An important conversation about household debt
We are in a completely different world right now. When you look back at what’s happened over the past few months, there are so many things related to the impact of Covid-19 that had maybe been thought about, but nobody dared believe would become reality. The crisis has already led to a vastly different economic and social situation in this country, one in indefinite stasis. With time Scotland will persevere through this, but we have to look ahead now to make sure that this situation doesn’t result in widespread inequality. There are 1 million people in Scotland living in relative poverty that can’t afford to be hit with extra months’ worth of debt. Council Tax, energy bills, rent, these things have never been higher than they are now, but if you don’t have a source of income, that’s when you end up in a debt trap.
Furlough schemes, self-employed, new starter loopholes, — even with a boost to cover those on universal credit, it’s not enough. That’s why we need the Scottish and UK governments to make a commitment to restructure our debt system so we don’t punish those already struggling even more. People tiptoe around the subject, they put it off for later, but if we continue with no plan to fill the gap in the security net, people will be living with the legacy of the virus for decades to come.
The crisis shows the gaps in our safety net more than ever before as UK household finances reach their worst point in 10 years. We can’t allow this virus to be the reason that our people remain in debt for the next decade. Scotland can be the example that paves a way forward, without steamrolling it’s people. Debt accrued by Covid-19 needs to be frozen with no build up in arrears so people can sleep soundly at night and not hold the constant fear that they will never be able to clear the debt brought on by losing their ability to make a living, something bigger than themselves and their entire country.