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Worried this winter: people struggling with energy bills can get help

This news post is 7 months old
 

Over 1.4 million people in Scotland are worried about being able to adequately heat their home this winter

A new campaign has launched, encouraging people who are worried about energy bills to seek advice from the Citizens Advice network.

The campaign comes as research from Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) indicates that energy bills are the biggest financial concern for 2.2 million people this winter.

Research, based on analysis of YouGov polling, also estimates that over 1.4 million people in Scotland are worried about being able to adequately heat their home this winter.

CAS is now launching the Worried this Winter campaign, encouraging people to seek advice from the network in a variety of ways. People can visit www.cas.org.uk/worried where they can choose an option that works for them, such as:

  • Online advice pages or interactive self-help tools like www.moneymap.scot
  • Specialist services like the Money Talk Team
  • Find their local CAB if they feel they need one to one advice

Last year the average gain from energy related advice from across the Scottish CAB network was more than £400. Advice gains generally for those who saw a benefit was over £3,700.

In a recent example of the help CABs have been giving people, a young single mum of three children sought help from a CAB after being encouraged by their friends and family.

She had recently separated from their partner and had to start working less to care for the children. They remained in their owned family home and though the partner was paying child maintenance, the client found that their monthly budget simply wasn’t stretching far enough.

The client had not been in receipt of any benefits before, other than Child Benefit. The CAB Adviser identified that the client was entitled to Universal Credit and Scottish Child Payment, which the CAB supported them to claim.

The adviser then worked through the household expenditure with the client, identifying a cheaper energy provider saving just under £100 per month. Having felt overwhelmed by the separation, the mum felt in control again and referred to the service as a ‘lifesaver’.

Launching the campaign, Citizens Advice Scotland chief executive Derek Mitchell said: “As the weather turns cold it’s perfectly understandable that people are worried about their energy bills and keeping their homes warm. We’ve faced the worst cost of living crisis in living memory and people have had their financial resilience worn down.

“Our new campaign says to people it’s okay to be worried this winter, because the CAB network is here to help you regardless of your background or circumstances, our advice is free, impartial, and confidential.

“Lots of people may not realise that they don’t have to go to a CAB to get advice and information from our network. We have online self-help tools and advice pages that can help you see where you can cut your costs, boost your income, and understand your rights with your energy supplier.

“We get real results for people, last year the average gain for energy advice was more than £400. People who saw a gain from advice more broadly were £3,700 better off.

“We’re for everyone – whether you are in work or not, own your home or not, whether you have kids or not. If you’re worried this winter, our network is here for you in a way that suits you.”

Visit www.cas.org.uk/worried