The soaring cost of living is cited by over a half a million people as a key driver for personal debt, new analysis from Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has revealed.
Analysis by the charity of polling undertaken by YouGov found that 52 per cent of Scottish adults in debt or at risk of debt since the COVID-19 pandemic started cited the cost of living as a key reason.
Taking into account Scotland’s working age population this amounts to 558,382 people.
The cost of living has taken centre stage in recent months, with record rises to energy bills and soaring prices in the shops. Meanwhile people’s incomes have broadly remained stagnant or have even fallen.
CAS is running the ‘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 Myles Fitt said:
“The soaring cost of living has barely been out of the headlines in recent months, with rising energy bills and prices in the shops going up.
“What this analysis suggests is that for many people either in debt or at risk of debt, these rising costs are a huge driver, so people are finding themselves in debt through circumstances almost beyond their reasonable control.
“Our message to people is that debt happens, and you’re not 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.
“People can get help in a variety of ways across the Citizens Advice network, from local CABs to our online resources like our public advice site and online Money Map tool.
“Some people will benefit from negotiated repayment schemes 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.”