- Over 20% of new beneficiaries pointed to the cost-of-living crisis as a cause of their financial difficulty
- Concerns are shared as this figure is twice what it was at the beginning of 2022
A leading debt charity has cited the cost-of-living crisis as a major factor behind their recent spike in people approaching them for help.
Analysis completed by StepChange Scotland illustrates that between July and September of this year, just over 20% of the people they spoke with pointed to increased prices for food, energy and fuel as a fundamental cause of their financial difficulty.
This statistic is all the more startling when compared to those produced earlier in 2022, where only 10% of people who approached the debt charity for help cited the cost-of-living crisis as a reason for their difficulty.
According to StepChange Scotland, council tax has always been and remains the most prevalent household bill for their clients to struggle with, as just over a third are in arrears. However, part of the analysis into the new data produced now suggests that both gas and electricity bills in arrears are almost at a comparable level with council tax arrears across their client’s base.
Such is the concern, StepChange Scotland is now pressuring both the Scottish and UK Governments to review what additional steps can be taken to alleviate some of the burden for those on the lowest incomes.
“Across the year we’ve been concerned about the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on our client’s finances, and now as feared we are seeing arrears on gas and electricity bills increasing even before we’ve reached the coldest months of the year…” stated Sharon Bell, Head of StepChange Scotland.
“With thousands of people on the lowest incomes worried about what the months ahead hold for their finances, we also need to see a commitment from the UK government to uprate benefits in line with inflation as soon as possible. In the wake of recent turmoil, there will be a lot of worried households on low incomes wondering how they will cope without incurring ever more problem debt…” she continued.
It’s clear that if action isn’t taken soon, many of us are in for a particularly bleak winter.
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