Half a million Scots 'set to use overdraft more' amid price hikes

Citizens Advice analysis found 606,342 people in Scotland expect to increase overdraft use in the current economic climate.

Citizens Advice Scotland: Half a million people expect to use overdraft more amid cost of living crisis iStock

More than half a million people living in Scotland are expecting to increase the use of their overdraft in months to come as prices remain high, according to new data.

Earlier this week, figures showed that inflation increased to 10.4% in February from 10.1% in January, despite predictions it would fall, while interest rates increased to 4.25%.

Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) analysed a poll from YouGov which found 506,342 people north of the border expected to increase their overdraft use in the current economic climate.

From previous analysis, the charity also found about 780,000 people expected to increase their credit card use.

Meanwhile, around 460,000 people expect to go into debt, the research found, with 644,000 anticipating an increase in their existing debt.

CAS have released the figures as part of its Debt Happens campaigniStock

CAS financial health spokesperson Myles Fitt said: “An overdraft facility can be an absolute lifeline for people rather than relying on high-cost credit, however the scale of people who expect to dip into it more shows that people are struggling more and more to cover monthly payments for day-to-day spending.

“We went straight from the pandemic to the worst cost of living crisis in living memory and that has worn people’s financial resilience right down. It’s a problem lots of people are having.”

CAS released the figures as part of its Debt Happens campaign, which is encouraging people who are worried about money and debt to seek advice from their local Citizens Advice Bureau or online.

Mr Fitt added: “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.”

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