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High fuel bills force Santa to tighten his belt this Christmas!

A week-long information campaign will be launched in Edinburgh today (Monday), setting out ways that Scottish families can cut their fuel bills. It comes as a new poll finds that half of parents say rising gas and electricity bills mean they will have to spend less on Christmas this year – forcing Santa to tighten his belt.

Big Energy Savings Week 2 is a broad-fronted campaign, involving the UK government, the CAB Service, a host of charities, consumer groups and the ‘big six’ energy companies. It says it can help Scots cut their fuel bills by up to £650 a year.

The Scottish campaign launch is at 10am today (Monday) at the Scotland Office in Melville Crescent, Edinburgh. This will be followed by events all week at local CABs across the country.

CAS Chief Executive Margaret Lynch says:

“We know that one third of Scots are in fuel poverty, and many of the people CABs see every day are struggling with their gas and electricity bills. Now we are hearing that Santa himself may have to be less generous this Christmas than he would like. We can’t have that. Especially not when there are ways that people can actually cut their bills.

“So this week, the CAB service is joining with the government and others to help Scottish families beat the fuel bill crisis. All this week, CAB advisers will be out and about in their local communities, at supermarkets, town halls, libraries and market stalls, explaining directly to local people how they can cut their energy bills.

“The message is very simple. There are three practical steps anyone can take which will help you save money: Check, Switch and Insulate. The details of how to do this are available at your local CAB, or at We also have a special phoneline in Scotland: 0800 512 012 (free for landlines).”

Scottish Secretary Michael Moore MP will be at the campaign launch in Edinburgh. He says: 

“Big Energy Saving Week is all about helping families to cut those gas and electricity bills. There are simple practical things you can do to make sure you are getting the best deal for your fuel. There are also ways to save money by insulating your home and cutting out energy waste. And there is help available from the Government for those who are struggling the most.
“These are schemes which are already available, but unfortunately they are not taken up by as many households as we would like. The evidence suggests that people don’t know enough about them. Well, this week is all about helping them find out.”

Opinion Poll Findings:


These are the findings from our survey which has been specially commissioned for Big Energy Savings Week.
NB This is a GB-wide poll, but Scottish CAB advisers say the findings reflect (or perhaps even under-estimate) CAB case evidence in Scotland.

  • Over six million children in Britain have parents who are worried they won’t be able to afford their next energy bill.
  • One in two parents said they'll spend less this Christmas – forcing Santa to tighten his belt.
  • Almost half of parents said they would cut back on their food shopping to pay for other household bills.
  • Two thirds of people think their energy bill will be higher this winter
  • 62% don’t have the heating on as much and 18% don’t use some of the rooms in their home in a bid to cut the size of their energy bills. 
  • Yet only a quarter had checked with their supplier to see if they were on the best deal and just 16% had changed to another energy company.
  • Three out of five have tightened their own belt this year to cope with rising daily costs.  But despite the squeeze on finances, only one in three households are using less electricity and just under a third have insulated their homes, with even less 25-34 year olds (23%) taking this step to keep the heat in.
  • People who thought their bill would be lower than last winter had taken action to get a better deal - 30% had switched to another energy company and one in three had checked with their supplier to make sure they were on the best deal. Plus 38% had insulated their home and nearly half (46%) were using less electricity.