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British Gas profits: 'consumers deserve a fair deal'

Citizens Advice Scotland have said the announcement of huge profits by British Gas should lead to a fairer deal for the consumer, and that the government should consider tougher regulations on the industry if necessary to make this happen.

Citizens Advice Scotland’s Chief Executive Lucy McTernan said,

“These huge profits have to be seen against the fact that so many people are still suffering the impact of the recession, and in particular are struggling to pay their fuel bills.

“One in three Scottish households are now in fuel poverty. That’s a truly shocking statistic. And many Scottish CAB clients have told us they are having to make a choice every day between heating their home and putting food on the table. What is most worrying is that the people worst affected are those who are most vulnerable to begin with - including pensioners, unemployed people, sick and disabled Scots.

“We have called on the energy regulators to consider very carefully whether the current levels of fuel bills are appropriate, and we would repeat that call in light of today’s news. We would also urge the government to make very clear that it will step in and impose regulations on fuel companies if that is what is necessary to get consumers a fair deal.

“Above all, we need urgent action on this issue. This is the year 2011 and we call ourselves a civilised country. We simply cannot tolerate another winter where one third of our fellow citizens are unable to heat their home properly.”

Scottish CABs collectively helped with 16,588 issued related to utility bills last year – that is 45 for every day of the year.

For more information, interviews etc. please contact Tony Hutson or on 0131 550 1010 07774 751655.