Debt charities working with people in Scotland struggling with their debts say the numbers who are seeking help has doubled in the last few years.
The charity workers are seeing growing numbers of Scots plunging further into the red as they struggle to cover their basic needs.
This means that thousands of people are falling into large debts to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads.
However, there is help at hand, and a team of advisers at Scotland’s Trust Deed can offer impartial help and advice for those who want to resolve their financial situation.
One charity says that there are growing numbers of people struggling with debts on their priority bills which is things like their mortgage and council tax.
The charity says that they advised nearly 1,300 people last year who are living in Scotland on how to best tackle their debt situation. The numbers have doubled since 2012.
Scots who are now in arrears with their council tax
Worryingly, the number of Scots who are now in arrears with their council tax has doubled to 36% and around 10% are struggling to pay their energy bills.
The charity says that the average amount in unsecured credit debt for those who are contacting them is £12,263.
The average debt in the UK is £11,907 and the Scottish figure is the second highest of all regions surveyed.
The figures for 2016 also reveal that this is the first time that Scotland’s level of average debt was higher than that for England.
The charity says that most debt for people has been caused by a change in personal circumstances such as redundancy, separation or divorce, illness, reduced income and an inability to budget effectively.
There’s no doubt too that for Scots struggling with debt, the situation will bring lots of stress but things can be resolved.
Debt arrangement scheme
Among them is a debt arrangement scheme which will bring an end to creditors’ demands and freezing charges on the debt.
The Scottish government run scheme will also enable a Scot to repay all that they owe by repaying a smaller amount over a longer period of time.
While all the debt is repaid, it is possible for some Scots to undertake a trust deed which will also repay a smaller amount to creditors and an amount left at the end of the term will be written off.
It also appears that Scotland’s debt arrangement scheme is now being considered for use in England since its successful uptake in helping Scots deal with their financial situation.
Among the reasons given to the debt charity about why Scots delay seeking help for dealing with their debt issues is their believing they can manage it alone, shame or believing that no one can help them.
The charity also reveals the type of debts that people in Scotland are dealing with and the number one cause is credit card debt for 31% of people.
People are struggling with their bank overdraft
In addition, 14% of people are struggling with their bank overdraft and the same number with their catalogue debt and the same number are struggling with personal loans.
Store cards account for 3% of problem debts, along with 5% for pay day loans and 4% for home credit.
Among the attractions for a debt arrangement scheme is that the debtor will be protected from their creditors taking action against them, or hassling them.
On top of this, all fees and interest charges will be frozen.
That’s an appealing proposition for many people in Scotland who are struggling financially and, again, the team of debt advisers at Scotland’s Trust Deed can help explain the details of the scheme.
A lot depends on a Scot’s personal circumstances about which debt solution may be the best choice for them but it will help to speak with the debt advisers to find out more.