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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Charity reveals cost of living cutbacks forced on households

This news post is over 1 year old

People across Scotland are making cleaning cutbacks amid the cost of living crisis.

A Scottish charity has warned people are being forced to cut back on cleaning in a desperate attempt to save on energy bills.

Analysis by Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) of polling by YouGov found that as a result of rising energy bills, 48% of adults in Scotland (roughly 2.2 million) have had to cut back on household spending. 

The research found 42% (an estimated 927,987 adults) are showering or bathing less, while 48% - equivalent to over one million adults - were using domestic cleaning appliances such as the dishwasher or washing machine less. 

A further 15% (an estimated 331,424) were cutting back on buying toiletries and sanitary products.

The charity is running Big Energy Saving Winter, a campaign encouraging people worried about energy bills and the cost of living to seek advice.

People can get advice in a variety of ways, either from a local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) or through various online platforms. 

The network unlocked over £132million for people last year, through things like social security payments and employment entitlements. The average gain of for clients who saw a financial benefit was over £4,200.

In one example of the type of cases CABs a dealing with, last year a North of Scotland CAB helped a social housing tenant with two children, including one under two. 

Despite receiving everything they are entitled to and one adult being self-employed, the family can no longer afford their energy costs and are having to ration their energy use. 

They are reliant on food banks and charity shops to keep their household costs to a minimum, and are using cloth nappies to keep costs down but are struggling to afford the washing machine to wash them.

As part of preparing for the Big Energy Saving Winter campaign, CABs across Scotland held focus group with vulnerable consumers to get their insights into the crisis. One told the group: “I’m using my local council leisure card to go to the leisure centre twice a week for a shower. At 50p a time, it is cheaper than using the energy at home.”

Further examples from the groups included a participant saying they were using an egg timer to time their showers, and people using the washing machine less and hand-washing in the sink with colder water.

CAS social justice spokesperson, David Hilferty, said: “As the cost of living crisis continues to impact households, people are changing their behaviours in drastic ways to meet essential daily activities.

“In some cases that will be sensible cutbacks to keep prices under some sort of control, but there is a risk of long term health impacts for vulnerable people.

“We would encourage anyone worried about the cost of bills to seek help from the CAB network.

“People can visit and find an advice option that works for them, whether that is one on one advice from their local CAB or online help from a variety of sources.”

He added: “We are for everyone, whether they are working or not. We don’t judge, we just help.

“Our advisers get real results. Last year we unlocked £132million for people, and people who saw a financial benefit from seeking advice on average were over £4,200 better off.”