More than a quarter (27 per cent) of Scots have said they’re worried about how they’ll make their debt repayments in the context of the coronavirus crisis.
The pandemic has hit the Scottish and the UK economies in a massive way in recent months, with job losses increasing and many thousands of households seeing their incomes diminished.
Furlough schemes and debt repayment holidays have helped millions of Scots to cope financially in the short term but concerns about money and debts are clearly building up across the country.
According to research carried out on behalf of Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS), more than a third (35 per cent) of Scots are worried about their income levels and 26 per cent are concerned about how they’ll pay their rent.
Around 24 per cent of the people polled said they aren’t sure how they’ll pay their utility bills, while 21 per cent worry they might struggle to keep up with demands for council tax payments.
“Temporary measures to protect incomes during Covid-19 have been welcome and broadly successful but it’s clear that Scotland is facing a personal debt time bomb as we emerge from lockdown and slowly begin to restart the economy,” said CAS financial health spokesperson Myles Fitt.
CAS has said that “thoughtful and significant intervention” will be required from relevant policymakers in the coming weeks and months if a major personal debt crisis is to be avoided in Scotland.
“Our fear is that many households will fall into unmanageable debt, causing financial hardship and pushing more people into poverty, or exacerbate existing poverty,” Mr Fitt said.
The view of CAS is that people struggling with debts as a result of the Covid crisis should be given the opportunity by their creditors to spread their repayments as thinly as possible.
“Efforts to pursue arrears must take into account people’s ability to pay,” Mr Fitt said.
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