Margaret Lynch: Borrowing cause for concern

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These figures are very worrying, and show once again the harsh reality of how people are living in Scotland today.

There can be few things more basic than a roof over your head, and yet for thousands of families that is something they can’t afford to maintain.

If people are having to borrow for something so basic, it’s clear that their incomes are nowhere near enough to live on.

By borrowing like this they are just storing up debts that they are unlikely to be able to repay, particularly if they are turning to high-interest lenders like payday loans.

But the trouble is that many people feel they have no option.

They don’t have enough money coming in to pay these costs, so they feel it’s a choice between debt or eviction.

Having spoken to CAB advisers who see these clients every day, there is no doubt in my mind that much of the increase in these numbers is due to the welfare reforms – and specifically the bedroom tax.

The UK Government keeps telling us that the welfare reforms are not penalising people unfairly, but these figures show the truth.

People who are struggling with their finances should remember that help and advice is available.

Debt really is not the answer.

The CAB gives expert money advice for free and we can help you manage your finances, no matter how bad things seem. Remember too that our advice is free, confidential and impartial.

Margaret Lynch is chief executive of Citizens Advice Scotland.