News

Rising energy costs: the stark choice facing many nurses

Soaring gas and electricity prices mean many nurses will find it harder than ever to stay out of debt and keep their household budgets on track – but tailored support is available
Woman wrapped up in heavy scarf adjusts her central heating control as energy price hikes loom

Soaring gas and electricity prices mean many nurses will find it harder than ever to keep household budgets in the black – but there is tailored support

Nurses are choosing between ‘heating and eating’ as domestic energy bills are about to rocket by an average of almost £700, a charity said.

Sylvia Simpson, chief executive of Money Buddies , a charity that helps people manage debt, said even people on full-time incomes are calling for support as they struggle to pay basic household bills.

‘We are inundated. Lots of people are coming in with different inquiries relating to their budgets and how they can manage, and

Soaring gas and electricity prices mean many nurses will find it harder than ever to keep household budgets in the black – but there is tailored support

Woman wrapped up in heavy scarf adjusts her central heating control as energy price hikes loom
For many nurses and their families, the energy price hike will mean having to turn the heating down Picture: iStock

Nurses are choosing between ‘heating and eating’ as domestic energy bills are about to rocket by an average of almost £700, a charity said.

Sylvia Simpson, chief executive of Money Buddies, a charity that helps people manage debt, said even people on full-time incomes are calling for support as they struggle to pay basic household bills.

‘We are inundated. Lots of people are coming in with different inquiries relating to their budgets and how they can manage, and it’s not just the poorest of people,’ she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

‘We’re getting nurses… people that have an income, but are faced with that choice of whether to heat or eat.’

The government announced on Thursday a £9.1 billion package to help people cope with spiralling energy prices, as the energy regulator Ofgem announced household bills will rise steeply from April.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak pledged to help 28 million households pay their bills next year, when he also plans to increase national insurance contributions by 1.5%, a move he claims is necessary to tackle the NHS backlog and fund social care.

What does this mean for me?

Average bills will increase by £693 on average after Ofgem raised the energy price cap. If you are on a prepayment meter, it means your bills will go up by £708.

According to analysis by Nursing Standard, nurses are already up to £3,600 a year worse off on average than a decade ago in real terms. This will be exacerbated in April when inflation is expected to hit 7.25%.

Financial help and advice is out there

Gas and electricity bills will be forcing households to recalculate budgets Picture: iStock

What is the government offering?

The Energy Bills Rebate will provide around 28 million UK households with an ‘upfront discount’ on their bills worth £200, the government said. This will be spread over five years from 2023, giving people £40 off their energy bills each year.

People paying council tax in England who are in bands A to D will also get a £150 rebate. Anyone who pays their council tax by direct debit should get this paid directly into their account in April.

Will nurses get a pay rise?

The RCN has been campaigning for a 12.5% pay rise for NHS nurses, to offset the rising cost of living.

RCN members in England and Wales have indicated their willingness to strike over a 3% pay offer, while members in Scotland have indicated a willingness to strike over a 4% pay offer. RCN members in Northern Ireland have been offered a 3% pay rise; they went on strike in 2019/20 over pay, the first such action in the college’s history.

The RCN will use pay ballot results to consider the next steps in its campaign for fairer pay.

The NHS Pay Review Body is currently considering nurses’ pay rise for 2022-23.

Visit our well-being centre


In other news

Sign up to continue reading for FREE

OR

Unlock full access to RCNi Plus today

Save over 50% on your first three months:

  • Customisable clinical dashboard featuring 200+ topics
  • Unlimited online access to all 10 RCNi Journals including Nursing Children and Young People
  • RCNi Learning featuring 180+ RCN accredited learning modules
  • NMC-compliant RCNi Portfolio to build evidence for revalidation
  • Personalised newsletters tailored to your interests

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs