UK inflation dips as food and energy costs remain high
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As the cost-of-living crisis hurts families across the UK, experts have warned that the soaring energy bills could dampen Christmas festivities this year. Experts warned Express.co.uk that both households and companies will be toning down their Christmas lights this year, or ditching them entirely, in order to save on their energy bills. Over the past year, the UK has been gripped by a major fossil fuel energy crisis, as Russia’s manipulation of wholesale gas prices has led to families paying an unprecedented £2,500 per year in energy bills. With the cost of gas and electricity now nearly double what it was a year ago, millions of families now face fuel poverty.
A recent survey has shown that the energy crisis will likely lead to a majority families ditching Christmas lights displays this year, in an effort to save bills after the most recent price cap increase.
The survey, conducted by the UK property market by estate agent comparison site, GetAgent.co.uk, has found that over a fifth (22 percent) of families will refrain from placing fairy lights on their Christmas tree.
They found that 66 percent of those who would usually put up festive lights on the exterior of their home would refrain from doing so this year due to the soaring bills.
Meanwhile, of those surveyed that did plan to keep the Christmas lights on this year, about 49 percent said that they would reduce the amount of time these lights are left on, compared to previous years.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, James Forrester, Managing Director of Barrows & Forrester estate agents warned that this trend could also affect companies that normally light up the high streets with festive lights.
He said: “Many will have to tighten their belts this Christmas and, whilst no-one will want to dumb down the festivities too much after two years of Covid restrictions, the cost of living crisis will prevail on costs especially as they relate to energy bills.
“Hopefully, greater efficiencies this year won’t extend to Coronation Street celebs turning on towns’ Christmas lights only to have to immediately turn them off again.
“However we can expect to see shop window displays that are usually lit up to the max, toned down somewhat and even switched off mid-evening in order to save cash.
“We may see companies’ Christmas tree displays resorting to a tinsel-only policy and perhaps even the annual end-of-year party scaled down in order to compensate for rising costs. No doubt UK PLC will, sadly, look to economise the celebrations overall as economic angst bites deeper”.
CEO and co-founder of GetAgent.co.uk, Colby Short, commented: “The rising energy price cap has been one of the driving factors behind the cost of living crisis and there will be many households who will be refraining from turning their heating on this Christmas, let alone putting up Christmas lights.
“Of course, there are plenty of other ways to spread some Christmas cheer that don’t require an energy-sapping lights display, but for those who simply can’t celebrate without the twinkle of fairy lights, there are also some alternatives they could opt for.
“We certainly don’t recommend candles anywhere near your Christmas tree itself, but they can be a very cost effective option elsewhere around the home. There are also plenty of energy-saving Christmas lights available and opting for those with LED bulbs will help reduce energy consumption.”
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Meanwhile, a recent survey from Freemans found that a majority of Britons were avoiding using the oven, with over two-fifths saying that they have been keeping their oven switched off.
This is likely because a typical electric oven will use about 3,000W of power – currently costing about £1.02 per hour to run, or £3.06 for three hours. As a result, many families are looking towards using alternative methods of cooking, as sales of air fryers have soared in the past few months.
Air fryer sales have gone through the roof, as some popular models, including Ninja, have sold out entirely. Supermarket giant Asda reported that air fryer sales had risen by 320 percent in a year.
According to research by energy provider Utilita, air fryers are far more energy efficient than modern cookers, costing only about 17p a day to run.
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