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Over half of low income working households in Scotland struggling with energy costs

  • 01/12/2015

New research by the national charity Turn2us has found that over half (55%) of low income households in Scotland are struggling with their energy costs, despite being in work. Worryingly, of those households who are struggling, over half (52%) have done so for more than a year.

As the weather turns colder, the research also reveals that more than half (55%) of low income workers in Scotland are worried about paying their energy costs this winter. As a result, more than two-thirds (68%) of households feel they will have to cut back on or not use their heating whilst nearly half (49%) said they would resort to cutting back on food. Over two fifths (42%) anticipate that their energy bills will cause further stress and worry in the coming months.

Turn2us’ research also suggests a lack of awareness of the help that might be available to low income working households in Scotland, or potential reluctance to access it. Of those who are struggling to pay their energy costs, only 17% have told their energy supplier about their situation, and only 10% have turned to an advice organisation for help.

Furthermore, over four in five (82%) of all low income households in Scotland have not checked their eligibility for welfare benefits in the last twelve months, whilst a huge 84% are unaware that some energy suppliers have charitable trusts set up to help certain customers.

This winter, Turn2us is running its No Cold Homes campaign specifically to help more people who are unable to afford to heat their homes. The charity is encouraging anyone in financial hardship to use its free online service to see if they are eligible for welfare benefits, charitable grants and other support – additional income which could help them manage their energy costs over the colder months.

Simon Hopkins, Chief Executive of Turn2us said: “Our research paints a startling picture, revealing the extent to which households are struggling to heat their homes, even though they’re in work. It is clear that more needs to be done to help raise awareness of the financial support and other help available to people on low incomes to help them manage their energy costs.

We know that this is an issue that affects a wide range of people, and alongside working households, many others will suffer this winter. We believe that no one should have to live in a cold home. Through our campaign, we urge anyone struggling to check what support could be available.”

The No Cold Homes campaign runs from 18 November to 16 December 2015. As part of the campaign, Turn2us is hosting an online celebrity clothes auction (30 November – 9 December) to raise awareness of people’s struggles to heat their homes, and funds to help more people affected.

For more information, please visit www.turn2us.org.uk/NoColdHomes.

-ENDS-

For further information and interviews with Turn2us case studies or spokespeople, please contact:
Emma Lamberton, Communications Manager on
emma.lamberton@turn2us.org.uk or 0208 834 9259

Notes to Editors

  • All figures, unless otherwise stated are from a survey conducted with Research Now in September 2015. Total sample size was 2,001 adults with annual household incomes of £30,000 and less before tax and deductions. Results were then analysed by region

About Turn2us:

  • Turn2us is a national charity that helps people in financial hardship to gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and support services – online, by phone and face to face through partners and volunteers

  • The Turn2us website includes a Benefits Calculator to find out what welfare benefits and tax credits you could be entitled to, a Grants Search to find out if you might be eligible for support from over 3,000 charitable funds, and a range of information and resources to help people in financial hardship
  • Turn2us can also provide direct financial assistance through a range of specific funds that are managed directly by the charity, including the Elizabeth Finn Fund which supports people from over 120 different professions
  •  For more information, please visit www.turn2us.org.uk