Gary Maclean helps release pressure for families in fuel poverty

Gary Maclean helps release pressure for families in fuel poverty

Scotland’s national chef, Gary Maclean, is backing a new campaign to help families struggling with rising fuel bills by providing tasty ways of keeping costs down.

Masterchef: The Professionals champion, Gary, has teamed up with fuel poverty champions Energy Action Scotland, to supply energy efficient pressure cookers that could save families as much as 70% on their cooking bills.

So far Energy Action Scotland are working with four housing associations to identify families in need, but are on the look out to distribute more cookers to people living in fuel poverty.

Fuel poverty is defined by the Scottish Government as any household spending more than 10% of their income on energy – after housing costs have been deducted.

‘It is estimated that over 25% of households in the country are living in fuel poverty. To address this we need to be taking small steps as well as large ones, getting families to think about how and what they cook is one way of making a positive contribution to keeping bills down, putting more money in people’s pockets and improving health,’ said EAS’s chief executive, Frazer Scott.

Gary has come up with a few recipes families can try out using their new cookers and has recorded some lock-down cooking lessons that can be viewed online as well.

‘I am a big fan of cooking with a pressure cooker. They are great for keeping in flavour and reducing cooking time. I was shocked at the fuel poverty statistics, so was delighted to get involved with this campaign that will not only help families reduce their bills, but also gives me a chance to encourage them to cook healthier meals as well.’

The campaign is being supported by building contractor AC Whyte and Warmworks Scotland

Any social housing provider who thinks they have tenants who could benefit from a low energy pressure cooker should contact

Watch Gary’s pressure cooker cooking lessons

Easy Chicken Dinner           Easy Soup

Editors Notes

Energy Action Scotland is the national organisation working with Government and energy companies to end to fuel poverty and create warm, dry homes for all in Scotland.

•           Fuel poverty is the inability to afford adequate warmth in the home, currently defined as needing to pay more than 10% of income on energy costs. People living in extreme fuel poverty pay more than 20% of income on energy costs.

•           The four main causes of fuel poverty are poor energy efficiency of the home, high domestic fuel prices, energy use within the home and low household income.

•           EAS campaigns for policy to acknowledge the particular difficulties faced by the fuel poor in rural areas. Higher fuel costs, lack of access to the mains gas grid, premiums on energy, a challenging housing stock and difficulty getting companies delivering energy efficiency measures to operate in some areas are a few of the difficulties faced. Consumers in rural areas off the gas grid can pay significantly more for the same fuel sold in urban areas. EAS believes that the reason behind this discrepancy in price can be attributed, in some part, to the lack of regulation of most rural heating fuels. Regulation is therefore needed on domestic fuels such as heating oils, solid fuels, and LPG.

•           The links between cold homes and ill heath are now very well recognised. When the temperature falls below 16°C, respiratory function is impaired. When it reaches 12°C increased strain is placed on the cardiovascular system. When the temperature reaches 5-8°C, an increased risk of death can be observed at population level. Whilst cold weather directly triggers these impacts, it can take 3 days after a cold spell for deaths from coronary thrombosis to peak, and 12 days for deaths from respiratory conditions. It can take up to 40 days for deaths to return to average levels.

•           Scottish Government Scottish House Conditions Survey released 21st January 2020 – Scottish House Condition Survey: 2018 Key Findings

•           For more information please contact Kate Cunningham, Communications & Public Affairs Manager on 07880 733644

•           Gary Maclean is happy to speak to media about the project and can be contacted via Chris Knox at LUX

Energy Actions Scotland is Scotland’s only dedicated fuel poverty charity. We work closely with our members and partners across the UK to ensure the right to live in a warm dry home and eliminate fuel poverty. For more information visit

Energy Action Scotland is deeply concerned about the collision between the impact of cold homes and COVID19. Scottish Government estimates suggest that fuel poverty in Scotland is set to rise from approx 24%  to 29% of households. Nearly doble that in England. The following five main impacts are already badly low-income consumers across:

  • An increase in energy use, due to more people spending more time at home
  • A reduction in income, as many jobs were either lost or placed on furlough
  • Increased affordability issues and therefore debt, leading to energy rationing
  • Reductions in smart meter and energy efficiency installations
  • Difficulties in accessing support, especially where households are digitally excluded or only speak English as an additional language

This is exacerbated by the quality of housing and the diverse mix of energy consumed in Scotland’s households where we have significantly higher proportion of households in off-gas areas which dramatically increases the costs of heating as they use electricity, solid and liquid fuels.

Energy Action Scotland is working with Almond HA, Hillcrest HA, Paisley HA and Ruchazie HA to provide programmable pressure cookers to families in need.

Over £10,000 has been raised and over 240 households have received or are waiting to receive a programmable pressure cooker