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'Back-to-school' costs: parents urged not to get into debt

25 Aug 2011

Citizens Advice Scotland have urged parents to steer clear of loan sharks and other ‘problem lenders’, as they struggle to cope with the costs of sending their children back to school.

A report out today by LV= reveals that Scottish parents spend more in sending their children back to school than parents elsewhere in the UK. It also says that many families are having difficulty meeting the costs.

Lucy McTernan, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Scotland, says,

“There is no doubt that many families are continuing to feel the pinch, with incomes being squeezed. Most households prioritise rent or mortgage payments, along with ‘essentials’ like food and fuel, and there is often very little left over for other things. But ‘back-to-school’ costs are not exactly luxury spending, and the money can be hard to find - particularly for those families who have more than one child.

“We have no magic wand unfortunately. All we can do is urge families to shop around, plan ahead, prioritise and budget sensibly. But most important of all – they should avoid the temptation to turn to loan sharks and other high-interest lenders.

“It’s at times like these that ‘short-term fixes’ like pay-day loans can seem like an attractive option. But we would urge people to be extremely wary of getting into debt. It may help you deal with this week’s bills, but it will stock up huge problems for you in future. If you do need to borrow, make sure you go to a low-cost option, like a Credit Union. And get advice before you sign anything.

“Local CABs offer expert financial advice, which is free, confidential and independent. Anyone who is struggling at the moment should contact their local CAB to ask for an appointment with a money adviser. They will sit down with you and help you plan your budget effectively.”

For more information, interviews etc., please contact Tony Hutson on 0131 550 1010 or 07774 751655. NB This is the number of the CAS Press Office, for use by journalists only. If you are a member of the public looking for CAB advice please contact your local bureau.

ENDS