK’s minimum cost of living, and then measuring the extra cost incurred by a household as each child is added to it.

The 2019 report calculates that the average cost to a couple remains similar to last year’s calculation, at £150,582, but that the cost for a single parent family rose to £185,036.

The average child costs a single-parent family £28.16 per day to raise, compared with £27.90 in 2018. For a couple, the cost is £22.92 per day (raising a child is more expensive for a single parent because in a couple household costs are spread over more people.)

According to CPAG, rising energy costs have been a significant contributor to the higher costs of raising a child that can be traced over recent years. However, it is also worth noting that an even bigger item of expenditure is the cost of childcare, with its net cost (i.e. the difference between total childcare costs and government tax credits) having tripled over the last 10 years.

Erik Porter, acting chief executive of The Money Charity said:

“While prices are ultimately always expected to rise in most cases, the sizeable increases seen across recent years for core utilities emphasise the permanent importance of robust and well-considered budgeting, which we see as an essential ingredient to achieving financial wellbeing. Key to that is honestly weighing up income and expenditure, determining personal spending priorities, and actively shopping across the market for those opportunities which keep outgoings at their lowest optimum rate.

“Alongside that, it is also essential that voices like ours are heard loudly in market considerations, calling for consumers’ best interests to be at the heart of processes and policies, with healthy competition and regulation ensuring fairness and accessibility for all.”


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