New debt advice service to be launched in Scotland amid fears of rising financial woes

Amid rising concerns over the levels of problem debt in Scotland, the Scottish Government has revealed plans to create a new debt advice service.

New debt advice service to be launched in Scotland amid fears of rising financial woes

Jamie Hepburn, business minister

This year, Citizens Advice Scotland has issued 100,000 pieces of debt advice to people living in Scotland, whilst more than 600,000 Scots - 14.2% of the population, are struggling to pay debts and cover their bills, according to the Money Advice Service.

Of those who have problem debts in Scotland, it is estimated that only about 20% will seek advice from a free debt advice provider.

However, in the new Tackling Problem Debt Advice report, the Scottish Government says it wants to set up a service which is focused on the users.

Jamie Hepburn, business minister, said: “Early intervention can help mitigate the damaging effects of problem debt but people often delay getting help, or advice providers struggle to meet demand. This plan sets out our ambition to create a free debt advice system that responds to the needs of those who seek it, offers more joined-up services and has adequate funding to survive and provide high-quality services.”

Derek Mitchell, Citizens Advice Scotland chief executive, added: “This is a welcome step forward. It is clear to us on the ground that many people are struggling with problem debt, especially as a result of years of broadly flat incomes and the rising cost of living. It is the reality that our advisers in communities across Scotland are seeing every day.

“The Citizens Advice network in Scotland is one of the biggest providers of free debt advice in the country and last year we issued over 100,000 pieces of advice relating to debt. Debt is second only to inquiries about social security in terms of the top issues or advisers see.”

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