12% of Scots struggling to pay rent or mortgage
The number of people in Scotland who say they are struggling to pay their rent or mortgage has increased by nearly a third in the last two years, a new survey has revealed.
New research by YouGov on behalf of Shelter Scotland last month found that 12% of respondents were currently struggling to pay their rent or mortgage, up from 9% two years ago when the same survey was conducted. 12% is equivalent to nearly 200,000 households.
Worryingly, nearly 4 in 10 (36%) respondents say they would struggle to pay their rent or mortgage if it rose by as little as £50 a month during 2019, while 39% admitted they had at least once borrowed money from a friend, used a credit card or used their savings to pay their rent or mortgage.
Shelter Scotland is warning that ignoring money worries rather than seeking advice could lead to people’s homes being put at risk. Last year the charity helped more people than ever before via its free national helpline, digital chat and online advice - with 46% of those helped needing advice on keeping their home.
The charity said one household every 18 minutes was made homeless in Scotland last year, with nearly 11,000 households forced to live in temporary accommodation, including more than 14,000 children. Shelter Scotland says its advisers are on-hand to help anyone worried about paying for their housing costs, at risk of homelessness or struggling with bad housing.
Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: “It’s quite clear from these numbers that tens of thousands of people in Scotland are entering 2019 worrying about meeting the costs of their rent or mortgage over the next few months and that many thousands more would struggle with even a modest rise on those costs.
“A perfect storm of austerity, harsh welfare reforms, stagnant wages, job insecurity and the high cost of housing are making it harder for people to make ends meet and plan for the future.
“It’s a disgrace that in 21st Century Scotland so many people should have to worry about the basic right of keeping a roof over their heads.”
Graeme Brown added: “It’s absolutely vital that people who do find themselves struggling to make ends meet and keep a roof over their heads should seek help sooner rather than later. It’s much better to put a plan in place to deal with debt and arrears in the early stages rather than wait for eviction notices and court orders.”