Our latest report uncovers a unique insight into how people in Scotland are coping financially and where the squeeze is being felt most across the country. Do you live in Scotland? How are you coping financially?
We found that 800,000 households are feeling squeezed financially, with the constituency of Glasgow East feeling it the most.
Just a quarter of Scottish consumers say they are living comfortably on their incomes, with energy, fuel and food prices the top worries. Around four in 10 say they are concerned about the level of their household debt and more than half are worried about their level of savings.
The high cost of living is clearly affecting people’s ability to put money aside for the future. Worryingly, three in 10 people who aren’t retired are not contributing to a pension and have no plans to do so in the next year, with the most common reason being that they can’t afford it.
Despite the squeeze, six in ten Scottish consumers say they’re satisfied with their standard of living but the cost of essentials remains high, and many are not prepared financially for the future or are worried about their household debt and savings.
Trust in businesses is low
Our research also found people in Scotland lack trust in many key industries. Fewer than one in five Scottish consumers trust providers of long term financial products, like pensions and insurance, to act in their best interest and a similar percentage say the same of gas and electricity suppliers. This compares to half of people who trust their water supplier and companies in the food and groceries industry.
These findings pose a real challenge to businesses to ensure they are giving people value for money and earn back consumer trust.
We want to see renewed efforts to restore consumer confidence and ensure your interests are put first. A big part of this must be action to inject more competition into essential markets such as energy and banking.
In Scotland’s gas and electricity sectors, the three biggest energy companies have a stranglehold on the market with little incentive to cut costs or keep their customers happy. Similarly, we need to see more challenger banks entering the market offering real choice to force the big players to compete for customers on quality products and service.
Campaigning for Scots
We’re campaigning on a number of key issues to help make people’s lives in Scotland fairer, simpler and safer. As well as lobbying for reform in some of the largest markets, we are also calling on broadband companies to give you the speed and service you they pay for, and savings providers to help their customers get the best deal for their money.
Confident consumers are good for business, and good for growth. Putting you first makes sound economic sense.