Additional Funding for Energy Advice

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£1.2 Million to Ensure Household & Businesses Support

Immediate funding is being awarded to key energy advice organisations, to make sure energy customers can access crucial support and advice to deal with rising energy bills and heating costs.

More than £1.2 million will be distributed to help key agencies, including Advice Direct Scotland, Home Energy Scotland and Citizen’s Advice Scotland, reach more people who need help.

This funding will also support a training programme for staff from third sector organisations to expand the reach of expert advice.

The Scottish Government committed to providing additional support to advice agencies at the Scottish Energy Summit, hosted by the First Minister on Tuesday 23 August. A series of further actions were also agreed with energy companies and advice organisations to mitigate the price rises.

The additional funding announced today is on top of the Scottish Government’s existing investment in free income, welfare and debt advice services – including support to Money Advice Scotland and the Welfare Advice & Health Partnerships Programme.

– Graeme

I welcome this important additional investment by the Scottish Government in services providing advice and support here in Angus and across Scotland through the energy cost crisis.

I know that many constituents will be deeply concerned about rising energy prices, especially when we have a UK Government showing no sign of acting on the advice from these services and from the suppliers themselves to stop further increases hitting households.

While action at the UK level will be fundamental to properly address this crisis, the Scottish Government is determined to do what it can to help people – and this extra funding is a key part of that.

I want constituents to know that there is help available from a number of different sources, and I would encourage people to make use of it – no one should struggle alone through this.

– Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings & Tenants’ Rights, Patrick Harvie

We know that this is an incredibly unsettling time for all households and businesses and it is imperative that those worried about or struggling with heating their homes access the information and support they need to reduce their energy bills.

A further energy price cap increase announcement will only serve to escalate concerns, making the need for impartial, expert advice and support even more vital.

The Scottish Government is clear that energy customers simply cannot be expected to carry the burden of further price rises in October, and that the UK Government must now commit to freeze the cap for all households and to support energy companies to deliver that.

In the meantime, the cost crisis is already hitting energy customers hard and the Scottish Government will continue to do everything within our means to support the people of Scotland through it.

This funding will ensure that expert advisors across the country stand ready to provide crucial support and guidance to those understandably worried about their energy bills. I would urge everyone who has concerns to access these services and get the support they need.

Background

A total of £1.268 million will be distributed across energy advice services as follows:

  • £220,000 to Advice Direct Scotland to fund new staff in its contact centres for consumers in need of help, including vulnerable consumers.
  • £50,000 to Advice Direct Scotland to create a user-friendly online digital journey for customers
  • £220,000 to Citizen’s Advice Scotland to enhance capacity in their local advice bureaus, enabling them to provide advice on both energy debt and energy efficiency measures.
  • £280,000 to expand the Home Energy Scotland advice service
  • £198,000 for Home Energy Scotland recruits who will provide training to staff from third sector organisations on energy efficiency, which will see around 200 local community groups and organisations benefit
  • £300,000 to enhance support for businesses through Business Energy Scotland

The Scottish Government estimates that 906,000 or 36% of all households will be in fuel poverty in October 2022, based on an Ofgem price cap of £2,800 and taking into account previously announced government mitigations.

The Scottish Government has allocated almost £3 billion in this financial year that will help households face the increased cost of living. This includes the provision of services and financial support not available elsewhere in the UK that is helping to reduce everyday costs and increase incomes.

It also includes £10 million to continue the Fuel Insecurity Fund, which helps households at risk of severely rationing their energy use or self-disconnecting entirely. This includes direct support for households using any tariff or fuel type, and is delivered via trusted third sector partners the Fuel Bank Foundation, Advice Direct Scotland and the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations.