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Consumers must be at the heart of Scottish business

Scottish flag on hand

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.

Comments
Member

Presumably a United Kingdom would present a united front on dealing with these problems – we all face the same difficulties. Maybe this would be a factor when considering independence?

Member

The beginning of the end of a long global recession is not the best timing to decide on the future economic outcome of Scotland since we have all been affected by the same difficulties. Whether conditions will improve with Scottish independence is a matter for the Scottish people to decide.
It could be a case of ‘Be Careful What You Wish For’ and I am thankful I do not have to make that important decision.

Member
Frank says:
16 July 2014

One consumer issue affecting those of us living in Scotland is the extra shipping costs couriers already place on delivering items oredered on line. Many carriers believe the Highlands start 10 miles west of Aberdeen! If Scotland votes for independence it will become a foreign country with mostly a massive, hard to reach area. Delivery costs are bound to shoot higher.

Member
Frank says:
16 July 2014

One consumer issue affecting those of us living in Scotland is the extra shipping costs couriers already place on delivering items ordered on line. Many carriers believe the Highlands start 10 miles west of Aberdeen! If Scotland votes for independence it will become a foreign country with mostly a massive, hard to reach area. Delivery costs are bound to shoot higher.

Member
renniemac says:
11 September 2014

Frank
I for one will forgo the extra charge if it means we ditch Westminster. it is not only delivery charges to Scotland that are inflated for us. the energy generated by Scotland goes to the National grid at one price then comes back to Scottish consumers at a higher price than the rest of uk.
. The Westminster government imposed a massive duty levy on Scots travelling abroad, why! because they wanted to encourage Scottish travellers to travel from English airports.
Petrol and diesel are higher in the highlands because the providers say they have to travel further. well is that not a joke and a half since Scotland supplies the black stuff and refines it. but its Westminster controlled. I could go on. roll on 18th. hopefully it will help the North of England too because people everywhere are fed up with Rich etonians deciding what happens to the people