Joshua Wheeler-Gaunt, 33, is among a growing number of people concerned about rising energy bills and other costs.
Asked about things that have become unaffordable or very expensive for him, he replied: “Everything! From home maintenance to rising energy bills [and] the cost of replacing my increasingly unreliable 14-year-old car – almost impossible without buying something so unreliable or going into deep debt.
“I think my energy bills have increased by around £ 15 per month compared to last summer, which will be more like £ 40 or 50 once it gets colder. Water has increased by around £ 60 per year, council tax a few pounds per month…. Everyone eats out of your disposable income. I would say about 40% of my salary is easily spent on house expenses – mortgage, council tax and bills – before considering any maintenance or improvements. “
Wheeler-Gaunt lives in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, and works in quality assurance for an unlicensed NHS drug maker. In terms of salary, he is in the NHS ‘group 6’ which means between £ 32,000 and £ 39,000 per year.
He added, “Even the little luxuries like a meal or a beer now threaten to swallow up such a chunk of my income that I can’t really go out if I want to save for the more expensive things. My salary is in no way proportional to the cost of living, although I am probably an above average salary.
“As I live on my own, any increase in costs reduces what I can save,” he said. Much of that money, he added, was for expensive but necessary purchases like “replacing my broken boiler.”
“It just adds an additional element of stress to your life. If the costs continue to rise I will probably find it difficult to start a family in the UK. If things don’t change, I will probably have to leave the country again. I lived in Switzerland, where the cost of living is more balanced and where we feel that there really is a future.