Christine Jardine, Lib Dem MP for Edinburgh West, has called on the Scottish Government to urgently tackle high levels of debt amongst Scots.
A report by the Debt Advisory charity StepChange Scotland, ‘Scotland in the Red,’ has revealed that nearly 700,000 Scots either have, or are at risk of, problem debts. The issue is expected to cost the public £750 million a year.
Ms Jardine, who is the Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Work and Pensions, pointed to a lack of strategy and urgency from the Scottish Government to help those who are struggling. Particularly for the alarming number of those affected from council tax arrears.
Ms Jardine commented:
‘It is alarming that so many people are having to get by with huge debts saddled around their necks and inexcusable that Scots are more likely to face council tax arrears than anywhere else in the UK.
Debt problems can have a huge impact on society, as people’s relationships and mental health could potentially suffer as a result. This is something that goes beyond money.
The Scottish Government needs to take control of this crisis fast. A commitment to a national plan to tackle the problem would be an encouraging and welcome start.
Charities such as StepChange do a wonderful job of helping those who do need it, but there must be a stronger impetus to prevent it from happening in the first place. I will be calling for this to be addressed urgently.’