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Almost half a million Scots cut back on food to afford energy bills

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.

To heat or to eat is a very real dilemma facing some Scots as almost half a million are cutting back on food spending to afford their energy bills.

According to Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) people across the nation are facing a “perfect storm” this winter.

With rising energy bills and inflation rising to 5.1% last month, hitting a new decade high, some have even been hit with a reduction in income.

YouGov carried out research for CAS and discovered that 36% of people find their bills unaffordable.

Additionally, 54% of these people said they would cut back on household spending, with 56% of these people specifically reducing grocery spending.

According to YouGov, based on the latest population estimate for Scotland of people over 18, this works out to 483,255 people.

Others have stopped eating out or ordering takeout to be able to afford their steep energy bills. Meanwhile, others have taken to driving less to save money on petrol, and even canceling holidays and trips.

Crisis should have ‘alarm bells ringing’

The charity has described the energy market to be in a “crisis”, with multiple suppliers leaving the market and increases to the energy price cap.

As part of the Big Energy Saving Winter campaign, CAS is encouraging people to seek advice to help manage their soaring energy bills this festive season.

Derek Mitchell, chief executive of CAS, said this “shocking” analysis shows the true reality of the “cost of living crisis in Scotland”.

He said: “An estimated half a million people are cutting back on their weekly food shop to afford soaring energy bills, and this should have alarm bells ringing.

“We’ve seen a perfect storm this winter. Rising energy bills, increasing inflation and cuts to people’s incomes from the £20 reduction in Universal Credit.

“People will be facing challenges but the CAS network’s message to them is you are not alone. You don’t need to feel powerless about rising energy bills, we’re here to help with free, impartial and confidential advice.”

Mr Mitchell said that last year, the charity unlocked £147 million and helped over 171,000 people.

“We’ve been helping people for over 80 years and we’re here to help now.”

The Press and Journal, Evening Express and Original 106 have teamed up to tackle food poverty this Christmas.

The Big Christmas Food Appeal aims to raise awareness of the plight people across Grampian and the Highlands face every week and dispel some of the myths surrounding foodbanks while encouraging readers to do what they can to help.


For more information, or to get involved with The Big Christmas Food Appeal, click here.

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