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Nearly half of Scots cutting household spending due to energy bills, study finds

The research found many people are cutting back as they try to pay surging energy bills (Jacob King/PA)
The research found many people are cutting back as they try to pay surging energy bills (Jacob King/PA)

Almost half of adults in Scotland are estimated to have cut back on household spending because of energy costs, according to new analysis by a charity.

Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) said people have been left worried and anxious by the soaring cost of living.

CAS analysis of a YouGov poll found 48% of respondents, equivalent to around 2.2 million people, have cut back on household spending because of energy costs.

Just over one in 10 (11%) of the 1,002 adults questioned said they have cut back “a great deal”, while 37% said they have cut back “a fair amount”.

The charity is running the Big Energy Saving Winter campaign, which encourages people worried about energy bills and the cost of living to seek advice.

CAS social justice spokesman David Hilferty said: “The soaring cost of living driven by energy prices is leaving people worried, anxious and increasingly having to cut back on other areas of household spending to afford the essentials.

“Our message to people in this situation is that you are not alone, and support is out there. Our network provides free, impartial and confidential advice for everyone, regardless of background or circumstance.

“It can be understandable that some people may feel help isn’t available to them, but the CAB network is for everyone, whether you are working or not, renting or a homeowner, a pensioner or a student.

“People who saw a financial benefit after seeking advice last year were on average over £4,200 better off. Think of the difference that money could make to you this winter and check www.cas.org.uk/besw to get started.”

The YouGov research was carried out between November 10 and 14.

Previous analysis released by the charity found 38% of adults in Scotland, the equivalent of 1.7 million, were worried about paying energy bills or adequately heating their homes.

Just over six in 10 (62%), an estimated 2.8 million people, were worried about the cost of living more broadly.

CAS said its advice bureau network unlocked more than £132 million for people last year through things like social security payments and employment entitlements.

A Scottish Government spokesman said it remained “very concerned about the hardship people are facing right now particularly with their energy bills” but that “most of the key policy levers are held by the UK Government”, adding it would “continue to press them to use all the levers at their disposal to tackle this emergency on the scale required”.

The spokesman said: “We are providing almost £3 billion in this financial year that will help households face the increased cost of living, including £1 billion in providing services and financial support not available elsewhere in the UK. This includes increasing the Scottish child payment by 150% this year to £25 per week for each eligible child under 16.

“We have also doubled our fuel insecurity fund to £20 million and through our funding for the Money Talk Team service, people can get free and confidential advice on boosting income, accessing benefits and dealing with debt.

“I would urge anyone struggling with their finances to seek advice.”