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Many will face 'heating or eating' choice this winter

Many will face 'heating or eating' choice this winter

Thursday 27 October 2022

Many will face 'heating or eating' choice this winter

Thursday 27 October 2022

The mild autumn weather has so far protected some of the poorest people in the island from really feeling the pressure of rising prices warn three charities.

The Guernsey Welfare Service says that because October has been mild, with average temperatures of around 15c this month, many people have not yet had to turn on their heating.

However, people are sharing their concerns with welfare service staff and volunteers, expressing that they're worried about the cost of warming their homes this winter.

The Guernsey Welfare Service says the food bank it runs continues to be very busy as the rising costs of staple items mean people are feeling the need to ask for help for the first time. It had already seen a record high number of users earlier this year. 


Pictured: Guernsey's largest foodbank is co-ordinated by the Guernsey Welfare Service based at Upper Mansell Street.

Sue Le Friec from GWS said the continuing requests for assistance is all down to the rise in prices seen over the last year.

"Guernsey Welfare is very busy at the moment with people seeking assistance, some for the first time. 

"Most people are stating the increase in food prices as their need for coming, with prices going up by significant amounts quite regularly.  Fortunately, we have had a mild October so heating costs are yet to kick in, but people are worried about this as the colder months get nearer."

Mrs Le Friec said that she would encourage anyone who is struggling with heating or eating costs to ask for help. She said there is no shame in it and that for a large number of the people they help the service acts as a 'top up' to their wages.

"Many people who are coming for assistance are working but wages haven’t increased at the same rate as the RPI.  We would encourage people to contact us if they are struggling, these are unprecedented times and there is no shame in seeking assistance."

Kerry Ciotti, Chief Executive of the Citizen's Advice Bureau, echoed the concern expressed by Mrs Le Friec that the rising cost of living will cause further problems down the line, as more people feel the added pressure of increased heating bills as well as food costs.


Pictured: The Citizen's Advice Bureau offers free advice to members of the public.

"I do believe that the full effect of the increased costs has not fully hit us all yet," she said. "Once winter is upon us, that is when we anticipate islanders will really notice the full impact of the increased costs of living.  

"There has been an increase in enquiries relating to people being able to remain in and find affordable housing with an increase in people finding themselves homeless.

"There is no doubt that the increases in the RPI and RPIX are only going to make people’s lives much tougher.  We hope that islanders know that they can talk to us at Citizens Advice and get help with money advice from one of our trained money advisers.  Our advice is, don’t suffer alone and let problems escalate come and talk to us and let us try to help you find a way forward."

David Inglis of Age Concern Guernsey also raised concerns about more people struggling as the weather gets colder.

He said 40 people applied immediately when the winter fuel fund was opened and that he is expecting a "very busy" winter helping people cover their heating bills. 

RPI 2021 2022


Pictured: Guernsey's rate of inflation is at a 30 year high.

The latest RPI and RPIX figures were released this week, showing that inflation has almost doubled in a year. It is also at its highest since the early 1990s.

The States calculate RPIs based on the cost of nearly 600 individual items from the average changes in prices of around 2,000 goods and services. 

The changes are weighted and used to update 14 group indices and the overall index. These are then split into the (all items) RPI and the RPIX which excludes mortgage interest payments (from within the Housing group).

The latest inflation statistics have also included for the first time a Household Cost Indices (HCIs) alongside the usual RPIs. These have been included to "aid in the understanding of the differences in rates of price inflation being experienced by different types of household".

The HCI measures will equally represent low-income and low-spend households alongside those with higher incomes that spend more, with the intention of making a good comparison between different spending patterns and different experiences of inflation.

One way this will reflect differences in lifestyle is how some shoppers may change food brands for cheaper options when there are large changes in prices.


The basics of inflation

Inflation more than doubles in a year

Inflation latest due out today

Local prices hit 30-year high

Survey finds half struggle to meet living costs 

Foodbank gets busier every year

Annual inflation highest since 2008

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