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Scotland in the Red report 2023

Our client statistics show what life is like for Scots experiencing problem debt.

Download the report

Scotland in the Red report 2023

Scotland in the Red is our annual publication that explains our key client statistics and looks at what life is like for Scots experiencing problem debt.

We analyse data from every Scottish Constituency and Local Authority to get a picture of how things were for our clients throughout 2023.


The challenges for our clients in 2023

magnifying glass

25% of clients say their main reason for problem debt is due to cost of living pressures

31% of clients are in a deficit budget, meaning that their spending on essentials is higher than their income can cover

mountain of credit

The proportion of clients claiming Universal Credit increased 6% to 32% in 2023

55% of clients are in full or part time work, despite this they still face difficulty with problem debt

43% of clients have children, 22% are single parents. 50% of families with children are vulnerable clients

bills at door

47% of clients under 25 are in Council Tax arrears

Clients have an average of £3,147 arrears on household bills and average unsecured debts of £16,337

Our report makes recommendations for change to support people in or at risk of problem debt:

  • Continue to combat inflationary pressures that are destroying financial resilience.
  • Support efforts to grow fairly renumerated employment and guarantee adequacy of welfare, so that employment is a strong shield against financial difficulty and welfare support is an adequate safety net.
  • Partnership approaches with advice agencies and collection teams to ensure that clients behind with their bills have the support and advice before they subject to enforcement action.
  • Ensure that collection practices around Government debt, particularly Council Tax, are fair and allow for clients to recover financially rather than plunging them into greater difficulty.
  • Scottish Government, COSLA (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities), Sherrif Officers and Advice Agencies should develop a Council Tax Charter, which codifies fair treatment of clients, fair collection practices, signposting and accessible routes to advice
  • The Scottish Government must continue its good work over this Parliament in reforming and refining Scottish Statutory Debt Solutions, through the Stage Three Review.
Download the report

Want more information?

Email us to discuss our 2023 personal debt statistics and other debt research across the UK.