Cancer patients’ bill worries

Guardian News

Guardian News

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Cancer patients in South Yorkshire ended the year struggling to pay fuel bills and relying on grants from Macmillan Cancer Support.

The leading cancer charity saw a dramatic spike in requests for grants in the last week of 2012 and paid out £7,297 - 59 per cent higher than the weekly average.

The increase in demand comes just weeks after almost all major energy suppliers hiked their bills by an average of eight per cent.

These figures back up recent Macmillan research showing that around 27,000 cancer patients in the UK could be behind with paying their fuel bills and owe their fuel providers as much as £2.8 million in overdue payments.

The charity says fuel bills often rise because cancer patients spend more time at home and often feel colder because of their illness.

Nick Mudge, interim general manager of Macmillan Cancer Support in Northern England, said: “While most of us were enjoying the festive period, cancer patients were clearly in desperate need of financial support.”

“These figures and our recent research show just how much of a problem keeping up with fuel bills is for cancer patients – especially as the weather is set to get colder.”

“Cancer patients need to put their energy into getting better. Instead many are living in cold homes anxious about how they’re going to cope with fuel bills.”

Across the UK, the second highest request for grants during the period was for clothing. Macmillan’s previous research showed that one-in-three cancer patients have to put on outdoor clothes indoors to try to keep warm.  If you are worried about paying your fuel bills or need other financial help, such as finding out if you qualify for the npower Fuel Management Programme, call 0808 808 00 00 or visit www.macmillan.org.ukukheating.