Record fuel prices pose health threat for Weston parent

Weston parent struggling to afford petrol prices to get daughter cancer treatment

Rising fuel prices have made it difficult for Yvonne to get her daughter specialist treatment from Great Ormond Street. - Credit: Yvonne Bull

A Weston mum has admitted that the rising fuel and energy prices could lead to her daughter missing out on specialist treatment as she recovers from overcoming cancer.

The Petrol Retailers Association announced today (October 25) that fuel pump prices across England have reached an all-time high of 142.94p for a litre of Unleaded Petrol and 146.5p for Diesel.

This announcement follows numerous reports of rising energy bills leading the Government to implement an Energy Price Cap to limit the rates a supplier can charge for their default tariffs.

Yvonne Bull, who works full-time as a nurse for Sirona Health Care, told the Mercury that the fuel crisis has impacted the care of her nine-year-old daughter who travels to Great Ormond Street Hospital for specialist treatment.

Mrs Bull said: "Since July I have had to travel to London for my daughter to receive tissue expansions in her head and the situation has become a nightmare due to rising costs.

"We usually drive to Basingstoke and catch the train to Paddington from here, this is much cheaper than a train-only route. However, we almost missed an appointment when there was a fuel shortage.

"The trip costs £55 all-round but that has already risen to £60, £240 per month, and because of my job I am not entitled to any financial support from the hospital to help pay for this."

The RAC predicts that for the average family, the rise in fuel prices will add £15 to filling up a standard petrol tank and that the rise 'has been driven primarily by the oil price doubling from around $40 a barrel a year ago to $85 now'.

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Mrs Bull also called for extra provisions to be made available for families after the Government halted a £20-per-week Universal Credit uplift on October 4.

"That £80 would pay for my gas and electricity each month, now it has stopped and I have been told my bills are going up - there needs to be more provisions available to support families.

"It feels like I am being attacked in all areas; the government has stopped the uplift, fuel prices are increasing and so are energy bills, but I cannot access help because I am working.

"People do not recognise that the Universal Credit is vital for working families."

Petrol prices set for record highs.

Yvonne's daughter requires weekly treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital. - Credit: Yvonne Bull

The government has rolled out a Household Support Fund this month, with which it has promised to make £500million available to councils across the country to support vulnerable homes this winter.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said: "Everyone should be able to afford the essentials, and we are committed to ensuring that is the case.

"Our new Household Support Fund will provide a lifeline for those at risk of struggling to keep up with their bills over the winter, adding to the support the government is already providing to help people with the cost of living."

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak delivering the summer economic update in a statement to the

Chancellor, Rishi Sunak believes the Household Support Fund will provide a lifeline for those struggling during the Winter. - Credit: PA

Meanwhile, the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) charity helps people find affordable fuel solutions through a series of community projects.

This year, CSE announced it had seen a 43 per cent surge in demand for its services and its head of household energy services told the Mercury that it became 'a light in the darkness' for many during lockdown.

Ian Preston said: “Being able to keep healthily warm at home is a basic human need. The fact that we have increased our support and reached new people is amazing considering the challenges of lockdown.

“Many other public advice agencies operate face to face from drop-in centres and when lockdown hit, they had to close.

"The CSE advice line became one of only a few options for people in need. Many clients have referred to us as 'a light in the darkness' because we provide someone at the end of the phone who genuinely cares and helps."

You can find out more about the support and energy-saving tips CSE has available by visiting www.cse.org.uk/news/view/2643

More information on North Somerset's Household Support Fund strategy will be released soon.

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