Soaring power bills means parents will buy 13million fewer Christmas presents this year

HARD-UP parents will buy 13 million fewer Christmas presents this year because of spiralling energy bills, a survey has found.

Over half of families said they will struggle to afford energy this winter forcing almost one in six to buy less gifts to make ends meet.

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Children may have to settle for less this year as parents are being forced to cut down on holiday spending[/caption]

Parents surveyed said they will buy five fewer presents on average – which would total 13 million fewer across the country.

It comes as energy prices shot up six per cent in a year – to an average of £1,194 – forcing the Government to bring in a pay cap to bills to support struggling families.

Household energy debt has rocketed by 24 per cent and since January 32 providers have announced 55 price rises.

Supplier Eversmart commissioned the survey of 1,796 people and its CEO Barney Cook said: “Christmas should be a time of eating, drinking and spending time with your family.

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The rise is energy bills is forcing almost one in six to buy less gifts in order to make ends meet[/caption]

“A time for loosening your belt rather than tightening it – instead many families may see their energy bills as the ‘pinch’ that stole Christmas.

“It shouldn’t be that way – heating your home in colder weather and keeping the lights on in the darker evenings shouldn’t come at a prohibitively expensive cost.”

Over two fifths of families will be forced to reduce spending over winter, with 27 per cent of parents cutting back on meals out.

Nearly one in ten will reduce the number of clothes bought for their kids while 16 per cent will commit to less leisure activities like swimming.

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