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New survey reveals stresses of life on low pay in Scotland
One in three Scots on low income struggle to put food on the table, according to a survey commissioned by The Poverty Alliance.
The poll shows people are not only skipping meals but also falling behind on bills, rent and mortgage payments, topping up their incomes with credit cards and loans, and borrowing to get by. And for four out of ten of them, financial stress is affecting their work life.
The startling new figures released today reveal that hardship is real among low earning Scots, with many eager to build up savings or just have a day or night out.
The survey showed that 46% of those earning less than £14,000 are so stressed about their finances that it is negatively affecting their work life. More than a third (37%) had fallen behind with household bills in the last year, 34% were regularly skipping meals, 28% had topped up their income with a credit card or loan, and more than one in five (22%) had fallen behind with their rent or mortgage payments.
Peter Kelly, director of The Poverty Alliance – which promotes the real Living Wage in Scotland – said: “Our research paints a worrying picture of low earners scraping by, struggling to pay basic bills, skipping meals and feeling a lot of stress. In 2017, in a country like Scotland, that should not be the case. We know from other surveys that increasing pay levels from the national minimum wage to a real Living Wage– a pay rise of up to £2000 a year for full-time workers - brings huge benefits to employees and employers, in terms of increased retention and better staff morale. The real Living Wage of £8.45 an hour has the backing of three in four Scots in the survey, and it has cross-party support in Scotland. Our survey also found that more than a third of people felt a real Living Wage could tackle child poverty, and the vast majority felt it made for happier, more productive employees.”