More people unable to pay energy bills, study finds

Citizens Advice Scotland has warned that the number of people unable to pay their bills could grow.

More people unable to pay energy bills, study finds iStock

Increasing numbers of people are unable to pay energy bills as they run out of money before pay day, analysis suggests.

Polling data collected for Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) indicates the number of people who missed bills rose by 44% between 2020 and 2021.

YouGov polls for CAS found around 9% of people in Scotland were in this category in 2020, going up to 13% this year.

Just over 1000 Scots were polled in May this year, with 3305 surveyed over two months in 2020.

CAS says the numbers could grow further as bills are expected to rise this winter.

Its senior energy policy officer Alastair Wilcox said: “This increase is hugely worrying.

“One in 10 people unable to pay for their energy because of a lack of cash was unacceptable in the first place.

“That it soared to more than one in seven during the pandemic shows the strain household budgets are under.

“Sadly, there is a very real risk these numbers will climb higher in the year to come, with energy prices increasing and the ongoing problems in the energy market.

“Many people with suppliers who have gone out of business may end up on higher tariffs, or lose access to the lifeline Warm Homes Discount.

“Help is at hand this winter from the Citizens Advice network.

“Our advice is free, impartial and confidential and you can get help from your local CAB or online.”

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