Millions of people living in Scotland are worried about the cost of living this winter, new analysis from Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has found.

The charity said data from a YouGov survey found 62% of adults north of the border are worried about overall price rises and how it will impact their living situation in the coming months.

This works out as an estimated 2.8 million people in Scotland which has a population of about 5.5 million.

A total of 38% of Scots, which is an estimated 1.7 million, said they feel anxious or worried about their energy bills costs, with the same amount of people sharing concerns about heating their homes.

Analysis of the CAS data, published earlier this month, also showed one in 10 energy cases the Citizen Advice Bureau network deals with also required food insecurity advice.

In response, the charity has launched Big Energy Saving Winter, a campaign which encourages people worried about energy bills and the cost of living to seek advice.

It said advice is free, impartial and confidential.

CAS chief executive Derek Mitchell said: "We are here for anyone who feels scared, alone or worried about bills this winter.

"It is easy to think there is no help out there for you, but CAB advisers get real results, on average over £4,200 for those who saw a financial gain.

"That can be life changing money for people and this winter it could be life saving money for people."

He said people can seek advice in a number of ways, including one-to-one advice from their local CAB, or a range of online options including the interactive self-help tool Money Map, the Money Talk Team service or the public advice site.

Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison MSP said: “We are very concerned about the hardship people are facing right now particularly with their energy bills.

“This is why we’re providing almost £3 billion in this financial year to help households face the increased cost of living, including £1 billion in providing services and financial support not available elsewhere in the UK.

“Through our funding for the Money Talk Team service, people can get free and confidential advice on boosting income, accessing benefits, and dealing with debt.

“I would urge anyone struggling with their finances to seek advice.

“The Money Talk Team is available across the length and breadth of Scotland, with advice accessible online and in all Citizens Advice Bureaux.”

Consumer Scotland Chief Executive Sam Ghibaldan said: “With the current cost of living crisis and ongoing concern about rising energy bills, this campaign comes at a crucial time for households throughout Scotland.

“Our own research shows many consumers are struggling to afford their bills even before the onset of winter, so it is important consumers know help and support is available.

“We are pleased to support this campaign to ensure consumers have access to a range of information, including advice on their energy bills and financial support.”

Harry Mayers, Head of Home Energy Scotland said: “We know this winter will be a difficult one for Scottish households with the energy and cost of living crisis. The good news is that financial support is available and there are simple actions we can take at home that will add up to help better manage energy use.”

“Home Energy Scotland is the only way to access grants and financial support available from the Scottish Government to make homes warmer and more energy efficient – from interest-free loans to Warmer Homes Scotland funding, which has helped over 29,000 people on lower incomes benefit from energy saving home improvements worth on average £5,000.

“Improving the energy efficiency of your home can make a big difference to energy bills now and in the future. Home Energy Scotland advisors can help you discover how to stay warm and comfortable and manage your energy use."

The CAS analysis was based on the results of the YouGov online survey of 1002 adults from November 10 to 14.

Last month it was revealed that the price of some basic food items in supermarkets had risen by up to 65.2 per cent in a year.

The analysis by the Office for National Statistics found that the price of 30 everyday lowest-priced items typically risen by 17 per cent over the 12 months to September - higher than the average rate of food and drink inflation running at 14.5 per cent. The rate of budget food inflation has risen from 7 per cent in the year to April, the data found.

Overall inflation is at a 40-year high, with prices up almost 11 per cent in a year. The ONS data found  the cost of the lowest-priced vegetable oil had spiked 65 per cent and the cheapest pasta was now 60 per cent more expensive than a year ago.

The soaring cost of living has led to wage increase demands by public sectors workers including from nurses and teachers.

Scotland's largest teaching union the EIS last week announced 16 strike dates across Scotland in the new year.

The EIS has asked for a 10 per cent pay rise, but ministers and council leaders have offered around half of that.

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