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£3 million approved by Highland Council to help those in fuel poverty

Around half a million Scots are cutting down on food to afford their energy bills.
Around half a million Scots are cutting down on food to afford their energy bills.

Members of the Highland Council agreed support totalling almost £3 million to help people currently living in fuel poverty due to the rise in prices.

At a full council meeting on Friday, December 10, the Council agreed that around 16,440 households across the Highlands will receive a payment of £180 to help with bills.

This only applies to certain households where residents receive a means-tested council tax reduction.

Around 33% of households in the Highlands are suffering from fuel poverty compared to the national average of 24%.

Additionally, 22% of households are in extreme fuel poverty which is almost double the national average of 12%.

This can be directly linked to the recent rise in gas prices leading to several small competitive energy companies going bust.

This has led residents who were with these smaller companies to pay standard rates with a new energy supplier, typically one of the Big Six.

The Scottish Government, announced in October, a new Winter Support Fund that would provide funds to help people with their bills.

The Highland Council is using some of the funding they received along with £2m from reserves to finance this new support.

£180 payments for those living in fuel poverty.

Leader of Highland Council, Margaret Davidson, said: “In the light of the clear concerns about extreme fuel poverty in Highland communities, it is imperative that we take immediate action to relieve some of the worst impacts this winter.

“In the longer term, this dire situation clearly demonstrates the pressing need for a UK wide, strategic review of our energy supply, market and infrastructure.”

Depute Leader Alasdair Christie added: “Living with fuel poverty has far-reaching impacts, particularly on health and wellbeing, as well as learning, employment and social networks.

“I would encourage anyone affected by the stark choices of heating or eating, to seek help and support from a number of providers.”

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