Ministers told to take 'urgent action' as poll demonstrates fear of cost of living crisis among Scots

Scottish Ministers have been warned they are not showing “any sign” of meeting the scale of the challenge posed by the cost of living crisis as more than half of Scots say they expect their financial situation to get worse over the next six months.

The figures also come amid a crisis in confidence in the economy among Scots with a rocketing number of people believing the economy and their personal finances will get worse in the next 12 months.

The poll, undertaken by Savanta ComRes for Scotland on Sunday, interviewed 1,008 Scottish adults aged 16 or over between March 10 and 16.

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It comes as consumer advice services call on the Scottish and UK governments to take “urgent action” to tackle the crisis ahead of the significant rise in bills set to come into force in April.

Half of Scots think their personal finances will get worse within the next year.Half of Scots think their personal finances will get worse within the next year.
Half of Scots think their personal finances will get worse within the next year.

Polling states that more than half of Scots, 57 per cent, believe their personal financial situation will get “worse” in the next six months.

More than half of these – 37 per cent overall – believe it will get “somewhat worse”, while 19 per cent believe it will get “much worse”.

Just 13 per cent of Scots, or around one in eight, believe their finances will get better in the next year.

Two in five Scots (40 per cent) also said they already struggle to pay or cannot pay their household bills, with just nine per cent saying they can “comfortably afford” their bills.

Frazer Scott, chief executive of Energy Action Scotland, which campaigns for an end to fuel poverty, said 900,000 people in Scotland will be unable to heat their homes adequately in the coming months.

He said: “Neither Westminster nor the Scottish Parliament show any sign of meeting the scale of need we are starting to see. Far too many people are simply unable to afford a basic standard living of living.

"Charitable support services are at breaking point ahead of the next wave of increases. Current support is inadequate and government’s seem to be waiting for it to get even worse before acting.

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"We seem to be seeing the perfect example of those who have can arguing that tomorrow is time enough."

The call for action also comes as more than half of Scots (51 per cent) believe their personal finances will get worse over the next year, with a ‘net better’ score of -34 per cent, down 20 points since January.

The economy fares even worse, with 65 per cent expecting it to get worse over the next 12 months with the poll showing a ‘net better’ score of -46 per cent, down from -17 per cent in January.

Nearly one in five people have been forced to borrow money from friends of family to meet household bills or pay for food, with 14 per cent stating they have taken extra work to do so.

A total of seven per cent of Scots said they have been forced to use a foodbank.

Myles Fitt, financial health spokesperson at Citizens Advice Scotland, said people should contact the network if they need help amid “eye-watering” rises in the cost of living.

He said: “This polling shows the scale of concern Scots have about the cost of living crisis, and bluntly as things stand people are right to worry that things are going to get worse as household budgets are squeezed to breaking point.

“We need to see urgent action from policymakers to ease the cost of living, and we will be awaiting with interest what proposals the UK government sets out next week around energy.”

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