Here we are preparing ourselves for another Christmas. Making sure we post parcels for abroad wondering if they are going to get there on time, and the same with posting anything around Britain.

Children asking for things, not realising how parents are struggling to make ends meet with the rising costs of food, electricity, gas, rent, mortgage, petrol, and other things that affect their daily lives.

Household energy bills will rise again from January as relief from the cost-of-living crisis is put on hold. Insight predicts it will increase from a current £1,834 for a typical duel fuel household to £1,931, a five per cent jump to take effect from January to March next year. Forecasts suggest that the typical bill will then fall to £1,853 from the start of April, but will not drop below today’s level until July next year.

Recent milder weather was helping to bring down gas prices, and this could help reduce bills next year if it continued. But sharp price falls are not expected.

This leaves households facing yet another winter with bills hundreds of pounds higher than pre-pandemic levels, and affordable fixed deals few and far between.

It has been recommended that everyone without a smart meter takes a meter reading on or close to December 31 to make sure they don’t overpay for any energy used before the new price cap takes effect.

Submitting meter readings regularly is a good idea and makes sure your bills are correct.

Magazine Which? said: “ If you are concerned about struggling to pay higher bills, Speak to your energy provider about a payment plan you can afford and check to see if you qualify for any government schemes."

Iris Andersen 

Andover St Mary's ward councillor 

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