More than a third of households across East Renfrewshire have been unable to afford to turn their heating on, a new study has revealed.

Research carried out for campaign group 38Degrees shines a light on the stark impact of the cost-of-living crisis at a time when the area has been shivering in sub-zero temperatures.

The study also shows that a quarter of East Renfrewshire residents fear they may have to use a foodbank as they struggle to make ends meet.

And around one in seven are so strapped for cash that they have missed rent payments in the last six months.

The desperate situation has led to calls for UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to use today’s Spring Budget to offer more support to the area’s poorest residents.

East Renfrewshire MP Kirsten Oswald told the Barrhead News: “All eyes are on the Budget to see what support is on offer to assist households through a cost-of-living crisis of the Tories’ making.

“People and families in East Renfrewshire are suffering from a toxic mix of inflation, soaring energy costs, rising mortgage rates and Tory austerity and cannot afford continued inaction from the UK Government.

“If the Chancellor wants to provide, he can start by cutting the Energy Price Guarantee to £2,000 and maintaining the £400 Energy Bill Support Scheme to the summer – a move that would save households £1,400.

“The fact that, in East Renfrewshire, 15 per cent are missing rent payments, 38 per cent are living without heating through the cold months and 25 per cent are relying on foodbanks is a disgrace that should shame the Tories into taking serious action – but I won’t hold my breath.

“These figures have soared, like costs, under Westminster Tory rule and we’re unlikely to see what families desperately need from a party that throughout its existence has lacked the political will to help the most vulnerable.”

A spokesperson for HM Treasury said: “We recognise the impact that rising prices are having at home, which is why we are providing significant support over this year and next - worth on average £3,500 per household. This includes holding down energy bills, uplifting benefits and the state pension in line with inflation, increasing the National Living Wage, as well as delivering hundreds of pounds in direct cash payments to millions of vulnerable households. 

“Tackling inflation is this government’s number one priority, with a plan to halve inflation this year and lay the foundations for the long-term growth that will improve living standards for everyone.”