'We'll take our fight over fuel bills to PM'
Campaigners are preparing to take their battle against huge increases in their heating bills to the Prime Minister.
Council tenants are furious after being told their bills will increase by 76 per cent from November 10.
Residents said it was unfair and environmentally unfriendly that their homes do not have meters which would allow them to control use.
They pay a flat weekly rate for heating – which means there is no way of cutting back and saving money.
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The increases will hit about 3,000 tenants in St Matthew's, St Mark's, St Peter's and St Andrew's estates, and a small area of New Parks, Leicester, who receive a district heating service for their homes.
However, council bosses said it would cost millions to fit meters to people's homes.
Jean Williams, chairman of St Matthew's Tenants' Association, said: "It's come as a big shock to people. I'm going to go to the Prime Minister with this. He is saying the Government wants to help poor people with their heating bills, but the council is not doing that.
"They were supposed to put meters into the properties but they threw it out. What are the tenants supposed to do? They're going to pay their heating bills and stop buying food. To me that's appalling."
Rene Ayres, 80, has lived in Kashmir Road, St Matthew's, for more than 40 years. Her bills are going up from £12.33 a week to £21.70.
She said: "How do they expect us to pay that out of our pension?
"I live on my own and I'm paying the same as a flat with five or six people living in it."
Glen Smith, 44, a single parent, from St Matthew's, said: "We're paying way above what anyone is using, and hot water is being pumped pointlessly around the estates."
A city council spokesman said: "If people are facing hardship because of their fuel bills, we urge them to contact housing's income management team as soon as possible.
"We will be writing direct to all 3,000 tenants to tell them how to do this."
Advisers can look at people's income and outgoings, help them to make sure they are claiming all of the benefits they are entitled to, and give general money advice or point them to specialist services. The number to call is 0116 252 7007.