One in four Scottish people will struggle to afford Christmas

29th November 2023

New YouGov polling commissioned by StepChange Debt Charity has found that one in four people (24%) in Scotland will struggle to afford Christmas this year.

The survey also found that one in twelve (9%) people will have to borrow on credit to afford Christmas.

One in every twenty people (4%) are still paying off their Christmas credit from last year.

Across the whole of Britain, those who are relying on credit to fund their Christmas this year overwhelmingly say this is due to the higher cost of living, with three in four citing this (75%) as their reason for needing to borrow.

StepChange has seen first-hand the impact that two years of cost-of-living pressures have had on household budgets, as the number of people going through debt advice at the charity has risen by more than 10% year on year. Whilst inflation may have slowed, prices for everyday goods remain much higher than they were just a couple of years ago and finances will still be stretched this festive season for many.

StapChange says that January 2023 was the busiest month for more than two years, with the charity seeing a 32% rise in demand compared to the previous January. StepChange is urging people to reach out for support if they’re worried about their finances this Christmas.

Vikki Brownridge, CEO at StepChange Debt Charity, said “People understandably feel pressured around Christmas time to spend money to create special moments and memories with their loved ones. However, this pressure can often encourage people to spend more than they can afford, and turn to credit to cover these costs.”

“Against a backdrop of almost two years of high inflation, it’s very likely that relying too heavily on credit at Christmas could lead to debt problems in the New Year. At StepChange, we see some of our busiest days during January each year, with last January being our busiest month for several years.”

“We would urge those who are thinking about borrowing to cover festive costs to always carefully consider whether those credit repayments will be comfortably affordable when the New Year comes around. Many adverts around this time of year imply that spending is the way to create a happy Christmas, but in reality, people would prefer their loved ones to be free from financial worries and problem debt. If you are struggling with debt now or in January and beyond, it’s never too soon to reach out for help. Free debt advice and support is available from charities like StepChange.”