One in four UK adults struggle to keep warm in their living rooms

Survey says many cutting down on showers and washing machine use, and going to bed early to cope with high energy bills

A quarter of adults are struggling to keep warm in their living rooms – and many are going to bed earlier to stay comfortable this winter in the face of high energy bills.

A study showed 23% of adults were occasionally, hardly ever, or never able to keep comfortably warm in their living room in the past two weeks.

In data compiled by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 63% of adults reported using less gas and electricity because of increases in the cost of living and 96% of those adults are using less heating.

When asked what action they were taking to keep warm this winter, 82% of adults said they were adding more clothing or blankets, 46% are only heating rooms they use, 31% are using hot-water bottles or microwave warmers and 27% are going to bed earlier.

Respondents said they were also cutting back on using tumble dryers and washing machines, and using the bath or shower less.

The survey of 4,962 households underscores the everyday sacrifices Britons are making as the price of everything from food to energy rapidly increases.

ONS figures yesterday showed inflation ran at 10.7% in November, a slight easing from 11.1% in October but still well above the 2% rate targeted by the Bank of England.

The Guardian revealed this week that the government will belatedly launch a campaign to encourage households to make their homes more energy efficient and save money on Saturday.

However, many households have already cut back their usage and 34% of all adults reported that cutting back on heating their home has negatively affected their health or wellbeing as a result.

The first “impact of winter pressures” report showed 16% of adults are worried their food will run out before they have money to buy more and 19% have cut back on their portion size. The study said 17% are eating food which is past its use-by date.

With the NHS under severe pressure, one in five people reported that they were waiting for a hospital appointment, test, or to start receiving medical treatment through the health service.

The survey results come after Citizens Advice reported the monthly number of people that it helped with energy-related problems and issues rose to a record high in November.


Alex Lawson Energy correspondent

The GuardianTramp

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