britain poverty

Charity StepChange has warned that Scots hold the largest amount of payday loan debt in the UK, as well as having the largest level of council tax arrears.

Scots that had fallen into arrears owed on average £1,534 in council tax, which is almost double that of the UK figure of £798, according to StepChange's latest Red Report. This figures are for the first six months of 2014.

The charity said 39% of Scots had contacted it about struggling with council tax arrears while payday loans still remain a problem overall.

Scots who had resorted to payday lenders owed on average £1,438, which was £129 more than the UK client average, reported the BBC.

"The rise in people struggling to pay their priority bills is a stark reminder of just how difficult day-to-day living has become for many Scottish households," said Sharon Bell, head of StepChange Scotland.

"Keeping a roof over your head and heating your home are basic needs, yet for too many Scottish families these are constant worries in the run-up to Christmas.

"Even where families are not in debt, many live on a financial knife-edge with small setbacks enough to tip them over the edge into problem debt.

"We continue to see worrying levels of payday loan debt which are making a bad situation worse for too many Scots.

"Toxic high-cost credit is being used as an emergency safety net and we need to find more sustainable ways to help people cope."