Are You Missing out on £140 Energy Bill Rebate?
Research by Citizen’s Advice Scotland (CAS) shows that less than a third of eligible Scottish households applied for Warm Home Discount rebate in 2018.
The government’s Warm Home Discount scheme was first introduced in 2011 as a means of tackling fuel poverty by providing UK homes with financial assistance to help cover increased energy bills during the winter months.
However, CAS’ ‘Mind the Fuel Poverty Gap’ study has found that although an estimated 29-32% of all Scottish households qualify for the Warm Home Discount, only 9.3% - or 229,938 homes - actually claim it, meaning that the majority of Scots living in fuel poverty are either unaware they could receive the rebate or find the application process too confusing.
'A lifeline for those at risk of fuel poverty'
Despite such low numbers taking advantage of the scheme, the report also claimed that maintaining the Warm Home Discount is essential, as those who do receive the rebate see it as a lifeline and rely on it to get through the winter months.
The CAS publication comes as many energy suppliers begin to open their Warm Home Discount applications this month.
Kate Morrison, a spokesperson for CAS, said: "The Warm Home Discount, in principle, is a very good scheme. Where the money actually gets to the people who need it, our research finds that it is greatly appreciated and helps those families stay warm without putting them in financial difficulty.
"The problem our report identifies - and this is backed up by the experience of CAB advisers across Scotland - is that too many of the households who need this kind of help are not receiving the Warm Home Discount.
"We want to be clear that we think it is absolutely critical that the Warm Home Discount fund is maintained, but there need to be more efforts made to ensure that people who need this support actually get it. Every household in Scotland pays towards this fund through their bills, including those in fuel poverty, so a one third success rate is clearly not acceptable, and nor is that fact that families across Scotland are suffering the cold or going into debt to keep the heating on when they don't need to.
Morrison added: "We have shared the report with the UK government and with energy providers, and we hope they will re-double their efforts to make sure all consumers know that this assistance is available. We also hope that by publishing our research today, we will help make consumers aware of the Warm Home Discount and claim it. Nearly one-third of all Scottish households could claim Warm Home Discount, so it is worth seeking out.”