Sharon McDougall - 22nd April 2022 - 2 minutes to read
Demand for advice on how to deal with debts and with personal finance pressures more generally has been soaring in Scotland in recent months.
According to Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS), the cost of living crisis and steep rises in energy bills have led to a massive surge in demand for guidance and support since the start of this year.
Notably, the charity’s online advice page ‘struggling to pay your energy bills’ recorded 127 per cent more visits in February this year compared with the same month in 2021.
There was also a major uptick in the number of people visiting the CAS webpages about getting help with bills and similar rises in demand for advice about dealing with issues around fuel debt.
“The cost of living crisis is squeezing household budgets to breaking point across the country,” said Myles Fitt from CAS in a statement responding to his organisation’s own data.
“People are faced with a perfect storm of soaring prices and flat or falling incomes, and that perfect storm risks sweeping tens of thousands of people across Scotland into poverty, debt and destitution.”
Mr Fitt also noted that many of the trends emerging in the early months of this year were in evidence even before some of the biggest rises in energy bills were introduced in April.
He called on government policymakers to do whatever they can to help individuals and households across Scotland cope with some of the severe financial pressures they’re currently experiencing.
Research carried out for CAS recently showed that issues around the cost of living have become a huge driver of debt problems throughout Scotland.
Indeed, most Scots in problem debt or at risk of reaching that position now cite the cost of living as a key reason why they’re in financial difficulty.
“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,” commented Mr Fitt, who is the CAS’ financial health spokesperson.
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