Almost all Scots face cost of living rises as scale of crisis revealed

Millions of people across Scotland are cutting back as official survey shows impact and suffering caused by soaring prices and bills.

Almost every Scot faces cost of living rises as scale of crisis revealed iStock
Most Scots are using less fuel such as gas or electricity at home.

Almost every Scot has faced cost of living rises as the scale of the crisis has been revealed in a nationwide survey.

Millions of people across the country are cutting back, reducing energy use in their homes and spending less on food and essentials, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

More than nine in ten people living in Scotland said the cost of their food shop has gone up, while more than half said they are cutting back on gas and electricity at home.

Almost nine in ten Scots said their cost of living has gone up in the past month (88%), up by 16% since the ONS first asked people about the crisis in November 2021.

For most, rising energy prices are a major factor – 39% of Scots said they find it difficult to afford their gas and electricity bills.

The number of Scots who have seen their rent or mortgage payments go up in the last six months has more than doubled to almost a third. When the ONS first asked in November last year, 12% said they had suffered rises.

A quarter said they were finding it difficult to afford their rent or mortgage payments.

Survey reveals impact of cost of living crisis

  • Almost all Scots have seen the cost of their food shop increase (92%)
  • 41% of Scots said they were buying less when food shopping in the last two weeks
  • Most Scots are using less fuel such as gas or electricity at home (54%)
  • Almost all Scots have seen their cost of living increase (88%)
  • Almost all Scots have seen their electricity bills increase (85%)
  • 78% of Scots have seen the cost of fuel increase
  • Most Scots are spending less on non-essentials (59%)
  • 45% of Scots are cutting back on non-essential journeys in their vehicles
  • Almost a third of Scots couldn’t afford an unexpected but necessary expense of £850 (32%)
  • 44% of Scots don’t think they’ll be able to save any money in the next 12 months
  • 39% of Scots find if difficult to afford their energy bills (very or somewhat difficult)
  • Almost a third of Scots have seen their rent or mortgage payments go up in the last six months (31%) – 25% say they are finding it difficult to afford their payments.
  • 42% of Scots had to spend more than usual to get what food they normally buy.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “People are rightly concerned about a possible recession, which is why the Scottish Government has continually urged the UK Government to use all the levers at its disposal, with its full range of powers, to tackle the cost of living crisis and child poverty and provide immediate support.

“In contrast, building on Minsters’ long standing commitment to reduce inequalities, within our limited budget, the Scottish Government has allocated almost £3 billion in this financial year which will contribute to helping families and households face the increased cost of living, including provision of services and financial support not available elsewhere in the UK that is helping to reduce every day costs and increase incomes.

“We doubled our Scottish Child Payment to £20 per child per week in April and will increase it to £25 when we extend it to under 16s by the end of the year – a 150% increase within 9 months. We are the only nation in the UK offering this vital anti-poverty benefit.”

‘Very challenging winter ahead’

The UK will enter a more than year-long recession this winter with multiple hikes in energy bills, increasing inflation pushing up food prices and rent and mortgage payments going up.

On Thursday, the Bank of England increase interest rates to 1.75%, up 0.5%, the sixth increase in a row as it tries to curtail runaway inflation and the largest bump since 1995.

Ofgem has confirmed the energy price cap will be updated quarterly, rather than every six months, as it warned customers face a “very challenging winter ahead”.

The average cost of a home in Scotland has hit a record high of over £203,000, despite a slight drop in annual house price inflation according to the latest figures.

Millions of households across the UK are cutting back on essentials in order to afford their broadband and mobile connections, ministers have been warned.

Citizens Advice Scotland has urged people who are struggling to get in touch.

“Soaring inflation means higher prices in the shops and costs on bills for people already struggling badly with the cost of living crisis,” said Derek Mitchell, Citizens Advice Scotland’s chief executive.

“That inflation is expected to stay high for much of 2023 and the looming prospect of a recession means this crisis isn’t going anywhere, risking a legacy of debt, poverty and destitution for years and years to come.

“Some of the most vulnerable people across the U.K. this winter will face a choice between freezing and starving.

“That’s the reality and we should not pretend otherwise. People are likely to die this winter because of this crisis unless we see urgent and radical action from policymakers.”

Advice is available from the Citizens Advice network, from a local bureau or online resources like www.moneymap.scot.