Don't despair if you are in financial trouble. Free expert advice is at hand – Andrew Bartlett

The pandemic has had a catastrophic effect on household incomes for hundreds of thousands of families.

More than a third of Scots are worried about paying their monthly bills over the coming year, according to a new poll (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

New polling published today shows that more than a third of Scots are worried about paying their monthly bills over the coming year.

And the Survation survey for Advice Direct Scotland also found that 32 per cent are concerned about being able to afford living costs such as food and clothing.

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The findings paint a stark picture of the level of financial worry faced by many Scots.

Coupled with that is concern among workers about the future of their job, with the furlough scheme now being wound down.

But sometimes just talking things through and having a plan can help people with debt worries get back on track.

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There are a variety of solutions that can help if you are struggling with debt or have concerns about your finances.

This week we have launched moneyadvice.scot, a new service for anyone in Scotland which provides free, practical and impartial advice on personal finance and debt.

One of our specialist debt and money advisers can discuss all available options.

This includes informal arrangements to pay off debt, debt arrangements schemes, trust deeds or alternatives.

It is estimated that hundreds of millions of pounds in benefits goes unclaimed every year.

So we have also built a new online calculator at advice.scot, which is the first to fully integrate devolved benefits, including the new Scottish Child Payment.

Lockdowns and restrictions, reductions in working hours and loss of employment, as well as changes to the way we carry out our daily activities, mean that many of us are feeling the strain.

People still have bills to pay, and reduction or loss of income can mean difficult decisions and hardship for families across Scotland.

But there are sources of financial support available, and the new moneyadvice.scot service is designed to help all those in Scotland who are struggling with money woes.

Advice is available at www.moneyadvice.scot and by phoning 0808 800 9060 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Andrew Bartlett is chief executive of Advice Direct Scotland, which runs moneyadvice.scot

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