A single mum has had to turn off her heating and stuff her son's clothes with hot water bottles to afford rising mortgage costs - after their house plummeted to just nine degrees at night.

Abigail Tunstall, aged 49, from Truro, suffers with several physical disabilities - meaning she is unable to work and receives allowances for her disability which she uses to support her teenage son, who is also disabled.

In January 2022, Abigail - who is mum to two boys aged 21 and 15 - was paying £360 per month for her mortgage on her three-bed home.

But a series of hikes since then means now she's paying £510 - which is due to rise to £525 in March.

The mum-of-two says in order to keep paying her mortgage she has had to sacrifice the heating - and sees the home plummet to just nine degrees at night.

She says the "trifecta" of rising costs mortgage costs, food prices and utility bills has crippled her.

The former nurse said: "With bills and food as well as the mortgage, it's a three-pronged hit.

"When the temperature gets down to nine degrees, I have to keep my son warm somehow - even if it means strapping hot water bottles to him.

"Because of my health conditions I am often in pain and that is not helped by the cold - so my pain has gone through the roof.

"It's the trifecta of food, utility bills and mortgage - if it wasn't all three it wouldn't be so terrifying."

Falmouth Packet: Abigail's thermostat dropped to nine degreesAbigail's thermostat dropped to nine degrees (Image: Abigail Tunstall / SWNS)

Years ago she was diagnosed with a connective tissue disorder called hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.

She also suffers with fibromyalgia, long covid and myalgic encephalomyelitis, a form of chronic fatigue.

She worked for the NHS until 2012, when she took redundancy after noticing her conditions were causing her too much 'brain fog' to continue.

Then she began teaching singing lessons from home before eventually stopping working altogether to become her disabled son's carer.

She is the sole supporter of her sons, and foots the mortgage payments on their house alone, as her former husband left before her second child was born.

Since around 2016, she has relied solely on PIP and ESA from the government, as well as some child tax credit.

But price hikes in the cost of food, utility bills and mortgage payments over the past year, has left her at a loss.

In order to keep them going, she has had to minimise her use of heating - even though without it the home drops as low as nine degrees.

She said: "As soon as you put the heating on, it's like you're just watching the money fly out the window."

On top of that, she described the "terrifying" rising prices of food and household goods.

Abigail said she's at the point now where if prices don't stop rising, she'll be forced to sell her home.

But she fears even that won't be a possibility - as both she and her son require equipment and a stairlift which they cannot afford to have fitted in a new home.

She said: "The trifecta of all three costs is what's pushing most of us over the edge.

"We just don't have any money left.

"Because there's only so much you can cut down until there's nothing left to cut."

She added: "It can't continue for things to go up - and unless it affects you, nobody cares.

"As a country, we're in very big trouble.

"Until the government stop pretending nothing has happened, nothing will change."