An analysis of official data reveals that around one in four Scottish households are struggling to heat their homes, as a leading advice charity calls on the Scottish Government to commit to doubling spending on energy efficiency.
Research by Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) shows that 619,000 households were living in fuel poverty during 2018-19, while one in ten were in extreme fuel poverty at 279,000.
CAS alone advised over 37,000 people in 2019-19 on energy-related issues alone, saving families an average of £232 per case.
The latest figures come as CAS seeks to promote ‘Big Energy Saving Week’, a campaign created to help low-income households save money of their energy bills.
CAS Fair Markets spokesperson Dr Jamie Stewart said: “These figures are a sorry state of affairs for Scotland.
“Over 600,000 homes in fuel poverty, and 279,000 in extreme fuel poverty shows the staggering scale of this problem.
“Every year the Citizens Advice network in Scotland helps tens of thousands of people with energy-related issues with many of them dealing with unaffordable energy costs coupled with living in homes which are hard to heat.
“The first step in tackling fuel poverty must be to help those struggling to keep their homes warm.
“That’s why in the upcoming Scottish budget we want the Scottish Government to commit to doubling spending on energy efficiency.
“These figures also highlight the importance of Big Energy Saving Week which we are running this week.
“Last year, the Citizens Advice network in Scotland helped people who came to us with energy-related issues save on average £232 per case. That’s a huge amount for someone living in fuel poverty.
“So if you are struggling with your energy bills, visit your local bureau where you can get specialist advice on how you can save money.”
Earlier this year CAS called on the Scottish Government to double funding to its Energy Efficient Scotland programme to at least £256 million a year or 0.3% of Scottish public sector expenditure.