New research has found that 4 in 10 (41%) renters or mortgage holders in Scotland would struggle to afford their monthly payments if they increased by £50.
The research, carried out online by YouGov on behalf of Shelter Scotland, found that 9% are already struggling, 18% would struggle with an increase of £25 or less per month and 14% would struggle with a £50 increase per month.
The research also showed that more than 1 in 4 (26%) renters or mortgage holders said they were worried about not being able to pay for their rent or mortgage at some point during 2017, while almost 1 in 10 (8%) admitted they’d ever used a credit card to pay their rent or mortgage and nearly 3 in 10 (28%) had used their savings.
Shelter Scotland is warning that ignoring money worries rather than seeking advice could lead to people’s homes being put at risk. The charity recently revealed that it had helped more people last year than in any previous year via its free national helpline, digital chat and online Get Advice.
The charity says around 30,000 households were made homeless in Scotland last year, with 10,500 forced to live in temporary accommodation, including 5,224 children.
Shelter Scotland says its advisors are on-hand to help anyone worried about paying for their housing costs, at risk of homelessness or struggling with bad housing.
Alison Watson, deputy director of Shelter Scotland, said: “It’s deeply concerning that as many as 40% of people in Scotland who pay rent or a mortgage would struggle to cope with an increase of £50 per month.
“And set against a background of predicted higher inflation this year, stagnant wages, job uncertainty and harsh welfare reforms, it’s no wonder that so many people – 1 in 4 - are starting the New Year worried about how they’ll pay for their rent or mortgage in 2017.
“Every day we hear from people who are living on a knife edge, overwhelmed by the increasing pressure of sky-high housing costs. Every day there are more calls to our free national helpline, dozens of people using our digital chat service and thousands of visits to our online advice pages.
“We understand it is all too easy to bury your head in the sand hoping the problem will go away. But if you’re in this situation, it’s so important to remember you’re not alone and that help is at hand. Money and debt and housing advice from Shelter Scotland is only a click or a phone call away – so get advice early to prevent things from spiralling out of control.”
Alison Watson added: “Every 20 minutes a household in Scotland is assessed as homeless. That’s 72 a day. Our helpline is a vital lifeline for these people, but to keep it going and make it better we need to invest in it.
“Shelter Scotland receives no funding to run our busy helpline, so support from the public is incredibly important to us to ensure we can continue helping families and individuals at a time when they need it most.
“To help us, people can visit shelterscotland.org or text SHELTER 70123 and donate £3* to support our work to help homeless and badly housed people across Scotland.”
Shelter Scotland is urging households facing housing problems to visit shelterscotland.org.uk/advice or call the free national helpline on 0808 800 4444.