Millions of struggling households have been left “out in the cold” by Chancellor Rishi Sunak as energy bills continue to soar, a charity has warned.

The Chancellor has delivered his Budget in the House of Commons but National Energy Action (NEA) said it included little support for families choosing between heating and eating this winter.

The NEA estimates 5.5million people will struggle to pay their energy bills over the next year as wholesale gas prices reach record levels.

This has led to the energy price cap - which sets a limit on the rates you pay for gas and electricity - shooting up for 15million customers across the UK.

Ofgem has raised the price cap for standard and default tariffs from £1,138 for a typical user to £1,277 - an increase of £139.

National Energy Action reckons 5.5.million people will struggle to pay their energy bills (


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Those on prepayment meters will see their bills rise by £153 from £1,156 to £1309.

There had been calls for Mr Sunak to cut VAT on household energy bills this winter - but this was noticeably left out of the Budget.

The Chancellor also didn’t issue any update on exactly when the Warm Home Discount scheme would increase from £140 to £150.

Ministers plan to raise it to £150 in 2022, according to the BBC, as well as extending the support to three millions families - but a specific date hasn’t been announced.

The Warm Home Discount offers low-income households a one-off £140 to put toward their energy bills and has been set at this amount for a decade.

Are you worried about how you'll afford your energy bills this winter? Let us know: [email protected]

Mirror reader Anne Vincent said she is worrying about accessing the Warm Home Discount scheme after her supplier People’s Energy went bust and she was moved to British Gas.

She said: “As a pensioner on low income, living alone, I struggle to heat my home, as many do.

“This year it will be harder than ever. I only heat one small room and the cold makes me have even more pain from my arthritis.”

There was also no mention of extending the Winter Fuel Allowance scheme - which provides between £100 and £300 to help with gas and electricity over the winter.

The scheme covers the period between November and December each year and is automatically paid to anyone who qualifies over the age of 64.

Adam Scorer, chief executive at the NEA, said: “The cold-hearted Chancellor has shown he has little idea how hard it is for the elderly, struggling families and vulnerable people to keep their homes warm.

“Vital funds are available - Treasury coffers have been boosted by billions through VAT receipts on rising energy prices.

“But, Rishi Sunak has left millions of vulnerable householders out in the cold, with precious little new support to face sky high energy bills, especially for those on the very lowest incomes.

“He might not know what it's like to choose between heating and eating but - thanks to this Budget - over a million more households soon will.”

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