The charity Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has called for a new approach to be taken towards supporting people who find themselves deep in debt.
Myles Fitt from the charity has said that Scotland needs to learn from the experience of the Covid-19 crisis and give people experiencing financial hardship a better chance to successfully manage their way out of problem debt.
“Debts should be repaid – because a strong economy depends on a credit sector that functions efficiently for both borrower and lender - but this should be organised in a way that the debtor can manage,” Mr Fitt wrote in an article published by the Herald newspaper.
“Debt collection practices should not push people into more financial harm… and debt advice agencies should be properly funded so that people in debt can have access to the best possible free help and support, should they need it,” he added.
Contextualising his comments, Mr Fitt noted that the Covid-19 crisis has pushed a significant proportion of Scots into financial difficulty and that debt problems are expected to soar over the next two years.
He also said that for many Scots who were already in debt, the pandemic has made their financial situation far worse and left them struggling to cope with their debts.
“Once debt becomes unmanageable, it is a dreadful, spiralling thing,” Mr Fitt wrote in his article. “It brings a real misery to your life, hits your mental health, and can destroy families.”
However, the CAS is keen to emphasise some of the positives to have come out of the pandemic, primarily the idea that there are different ways of approaching problems that impact swathes of the population.
“Amidst all the gloom of the pandemic, the response in terms of helping people cope with the extraordinary economic pressures was truly refreshing,” Mr Fitt says.
“Furloughs, payment breaks, better communication, greater empathy and flexibility, and softer collection practices have been put in place across the commercial, government and public sector,” he noted.
In conclusion, the CAS’ strategy leader on financial health issues insisted the Scottish public is ready for a “more empathetic approach to the way debt is handled”.
If you live anywhere in Scotland and you are struggling to cope with your personal debts then Scotland Debt Solutions can help. Contact us directly to arrange a FREE and confidential consultation.
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