Money matters

Scots express concerns over rising cost of living

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Most Scots expect their own financial circumstances to deteriorate over the next year, according to a new survey which contrasts with more optimistic business surveys and jobs data showing a decline in unemployment.

The ‘Understanding Scotland’ report on the economy found that three in four people think that economic conditions have deteriorated and 62% expect this downward trajectory to continue over the coming year.

People’s pockets have been hit hard, with a third of people reporting a worsening of their own financial circumstances and concern over the cost of living.

While 42% of the population said they were satisfied with the level of their income, 37% were dissatisfied with the extent to which their income covers their costs, rising to half of those in the most deprived communities.

As the survey was conducted in October this may have been a response to rising energy bills which were dominating the headlines.

It was also conducted just after the ending of the Coronavirus job retention scheme when there were fears it would lead to a sharp rise in unemployment. In fact, there has been a labour shortage across the economy.

Speaking ahead of the launch of the new report, Mark Diffley, director of the Diffley Partnership, said: “This survey makes for sobering reading for policymakers ahead of the upcoming Budget.

“People are evidently worried about Scotland’s economic standing and their own financial wellbeing. An effective policy response that allays these concerns will require immediate action to stem the cost of living crisis, as well as longer-term reforms to reconnect people to the wider economy.”

The poll, which is part of the inaugural edition of the Understanding Scotland survey, gathered insights and opinions from more than 2,000 members of the Scottish adult population. 

The survey was launched by research company Diffley Partnership and communications agency Charlotte Street Partners to deliver quarterly insights into public attitudes, behaviours, and expectations regarding society, the economy, and the environment in Scotland.

The CBI and KPMG this week downgraded their forecasts for growth, but the overall outlook remains positive.

Rain Newton-Smith, CBI chief economist, said: “We expect a pretty firm economic recovery ahead.”

Recovery in the labour market continues with early data indicating only a minimal impact on jobless numbers following the end of the Job Retention Scheme.

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