MANY working families are already using foodbanks in Bolton as household bills are set to increase this April.

And an energy price hike is due this spring, with regulator Ofgem setting the price cap from April to the rest of the year, taking bills up to £2,000 average for many households in Bolton.

The sharp rise could mean families having to choose between ‘heating or eating’, according to campaigners, as they struggle to accommodate it, paired with the impending price increase of food, and even National Insurance rises, due at the same time.

Cllr Sue Haworth, shadow adult services cabinet member, said: “There are many people and families on modest incomes in the borough who will be very badly affected by this energy bills increase.

“It’s unacceptable for people to be in cold homes or unable to cook and wash.

"We have many pensioners where the risks are most high as they can get hypothermia causing some older people to pass away. “

With no increase on wages, even those in jobs will find themselves struggling to make ends meet.

April will be the month taxes also go up, and with inflation also riding high, debt advice experts believe families in Bolton will be concerned.

Richard Wilkinson, the Citizens Advice Bury and Bolton (CAAB) chief executive, said: “What we are seeing is a series of costs going up at the same time.

“With inflation at 5.1 per cent as well and the cost of food increasing, we are finding is an increasing number of working people that we are referring to foodbanks.

“Household bills are being stretched to the limit and usually we’d advise people to switch suppliers, but anything new will now be more expensive.”

Meanwhile, one of the UK’s leading energy suppliers – Ovo Energy, has come under fire for an email in which it told customers to ‘cuddle the cat’ and do ‘a few star jumps’ to stay warm without turning on the heating.

The company has since apologised for the insensitive advice.

Labour's Cllr Haworth added: “The government gave a £500m household support fund to councils in England at the end of 2021 but remember, households lost £6bn in England in the cut to universal credit. We need a government that supports this council and Bolton residents much more than it does.”

The CAAB is urging people to check their eligibility for winter fuel payments, the warm home discount, cold weather payments and energy debts grants and exploring payment help with suppliers.