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Chamber and committees

Social Justice and Social Security Committee


Low income and debt problems

Background

The Committee is looking at the challenges related to low income and debt in Scotland. This is part of the Committee’s commitment to investigate the key themes in its remit. This approach is helping the Committee develop its priorities for work throughout this session.

On 18 November 2021 the Committee held its first meeting on this issue. At the meeting MSPs heard from frontline workers and debt advisers. The MSPs then heard from people experiencing problem debt and poverty. To ensure that people were able to share their experiences in confidence, this meeting was held in private.

The discussion raised issues including:

  • social stigma around problem debt
  • digital exclusion in accessing support services
  • signposting to free debt advice
  • the links between problem debt and health
  • the high cost of childcare and issues with statutory debt solutions

The Committee shared its findings from the meeting with the Scottish Government.

At its meeting on 10th February the Committee agreed to launch a call for views looking into these issues as part of a broader inquiry.

Your views

The Committee wants to hear the views of people working in debt and money advice, third sector organisations and local authorities on the issue of low incomes and problem debt.

The call for views closed on 31 March 2022

The Scottish Parliament Research Centre (SPICe) have produced a summary paper of the submissions received.

Over the course of the oral evidence sessions, the Committee has received the following additional written information:

Read the submissions received


Engagement

On Monday 25 April 2022 Committee members met informally with the Anchor Project to hear about the work that is being done in Shetland to empower and support families to tackle problems before they develop into crisis. 

500.3KB pdf posted 09 May 2022


The Committee worked with a number of partners so that it could directly from ten people with experience of debt and low incomes. The participants were involved in three informal, remote, meetings, which took place in May 2022. At these meetings the participants were given information about the work the Committee was doing and considered the evidence it had heard.

The participants shared their experiences and then considered their own ideas for solutions and improvements that could be made to support people in debt. Here is a summary of their experiences and recommendations.

On Monday 6 June 2022 the group met with the Committee in person at the Parliament to discuss their ideas and experiences in more depth.

Correspondence


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