HALF OF SOUTH SCOTLAND RESIDENTS WORRY ABOUT HOW THEY WILL PAY THEIR HEATING BILLS THIS WINTER

Written by on September 21, 2009

HALF OF SOUTH SCOTLAND RESIDENTS WORRY ABOUT HOW THEY WILL PAY THEIR HEATING BILLS THIS WINTER

–And more than half are worried about a friend or relative being able to find the money to heat their home–

–1 in 4 Scottish households could get a hand with their energy costs and heat their home this Christmas —

–Scottish Government’s Energy Assistance Package helps families in fuel poverty

A new survey has found that more than more than half (53 per cent) South Scotland residents are worried about being able to afford their home heating bills this coming winter.

And more than half of those polled in the South of Scotland (59 per cent) know someone else that will struggle to do so, such as a grandparent, elderly relative, neighbour or friend.

The Scotland-wide survey – commissioned by the Energy Saving Trust – has been announced to coincide with the launch of a Scotland-wide TV advertising campaign for the Energy Assistance Package – a new initiative which will provide real financial and environmental benefits to Scots struggling to heat their homes this winter.

The poll findings reveal that nearly half of those living in the South of Scotland (48 per cent) do not know that the Scottish Government offers grants and assistance to help Scottish homeowners heat their home.

The Energy Assistance Package was created following a recommendation from the independently chaired Scottish Fuel Poverty Forum. It is funded by the Scottish Government to the value of £60m this year and is delivered through the Energy Saving Scotland advice network, managed by the Energy Saving Trust. The Energy Assistance Package is open to everyone and offers different levels of advice and support depending on householders’ circumstances – such as benefits received.

In the TV campaign, which starts across the country tomorrow (Friday 18 September), the Scottish Government and the Energy Saving Trust are calling on Scottish people to ‘pass it on’ and tell others about the Energy Assistance Package helpline.

The research found that 93 per cent of South Scotland residents, always or sometimes, pass on information to family and friends about deals or information and Government grants and schemes they think are relevant to them.

Housing and Communities Minister Alex Neil said: “There is no doubt that an increasing number of families across Scotland are worried about rising fuel bills.

“Colder nights are round the corner so we have to shout from the rooftops about the Energy Assistance Package and the benefits it can bring to hard pressed families.
“Through this advertising campaign we want to spread the message about the Package and the help available to different groups of people. We want people to call the 0800 number to find out if they are eligible for assistance.

”The Energy Assistance Package can make a huge difference to people living in cold, energy inefficient homes. It offers a range of services including energy efficiency advice, benefits and social tariffs checks and, for eligible groups, help with physical measures to improve energy efficiency in the home.

“These measures are available not only to elderly people but, for the first time, to households with children under five or a disabled child under the age of 16 in receipt of certain benefits.”

Mike Thornton, Director, Scotland, for the Energy Saving Trust, said: “For many families, the onset of colder weather means higher fuel bills and tighter family budgets. If a home is energy inefficient, it costs more to heat and can impact on health and quality of life. The elderly and children can be particularly vulnerable to the effects of a cold home.

“We are really encouraged by the fact that more than 90 per cent of South Scotland residents would ‘pass it on’, as we are urging people to spread the word about the Energy Assistance Package to friends, family, neighbours, anyone that they feel is in need of extra help with heating their home this winter. Passing on the Energy Assistance Package message is vital to ensuring that those who need assistance from the package know how to get it.”

The Energy Assistance Package offers different levels of advice and support, calls are particularly encouraged from:
• Families with a child under five or a disabled child under 16.
• Pregnant women.
• Those aged between 60 and 75, particularly if income is limited.
• Those 75 or over.

Since its launch in April 2009 the Energy Assistance Package has helped over 12,000 people who have gained assistance such as energy advice, benefits and tax credits checks, access to social tariffs and referral for energy saving measures, such as insulation and heating systems.

People in Scotland are being asked to call the Energy Assistance Package advice line, 0800 512012, to speak to a local advisor and find out what they are eligible for and how the Energy Assistance Package can help them. They can also visit the website www.energyassistancepackage.com

Notes to editors:

Home heating statistics from the Energy Saving Trust
• The average household in Scotland spends £714 on heating their home each year – spending the most in winter.
• The recommended temperature for the average home is 18 to 21 degrees C, or higher if the occupants are elderly, ill or very young.

About the research
The research was undertaken by YouGov Plc on behalf of the Energy Saving Trust in Scotland. A survey of 1,045 adults across Scotland was conducted between 8 and 10 September 2009. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Scottish adults (aged 18+).

The South Scotland research was undertaken in the Scottish Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, East Ayrshire, East Lothian, North Ayrshire, and South Ayrshire.

About The Energy Saving Trust in Scotland
The Energy Saving Trust is one of Scotland and the UK’s leading organisations addressing the damaging effects of climate change. It aims to cut carbon dioxide emissions – the main greenhouse gas causing climate change – by promoting the sustainable and efficient use of energy.

The Energy Saving Trust in Scotland is part of a UK-wide non-profit organisation providing impartial information and advice. It manages a network of advice centres in Scotland specifically designed to help consumers take action to save energy.

In Scotland, this Energy Saving Scotland advice centre network aims to reach 250,000 people every year.

The Energy Saving Trust’s work in Scotland is funded by the Scottish Government.

Visit: www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/scotland

MEDIA INFORMATION
Contact:
• Lisa Palompo 0141 333 0557/07770 886932/ [email protected]
• Jonathan Rennie 0141 333 0557/07770 886908 / [email protected]
• David Sawyer 0141 333 0557/07770 886923 / [email protected]

Available:
• Press pics available via email from Alan Richardson on 07831 413094 / [email protected]

Ends 17 September 2009


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