Patients rely on charity

Cancer patients in Northumberland ended the year struggling to cope with their fuel bills and relying on grants given out by Macmillan Cancer Support.

The charity saw a dramatic spike in requests for grants in the last week of 2012 and paid out £1,710 which was 126 per cent higher than the weekly average for 2012.

More than 66 per cent of the people helped during this period were given grants towards heating bills.

The increase in demand comes just weeks after almost all major energy suppliers hiked their bills by an average of eight per cent.