Scots run out of cash before pay day

Money problems cropped

Money worries lead to relationship strife, survey shows

​Charity survey shows that low pay and debt mean people can't manage their income

Graham Martin's photo

31st May 2017 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

Debt and cash problems are a daily problem for the majority of Scots as a survey showed more than half often run out of money before pay day.

A study by Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) found 51% had been left without funds before their monthly salary reached the bank.

For many, this precarious situation is a fact of life – with 15% of those surveyed saying it happens “most of the time” or “always”.

This leads people into debt – with half of people in the study having to borrow money or use credit cards for food, with one fifth doing the same to pay their housing costs.

Meanwhile, almost one quarter had gone without food at least once in the previous year.

Overall, one quarter said they were finding it “difficult to manage” on their current income, and at least one in ten said their finances were causing them personal problems, including sleep disturbance, health issues and relationship trouble.

And nearly a third said they are in more debt now than they were last year.

More than half of respondents (55%) said they would be unable to pay a surprise bill of £100 without borrowing, cutting back on essentials or digging into savings.

This rose to almost 70% for a bill of £250 and more than 80% for a £1,000 charge.

The survey found more than 20% had no savings because they could not afford to put money by.

Keith Dryburgh, CAS policy manager, said: “This study shows that for most Scots debt is just a fact of life. It also shows that debt is not just an issue for people who are on low incomes.

“Many working Scots on reasonable salaries occasionally need to borrow money to get them from one payday to the next.

“While many of these people would not regard this as a crisis situation, our research also finds that many people are vulnerable to financial shocks, like being unable to pay a sudden bill without getting into debt or using savings.”

He added: “More than half of Scots are not familiar with their rights as debt consumers. Given that debt is so pervasive in Scotland, we are keen to make sure that people know their rights in relation to debt and also know what options they have if they want to manage their finances better.”