Older customers who are in need of cheap energy during the coldest part of the year tend to prioritise keeping warm over eating, according to research.
A study by the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) found some people aged over 60 face a "trade-off" between fuel and food over the winter months, with many reducing their food expenditure and increasing the proportion of their income spent on heating their home.
All retired households decrease their food spending and increase their fuel expenditure by around seven per cent during cold snaps, the research concluded.
The findings come after ScottishPower announced it is hiking gas prices by 19 per cent and electricity costs by ten per cent from August 1st, which could add significant amounts to domestic energy users' bills if they do not switch to other tariffs.
A separate report from the IFS revealed that labelling a household benefit as designed for a specific purpose, such as the winter fuel payment, can 'nudge' people into spending it on that particular outgoing.
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