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Fuel bills - Scots urged to seek advice on what help is available

Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) have urged people to make use of the various schemes that exist to help those who are struggling to pay their fuel bills.

A new hotline* is being launched today by the Scottish government, to set out for people the different schemes that are available to help them meet their bills and save energy (0808 808 2282). CAS also has a phone-line offering similar advice on fuel bills and also on other consumer issues (03454 04 05 06).

CAS Chief Executive Margaret Lynch says:

“In the CAB service, we see many people who are worried about paying their gas and electricity bills. And we know that around one third of Scottish households are in fuel poverty – an astonishingly high figure. We are always urging the big energy companies to cut their bills. But in the meantime, it’s important that consumers know what help is out there.

“The good news is that there are quite a number of schemes that help people who are struggling to pay their fuel bills. The bad news is that many consumers don’t know about them, and so don’t apply to them and instead suffer the cold, or debt – or both. There are in fact so many different schemes that the picture can be quite confusing and many people just don’t even try to access them.

“The CAB provides this information for anyone who needs it, and it is good that the government is also setting it out now in a clear, straightforward and impartial way with this new helpline. We urge people to seek out this information. Just see what you are entitled to. You may not be eligible for help, but equally you could be missing out on all sorts of financial assistance. Why ignore money that is available to you? Get advice today and see if you can get help to stay warm this winter.

“And if you know any elderly or vulnerable people who you think may be eligible for help but are not aware of what schemes are available, make sure you pass this information on to them. It could make all the difference in helping them avoid another cold miserable winter.”

For CAS interviews, please contact Tony Hutson on 07774 751655.
NB This number is for journalists only.