Eight in ten Scots 'concerned' over impending energy price hike

A study found 84% of Scots are concerned about price hikes despite government support.

Citizens Advice Scotland survey finds 84 per cent of Scots concerned over energy bills iStock

More than eight in ten Scots are concerned about the impact a hike in energy prices will have on their household budgets, a survey has found. 

The study, compiled by YouGov for Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS), found 84% of adults in Scotland are concerned about price hikes despite support pledged by the UK and Scottish Governments. 

Ofgem, the energy regulator, announced the amount customers pay per unit of energy would rise by more than 50% from April 1, with the average home set to see bills shoot up by £693.

Energy prices could go up again within the next six months after Ofgem handed itself new powers to make emergency changes to the price cap.

To counteract the price hikes, the UK Government announced a £200 ‘loan’ to bring upfront costs down for consumers, with the Scottish Government offering payments of £150 to people on Council Tax Reduction or in council tax bands A to D. 

However CAS Fair Markets spokesperson Kate Morrison said the supports schemes do not go far enough.

She said: “With energy bills set to soar, lots of us are worried about the impact that will have on household budgets, but what is especially concerning here is that even taking into account the support people will get from both the Scottish and UK governments people are still worried about struggling.

“Most people will still be facing bills of around £350 a year more even if the support schemes reach everyone effectively, clearly for many that simply remains too much and as this is an average figure for some it could be much higher.

“This cost of living crisis threatens to squeeze household budgets to breaking point, and bluntly the scale of support from policymakers isn’t going to help enough.

“People were already struggling before the rise, with around half a million people in Scotland having to cut back on food to deal with unaffordable bills.”

The poll of 1001 adults in Scotland found just 12% of those who answered the survey said they were not concerned about the rate rises.

Of those who answered, 49% said they were very concerned and 35% said they were fairly concerned.

Ms Morrison urged people to contact Citizens Advice Scotland for advice for help with soaring bills, with the CAB network unlocking £147m for people during the pandemic.

She added: “The CAB network is here to help people. We offer free, impartial and confidential advice and can help you maximise your income. 

“We unlocked £147m for people during the pandemic and in energy, people who saw a financial gain were on average £272 better off.”

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