Warmer summer weather will not end energy bills woe for Scots, advice charity warns
Warmer summer weather will not end the cost-of-living crisis for struggling Scots, policymakers are warned.
Citizens Advice Scotland has called for "real urgency" from the Scottish Government to tackle poverty, saying the impact of high bills over winter will continue to affect households "for some time".
The number of people seeking help from Citizens Advice Bureaux in Scotland has risen by more than 40 per cent, the charity says, with high energy bills and food insecurity driving the increase.
Of the 174,500 people supported last year, 97,400 sought help with energy costs.
The analysis reveals certain demographics sought cost-of-living related advice, particularly crisis and food insecurity advice at a higher rate than they sought advice generally. These groups included council tenants, those unable to work and single person, working age households.
Derek Mitchell, chief executive of Citizens Advice Scotland, said: "Higher demand for energy advice has further consequences, with people also seeking support around crisis grants and food insecurity.
"Policymakers should not be fooled into thinking warmer weather and potentially falling bills later this year will mean an end to this crisis. The winter has massively reduced people's financial resilience and we will be living with the legacy of that for some time."
First minister Humza Yousaf has increased the Fuel Insecurity Fund to £30m this year.
Mitchell said: "During the pandemic, policymakers spoke warmly about the need to 'build back better' - that same sort of intention is needed now. We need to move beyond warm words to real delivery.
"It is welcome that the first minister has made reducing poverty a central mission to his government. This is something that requires real urgency as our evidence points towards many people seeing a direct link between higher bills and empty food cupboards."