Citizens Advice Scotland has urged people to avoid using loans or credit cards when paying their fuel bills, and to instead get free financial advice from their local CAB.
New research commissioned by the Debt Advisory Centre Scotland (DACS) shows that 10% of Scots now say they have used credit to pay their gas or electricity bill. This is an increase from the figure of 4% this time last year. The research also finds that one fifth of Scots are worried about paying next month’s bill.
Responding, Citizens Advice Scotland spokesperson Fraser Sutherland says,
“Sadly these figures are not surprising to us. Every CAB in Scotland continues to report huge numbers of clients who are struggling with debt problems and unable to make ends meet. Last year across Scotland we saw 247,000 cases that were debt-related. That’s 27% of all the cases we dealt with. More than we’ve ever seen before in a single year.
“It’s very worrying that so many people are in this situation. The impact of the recession clearly continues to bite in every community in Scotland. And for many the situation is made worse by the impact of the welfare reforms. Our message to both the UK and the Scottish governments is that they need to respond to these figures, and to make sure that people who need additional support get it.
“When people are in this kind of poverty and debt, it doesn’t just affect their finances. It affects their state of mind, and their physical health too, as well as their relationships.
“Our message to anyone who is struggling like this is that debt is not the answer. If you are using credit cards or loans to pay your essential bills, then you really need to stop and get some help. The good news is that expert help is available, for free. Your local CAB has a team of experienced Money Advisers who are there to help you manage your finances. They will help you square any current debts you have, and also help you maximise your income and avoid expensive loans.
“I know that asking for help can be difficult, but CAB advice is completely free, impartial and confidential. Our advisers help people like you every day. They won’t judge you - they just want to help you, just as CAB advisers have been doing for 75 years now. So make today the day you contact us and let us help you take control of your finances.”
The original DACS press release, including details of their research, is available on their website at
NB Citizens Advice Scotland is not affiliated in any way to DACS. We are responding here to the research they have published.
Our general advice to the public is that if they require financial advice they can access it from their local CAB for free, and therefore should not need to access it from any agencies who will charge a fee for the service.