(Bloomberg) -- Britain’s low-income households will spend almost a fifth of their income after housing costs on energy bills starting in April when a cap on prices is allowed to rise.

Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that that proportion rose to more than half for single-adult households. While bills are set to rise by about 40-47% for all households, the sums represent a bigger share of income for those who are less well off.

Higher energy prices are part of a squeeze on household finances hitting this year, also marked by rising taxes and inflation. The government is negotiating with energy companies to try to soften the blow. 

Bloomberg Economics sees consumer price growth peaking near 6.5% in April, with the latest data for December to be released on Wednesday by the Office for National Statistics.

Read more: U.K. Households Unable to Afford Energy Bills to Triple in April

Separate research from Rowntree suggests 3.8 million households are behind in paying their bills, a number that has tripled since the pandemic hit land leaves them owing a total of 5.2 billion pounds ($7.1 billion) in debt.

“Rising energy prices will affect us all, but our analysis shows they have the potential to devastate the budgets of families on the lowest incomes,” said Katie Schmuecker, deputy director of policy and partnerships at the JRF. “The alarm is sounding loud and clear. The case for targeted support to help people on the lowest incomes could not be clearer.”

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