Arrears on mortgages, rent and regular outgoings are now commonplace for many Scots
Debt is becoming an ever increasing inevitability for hundreds of thousands of Scots, new research reveals.
Hundreds of thousands of adults in Scotland expect to enter debt or their existing debt to get worse during the cost of living crisis, has found.
New analysis from Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) of polling by YouGov found that an estimated 460,000 people expected to go into debt in Scotland, while 644,000 anticipate an increase in their existing debt.
CAS highlighted the cost of living crisis and people struggling to afford essentials as a reason that many may find themselves in arrears.
The charity is launching Debt Happens, a campaign encouraging people who are worried about money and debt to seek advice from their local CAB or online.
CAS financial health spokesperson Myles Fitt said: “We have seen the worst cost of living crisis in living memory with soaring energy bills, prices rising in the shops with inflation and higher interest rates. As a result of that lots of people will have had no choice but to go into debt to deal pay for every day essentials.
“That is nothing to be ashamed, there shouldn’t be a stigma attached to debt, but if you are worried about money then seek advice from the Citizens Advice network as soon as possible.
“The network can provide specialist debt advice which can perhaps restructure or reduce your repayments, and advisers can also look at ways to maximise your income.
“It is easy to be cynical and think there is no help out there for you, but one in six people who sought advice last year from the Citizens Advice network saw a financial gain, the average value of which was over £4,200.
“The most important thing is to not put things off, and let money and debt worries build up until they are overwhelming. Our advice is free, impartial and confidential. We never charge anyone for advice and we are for everyone, whether you are in work or not. Debt happens, but the Citizens Advice network can help you through it.”
One client faced demands to pay off mortgage after falling into debt.
The widow reached out for support after being served with a Calling Up Notice – effectively ending their mortgage and being asked to pay the remaining amount.
The woman told the CAB that those arrears arose due to the cost of living crisis which has seen her energy bills grow to over £420 per month.
Her partner died unexpectedly and had no life insurance or mortgage protection in place. The woman lives with two adult aged children and has a disability requiring care and support.
The client is struggling to afford mortgage payments and suffered a breakdown following the death of her partner. She could not make any payments to their mortgage arrears during this period as she was off sick from work.
She has other debts including 2 overdrawn bank accounts, credit cards, loans and utility debt. In total the client owes over £28,000 in both Priority and Non-Priority debts
The woman received full income maximisation advice which included reducing expenditure where possible as well as encouraging for non-dependent children to contributing to household bills.
She was also referred for energy saving advice. After expenditure, she did have a small amount of disposable income in which to service the debts but not able to save.