Gas bills have rocketed by more than 50 per cent for Havering Council’s housing stock in 2022/23 - despite the data only covering two-thirds of the current financial year.  

Soaring energy prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have impacted businesses and families throughout much of the world, with local authorities far from immune.  

According to a Freedom of Information request submitted to Havering Council by the Recorder, the total cost of gas for its housing stock from April 1 to December 31, 2022 was £353,554.

This was 54.7% up on the £228,571 for the 2021/22 council year and an increase of 54.7% on 2021/22.

If the 2022 figure was extended cover the whole financial year, it would suggest a final sum of more than £530,000, up 132% on the previous 12 months.  

Such fluctuations did not appear in the data for electricity, but the hike in gas prices meant overall energy costs were more than £90,000 higher so far for 2022/23.

By December 31, 2022 they had reached £718,350, against £628,190 for the whole of 2021/22 and £573,718 the year before.  

Not surprisingly, the council’s non-residential building stock, such as the town hall, was similarly affected, though gas made up less of the overall energy use than in residential stock.  

For non-residential buildings, the cost of gas for 2022/23 until December 31 was £260,866, up from £161,467 for 2021/22 and £171,871 for 2020/21.  

This was despite the council confirming there had been no increase in its non-residential stock in the last year.   

In terms of overall figures, including both types of building stock covering gas and electric, 2022/23 had already cost the council £134,000 more than 2021/22, jumping from £1,266,507 to £1,400,823.  

A Havering Council spokesperson said: “Like most households across the country, Havering Council is feeling the sting of the rising cost of energy around the globe, which means our energy bills have gone up.”

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According to ONS data, gas prices across the UK in the year to December 2022 had risen by 128.9pc.  

However, wholesale gas prices have fallen in recent weeks, with bills expected to drop later in the year. 

The inflated costs come at a time of “acute” financial strain for the council. Despite recently cutting its predicted budget gap for 2022/23 from £19 million to £14m, Havering is still attempting to balance the books after estimating an overspend of more than £60m over the next four years.