Over 700,000 people in Scotland fear missing rent or mortgage payments this year

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New research has found that more than one in four adults in Scotland who are responsible for paying rent or a mortgage are worried about covering the cost of their housing in 2016.

The research (1), carried out online by YouGov on behalf of Shelter Scotland, found that 28% of adults in Scotland who pay rent or a mortgage (more than 700,000 people) said they were worried about not being able to pay for their rent or mortgage at some point during 2016.

The 25-34 age group had the highest number of respondents — 36% stated they were worried about paying rent or mortgage in the year ahead.

Recently Shelter Scotland revealed the number of calls handled by its free national helpline rose again last year and that every 18 minutes a household in Scotland is assessed as homeless — 81 a day.

According to the charity, the number of calls made to its helpline rose to 21,284 in the last year (30 October 2014 — 1 November 2015), up from 19,906 the previous year — a seven per cent rise.

Shelter Scotland is warning that ignoring money worries rather than seeking advice could lead to people’s homes being put at risk.

The charity says that advisors at its free national helpline are on-hand to help anyone who is worried about paying for their housing costs, is at risk of homelessness or struggling with bad housing.

Adam Lang, Head of Communications and Policy at Shelter Scotland, said: “It’s a worrying sign of the times that so many people are starting the New Year worried about how they’ll pay for their rent or mortgage in 2016.

“Every day we hear from people who are living on a knife edge, feeling overwhelmed by mounting rent or mortgage bills, as the increasing pressure of sky-high housing costs continues to take its toll.

“We understand it is all too easy to bury your head in the sand hoping the problem will go away. But if you’re in this situation, it’s so important to remember you’re not alone and that help is at hand. Advice from Shelter Scotland is only a click or a phone call away — so get advice early to prevent things from spiralling out of control.”

Shelter Scotland is urging households facing housing problems to visit shelterscotland.org.uk/advice or call the free national helpline on 0808 800 4444.

Separate research for Shelter and Shelter Scotland (2), paints a bleak picture for many households across Scotland, revealing that:

• 31% of people in Scotland who pay rent or a mortgage have already cut back on winter essentials (fuel and winter clothing) to afford their winter rent or mortgage payments. This equates to 640,000 people.

• nine% of people in Scotland who pay rent or a mortgage are worried about meeting their rent or mortgage payments in January. This equates to 190,000 people.

• five% have used savings meant for Christmas presents to pay their rent/ mortgage. This equates to 100,000 people.

• 10% have cut back on buying food for Christmas to pay their rent/ mortgage. This equates to 218,000 people.

Adam Lang added: “Every 18 minutes a household in Scotland is assessed as homeless. That’s 81 a day. Our helpline is a vital lifeline for these people, but to keep it going and make it better we need to invest in it.

“Shelter Scotland receives no funding to run our busy helpline, so support from the public is incredibly important to us to ensure we can continue helping families and individuals at a time when they need it most.

“To help us, people can visit shelterscotland.org or text SHELTER 70123 and donate £3* to support our work to help homeless and badly housed people across Scotland.”