Many forfeit household essentials just to pay their bills.
In an attempt to cut costs, emergency workers – including hospital nurses, police, ambulance workers and the fire service – have resorted to wearing more clothes indoors, turning the thermostat down and setting the heating to come on for less time every day, the price comparison site revealed.
They claim the situation is especially dire for hospital nurses who are trying to ration their usage, with one in ten working extra shifts to avoid going home, and a similar proportion forfeiting household essentials just to be able to pay their heating bill.
Real-terms pay cut.
Despite working in one of the UK’s most demanding professions, the challenging environment continues for nurses once their shift ends.
From 2010 until last year, nurses were subject to a one per cent cap on their salary, which caused a real-terms pay cut of up to 14%. The Royal College of Nursing had admitted that the current pay deal could never make up for the total loss in earnings. This has left over a quarter barely able to scrape by, saying they struggle to pay their bills each month.
Adding insult to injury, an unprecedented round of price hikes earlier this year saw energy bills rise by an average of £117 to the new level of the price cap, affecting the 28% of emergency service workers who are languishing on expensive standard variable tariffs.
The research also shows that almost one in five emergency services personnel is in debt to their energy suppliers. The police have the greatest proportion who are in the red, followed by just over one in 10 fire service staff and nurses.