Cost-of-living crisis: Most Scots fear crisis could leave more lonely at Christmas
A study by YouGov for the British Red Cross found 81 per cent believe this could happen, with the poll also showing many people plan to cut back on socialising and going out over Christmas.
A total of 43 per cent said they would be restricting how much they socialise due to the increasing cost of living, with 51 per cent cutting back on going to pubs, restaurants and clubs.
The charity is encouraging people to contact friends and family who may be feeling lonely over the festive period.
According to the survey of 1,006 people, 63 per cent feel loneliness will be a bigger problem this winter than last.
The Red Cross, which runs projects across Scotland supporting people suffering from loneliness, said a simple phone call or text message could make all the difference.
Over half (53 per cent) of people who feel lonely nowadays said a phone call from family or friends would help them this Christmas. Forty-four per cent said a text from family or friends would also help, as would being invited over for Christmas dinner (44 per cent).
The organisation is also calling on the Scottish Government to continue to prioritise tackling loneliness and social isolation in the new year.
Kenneth Watt, policy and public affairs manager at the British Red Cross, said: “During lockdown many of us realised the importance of human connection like never before. Sadly, loneliness continues to be a real risk this Christmas for many people.
“While the cost-of-living crisis will mean people are restricting how much they socialise, we know that there are simple steps we can all take to help.
“Reaching out to family and friends with a quick call or text message could make all the difference for those worried about being lonely this Christmas.
“Loneliness can affect everyone, of all ages, and we can all play a part in tackling it.
“But we also need to see continued action from the Scottish Government to make sure everyone gets the support they need.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government recognises the damaging impact of social isolation and loneliness and we are working to tackle it. This is why we’re developing a new plan to tackle social isolation and loneliness, and build a more connected Scotland.
“In the first 100 days of this Parliament, we invested £1 million for immediate work by organisations tackling loneliness, including helplines, befriending, and practical support. Our social isolation and loneliness fund, that will launch in early 2023, will help organisations to continue delivering support in their communities.”
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