Scotland’s national chef Gary Maclean helps families in fuel poverty

Scotland’s national chef Gary Maclean is backing a new campaign to help families struggling with rising fuel bills by providing tasty ways of keeping costs down.

Scotland’s national chef Gary Maclean helps families in fuel poverty

 Gary Maclean

Masterchef: The Professionals champion Gary has teamed up with fuel poverty champions Energy Action Scotland (EAS) and Ruchazie Housing Association, Almond Housing Association, Hillcrest, Paisley Housing Association to supply energy efficient pressure cookers that could save families as much as 70% on their cooking bills.

EAS is now on the lookout for more housing associations to help distribute more cookers to people living in fuel poverty.

Fuel poverty is defined by the Scottish Government as any household spending more than 10% of their income on energy - after housing costs have been deducted.

EAS chief executive Frazer Scott said: “It is estimated that over 25% of households in the country are living in fuel poverty. To address this, we need to be taking small steps as well as large ones, getting families to think about how and what they cook is one way of making a positive contribution to keeping bills down, putting more money in people’s pockets and improving health.”

Gary has come up with a few recipes families can try out using their new cookers and has recorded some lock-down cooking lessons that can be viewed online as well.

He said: “I am a big fan of cooking with a pressure cooker. They are great for keeping in flavour and reducing cooking time. I was shocked at the fuel poverty statistics, so was delighted to get involved with this campaign that will not only help families reduce their bills, but also gives me a chance to encourage them to cook healthier meals as well.”

Ruchazie Housing Association, which is based in the North East of Glasgow and provides homes for 225 families, has welcomed the initiative.

Director Janice Shields added: “Throughout this pandemic, one of our key aims was to support all of our tenants to stay safe and warm in their homes. The pandemic has meant families are spending more time at home and their energy costs rising as a result.

“As well as distributing funding to support fuel costs, by purchasing these pots, with funding made available from The Glasgow West of Scotland Forum, we have been able to support our tenants in helping to reduce energy costs, all of which benefits our tenants who may already experience financial hardship.”

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