'I've moved my family to Thailand because UK's cost of living was too much - the standard is so much better'

Jessica Ward and her daughter Cece

Mum moves family to Thailand to escape UK’s cost of living crisis

Patrick O'Donnell

By Patrick O'Donnell

Published: 18/05/2024

- 04:00

The mum-of-one said she and her partner had been finding it incredibly stressful trying to make ends meet in the UK

A family has decided to leave the UK and move to Thailand to escape the country's cost of living crisis.

Jess, her partner Harry and two-year-old daughter Cece have migrated from Congleton, Cheshire to the Southeast Asian country amid the surge in energy bills.

The family had the opportunity to visit Thailand in January and didn't want to leave, after realising they “can have a much better life” there.

"The cost of living in the UK was just too much for us - particularly energy bills," Jess said.

"It’s just so stressful trying to make ends meet when you have a young family.”

In the UK, the trio rented a four-bedroom house and had to fork out £326 per month just for their gas and electricity bills.

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Jess said: “We had an old boiler and because we were renting we weren't able to change it, although our landlord did say she would fit a new one if we committed to a longer stay."

The family had originally moved because they needed more space. While the move meant their rent increased, they had lower energy bills, and they worked out they could "take a hit" provided their rent didn't go up.

Jess explained: "It was always our plan to travel when Cece was older so we didn’t want to be tied down with a mortgage.

Since April 1, energy regulator Ofgem’s price cap stands at £1,690 which is lower than previous thresholds but experts have warned this is likely to rise. In January 2023, the price cap sat at £4,279 a year.

However, this was offset by the energy price guarantee (EPG) which was introduced by the Government. This limited households ad to pay to £2,500 annually if they had average energy usage.

Prior to the energy bill crisis, Ofgem's price cap was at £1,277 in January 2022, By April 2022, the cap shot up to £1,971 a year which heralded a period of consecutive hikes from the regulator.

“The cost of energy had a huge impact on us," Jess said. "We also couldn’t have a smart meter and I worried about the inefficiency of it and what would happen if there’s another huge energy hike.

"All the mums were worried about it when we met up. It wasn’t just energy, it was everything going up and it felt like you were on a constant knife edge and it shouldn’t be like that. Families should know they can have a safe, warm, house."

Jess says she knows of many young mums in the UK who are considering moving overseas.

She said: “The standard of living is so much better and it means you don’t have that constant anxiety which can really impact mental health, particularly on women who bear the brunt of running the home life.”

Recent research commissioned by the campaign collective Warm This Winter for the Women’s Institute found that Britain's energy bill dilemma is fuelling a mental health crisis for women.

Energy bill statement on phoneEnergy bills have been on the rise in recent years PA

Some 15 per cent of women polled as part of a survey shared they were either considering or had skipped meals to make ends meet.

Furthermore, one in eight had considered relying on foodbanks and 14 per cent had given up hobbies.

The Women’s Institute is sounding the alarm that the ongoing energy bill crisis is ruining mental health for millions.


Woman sat in front of mountains in Thailand

The family believe the "standard of living" is much better in Thailand


In the survey, 60 per cent of women asked said 2023 had been a more difficult year than 2022, which the organisation described as “depressing”.

In Thailand, Jess and her partner are now renting a "fabulous" villa, and they've managed to find a "great" nursery for Cece.

She added: "I’ve applied for a visa and hope I can get it and work here as we can afford childcare now."

However, Jess is "really worried" for families who "aren't as fortunate".

She said: "Having a warm, safe home should be a right for families and I’m aware for many it isn’t."

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