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Spotlight on: Consumer Futures Unit


  1. 11 Oct 2018

    11% of Scottish households are using electric heating, which is the most expensive form of domestic fuel – three times as costly as gas.

  2. 5 Oct 2018

    New research by Citizens Advice Scotland has revealed the challenges faced by those Scots who use oil to heat their homes.

  3. 3 Sep 2018

    by Derek Mitchell, CAS Chief Executive

    (This article first appeared in the Sunday Herald on 26 August 2018)


  1. Modernising Consumer Markets
    Gail Walker

    Publication date: July 2018

    CAS welcomes the Consumer Green Paper and a stronger push by the UK government for greater simplicity, transparency and fairness for those that purchase and use goods and services.

  2. Gail Walker

    Publication date: February 2018

    The Consumer Futures Unit launches a new water report today. Deliberative research was used to get a deeper understanding of consumers’ views on two important aspects of water policy: service standards across urban and rural areas, and how consumers relate to water and the environment.

    Findings from the research supported stronger engagement between Scotland’s water industry and those that use its services, and that involving consumers in the design and delivery of water and sewerage services is more likely to result in mutual benefits for both the industry and those that use its services.

    The report found that consumers are strong supporters of water and environmental protection and conservation, however they need more help to understand how their behaviour in terms of appropriate disposal of household waste can and will protect both Scottish Water’s assets, and the environment. Moving consumers from being largely disengaged users of water services, to willing and informed partners, will require insight and creativity. The challenge for the water industry and government is to bring this about.

  3. Rebecca Millar

    Publication date: October 2018

    Services that are essential for life, such as water and sewerage, should be affordable for all consumers.  CAS' latest research report takes a closer look at characteristics that may indicate whether or not a household will struggle to pay for water and sewerage charges. It also provides an analysis of various proxies that could be used to determine affordability, and at how additional financial support could be targeted towards households that need it most.

    The report found that:

    • Income is the most accurate indicator of whether or not a household is likely to find water and sewerage charges affordable.
    • 12% of households in Scotland spend more than 3% of their weekly income on their water and sewerage charges although not all receive additional financial support through available affordability mechanisms.
    • The current proxy used to provide financial relief, based on households being in receipt of Council Tax Reduction, is the most effective one that exists however, difficulties around more closely linking systems and data sets means that some households in need of additional support do not receive it. 
    • In the longer term, further research is necessary to identify how support could be more effectively targeted to all households that may struggle to pay.
  4. Issues brought to the Citizens Advice Network in Scotland 2016-17

    Publication date: August 2018

    The Energy Advice in Detail report provides an annual assessment of the energy issues clients of the Citizens Advice network in Scotland sought assistance with, and places those within a wider policy context.

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