More than 300,000 Scottish children are living in households that are close to the edge from a financial perspective.
That’s the assessment of the Scottish Labour party, which has looked at official figures indicating that there are in the region of 330,000 children in Scotland whose families don’t have access to £500 to cover emergency costs.
That lack of financial flexibility among Scottish families is being seen as a real cause for concern because it would mean that a great many people would be left seriously struggling if they were hit with an unexpected bill, or their boiler broke down or they suddenly needed a new refrigerator.
Or, as the Scottish Labour party’s poverty spokesperson Elaine Smith told the Herald, too many people are now “one big unexpected bill away from being in real financial trouble”.
“Replacing something like a fridge or boiler is expensive, but thousands of families with children would need to turn to debt to do it, because the cost of living, precarious work and stagnant wages aren’t letting people save for a rainy day,” Ms Smith is quoted as saying.
For their part, the Scottish National Party has been keen to stress the importance it places on helping people avoid situations of poverty and serious financial difficulty.
“Tackling - and ultimately eradicating - child poverty in Scotland is one of our main priorities,” said communities secretary Aileen Campbell.
“We are currently exploring options to reach the greatest number of children in poverty, ensuring we top up incomes sufficiently to lift those households out of poverty,” she added.
The comments from prominent politicians on the issue of poverty and financial insecurity in Scotland come soon after the release of a revealing report on the scale of debt problems people are currently facing across the country.
The debt help charity StepChange’s latest ‘Scotland in the Red’ report said that there are now close to 700,000 people in Scotland who are either in or at significant risk of falling into problem debt.
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The number of Scots who have missed energy bill payments because they couldn’t afford to make them has increased sharply since 2020, according to a new set of figures.
Millions of low-income households across the UK are being dragged down by debts they accumulated during the pandemic.
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