Cost of living crisis: Charity sees demand for emergency energy fuel top-ups double

Ahead of the energy price cap announcement on Friday 26 August, Scottish debt help charity says it’s already receiving desperate calls from people in emergency situations. 

The current situation

With concerns of a possible 81 percent price cap increase by Ofgem*, raising the average household energy bill to £3,582 a year, debt help charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP) Scotland is sounding the alarm that they are already seeing increases in people at crisis point, asking for emergency support.

CAP Scotland’s unique model positions them in the community to provide people with emergency aid when required. Even before the winter weather sets in, CAP Scotland has seen requests for emergency fuel aid more than double in the first half of this year compared to last, along with a sharp rise in requests for emergency food shops.

*Forecast by Cornwall Insight.

A comment from CAP Scotland National Director, Emma Jackson

On Friday 26 August we are expected to get confirmation on how much energy bills will rise, with predictions suggesting it’s likely to increase to a rate many simply can’t afford and will push households to crisis point. 

In a just and compassionate society, no one should be cold and hungry. Yet, across Scotland, thousands of households are already struggling with the devastating impacts of widespread price rises. Many coming to CAP are facing destitution. We are deeply concerned by the type of calls we are receiving as people are pushed to the edge. People aren’t just calling us for free debt help, they are calling us in need of emergency support.

We already have the UK’s highest rates of extreme fuel poverty in Scotland. As the cost of living crisis deepens we are increasingly hearing from people facing destitution. The sharp increases we’re seeing in requests for emergency aid demonstrates just how desperate things are for people across Scotland right now.

Staff at our community based Debt Centres throughout Scotland are supporting people in impossible situations, as low income households are being pushed to breaking point. Even those who have gone debt free are at risk of being pushed back into unmanageable debt just trying to survive. People like Laura, a single parent from Edinburgh, who is left feeling so worried about how she will be able to afford the essentials for her and her son. We need urgent action from government at all levels.”

What can we do?

CAP is calling on both the UK and Scottish Governments to take immediate action to mitigate the worst impacts of the cost of living crisis this winter. This includes:

  • At least double the support committed so far to households on means tested benefits and the wider Energy Bill Support Scheme.

  • Pausing benefit deductions for repayments to government debts for six months and bring forward the uprating of social security in line with inflation which will benefit people on the lowest incomes the most.

  • A ban this winter on energy companies forcibly switching customers to pre-payment meters and a moratorium on court action to collect energy debts.

  • Double the Scottish Child bridging payment to provide immediate support and bridge the gap for families with older children.

Importantly, CAP is also urging people who are struggling with debt not to ignore it, but to get in contact for free debt help on 0800 328 0006 or visit capscotland.org.

Journalists

Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is a UK charity determined to reduce poverty by delivering free debt help, money management education, life skills courses and job clubs. 

CAP Scotland provides free, FCA Accredited debt help through their network of 26 Debt Centres throughout Scotland. To access their help call 0800 328 0006 or visit capscotland.org.

CAP is committed to its services being available to all individuals regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

Charis Scott, Scotland Promotion and Engagement Manager: [email protected], 07492 094 002.