15 per cent of Scots borrowed money to buy food last month

Ian Williams

One in seven Scots say they borrowed money last month to buy food, according to research carried out on behalf of debt advice and solutions provider Debt Advisory Centre Scotland (DACS).

A similar survey in 2013 showed that one in 10 people relied on credit to buy food.

While groceries are seen as a priority bill, the research reveals that more people are having to take out a loan, use a credit card, or borrow money just to be able to afford to eat.

The increasing number of Scots in a position where they need credit to eat suggests more people are suffering from food poverty, despite Britain’s economic recovery.

Meanwhile, research also showed that some 7 per cent of Scots say they have borrowed to settle an electricity, gas or water bill, meaning they could be left without heating or light if they hadn’t relied on credit.

Worryingly, 5 per cent of people say they made a repayment on a loan using another loan or credit card, which could lead to a debt spiral and 2 per cent of Scots even said they had to use credit to cover a rent or mortgage payment.

Ian Williams, spokesman for DACS, said: “Struggling to budget for everyday bills is pushing some people towards borrowing, meaning they could start to find it even harder to meet their financial commitments every month. Food and utility bills are things that the majority of people wouldn’t have to think twice about buying, so it’s really worrying that people are turning to loans or credit cards to cover these.

“For anyone in this situation, it’s important that they don’t ignore it and let it go on for too long, as this will only make it even harder to deal with when they finally confront it. By speaking to a debt expert and working out a new budget, they could get back on their feet before the situation becomes more serious.”