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Charity warns deductions are forcing people deeper into debt this winter

A wintery landscape of a large house with a chimney covered in snow, there are picnic tables in front.
Scottish debt help charity calls on Scottish Government to pause deductions on social security in the upcoming Scottish Budget. 

Right now we are all facing rising costs as inflation reaches new highs and budgets are squeezed. Many of us across Scotland are reassessing our outgoings and cutting back on non-essentials. However, for those on the lowest incomes there is nothing left to cut back on. 

As we wait for the Scottish Government to announce their spending plan in the upcoming budget Christians Against Poverty (CAP) Scotland are joining the call to pause deductions for Council Tax arrears on social security this winter. 

A comment from Scotland’s National Director, Emma Jackson

The vast majority (85%) of people we support in Scotland rely on social security and 42% of them have a deduction being taken. We know that low income is one of the primary causes of debt. Adding deductions to social security is putting unimaginable pressure on already tight budgets. We are deeply concerned about the number of people who will be forced deeper into debt as a result as they simply cannot afford the essentials we all rely on. 

The impact deductions are having on the community

Deductions from social security causes our clients the most grief. Universal Credit is already incredibly low which means that people are having to work hard to make it stretch far enough. There is no leeway. 

CAP Debt Centre Manager for Wishaw, Nicky McLaughlin 

When deductions are taken from an already tight budget it means people simply have to go without or they are forced to borrow simply to pay for essentials. One of my clients, who has deductions from his social security, was left trying to choose between whether to go to his medical appointment or a meeting with his Universal Credit Work Coach as he couldn’t afford the bus fares to do both.

Something’s got to give, in a just and compassionate society we can’t be content with people suffering as their health is impacted and they don’t have enough food in the cupboards.”

Jackson continued: Sadly the situations that Nicky is seeing in Wishaw are happening across the country. Too many people are being forced into problem debt in order to survive. The latest report from Aberlour highlights the problems we’ve been seeing for some time now and the solution we’ve been calling for. We need the Scottish Government to utilise the full extent of their powers to support those who need it most. While the budget is tight, pausing deductions for Council Tax arrears is an easy step they can take which would have a wide reaching impact. Now is the time to act before it’s too late.”


Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is a UK charity determined to reduce UK poverty by delivering debt help, money management education, job clubs and life skills groups.

CAP Scotland provides free, FCA Accredited debt help through their network of 24 Debt Centres across Scotland. To access their help call 0800 328 0006 or visit capscotland.org.

CAP is committed to its services being available to all individuals regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

Charis Scott, Scotland Promotion and Engagement Manager: [email protected], 07492 094 002. 

Ruth holding a sign that reads 'There is so much need. I'm at my limit.'
Ruth, Co-Debt Centre Manager

We urgently need your support to reach every person in poverty.

Ruth holding a sign that reads 'There is so much need. I'm at my limit.'