Sharon McDougall - 20th March 2023 - 2 minutes to read
As many as one in seven Scottish adults are having to get by on as little as £20 each month beyond what they need to spend on bills and household essentials.
That’s according to research carried out recently by the debt help charity StepChange, whose figures suggest that over half a million Scots could be getting by with almost no disposable income at all.
There are concerns too that the financial positions of millions of Scots could soon get worse if their council taxes, energy bills and debt repayment demands increase in the coming months.
StepChange has said that while many people are getting by within extremely tight margins, others are effectively operating with a negative budget, meaning they’re having to pay out more money each month than they can rely on as income.
In fact, the charity has said that just over a quarter (27 per cent) of its new clients find their expenses exceed their income on a monthly basis, which can easily and quickly lead to serious problems with debt management.
An important part of the picture currently is that the Bank of England’s base rate of interest has been rising for almost the past year, which means most renters and mortgage holders are seeing their monthly demands increase as well.
StepChange has welcomed the UK government’s recent decision to extend its Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) until July but also warned that whenever that scheme ends there will be a huge number of people struggling again to afford their energy bills.
Indeed, the charity has said that almost a fifth of Scots could be pushed into problem debt if they suddenly need to pay vastly increased energy bills because the EPG scheme has ended.
“More than a year on from the start of the cost of living crisis, financial resilience is clearly very low - too many people are left with little to nothing each month after covering their basic living costs,” commented Sharon Bell, head of StepChange Scotland.
“The Scottish and UK governments must commit to longer term solutions which will protect financially vulnerable households from worsening debt and destitution due to circumstances outside of their control,” she added.
If you live in Scotland and you’re worried about your personal debt situation then Scotland Debt Solutions can help. You can contact us any time to arrange a FREE and confidential consultation.
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