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MSPs told: many Scots are still 'drowning in debt'

Citizens Advice Scotland have today told a Scottish Parliament seminar that debt remains the single biggest issue brought to the CAB in Scotland.

In a formal presentation to the Scottish Parliament Information Centre’s seminar on debt, CAS Policy Officer Matt Lancashire listed some of the more recent statistics gathered from Scotland’s 81 CAB offices. He said,

“26% of all new issues brought to the Scottish CAB service today are debt issues. Our advisers dealt with a total of 143,566 new debt issues in the year 2010/11. That’s 400 new debt issues for every day of the year.

“When we last analysed the debts of these clients, we found their average debt was now over £20,000. But one in 10 of them owed more than £50,000. Yet they had an average net income of just £935 per month, and one in five of them had a monthly average of less than £400. Half were completely dependent on their pension or benefits.

“All of this means that, for every £1 of income, they had on average £28 worth of debt. In these circumstances, it’s no surprise at all that debt stress is a huge issue. 9 out of 10 of our clients reported that their debt had affected their mental health, and one third said it had affected them physically as well.

“MSPs need to understand the crisis that faces many families. We need measures that will help those who are facing debt, and prevent others from falling into the same trap.”

For more information, interviews etc., please contact Tony Hutson on 0131 550 1010 or 07774 751655.