To mark 'debt awareness week' I visited Shelter Scotland to find out a bit about their work helping people who are struggling with their household finances.
At a time when many people are already finding it tough to make ends meet, the additional pressures from fuel costs can be a particular strain on the budget. The blight of fuel poverty remains too common, with an estimated 860,000 or 36% of households fuel poor, and 10% living in extreme fuel poverty.
The Scottish Government are taking action to tackle this, including a new £224million fuel poverty scheme which will install measures such as insulation, heating and domestic renewables in houses which are identified as fuel poor.
Anyone who is currently in debt should not struggle in silence but seek advice and support.
Shelter Scotland are working in conjunction with advisers from The British Gas Energy Trust, a charity which focuses on fuel poverty. They can provide grants to help pay off gas and electricity debts or to purchase energy efficient white goods, to help people get back on their feet.
Below are the contact details for the Shelter line, and other sources of free support on debt and fuel poverty:-
The Shelter Scotland line for money, fuel and debt advice: 0344 515 2404 or 0344 515 2392
More information on the Shelter Scotland website at http://scotland.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/advice_topics/paying_for_a_home/dealing_with_debt
Home Energy Scotland - free, impartial advice on energy saving, renewable energy, sustainable transport, waste prevention and more: 0808 808 2282
National Debtline: 0808 808 4000
British Gas Energy Trust: http://www.britishgasenergytrust.org.uk/
Step Change Debt Charity Helpline: 0800 138 1111