"This is nothing short of terrifying - our worst fears are being realised"
Age Scotland is calling for urgent action to protect older people at risk of fuel poverty due to rapidly rising energy bills.
New research by the University of York has revealed that more than 72% of households in Scotland, and 86.4% of pensioner couples in the UK, are expected to fall into fuel poverty in January next year.
Age Scotland’s chief executive, Brian Sloan, said: “The findings of this research and what they mean for older people in Scotland are nothing short of terrifying. Our worst fears are being realised, and this is before we get confirmation of the next Ofgem price cap announcement next Friday.
“Fuel poverty is now a very real threat for the majority of Scottish households, and the grim reality is that people will die without urgent preventative action from governments. Even the maximum cost of living payment is not enough to mitigate against these costs, and more must be done.
“We’re hearing from an increasing number of older people who are finding it near impossible to pay their energy bills, having cut down on all but the essentials, and who will now be at risk of falling into unmanageable debt as a result. These debts will become ever harder to clear as their outgoings from fixed incomes continue to rise.
“It’s more important than ever that older people are claiming every penny of financial support they are entitled to, but lack of public awareness and ongoing barriers to claiming still have to be tackled.
“Our free 0800 12 44 222 helpline can provide advice and signpost to available support, as well as carrying out a free entitlement check.”