Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Scots worst hit by recession

February 10 2011
Second jobs or added hours are needed just for survival

In a week when news headlines have exposed the whopping bonuses bank employees will receive (despite many banks still being propped up by the British taxpayer), the housing and homeless charity Shelter printed disturbing findings of its own.

Rather than reporting on bumper bonuses or the sudden price hikes faced by home-owners in the wake of the recent 20 per cent VAT increase, Shelter is highlighting the growing burden faced by working Scots as they struggle to make ends meet.

According to the charitys study, some Scots are forced to extend their working hours via a second job or by taking on additional hours in their main position. Compared to a UK average of seven per cent, nine per cent of Scots are forced into to take these measures purely to survive each week.

Worse still is the sense of humiliation and loss of independence suffered by the four per cent of Shelters respondents who stated that they have been forced into leaving their homes in order to live with relatives. This figure is double that of the British average, clearly illustrating which region is bearing the brunt of the recession dating back to the 2008 banking crash.

A Shelter poll of 2,234 people suggests that approximately two million homes across Britain regularly use credit cards for weekly shopping or, even more worryingly, to pay their monthly rent or mortgage balance.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: "A reliance on high-interest options such as credit cards to pay rent or a mortgage is a highly dangerous route to go down and is known to contribute toward uncontrolled debt, repossession, eviction and, eventually, homelessness.

"It is also very worrying that thousands of people in Scotland are being forced to move in with family or friends and many more are having to take on extra hours or a second job just to make ends meet."

With the deep and savage cuts about to grip the country, Shelter is deeply concerned that personal debt levels will soar, making the genuine threat of homelessness a reality to many more people.

The government claims to be resigned to UK banks paying out billions of pounds in bonuses this year, with the state-owned Royal Bank of Scotland spending nearly £1bn in bonuses, and Barclays paying £5bn-£6bn. However, the benefits of these "rewards" will not be felt by Scottish working families, the sick or the unemployed. In light of the pending cuts to public services, these vulnerable groups will effectively foot the bill for these multi-million pound bonuses.