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Government-backed Debt Advice Guide launched to support Scots in financial difficulty

31 August, 2021

StepChange Debt Charity Scotland, in partnership with the Scottish Government, has today launched the Scotland Debt Guide, a handbook designed to help improve access to free debt advice services for struggling Scots.


The Scotland Debt Guide launches at a time of widespread financial distress in Scotland. Polling shows thousands of Scots are struggling with debt and are behind on essential bills like Council Tax and rent, with more than a fifth using credit to make ends meet (see notes to editors) and cover essential costs.

With support measures such as furlough coming to an end, and £20 a week due to be cut from Universal Credit this month, the debt advice sector is expecting demand for its services to rise in the coming months.

The Guide includes information on the solutions available to those seeking advice, including the Government-backed Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS), debt management plans, bankruptcy, the Minimal Asset Scheme (MAS) and Trust Deeds, among others. It also includes a complete guide to putting together a budget, and an explanation of what to expect when contacting a debt advisor, to help prepare anyone considering taking advice

It also provides information for getting in touch with a number of Scottish charities that provide debt advice – StepChange Debt Charity Scotland, Citizens Advice Scotland, Christians Against Poverty, Macmillan and Shelter

The English printed copy of the Guide is available to be distributed free of charge to any interested organisations or groups, who can get in contact via our website

The digital edition of the Guide, which is also available in Urdu, Polish and Punjabi, can be downloaded from our website

Sharon Bell, Head of StepChange Scotland, said:

“At a time of financial uncertainty for many, it’s vital that as many people as possible are aware of the free, impartial services available to help them with their financial issues.

"The Scotland Debt Guide comes at a time when one in five Scots are using credit to make ends meet, with further difficulties on the horizon with the end of Coronavirus support measures and the £20 cut to Universal Credit. As more Scots find themselves in need of support from a free debt advice charity, the Scotland Debt Guide will provide them with a clear starting point on the road to recovery.

"Taking the first step to pick up the phone or go online to get help can often be the hardest but suffering in silence can often make things worse. As always, our advice to anyone in financial difficulty would be, get help and get it early.”

Notes to Editors

  1. Polling undertaken by YouGov on behalf of StepChange Scotland in February 2021. YouGov polled 1,045 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 23rd - 26th February 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Scotland adults (aged 18+).
  2. Our Scotland in the Red 2020 report, looking at the demographics of our Scottish clients last year, is available here.
  3. If you would like images of the Urdu, Punjabi or Polish editions of the Scotland Debt Guide, please e-mail Lawrie Morgan-Klein using the details below. 

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