Struggling Bradford families fear they will have to choose between food and fuel this winter as the cost of living crisis continues.

The Bank of England says the recent increases in energy bills are set to be three times more than they were a year ago - and this is affecting a number of people across the district.

Emma Lightowlers, 29, from Allerton, has a one-year-old baby and a disabled daughter and says her electric meter now costs her £40 a week – a fee she cannot afford.

“It’s the electric at the moment, we’re not using our central heating at the moment because of the weather, but we don’t know what we’re going to do when the winter comes.

“We’ll have to choose to eat food or invest in the electric, but we need to use electric to cook the food so it’s going to be a big struggle.”

Emma said that at first, she thought “people were being silly” about the rising costs, but now her bills have risen so much that she is “feeling the pinch.”

“ I’m on a meter so I can’t just pay my bills because I’ll just have no gas and electricity, so it is a worry, especially with young children. 

"I've cut down on the washing and I'm only using electric for the essentials but it's still a real struggle."

Emma said that she wishes the government would put a cap on the fees and freeze the fuel costs, because by winter “people will not be able to live.”

“I’m afraid to say but I’m worried there’s going to be deaths. People won’t realise the severity of it until there’s a baby on the front of the paper that has starved or frozen to death.”

Julie Longden, a care worker who is involved with the Allerton community, explained that that some residents that “really struggling” don’t want to speak out because they feel ashamed of their situation.

“The people that are right on the edge, the shame is so heavy. There’s a huge amount of shame from the people that can’t cope.

“But they’re just absolutely desperate and really scared. There’s a lot of panic, and people just don’t know how they’re going to survive.

"They can’t survive now so they don’t know what they’re going to do in the winter months.”

Julie is hoping to hold a meeting in the community to see what can be done about the problem.