Scots struggling to pay energy bills ‘due to hard-to-heat homes’

Research conducted by YouGov for Citizens Advice Scotland found 380,000 Scots are struggling with bills.

Scots struggling to pay energy bills ‘due to hard-to-heat homes’ iStock
Struggle: Unaffordable energy bills due to hard-to-heat homes, research finds.

More than 380,000 Scots have said their energy bills are unaffordable due to their homes being hard to heat, research has found. 

The research, conducted by YouGov for Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) comes weeks ahead of an announcement which could see rates soar by half. 

The poll found 36% of people in Scotland find their energy bills unaffordable, with 24% of those citing their homes being difficult to heat as a reason. 

CAS released the analysis as part of Big Energy Saving Winter, a campaign encouraging people to get advice to manage increasing energy bills.

Consumers are facing soaring energy bills this year, with a further record rise in the energy price cap expected in April. An announcement of the new level of the price cap is expected in early February.

CAS Fair Markets spokesperson Kate Morrison said: “With one in three people finding their energy bills unaffordable, lots of us are struggling with soaring bills.

“But it’s significant that hundreds of thousands of people would identify their home being hard to heat as a reason why they are finding bills unaffordable.

“The cheapest energy is the energy you don’t use – better insulated homes mean people don’t have to pay as much. It’ll also help us on the journey to net zero, as better insulated homes means lower emissions.

“CAS has been running Big Energy Saving Winter because people don’t need to feel powerless about rising energy bills. You can check advice online or through a local CAB about how to increase your income, and look at options to insulate your home.”

As the rising cost of living climbs up the political agenda, UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwartang said on Friday he is listening to poverty campaigners on energy costs.

He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain that households will have to wait until the spring statement in March to find out whether a reported scheme to hand out one-off £500 payments to help with bills will come to fruition.

But he said the Government is “trying to work out the best way to deal with what is a really, really serious problem”.

He added: “Lots and lots of things have been discussed, and I’m sure that’s one of the things that we’ve been talking about.”

Earlier this month the Scottish Government called for urgent action to reduce energy bills, including cutting VAT.

Ministers in Edinburgh wrote to the Business Secretary and called for four-nation discussions ahead of the expected price cap rise.