Citizens Advice Scotland has warned of a worsening situation.
There has been a huge increase in demand for online advice around mortgage issues, new data from Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has revealed.
The latest data report from the charity, covering August 2022, found a 25 per cent increase in views of the web page “What to Do If You Can’t Pay Your Mortgage” from July 2022.
Across all advice webpages relating to mortgage problems, there has been a 277 per cent rise in page views between August 2021 and August 2022.
The cost of living crisis more generally also sees increased demand for online advice. The webpage “Grants and Benefits to Help You Pay Your Energy”, which usually receives the majority of its web traffic in winter, is up 748 per cent from August 2021.
Meanwhile webpage use for “Get Help with Bills” increased 366 per cent.
CAS is encouraging people who are struggling with the cost of living crisis to seek advice, either from a local CAB, online, or using the interactive self-help tool www.moneymap.scot.
CAS social justice spokesperson, Stephanie Millar, said: “The year on year increase in demand for online advice in key cost of living areas should set alarm bells ringing. Huge increases in views around getting help with bills are of concern, but the spikes in energy advice and mortgage issues are of particular worry.
“That is because this data covers August – so to see such high demand for energy advice before the weather turns cold shows the extent of this crisis. Meanwhile the huge growth in concerns around mortgage payments predates the most recent increase in interest rates, and comes before a potential further increase.
“We have seen some action from policymakers but it is clear more targeted support will be needed for the most vulnerable, and hundreds of thousands of people will be looking at interest rate decisions in the coming months with dread.
“People who are worried about their bills should know that free, impartial and confidential advice from the Citizens Advice network is available. We unlocked £132 million for people last year and we never charge for advice - we don’t judge, we just help.”