- 40% of adults will struggle to pay their next energy bill but more than a third are suffering in silence
- A new film has launched from British Gas today, encouraging people to stop the silence around energy debt and seek free support from the British Gas Energy Trust
- The film is voiced by rapper and mental health campaigner, Professor Green
Four in ten households will struggle to pay their next energy bill according to new YouGov research commissioned by British Gas released today. British Gas is collaborating with rapper and mental health campaigner, Professor Green, to stop the silence around energy debt, and support people in accessing the financial and practical support available through British Gas Energy Trust.
British Gas Energy Trust is an independent Charitable Trust established and solely funded by British Gas to alleviate the detrimental impact of energy stress on its customers as well as people with other providers. The Trust helps people in - or at risk of - financial hardship make their energy payments and manage their finances through support, education and sound money management.
With many households in the UK already experiencing energy debt, the recent energy price tariff increase coupled with the rising cost of living is set to push millions more households below the poverty line. This means it’s never been more important to raise awareness of the support available for those who need it.
Despite the emotional impact of living with debt, shockingly over a third (35%) of energy bill payers are suffering in silence by keeping their worries from their loved ones. These internal struggles are also manifesting themselves in increased anxiety (65%), lower self-esteem (18%), insomnia (18%), and have a negative impact on the relationships of those affected (16%). The research also revealed women are experiencing higher rates of stress than men (73% v 61%) as a result of struggling with the rising cost of living.
Many of the households living in fuel poverty in the UK could reduce their bills by reaching out to British Gas Energy Trust. Many people have already found their way out of energy debt by speaking to one its dedicated advisors but just 39% of those suffering are aware of the financial support services available.
"The Trust’s mission is to help alleviate the detrimental impact of poverty – for many of our programmes you don’t need to be a British Gas customer to access support. 83% of grant funding from British Gas Energy Trust supports vulnerable customers from other providers. Therefore, we would encourage everyone to seek help during this incredibly difficult time, whether it’s from us or from your own provider. The Trust provides direct energy grants and also funds money and energy advice charities across England, Scotland and Wales – these dedicated organisations work within their community to help find a way of improving people’s situations."
Jessica Taplin, British Gas Energy Trust Chief Executive
To raise awareness of the support available via the Trust, British Gas has created an emotive film. The poignant film, by award winning director, Geej Ower, sees a single dad silently struggling with the emotional impact of not being able to pay his bills, without confiding in those around him. Professor Green lends his voice to the emotional film, and shares his own experiences of growing up in Hackney with his grandmother having to regularly make the devastating choice between paying bills and eating a hot meal:
“Reading the Stop the Silence film script was an emotional experience. As many people know, my parents weren’t around growing up and my grandmother raised me on an estate in Hackney. Money was tight, and there was always stress about paying our energy bill. Advice and services, like those provided by British Gas Energy Trust, just weren’t available to us and those around me. I urge families and individuals suffering in silence to reach out to British Gas Energy Trust to get the help they so desperately need.”
With 73% of people believing energy companies should do more to educate the public on energy debt, and a further 61% of people unaware that financial support services existed for household debt support, Professor Green and British Gas encourage people to visit British Gas Energy Trust to learn what financial grants they may be eligible for and for other practical information to alleviate energy debt, together.
In addition to raising awareness, British Gas has already donated £6M to British Gas Energy Trust this year, helping an average of 8,000 customers experiencing debt issues across the UK every week.
The British Gas Energy Trust Stop the Silence campaign launches today. To find out more visit: https://www.britishgas.co.uk/energy/british-gas-energy-trust.html
*Research was conducted by You Gov Plc. Total sample size was 2019 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 22nd - 23rd March 2022. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
The British Gas Energy Trust helps people with financial advice, energy efficiency advice and measures, fuel vouchers, checking benefit entitlements and accessing debt support charities.
The British Gas Energy Trust runs a £6m fund for British Gas customers to provide grants between £250 and £750 to those struggling with energy costs - and many suppliers offer similar funds. The British Gas Energy Trust also runs a fund which any consumer can access (regardless of which energy supplier they are with) to provide grants up to £1,000 and this fund will open on 1st July.
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