Reduced or loss of income is cited by over 280,00 people as key driver for debt since the beginning of the pandemic, according to new analysis from Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS).
Analysis by the charity of polling undertaken by YouGov found that 161,071 people cited reduce reduced income as a reason for debt, with a further 118,119 people citing loss of job and income completely as a reason.
CAS said the figures showed the cost of living crisis must also be understood as an income crisis for millions of people across the country. With energy bills and prices in the shops rising, the charity is warning more and more people risk falling into debt.
The figures come as part of CAS’ ‘Debt Happens’ campaign, which seeks to encourage people that they are not alone in facing debt and to seek advice from across the Citizens Advice network.
CAS Financial Health spokesperson Jemiel Benison said:
“The cost of living crisis is also fundamentally a crisis of income for people across the country, with hundreds of thousands of people citing reduced or lost income completely as a key reason for debt.
“The end of the furlough scheme will have been a key factor here, as people already faced reduced incomes, and rising prices in the shops and energy bills compound that.
“Debt happens, and people shouldn’t feel alone. It’s nothing to be ashamed of and the important thing is to seek advice quickly so you get the help and support you need.
“The Citizens Advice network can help people in a number of ways, like our online resources such as the public advice site and money map tool. Local CABs are also there to help people.
“Some people will benefit from specialised debt advice which brings their monthly payments down, but for many more getting more money in their pockets in the first place will help.
“Our advice is free, impartial and confidential and we’d encourage anyone who would benefit from advice to seek it as soon as possible. Don’t let the bills and the stress pile up, we’re here to help.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1001 Scottish adults, of which 197 had taken on (more) debt/ the risk of debt since the COVID-19 pandemic started. Fieldwork was undertaken between 10th - 14th February 2022. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Scottish adults (aged 18+).
Working age population figures are taken from here.
Please note these calculations to extrapolate the data to general population have been conducted by the CAS team. Margin of error will depend on the size of each groups of interest observed.