Over half a million Scots say cost of living is 'key reason' for debt

It comes as energy costs and shop prices soar.

Over half a million Scots say cost of living is ‘key reason’ for debt, new analysis suggests iStock

Over half a million Scots have said that the rising cost of living is a key reason for personal debt.

It’s according to new analysis by Citizens Advice Scotland, undertaken by YouGov.

The study found that 52% of Scottish adults in debt or at risk of debt since the Covid pandemic started cited the cost of living as a key reason.

Taking into account Scotland’s working age population, this amounts to 558,382 people, the charity indicated.

It comes as energy costs see a significant rise, with prices also increasing in shops for everyday goods.

The charity is running a campaign which seeks to encourage people that they are not alone in facing debt and to seek advice from across the Citizens Advice network.

CAS financial health spokesperson Myles Fitt suggested that people are finding themselves in debt through circumstances “beyond their reasonable control”.

“The soaring cost of living has barely been out of the headlines in recent months, with rising energy bills and prices in the shops going up,” he said.

“What this analysis suggests is that for many people either in debt or at risk of debt, these rising costs are a huge driver, so people are finding themselves in debt through circumstances almost beyond their reasonable control.

“Our message to people is that debt happens, and you’re not alone. It’s nothing to be ashamed of and the important thing is to seek advice quickly so you get the help and support you need.”

Flett urged people to seek advice “as soon as possible” if struggling with their bills.

He said: “People can get help in a variety of ways across the Citizens Advice network, from local CABs to our online resources like our public advice site and online Money Map tool.

“Some people will benefit from negotiated repayment schemes which brings their monthly payments down, but for many more getting more money in their pockets in the first place will help.

“Our advice is free, impartial and confidential and we’d encourage anyone who would benefit from advice to seek it as soon as possible. Don’t let the bills and the stress pile up, we’re here to help.”