A huge 77 per cent of lo income families in Scotland are struggling with their energy bills. As a result, children's health and wellbeing are suffering.
The findings, by national charity Turn2us, show that 75 per cent of Scottish families are struggling to heat their homes so that no one feels cold. The knock-on affect is severe, with over four-fifths (85 per cent) of families saying it is natively impacting the health of their children.
A part of its Cut out the Cold campaign which runs until 14 February, Tur2us has found that the fight to keep the house warm is leading to cutting back on food and making illness more likely.
The Charity says many families are unaware of the help available. Nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) have never heard of the Warm Home Discount, over two-fifth (42 per cent) have never checked their eligibility for benefits while a massive 82 per cent had not checked what free charitable grants may exist.
Christina McKelvie MSP said she fully backed the Turn2us response: "The Cut out the Cold Campaign is highlighting the problems experienced by low income families and what support is available. From 14 January – 14 February 2015, anyone struggling with rising costs can use Turn2us free tools and formulation to see how they can increase their household income and manage their energy costs. These include checking welfare benefit entitlement, searching for grants and schemes to help with bills, and getting help with managing debt."
Alison Taylor, Director of Turn2us, said: "We need to see more done to help raise awareness of the financial support and help available to manage energy bills. That is why we have launched our Cut out the Cold campaign, to ensure that struggling families get the help they need this winter. With household costs continuing to rise, the effects on family finances could be felt for some time. It is vital that people on low incomes are not left behind."
Cut out the Cold campaign: www.cutouthecold.com