Citizens Advice Scotland have backed the findings of a new report by Shelter, which show that the high cost of living is leading to an increase in stress levels.
CAS Chief Executive Lucy McTernan said,
“The evidence from CAB offices in Scotland is very much in line with what Shelter are saying. Over the last few years people from all sorts of backgrounds have been coming into their local CAB saying they can’t cope financially, and that this is having a huge impact - not just on their economic life, but also on their mental and physical health.
“It’s not hard to see why. In recent years the cost of living has been steadily rising, while peoples’ incomes have been falling. That is bound to have an impact - people can’t pay more with less. In that situation, something has to give, and sadly the price people are paying is seen in these rising stress levels, which then impact on their relationships, their careers and other areas of their lives.
“The high cost of housing is one factor in this, but its not the only one. With inflation, VAT increases and ever-rising fuel bills, everything seems to be more expensive. Meanwhile many people are out of work, many of those who have jobs are facing pay freezes or cuts in hours, and those who rely on benefits are losing out too because of the current welfare reforms.
“Sadly many people in this position have no option but to borrow money, and with so many irresponsible lenders around they can quickly get into a spiral of unmanageable debt, which increases their stress levels even further. Our research has found that 90% of people in debt feel their mental health has suffered, and one third feel their physical health has been impacted as well.
“If people need help with their finances their local CAB has trained money advisers who will give all the support they can. Our advice is free, impartial and confidential.”
For more information please contact Tony Hutson 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. Details of all Scottish bureaux can be found here.