More people are seeking advice over financial fears than ever before, with a 14-fold increase in people looking for help accessing charitable support, a Citizens Advice boss has said.

Mark Hitchcock, chief executive of Citizens Advice Norfolk, has said his staff and volunteers have been inundated with people seeking help with money worries amid the soaring cost of living.

On the day a new energy cap was confirmed by regulator Ofgem, Mr Hitchcock revealed that hundreds more people having been coming to the service for advice around debt.

He said there had been a 14-fold increase in the number of people looking for help accessing charitable support, such as foodbanks and hardship funds in the past month.

He added that there had also been a 500pc increase in the number of approaches from people with utility issues and that advisors had seen around 3,500 people since April sharing concerns about debt.

It comes as Ofgem has confirmed that energy costs will rise by 80pc by October.

It means the average household energy costs will spiral from £1,971 to £3,549.

This cap will remain in place until the end of the year, with forecasts warning average household bills could surge again to around £7,000 by April.

The actual rise in living, coupled with anxiety around what could happen next, has seen more and more people turn to advice services for help.

Mr Hitchock said: "What is really alarming is that we are seeing people recently who would never have come to see us in normal circumstances - people we have never seen before.

"Debt is by far and wide the leading issue reported to us and that has been the case for the past year or so. This has never previously been the case."

Mr Hitchcock added that the sheer volume of approaches the service had had was also taking its toll on the staff members and volunteers who give up their time to help others.

He added: "Citizens Advice was founded in 1939 and in all this time it has never seen this level of demand.

"I'm really starting to get concerned about the welfare of our staff as they run the risk of being overwhelmed.

"People come to us in floods of tears and sometimes there is just nothing we can do for them.

"But the best thing people can do is ask for help. You can not afford to just bury your head in the sand and hope the problem goes away."

Dan Mobbs, chief executive of the Mancroft Advice Project (MAP), which specifically offers support to young people, said the service was enduring similar experiences.

He said: "People's lives are impossible now - this is an emergency situation and that demands an emergency response.

"People who have never sought help before are doing so - people who work in reasonable jobs are having to turn to foodbanks and social supermarkets.

"We are now often talking to people who are in employment but just can not afford to pay their rent."

Dan Skipper, chief executive of Age UK Norwich, urged people to research what support is available through local authorities - rather than suffering in silence.

He said: "We run the risk of a real false economy, where people who don't seek help will end up with severe mental health issues, or getting physically ill for not eating properly or catching hyperthermia over the winter.

"These people will then end up in our health system, in ambulances and hospitals and care homes, which are already on their knees."

Following the cap's announcement, bosses at Ofgem called on the next prime minister to take further action to address the issues - warning the £400 energy bill support scheme does not go far enough.

Jonathan Brearly, chief executive of Ofgem, said: "It is clear the new prime minister will need to act further to tackle to impact of the price rises that are coming in October and next year.

"The response will need to match the scale of the crisis we have before us."