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The latest personal debt statistics from Scotland

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Scotland in the Red 2017: Research from the UK's leading
debt charity

Nearly 20,000 people in Scotland contacted us last year, an increase of 47% since 2013. Using this client data, Scotland in the Red highlights the issues and key statistics relating to debt in Scotland, gaining insight into the financial difficulties faced by our clients north of the border.

1. For every £1 of income our clients in Scotland received per month in 2017, they had almost £10 of debt

For every £1 of income our clients in Scotland received per month in 2017, they had £9.96 of debt. This means that clients in Scotland have nearly 10% more debt than our UK clients relative to their income level. Depressed incomes and rising prices are significant factors behind the increasing need for debt advice.

for every £1 of income our clients in scotland received per month in 2017, they had £9.96 of debt

2. Incomes in Scotland haven't kept pace with inflation

The average monthly incomes of clients in Scotland have increased by only £60, or 5% over 5 years, from £1,193 to £1,253. This modest rise hasn't kept pace with inflation. Costs have risen faster than income, so incomes are down in real terms.

incomes in scotland haven't kept up with inflation

3. More clients in Scotland are falling behind their essential bills

41% of clients liable for council tax are in arrears. Those arrears have increased by 45% from £1,368 to £1,981. Electricity arrears have increased by 37% since 2013, with average arrears up from £543 to £745 in 2017.

more clients in scotland are falling behind their essential bills

4. More than half of Scottish constituencies had one in four clients in rent arrears

The percentage of clients with a mortgage has shrunk from 39% to 24%. But mortgage arrears have increased 35% since 2013, to £3,523 in 2017. The percentage of clients with rent arrears increased from 44% of all clients in 2013 to 61% in 2017. Rent arrears have also increased by 25% to £740.

more than half of scottish constituencies had one in four clients in rent arrears

5. More young people are seeking help with debt

The percentage of clients aged 25-39 has grown by 6% since 2013; 36% of clients are in this age range. The 40-59 age bracket now makes up a smaller share of clients, though this age range still makes up the largest overall group.

more young people are seeking help with debt

6. The average client has just £15 left after paying their essential bills

The average budget surplus (the amount of money left in a client's budget after essentials have been covered) for clients is down 37%. The average client now has just £15 left after paying their essential bills. In some areas clients have no surplus and are in deficit. In 2013, 25% of Scottish constituencies had an average budget deficit; that figure had increased in 2017 to 37%, or 26 out of 73 constituencies.

the average client has just £15 left after paying their essential bills

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Helping you become debt free...

“I wish to thank your staff for all the great help they gave me when I was in so much debt.
They were a pillar of support to me.” (Leslie, Essex)

Foundation for Credit Counselling Wade House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8NG trading as StepChange Debt Charity and StepChange Debt Charity Scotland. A registered charity no.1016630 and SC046263. It is a limited company registered in England and Wales (company no:2757055). Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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© StepChange Debt Charity 2018