New Which? research shows that Scottish consumers are more concerned than their counterparts in the rest of the UK about energy, fuel and food prices, as well as public spending cuts.
We found that 68% of Scottish consumers* are worried about fuel prices, and 66% about energy prices, compared to 64% and 63% of consumers in the rest of the UK.
These two concerns come just below public spending cuts, which has the highest proportion of Scottish and rest of UK residents feeling anxious (70% and 65% respectively).
If you’re worried about energy prices, visit Which? Switch to compare energy prices to see if you can save.
Top five Scottish and UK consumer concerns
Below is a breakdown of the top five things people are worried about, and the comparison between Scottish consumers and the rest of the UK.
As well as fuel, energy and public spending, the report also found that many Scots are worried about food prices (62%). They also anticipate the need to increase spending on the ‘must-pay’ bills in the next 13 months, including energy bills and groceries (31%), running a car (30%) and paying rent or mortgage (19%).
We also asked consumers about trust in different industries. Estate and letting agents, along with the car industry, fared worst, with levels of trust at just 10% or less.
Water companies did best – 69% of Scots trust them – while a number of others still have a lot of room for improvement:
- Broadband/home phone providers – 43%
- Banking – 41%
- Mobile phone services – 36%
- Train companies – 33%
- Airline/holiday providers – 32%
- Energy companies – 31%.
The publication of this report comes as the Scottish government is due to consult on its plans for Scotland’s new statutory consumer body, Consumer Scotland, which was recommended in November 2015.
Which? is calling on the Scottish government to ensure that its plans for Consumer Scotland address the everyday concerns and needs of the Scottish consumer.
Which? managing director of home products and services Alex Neill said: ‘Our research shows that many Scottish people are struggling with day-to-day consumer issues such as their fuel and energy bills and believe the situation could get worse over the next year.
‘With the Scottish government due to set out its plans for its new Consumer Scotland body, there is a prime opportunity to establish an organisation that can tackle these concerns and restore consumer trust in critical services in Scotland.’
If you’re one of the many people in worried about energy prices, there are things you can do.
- Find out whether you’re on the best energy deal – you could save hundreds a year. If you’re happy to use the same supplier for gas and electricity, then getting a dual-fuel deal will nearly always be cheaper. You can use Which? Switch to compare energy prices.
- Turning down your thermostat by just 1°C could save you as much as £85 a year, according to the Energy Saving Trust. Our guide to using your heating controls will show you others ways you can save money by using them cleverly.
- Stop any drafts using draft excluders, silicone filler between floorboards, caps over chimneys not in use and draught-proofing strips around window and door frames and loft hatches.
- Using energy-saving light bulbs could cut costs by up to £180 over the lifetime of a bulb. See our light bulb reviews to find the best – not all burn as brightly as they should.
- Consider upgrading your boiler or getting more insulation. These aren’t cheap measures, but can make a real difference over time. See our boiler reviews and guide to insulation for more on the costs and benefits.
Discover more ways to save with our full guide to cutting your energy bills.
(*The Which? Consumer Insight Tracker is a bi-monthly online poll of around 2,000 UK adults (including 200 in Scotland). The figures in the report are from Which?’s Scottish datasets, collated together over the 12 months between January and December 2017. The overall sample size was 12,569 with 1,069 in Scotland.)