“We eliminate everything that is not essential – life costs too much for a family of seven”

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

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

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

Our panel is made up of ordinary people who, like all of us, feel the need as prices continue to rise.

In the months to come, they will update us on their own struggles to stay afloat and on issues affecting them.

Here’s what they have to say…

Claire Pulfrey

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

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

“It makes me sick to know how much profit they made. That and Johnson’s answer just tells 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 struggles to pay for her gas and electricity


Hull News & Picture)

Gregory Carter

Single Greg, 47, a former computer engineer from Garthorpe, North Lincs, is already going out less because he can’t afford to fill up his car with his sick pay. “If you look at a company like BP that is making so much profit then look at the fuel costs right now which are astronomical, it’s clear they only benefit from 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 favor with the energy companies.

He says: “They’re all with the big companies, they don’t want to disrupt their funding. I actually thought Boris Johnson was the right person to get us through Covid but I think he’s too soft on big business. They make so much money and pay their directors stupid bonuses, but the people who make them rich suffer. That is absolutely ridiculous these days.”

He doesn’t think the companies will take advantage of their good fortune to invest in renewable energy because “if they were, every house in the country could have solar panels for what they make.”

Greg Carter says he can’t afford to fill up his car with sick pay



jens derrick

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

She says: “Providers are companies that are not concerned with the masses or the average person, but with being successful and making a profit. It is the government’s responsibility to look after the welfare of the people.”

She says that the news of an energy company making huge profits “feels like the gap between rich and poor is widening. People who were previously on the financially OK side of the gap now find themselves without luxuries, thinking twice before making payments, and for those who previously struggled, the situation seems utterly hopeless.

“We now have to find cheaper groceries and cut out unnecessary things and travel because life costs too much for a family of seven to do things that aren’t free.”

Our team of cost of living experts are here to help YOU through a very difficult year.

They bring you the latest money news and also offer expert advice.

Whether it’s skyrocketing utility bills, the cost of weekly groceries, or increased taxes, our team is always by your side.

Every Thursday at 13:00 they participate in a Facebook Live event to answer your questions and offer their advice. Visit to watch. You can read more about our team of experts here.

If you have a question – or want to share your story – please email

Peter Marcinak

Peter, 70, who lives in Nottingham with his wife Jayne, believes BP should “give back to society”.

The former NVQ assessor says: “Companies are in business to make money, but such huge sums are obscene.

“Footballers also earn obscene sums of money, but with energy nobody has a choice whether to pay for it or not, it’s a necessity.

Peter Marciniak thinks BP should ‘give back to society’


Peter Marciniak)

“It’s pure selfishness. Shareholders are getting rich and those who don’t have money to buy the shares still have to buy their materials.”

He says his electricity is due to be renewed next month and he and his wife are “doing everything we can to try to reduce the amount we use.” We turn off the heat, I removed the security lights outside, and we even removed the electric clock and put in a battery powered one. I’m worried because I know the bills are going to go up a lot.”

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Fry Electronics Team

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