RISING commuting costs have forced one in eight Scots to move closer to work, according to a survey published today.
Accountants PwC also found one in four have had to resort to using savings to fund their travel. The firm said Scottish commuters had among Britain’s highest annual travel costs, which averaged £1,216.
The outlay has also increased for more of them than their counterpart commuters south of the Border.
Seven in ten Scots said they were paying more, with nearly half saying this had been by “a great deal”.
PwC’s Voice of the Consumer report showed Scotland has been one of the worst-hit areas of the UK for increasing transport costs, with 61 per cent of those polled admitting to being forced to make other savings as a result – compared to around half across the UK.
Four in ten had also cut back on eating out, while 15 per cent had considering cutting their hours or quitting their job as a result.
The survey said 13 per cent of those questioned had relocated to be closer to their job, and around a quarter had diverted money from savings, investments or pension contributions.
PwC partner Graham McGregor said: “Quite simply, if the cost of the commute is proving to be the straw that could break the camel’s back, then people will be faced with making tough decisions to balance their household budgets.
“Relocating to reduce the commute, saving less for the future in the short term, or even cutting down their hours – if for example combined costs such as childcare and commuting leave little behind in the monthly pay packet – would appear from our research to be just some of the routes they are choosing.
“There is no escaping the fact that over the last few years, transport costs have been rising, and for Scots, this seems to have had a bigger impact.”
PwC senior economic advisor Andrew Sentence said: “Since 2009, the transport component of the Consumer Prices Index has risen on average by 5.4 per cent a year, and is one of the areas where prices have risen the fastest over this period.
“This is nearly three times the 2 per cent inflation target and way ahead of the modest wage increases employees are seeing in their pay packets.”
The PwC survey involved 2,000 people being questioned across the UK in March.
Neil Greig, the Scotland-based policy and research director of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: “This survey confirms what we have been saying for years that increases in motoring costs have a direct impact on the economy.
“In areas such as Scotland with few alternatives to the car, the effect is even deeper.
“The Chancellor should take note.”