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Fuel bill hike will hit the most vulnerable scots hardest

Citizens Advice Scotland have said any increases in fuel bills now will hit the most vulnerable Scots – including pensioners, sick and disabled people, and families on low incomes.

Responding to reports that British Gas are to increase their bills, CAS Chief Executive Margaret Lynch says:

"We know that more than one third of Scots are already living in fuel poverty. That is a truly shocking statistic. And CAB advisers see the real-life evidence of this every day. Many of the people who come to seek our advice are people who are simply unable to pay their gas and electricity bills.  

Last year Scottish CABs dealt with nearly 11,000 such cases, and the people who suffer most are those who are already vulnerable - like pensioners, sick and disabled people and low-income families. Any increases in bills now will clearly be bad news for such people, and we would be concerned about the impact that such rises will have – particularly with winter coming up.

“On the positive side, it’s important to say that there are some very good schemes in place now to help people save money on their fuel bills. The challenge is to make sure people are aware of these schemes and know how to access them. Later this month the CAB service will be working with the UK government to launch a national information campaign showing people how they can cut their bills - for example by switching suppliers or by taking advantage of free schemes that help them insulate their homes.*

“In the meantime, anyone who is worried about their fuel bills, or about their finances in general, can get free, impartial advice from their local CAB.”

* That campaign - ‘Big Energy Savings Week’ – will be launched on 22 October. Some 20 local CABs across Scotland will be running information events that week, to help local people access real practical measures that will cut their fuel bills.

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