Tavish has called on the Scottish Government to ensure that Scotland leads the way in fair debt legislation.
A report by StepChange Debt Charity, the largest provider of free over-the-phone debt advice, showed that record numbers of Scottish clients had contacted the charity for help in 2016.
The average debt of people contacting StepChange from Shetland between 2012 and 2016 was £14,289. The average debt of StepChange clients across all of Scotland was £12,677.
Tavish has backed calls from StepChange to expand the reach of Scotland’s existing Debt Arrangement Scheme, which already helps thousands of Scots every year by freezing their interest and charges, and stopping enforcement action by creditors, but some people in temporary financial difficulty are not able to get guaranteed protections.
Commenting, Tavish Scott MSP said:
“It is concerning that record numbers are contacting StepChange for debt help. Too many people are borrowing just to get by, struggling to save, working hard and finding it difficult to make ends meet.
“With more people falling into debt, we need to make sure that we do as much as possible at Holyrood to help those who have had a temporary financial setback, like the loss of a job or the death of a family member.
“Some people in Shetland and across Scotland already have access to the best protections in the UK, thanks to the Debt Arrangement Scheme – but we can and should go further to help more people.
“Expanding the Debt Arrangement Scheme would give people time to get back on their feet without the worry of their debts spiralling out of control. It would give people the best chance of getting themselves back into a position where they can start making payments on their debts.”