STRUGGLING Glaswegians claim they have been left to sit in the dark without heating and electricity due to soaring power prices.

Locals living on the breadline have told how they are turning to foodbanks for help during the gas price crisis. 

The hike in energy costs – which started during the same time cuts Universal Credit took place – have been forcing residents to make a choice between heating or eating, it is claimed.

One man from Pollok, who wished not to be named, said he spent Christmas on his own as he could not afford to travel to Ayrshire to spend the day with his family. 

Glasgow Times:

He said: “Without a doubt, I have had to make sacrifices in the last few months. I’ll try to not eat as much so that I can pay for the gas and electricity. Sometimes you feel like there’s no way out. I get help from my brother but I feel embarrassed about having to ask for help all the time. 

“In the last six months, I’ve sat in the dark because my electricity has run out on a few occasions and there’s no emergency left. I never had to do that before so it’s definitely down to the inflation.

“People walk by and probably think I’ve lost the plot sitting in the dark. 

“I haven’t had my hair cut for about a year now, which is probably the longest period in my life for me not to have it cut. It costs around £15 and I can’t afford it. I just need to leave it until I can find my feet again.”

Currently, the 53-year-old pays around £30 every week to heat and light his home. 

He says the circumstances have forced him into a cycle of constantly borrowing cash and paying it back at a later date to get by. 

He added: “I remember about two years ago a fiver would do you about three or four days. If you put a fiver in it now, it’s gone within wo days. 

“Sometimes it burns out and I still have 10 days or so before I’m paid again and I don’t have any more money to put in it and that’s after going into emergency – and you can only do that once. 

“I have to borrow money quite often, it turns into a bit of a cycle. I’ll tap a tenner here and there from different people and when I get paid, I pay it back but it turns into a bit of a cycle. You end up seeing money flying around hands and you think – who’s tenner was this in the first place? 

“Borrowing money helps you to tide by but you end up back to the very point where you started at.”

In the last two weeks alone, The Gowanbank Hub – a crisis support centre based in the Southside – has received an influx of residents turning to them for emergency fuel vouchers.

The tokens are provided by energy firms as a form of financial assistance for those on low incomes. The organisation’s figures show that the majority of applicants are struggling with excessive power bills. 

A recipient from Cardonald warned “it would not be worth thinking about” if he could not access the emergency funds.

He said: “Over the last six months they have helped me on three occasions casions with vouchers worth £49 each. 

“It doesn’t bear worth thinking about if I didn’t manage to get them. It was a lifesaver and managed to tide me by until my next payment. 

“At the time, it was one less thing to worry about and let me sort my food situation out. The saying of ‘heat or eat’ is true – that’s what these price rises boil down to at the end of the day.” 

Elsewhere, a woman from Dalmarnock claims she has been left in debts of £500.

The 49-year-old says she was knocked back from the Warm Discount Scheme – a grant of £140 for those on low incomes – due to the money she owes back. 

Glasgow Times: The Gowanbank Hub has seen a spike in service users requesting heating vouchersThe Gowanbank Hub has seen a spike in service users requesting heating vouchers

She said: “I owe £500 for my gas and electricity and I have no way of paying it. I have had to choose between gas or food sometimes and in the past, I have gone days without gas. I have been told can’t get access to the Warm Discount Scheme due to my debt, so I sit with nothing some nights.”

Billy Coull, co-director of The Gowanbank Hub, described the problem as a “crisis” that is plummeting those on benefits and those who are working into poverty.

He said: “Our country is on the precipice of an energy crisis that is causing not only people who are on benefits but also people who are working to be unable to afford the basic cost of heating and lighting homes – this is unacceptable.”

While the charity called on the UK Government to regulate or subside wholesale gas prices, Downing Street recently suggested that there are no imminent plans to keep costs down for customers. 

The comments came as ministers met with representatives of the energy industry. 

The Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said: “I’m not aware of any further changes at the moment, but obviously we keep it under review, we are listening to those most affected.” 

Mr Coull added: “Most of us would define fuel poverty as simply not being able to afford to keep your home warm. 

“But, there is an official definition – a household is said to be fuel poor if it has above-average energy costs that push them below the poverty line as far as its remaining income was concerned.

“I believe that we have reached this point and gone far beyond it.”

Yesterday, we told how one in seven adults in Scotland are struggling to make ends meet due to unaffordable energy prices. Analysis from Citizens Advice showed that more than half a million Scots cannot pay their bills as a result of low incomes.

The UK Government said that it will make £4.2 billion available to assist those on low incomes with rising energy bills. 

A spokesperson said: “The Energy Price Cap is currently insulating millions of consumers from high global gas prices. 

“We’ll continue to listen to consumers and businesses on how to manage the costs of energy.”