The number of Scots who have missed energy bill payments because they couldn’t afford to make them has increased sharply since 2020, according to a new set of figures.
Research carried out on by Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) based on YouGov data shows that 13 per cent of Scots missed an energy bill payment this year due to a straightforward lack of money.
Those figures for 2021 are up by some 44 per cent compared with 2020, when just less than one in ten (9 per cent) of Scots found themselves behind on what is an essential household expenditure.
From the perspective of CAS, as a charity helping Scots cope with their debt problems, the worry is that the numbers of people falling behind on their energy bills will continue to increase over the coming winter and beyond.
The charity has said that anyone worried about paying their energy bills on time should find out if they might be able to reduce the scale of those bills by changing their tariffs.
“This increase is hugely worrying,” said CAS’ energy policy officer Alastair Wilcox. “One in 10 people unable to pay for their energy because of a lack of cash was unacceptable in the first place.”
“That it soared to more than 1 in 7 during the pandemic shows the strain household budgets are under.”
Mr Wilcox noted that there is a general expectation that energy bills will increase in the coming months because of issues within wholesale energy markets and suppliers passing price rises onto their customers.
“Many people with suppliers who have gone out of business may end up on higher tariffs, or lose access to the lifeline of the Warm Homes Discount,” the energy sector expert explained.
Previous research done for CAS has shown that keeping up with council tax is another major financial headache for Scots currently struggling to cover their costs each month.
The charity’s figures suggest that roughly 430,000 people across Scotland missed at least one council tax payment in 2020 because they’d run out of money before pay day.
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