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Provided by Mae Stewart, Editor UNISON Retired members Newsletter, Dundee, Perth and Angus.
Please note that this is not definitive information about benefits but will provide a signpost as to where to get up to date information. Please check the sources first. UNISON Scotland can take no responsibility for information that may be outdated or inaccurate.

Issue 47 May 2013

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Welfare Reform and older people in Scotland (Factsheet)

‘Below is an excerpt from Age Scotland Website.  This is only four points of information from quite an extensive list, but which I feel would be most relevant for this newsletter. Age Scotland has information factsheets for younger folk as well. You can access the data by either telephoning, or going to the website, as the details are too lengthy to print in full here.’

  • State Pension
  • Changes to the process for benefit appeals
  • Contribution based Employment and Support Allowance
  • Benefit cap

This factsheet is mostly for older people who live in Scotland. It provides basic information about the main changes to benefits which will have come into effect both recently, and over the next few years.
If you need information about your individual situation please call the Age Scotland Helpline on 0845 125 9732

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Energy Efficiency

Reducing your energy use results in smaller bills‚ leaving you with a greater proportion of your income to spend elsewhere. Think about how much you spend on energy at the moment. Do you have to go without other comforts to make your finances balance?

Money-saving measures

The money you can save by taking common energy efficiency measures is considerable. Here are some examples:

  • Installing cavity wall insulation can save you up to £320 per year.
  • Increasing loft insulation to 250mm can save up to £120 per year.
  • An ‘A’ rated fridge/freezer can cost up to £37 less per year to run than a less 
  •  efficient model.
  • Draughtproofing can save up to £20 per year insulating your hot-water tank can
  • save up to £20 per year.
  • A single low-energy light bulb can cost up to £4.50 less a year to use than a
  • traditional bulb.

Together‚ these savings are the equivalent of an extra £10 in your pocket every week.

The savings listed above are based on information issued by the Energy Saving Trust. The amount you save may vary depending upon the size and age of your home and how you use energy.

Energy suppliers

Energy costs have risen sharply in recent years but you may be able to save some money by changing your energy supplier. You still use the same gas pipes and electric cables. The change will be which company sells you fuel and sends you bills.
Prices are not the only reason to switch. Check which energy suppliers offer special discounts‚ such as dual-fuel discounts‚ or other services‚ such as cheaper telephone charges.
You can compare fuel tariffs over the phone or by using online price comparison websites. Your current energy supplier should be able to provide you with an annual summary of your fuel use, making it easy to compare tariffs and get the best deal.

Energy Saving Trust
Alongside looking at ways of maximising your income, increasing the energy efficiency of your home is an important means of reducing fuel bills and the threat of falling in to fuel poverty.
The Energy Saving Trust (EST) can provide information on:

  • Free, impartial advice about the best energy-saving options for your home.
  • Details of installers in your area.
  • Grants or discounts to help with the cost.

The EST also manages the Energy Assistance Package on behalf of the Scottish Government. This provides a range of measures to support those likely to have difficulty paying their fuel bills or keeping their home sufficiently warm.
Almost everyone can get some form of help, so to find out what the package can offer you, telephone the EST on 0800 512 012 or visit www.energyassistancepackage.com.

The package has four stages:

  1. Free expert energy advice to anyone who contacts the Energy Savings Scotland advice centre network on 0800 512 012.
  2. Provides benefits and tax credit checks and information on low cost energy tariffs to those at risk of fuel poverty.
  3. Provides a package of standard insulation measures (cavity wall and loft insulation) to older households and those on one of a range of benefits.
  4. Offers a package of enhanced energy efficiency measures to those who are most vulnerable to fuel poverty.

You can contact Age Scotland (for this and many other issues) at:
Age Scotland Helpline
Call for information: 0845 125 9732

Write to:
Causewayside House
160 Causewayside

(Apologies to Age Scotland for any mis-quotes in this information) 
Mae Stewart


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