HOUSEHOLD DEBT TIMEBOMB MUST BE ADDRESSED
The Covid19 pandemic has had a huge impact on household incomes and there are growing concerns about the number of households falling into debt. Debt charity StepChange has warned that 4.3 million people are behind on basic bills such as rent, fuel and Council Tax, while 2.8 million people are borrowing simply to make ends meet. This is all the more worrying given the extremely high cost of credit for those who are less well off.
Again, I urged the UK Government to urgently bring forward a long-term vision to tackle household debt, to prevent huge social and economic damage which will deepen inequalities and act as a drag on economic recovery. The Scottish Government is using its limited powers to support those who are struggling by extending free school meals to all primary school children, introducing a fund to support tenants to stay in their tenancies and doubling the “game changing” Scottish Child Payment to £20 per week per child for those on low incomes. By contrast the UK Government is ending the £20 per week uplift of Universal Credit.
As too many people bear the economic, as well as health, costs of Covid19, the mantra of ‘building back better’ is empty and hollow.
Watch my speech below 👇