‘We are cutting out all non-essentials – life costs too much for a family of seven’

Jen Derrick believes the government should be on the side of the people, not big business. She says BP’s £4.9bn profits show the divide between rich and poor is increasing

Jen Derrick with her five children
Jen Derrick with her five children

Sickening, ridiculous, obscene. That’s the verdict of the Mirror’s Cost of Living Panel to the news that BP’s profits for the first three months of this year more than doubled to £4.9billion.

Our panel is made up of ordinary people who, like all of us, are feeling the pinch as prices continue to soar.

Over the following months they will be keeping us updated on their own struggles to stay afloat, and commenting on issues affecting them.

Here’s what they have to say…

Are you a pensioner who has been badly affected by the cost of living crisis? Email: [email protected]

Claire Pulfrey

Single mum Claire, 38, says she was shocked to hear about BP’s massive profits. The former special school teaching assistant, who lives in Grimsby with her three sons, is struggling to pay for her gas and electricity and says she will soon have to choose between heating and eating.

“BP still increase gas and electricity knowing that people are struggling. It’s disgusting that Boris Johnson is arguing against a windfall tax, it would help so many people.

“It sickens me to know about much profit they’ve made. This, and Johnson’s response, just shows to me that the rich don’t care about ‘normal’ people, as long as it doesn’t affect them and they keep getting richer.”

Claire Pulfrey is struggling to pay for her gas and electricity


Hull News & Picture)

Greg Carter

Single Greg, 47, a former computer engineer from Garthorpe, North Lincs, is already going out less because he can’t afford to keep filling up his car on his sickness benefits. “When you look at a company like BP that’s making so much profit, then you look at the cost of fuel at the moment, which is astronomical, it’s clear they are just profiteering off everyone who is suffering.”

He agrees that Johnson isn’t doing enough to help ordinary Brits, but believes he doesn’t want to fall out of favour with the energy companies.

He says: “They’re all in with the big companies, they don’t want to disrupt their financing. I actually thought Boris Johnson has been the right person to get us through Covid, but I think he’s being too soft on the big companies. They are making so much money and paying their directors stupid bonuses, yet the people who are making them rich are suffering. That’s absolutely ridiculous in this day and age.”

He says he doesn’t believe the companies will use their windfall to invest in renewable energy because “if they were then every house in the country could have solar panels for what they are making.”

Greg Carter says he can’t afford to keep filling up his car on his sickness benefits



Jen Derrick

Mum Jen, 32, who lives with her husband Jonathan and their five children in Mansfield, Notts, believes the government should be on the side of the people, not big business.

She says: “Providers are businesses, their concern is not for the masses or the average person, but about being successful and making profits. It’s the government’s responsibly to be concerned for people’s welfare.”

She says news that an energy company is making huge profits “feels as though the divide between rich and poor is increasing. People who had previously found themselves on the financially OK side of the gap now find themselves without luxury, thinking twice before making payments, and for the ones previously struggling the situation seems completely hopeless.

“We now have to find cheaper food and cut out non essentials and non essential travel, because life cost too much for a family of seven to do things that aren’t free.”

Our Cost of Living team of experts are here to help YOU through a very difficult year.

They’ll be bringing you the latest money news stories and also providing specialist advice.

Whether it’s rocketing energy bills, the cost of the weekly shop or increased taxes, our team will be with you all the way.

Every Thursday at 1pm they will take part in a Facebook Live event to answer your questions and offer their advice. Visit facebook.com/dailymirror/live to watch. You can read more about our team of experts here.

If you have a question – or want to share your story – please get in touch by emailing [email protected].

Peter Marciniak

Retired Peter, 70, who lives in Nottingham with his wife Jayne, thinks BP should “give back something to the community.”

The former NVQ assessor says: “Companies are in business to make money, but vast amounts like that is obscene.

“Footballers make obscene amounts of money too, but with energy no-one has a choice about whether to pay for it or not, it’s a necessity.

Peter Marciniak thinks BP should ‘give back something to the community’


Peter Marciniak)

“It’s pure selfishness. The shareholders are getting rich and those who haven’t got the money to buy the shares are still having to buy their materials.”

He says his electricity comes up for renewal next month and he and his wife are “doing everything we can to try to reduce the amount we use. We turn the heating off, I took out the security lights outside, and we even removed the electric clock and put a battery one in. I’m worried because I know there’s going to be a big jump in the bills.”

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