CAS: Almost half a million people cut back on food to afford energy bills

Almost half a million people in Scotland have cut back on food spending to afford energy bills, according to new analysis from Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS).

CAS: Almost half a million people cut back on food to afford energy bills

Research for the charity by YouGov shows around 36% of people find their bills unaffordable. Some 54% of these people are cutting back on household spending, with 56% of these specifically cutting back on groceries.

Based on the latest population estimate for Scotland of people over 18, this works out to 483,255 people.

Other things people have cut back on to afford bills include:

  • Eating or drinking out at 49%
  • Ordering takeout at 47%
  • Clothing and accessories at 58%
  • Electronics such as mobile phones, laptops at 21%
  • Driving less in order to use less petrol at 37%
  • Cancelled holiday trips, either locally or abroad at 16%

CAS is releasing the figures as part of its Big Energy Saving Winter campaign, which encourages people to seek advice to manage soaring energy bills this winter.

This week it was revealed that inflation has hit a ten year high at 5.1 per cent. 2021 has seen a crisis in the energy market, with multiple suppliers leaving the market due and record increases to the energy price cap. People have also faced a £20 per week reduction in Universal Credit.

Darek Mithcell, CAS chief executive, said: “This shocking analysis lays out the reality of the cost of living crisis in Scotland today. An estimated half a million people are cutting back on their weekly food shop to afford soaring energy bills, and this should have alarm bells ringing.

“We’ve seen a perfect storm this winter. Rising energy bills, increasing inflation and cuts to people’s incomes from the £20 reduction in Universal Credit.

“People will be facing challenges but the CAB network’s message to them is you are not alone. You don’t need to feel powerless about rising energy bills, we’re here to help with free, impartial and confidential advice.

“Last year we unlocked £147 million in gains for people, and helped over 171,000 people . We’ve been helping people for over 80 years and we’re here to help now.”

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