Glasgow Labour MSP Anne McTaggart has called for action to reduce the likelihood of families falling into problem debt. Her calls come following the publication of a report by the Children’s Society and StepChange Debt Charity entitled “The Debt Trap: Exposing the impact of problem debt on children”, which showed that around two and a half million children live in families across the UK struggling with problem debt.
The report also suggests that these families are £4.8 billion behind on household bills and loan repayments and that a third of all families have borrowed money in the last year to pay for essentials, with10% of families borrow to buy food. Nine out of ten families in problem debt (1.3 million families) have had to cut back on essentials like food, clothing or heating for their children in order to keep up repayments.
Ms McTaggart said “I was shocked to see some of the figures in this report. I know from some of my work in the Debtbusters campaign just how serious the issue of problem debt is, and this report sheds further light on the agony that many families and their children are going through. Indeed, we know that Glasgow suffers from from the scourge of payday lending more than any other city in Scotland.
Parents are fighting to protect their children from the effects of problem debt, whilst struggling to pay the bills and find enough money for food, childcare and other every-day basics. These problems are being exacerbated by the actions of the Coalition Government and their cruel welfare reforms, and by a Scottish Government who are not doing enough to help the people of Scotland.
This week the SNP had the opportunity to make the living wage a requirement in public-sector contracts which would have seen wage increases for thousands of people across Scotland but they voted against Labours amendments to their Procurement Bill. The Government needs to do more on this issue and this report outlines some important steps they could take which I hope they pay close attention to.”
The report can be read here.