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New poll reveals one in two people in Scotland worried about their financial situation

23 January 2024

A new survey for StepChange Debt Charity, carried out by YouGov, has found that one in two people in Scotland (47%), equivalent to 2 million people, are worried about their financial situation.

The research also found that:

  • Two in five (42%) people in Scotland, around 1.8 million, think their household financial situation will get worse in the next twelve months.
  • Over two in five (44%) people in Scotland say their overall financial situation has got worse compared to two years ago.

The polling comes as StepChange Scotland’s latest client data for the final quarter of 2023 provides an insight into how the cost-of-living crisis is impacting Scots’ debt situations. During this period, 35% of StepChange Scotland clients were in a negative budget, meaning their income is not able to cover their essential living costs.

The client data reveals that a quarter (24%) of StepChange Scotland clients, who have a responsibility for paying rent bills face rent arrears, which has risen slightly since the first quarter of 2023 (21%). A third (33%) of clients who have a responsibility for paying Council Tax bills find themselves in arrears, and three in five (60%) face credit card debt, the most common type of debt among StepChange clients.

As temperatures plunge to sub-zero, the proportion of clients in energy arrears shows little sign of going down. One in three (30%) clients are in electricity arrears, and one in four (25%) clients are in gas arrears, among those with a responsibility for paying these bill types.

Sharon Bell, Head of StepChange Scotland, said:

“We know the new year isn’t the easiest time for households and managing their budgets, but our latest research shows just how deep the impacts of the cost-of-living crisis are cutting. Households across Scotland are expecting their personal finances to deteriorate as the year goes on and when compared with previous years, many feel worse off, not better.”

“For anyone worrying about finances this year, or struggling with problem debt, we are offering support in the form of free and impartial debt advice. We have support on hand to run through your personal budget, assess your position, and proceed with the best option available. It is always best to act quickly rather than to wait and suffer in silence. Debt happens and we are on hand to support you in dealing with it.”

Notes to Editors

  1. The statistics are based on a YouGov poll of 2,056 GB adults and the fieldwork was conducted between 19-20th December. Scottish figures are based on a sub-sample of 192 respondents.
  2. Full client data tables available on request.
  3. ONS Mid-2021 dataset on estimates of the population for the UK, England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland were used to produce population estimates for Scotland.
  4. StepChange Scotland have spokespeople available to speak to these stats – please contact the press office below for further comment or interview.

Media Enquiries

General – 0207 391 4598 // press@stepchange.org

Out of hours - 07985 404153

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