Concerns have been raised over the number of cash-strapped families who are missing out on help to deal with debt because of a “misplaced sense of shame.”

Campaigners at Advice Direct Scotland say the soaring rise in living costs over the past year – driven by inflation and energy price hikes – has affected “virtually every household” in the local area.

The charity says a “tidal wave” of people have had to seek help with money worries, but households that have never needed support before now appear more reluctant to accept it due to the “stigma and shame tied to debt.”

Conor Forbes, Advice Direct Scotland’s head of business development and policy, said: “We know that the cost-of-living crisis, driven by rising energy bills and inflation, is pushing many people into debt.

“However, the stigma and shame tied to debt are major obstacles in obtaining a resolution and we know that people are reluctant to seek help or advice because of this.

“We want to stress that there is no shame in someone wanting to improve their situation – and nobody should have to struggle with money problems alone.”

The charity added that, by talking to those running food banks, it has established that there is a “pervasive sense of shame attached to debt.”

“Many perceive seeking debt advice as a personal failure, potentially affecting their reputation and standing in society,” said a spokesperson.

Meanwhile, the results of a survey of single parents carried out by another charity to establish the extent of debt issues have been described as “incredibly frightening.”

Marion Davis, of One Parent Families Scotland, said: “I think there’s going to be a tsunami of debt and we already have a huge debt crisis.”

Support offered by Advice Direct Scotland is free and, if requested, anonymous.

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