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Scots in Debt - MSPs Urged To Act

Citizens Advice Scotland are today calling on MSPs of all parties to do something to help the growing numbers of Scots who are 'drowning in debt'.


Citizens Advice Scotland

Contact: Tony Hutson 0131 550 1010 (or m07774 751655)

 Scots in Debt - MSPs Urged To Act

CAS are releasing a series of brand new reports which expose the miserable realities of life for Scots who are in debt, and are lobbying MSPs directly by giving them each a local Constituency Debt Profile, detailing the extent of the debt crisis among their own constituents. Meanwhile a debate on the issue has been arranged in the Scottish Parliament later today (5pm).

Launching the new statistics, CAS Chief Executive Ms Kaliani Lyle said,

"Earlier this year we released figures showing the extent of the debt crisis among CAB clients across Scotland. We demonstated that the levels of debt among Scotland's CAB clients had increased by 50% over the last 5 years (from around £13,000 to over £20,000). Today we release further analysis of those figures which shows the real impact of debt on particular groups, and how people are coping with the crisis.

"What these figures reveal is a picture of real misery for many people. Large numbers of our population are struggling just to get by. Low income groups are amongst the worst hit - including pensioners, young people, lone parents and the disabled. Many of those who are deepest in debt are forced to take out new loans to pay off their existing ones, and a worryingly high number (2 in 5) are going without food or fuel in order to pay their debts as creditors become more aggressive in pursuing them.

"So, we are today calling on MSPs of all parties to act on this crisis. We need action in the long-term to fix our broken economy, so that people are never again in this position. But in addition to that we need action in the short term as well, to help these people who are suffering the misery of debt today.

"We call for better regulation of lenders, more affordable sources of credit (e.g. credit unions) and more funding for good-quality advice groups to help the people who are suffering. And we want to know that every single one of our MSPs is ready to act on this - because it affects the people they are supposed to serve, and we are showing them that very clearly today with our Local Debt profiles.

"Too many Scots are drowning in debt. And this is affecting people in every town, every neighbourhood, every community in Scotland. It's time for action."

For more information, or to arrange interviews, please contact the CAS press office on 0131 550 1010 (mobile 07774 751655).