Christina McKelvie MSP has welcomed a home heating support fund which will help Scots struggling with their energy bills amid a growing cost-of-living crisis.
Individual households in Scotland can also now apply directly to the £4million Scottish Government fund at www.homeheatingadvice.scot/household-registration to help them with soaring energy bills.
Last year, a poll found that nearly a third of Scots had rationed their energy use so they could afford to spend money on other goods and services.
With recent price rises and a further steep increase in bills due in April, there are growing concerns about the impact on households.
The £4million Scottish Government scheme, which is administered by national advice service Advice Direct Scotland, is designed to prevent households falling into fuel poverty and help those ‘rationing’ their energy use.
Registrations for help can be made until 31 March, and more than 400 charities, organisations and advisers have already signed up as ‘referral partners’ so they can make applications on behalf of their clients. Applications can be made on behalf of individuals by referral partners through homeheatingadvice.scot.
Individual households in Scotland can also now apply directly to the fund. Applicants will need to provide evidence they have received advice from an accredited debt or energy advice agency. Anyone struggling with the application can contact Advice Direct Scotland advisers for free on 0808 800 9060, who can also make applications to the fund on their behalf.
Targeted funding from the Home Heating Support Fund will reflect each individual’s circumstances, with extra support available for households where one person is over 75, living with a disability or illness, and/or living in a remote or island community.
Eligibility is based on households which are ‘self-rationing’ their energy, meaning those who are deliberately limiting their energy use so that they can afford to spend money on other essentials.
Any households which are ‘off-supply’ are not eligible for the fund, and should seek immediate support from their energy supplier or organisations which can refer them to the Fuel Bank Foundation.
Christina McKelvie has encouraged any local residents struggling with their energy bills to seek support from the fund through the energy and/or debt organisation currently providing them with advice, or by completing a household application via an online form at www.homeheatingadvice.scot.Commenting, Christina McKelvie SNP MSP said:
“Enegry bills have soared over the past few months and have the possibility to push people into a living crisis.
I welcome support from the Scottish Government to help people across Scotland, including those in my constituency of Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse.
“No one should ever have to make the choice between heating or eating.”
Andrew Bartlett, chief executive of Advice Direct Scotland, said:
“This fund is making a massive difference for Scots who are facing huge debts and are being forced to cut back on essentials to heat their homes.
“We have already issued more than £1million on behalf of the Scottish Government to support Scots struggling with their energy bills.
“More and more referral partners are registering to help their clients as the cost-of-living crisis escalates.
“We’re pleased that we can now make it possible for direct household applications via an online form.
“Our advisers are working hard to provide free advice to people across Scotland at this difficult time for so many, and more and more referral partners are registering to help their clients as the cost-of-living crisis escalates.”