Citizens Advice Scotland calls for extension of furlough scheme as workers worry about bills
Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) is calling for an extension of the furlough scheme as a new poll reveals that workers in Scotland are concerned about their ability to pay bills and rent over the next 12 months.
The survey, undertaken for the charity by Mark Diffley Consultancy & Research Ltd, found that 37% of workers are worried about their job security in the next year. It also shows that almost 1 in 5 people in Scotland are concerned about losing their home as a result of falling behind on their rent or mortgage payments.
The poll also reveals that:
- 22% of people are concerned about affording utility bills
- 21% of people are concerned about affording rent
- 19% of people are concerned about affording mortgage repayments
- 27% of people are concerned about debt repayments
- 38% of people are concerned about their incomes
- 22% are concerned about affording council tax
Mhoraig Green, CAS social justice spokesperson, said: “That there is such widespread concern over job security over the next year shows the size and scale of the economic storm people in Scotland are facing as a result of the pandemic.
“Concerns over job security and incomes are leading to significant worries over key bills and the cost of living, with one in five people worried about losing their home because they can’t afford their rent or mortgage repayments. All of this means it’s vital we see action from policy-makers.
“The UK and Scottish Governments, as well as local government and industry, took swift and decisive action at the start of lockdown to ensure people were protected.
“The furlough scheme has been so crucial in this, but it is now set to wind down in October along with other protections. Our concern is that many people will face new levels of financial insecurity which will see poverty levels soar.
“That’s why Citizens Advice Scotland believes the furlough scheme should be extended by the UK Government, with flexibility to account for the relative reliance on key sectors and industries in different parts of the UK.
“People should also know that they can seek advice on employment, housing and financial issues at their local CAB, or check our online advice website. Our help is free, confidential and impartial. We’ve been helping people for over 80 years and we’re here to help during this crisis.”
Mark Diffley, who undertook the polling, added: “Our latest polling for Citizens Advice Scotland both underlines ongoing financial concerns for many people and points to significant uncertainty about the future as the country continues to feel the impact of COVID-19.
“Although we have not returned to levels of worry felt when the pandemic first appeared in the spring, around one in five of us are still concerned about core aspects of our everyday financial commitments, including our ability to pay rent (21%), pay mortgages (19%), pay for food and other essentials and pay utility bills (22%). Again, we observe that these worries are higher amongst the financially less well-off which has been a theme throughout this research.
“Looking to the future, it is clear that many Scots are fearful of their financial futures. More than a third (36%) of those currently working on the government’s furlough scheme are concerned about the security of their job in the next 12 months, while one on five (19%) are fearful of losing their home as a result of falling behind in rent or mortgage payments. As with the data on current concerns, those financially worse off are more likely to be fearful, flagging the potential for longer term issues of financial fragility which policy makers will need to address.”