Demand for energy advice has surged by more than 60% as people struggling with bills now face “poverty, debt and destitution in the months to come”, a charity has warned.
Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has warned of the lasting impact of the cost of living crisis as it has seen a sharp rise in interest in those seeking guidance on homelessness, energy and rising fuel costs.
The energy price cap increased significantly for households across the country in April, and in the same month advice sought on utilities, namely energy, was up 62% compared to the same period last year.
Specific advice on fuel debts have also increased by 71% compared to last year.
Online advice around being at risk of homelessness has increased by 27% since last April, and by roughly a third across the Citizens Advice Bureaux network itself over the same time period.
CAS social justice spokesperson, Stephanie Millar said: “April 2022 saw a big increase in energy bills for households across the country, and that was reflected in the demand for energy related advice being up almost two thirds compared to April 2021.
“With another big rise likely to be felt in the autumn, we would expect this demand to continue to grow.”
Ms Millar added that the figures surrounding an increase in demand for advice around homelessness were “worrying”.
She said: “That will be the lasting impact of the cost of living crisis – people struggling to make ends meet today are at risk of poverty, debt and destitution in the months to come.
“What this data suggests is the current impact of the cost of living crisis is going to lead to long lasting problems for people, so policy levers to alleviate the crisis must ensure lasting relief.
“In the meantime the Citizens Advice network is here to help. We unlocked £147m for people during the pandemic, people who saw a gain were on average over £4,400 better off. At times like this things can be really tough, but we’re here for everyone regardless of circumstance.
“We don’t judge, we just help.”