Thousands forced into debt due to cost-of-living crisis – charity

A poll from YouGov found that 84% of people said the higher costs of groceries and utility bills were reasons why they had debt issues.

Thousands forced into debt due to cost-of-living crisis, analysis from Citizens Advice Scotland finds iStock

Thousands of people across Scotland have been forced into debt or seen their existing debt get worse due to the cost-of-living crisis, analysis from Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) suggests.

Polling from YouGov based on a sample size of 1,005 people showed that 84% of people in debt said the higher cost of living for groceries and utility bills was a reason why they had debt issues.

CAS estimated this figure at 657,323 people across the country.

The charity is currently running a campaign titled Stressed about Debt which encourages people who are worried about bills or stressed about debt to seek advice from them.

The charity oversees 59 Citizens Advice Bureaux (CAB) across Scotland which aim to help improve people’s financial situation, and for some this includes debt write-off.

Since last spring CABs have helped write off more than £11 million worth of debt, with the average amount written off being over £12,600 per client.

CAS financial health spokesperson Jemiel Benison said: “This has been the worst cost-of-living crisis in memory, and the legacy of it is now clear – hundreds of thousands of people with new debt issues, whether that is entering debt for the first time or seeing their existing debt get worse.

“After years of higher costs for food, energy and housing it is completely understandable that people find themselves behind on bills. Anyone can find themselves in debt when their income stays the same but the costs of everything else just go up and up.

“We want people who are stressed about their debts to seek advice and support from the Citizens Advice network. You don’t need to go to a CAB to get advice, instead you can check our online advice pages or use our interactive self-help tools.

“Our network gets real results for people – last year people who saw a gain having sought advice were more than £3,700 better off. Our advice is impartial, confidential and crucially free – we don’t charge for our advice, and we never will.”

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