Almost one in four say they will not turn on the heating this winter

Watch: ‘Heartbreaking’ choices Brits will have to make this winter have been revealed in a new poll

According to surveys, nearly one in four adults plans never to turn on their heating this winter, with average bills set to skyrocket as temperatures drop.

For parents with children under 18, the number is even higher, according to a Savanta ComRes survey conducted last week ahead of the announcement of the new price cap.

The pollsters asked more than 2,000 adults in the UK how they would react to rising energy prices in winter. Twenty-three percent said they would not turn their heating on at all, with the number rising to 27 percent for parents under 18.

Seven in 10 (69 percent) said they would turn on their heat less, and 11 percent said they would take out a loan, with the latter number rising again for those with children under 18 to 17 percent.

It comes amid warnings people are in for a terrible winter as the energy price cap is set to rise by 80 per cent by October, taking the average household’s annual bill from £1,971 to £3,549.

Nadhim Zahawi, the chancellor, said he was “working flat out” to come up with options for an action plan for the next prime minister to get them “off the ground” when they take office next month.

But some have accused the government of staying in action, while none of the Tory leadership candidates have fully spelled out how they would help people before the contest ends.

The Liberal Democrats, who commissioned the poll, warned that families are being forced to make “heartbreaking decisions” as the country stands on the brink of its worst cost-of-living crisis in a century.

Energy Bills - Danny Lawson/PA

Energy Bills – Danny Lawson/PA

The party is calling on ministers to scrap October’s energy price cap hike, which is being funded in part by another windfall tax on oil and gas companies.

The survey, conducted between July 29 and 30, also suggests that parents of under-18s are increasingly likely to bet more on their credit cards (33 percent compared to a national average of 23 percent) due to rising energy bills ).

Survey results have been weighted by age, gender, region and social class to be representative of the UK.

Christine Jardine, spokeswoman for the Lib Dem Cabinet Office, said: “Families and pensioners across the country are making heartbreaking decisions because the government has failed to bail them out.

“It is a national scandal that parents have to choose between heating their homes and feeding their children. It shouldn’t be like that.

“Britain is on the brink of its worst cost of living crisis in a century, and yet Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak will not give up on rising energy prices. It is clear that energy prices must not rise in October.”

Ms Jardine said an “economic catastrophe” was now “only a month away” and blamed “a zombie government in Westminster and two contenders for leadership living on another planet”.

She said it was “time to tax oil and gas companies’ record multibillion-pound profits and use the money to bail out British families and pensioners”.

A government spokesman said: “Direct support will continue to reach people’s pockets in the coming weeks and months, targeting those who need it most, such as low-income households, pensioners and people with disabilities.

“As part of our £37billion household aid package, one in four UK households will receive an additional £1,200 in support, made available in installments throughout the year, and each will receive a £400 rebate on their energy bill in winter .

“The civil service is also making the appropriate preparations to ensure that additional support or living commitments can be delivered as soon as possible once the new prime minister is in office.”

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