Research from a YouGov poll has revealed that almost half (49 per cent) of people in Scotland admit to being in debt with many of these feeling the strain, just weeks before Christmas. The poll, which was commissioned by Scotcash and Scotwest Credit Union, revealed almost 1 in 2 (49 per cent) of adults surveyed in Scotland have some form of personal debt – other than a mortgage or a student loan. It also showed more people in Scotland are currently in debt, than England (43 per cent) and Wales were just behind (48 per cent).

Almost 1 in 5 (17 per cent) of adults surveyed, who said that they are currently in debt, in Scotland went on to say they were struggling to cope, feeling worried,  stressed or trapped,  by personal debt such as credit cards and loans – with some (6 per cent) even revealing they felt trapped in a cycle of debt.

Chief Executive of Scotcash, Sharon MacPherson, said: “It can be hard for people to admit they are not coping with their debt and Christmas can cause extra stress and worry for people. We want to make sure that people we support across central west Scotland no longer feel trapped by helping them to manage their debt in an affordable way. Some people are stuck in a cycle of debt and others are just one step away from it happening to them, so we offer products to change that and help people break free from high cost borrowing. Many people are shut out from the best interest rates when they need it most, and this means they can be taken advantage of, being lured into taking out high interest loans or expensive credit cards to pay for Christmas.

“Debt can affect everyone from young workers to worried working families and beyond, so we are here to give as many people as possible fair access to loans they can afford.”

The Affordable Loans partnership, made up of Scotcash, Scotwest Credit Union, Manchester Credit Union, Leeds Credit Union and Five Lamps, has the backing of the Cabinet Office and credit score experts, Experian.

It aims to make it easier for people with poor or no credit rating to access affordable loans, saving them hundreds of pounds in the process. Customers can go directly to the Affordable Loans website to get a quote or via Asda Money.

Katie Walley, head of Asda Money, said: “People can’t always be prepared for life’s little surprises. From pranged cars to pricey boiler repairs, it’s those unexpected curve balls that many of us don’t budget for. This can result in many being trapped in a destructive cycle of high rate borrowing which is why Asda has partnered with Affordable Loans. As you would expect from Asda, we want to help those who have been turned away by their bank or who have a poor credit history to get a fair and ethical deal when they need a loan. We hope in turn this will enable people to break the cycle of unaffordable debt and take control of their finances once again.”