Forever in debt

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Professor Brian Ashcroft’s conclusion that the increase in household spending fuelling Scotland’s recovery is being funded by pawnbrokers and payday lenders is shocking, but not surprising (your report, 31 October).

Analysis of StepChange data in Scotland shows average client debt dipped below £14,000 in June this year – a welcome decline but one that may be as much about the withdrawal of traditional credit as it is about paying down debt.

Instead, the charity is seeing debt flaring elsewhere, such as significant increases in clients with arrears in rent, mortgage, gas, electricity and council tax.

Also more people are finding debt a problem, with a 50 per cent year on year increase in the number of Scots helped by the end of September.

Finally, more than 10 per cent of client debt in Scotland is now the result of payday loans – a sector that did not exist five years ago – making it the highest rate in the UK.

Sharon Bell

StepChange Debt Charity Scotland

Bothwell Street