Despite gradual improvements to levels of financial security in Scotland over the last decade, 220,000 households across Scotland were struggling to get by at the point the pandemic struck. From this starting point, the Covid-19 crisis has exacerbated financial insecurity for families across Scotland and drawn many more people into a state of insecurity.

No one should have to live on the edge of financial disaster, or to feel as if they do. Financial insecurity harms people and their families, as well as our workplaces and wider economy. We find new evidence that financial insecurity is detrimental to the mental health of people under strain across Scotland: over 50 per cent of people struggling to get by financially prior to Covid-19 reported symptoms of anxiety and depression. High levels of financial insecurity can harm our collective health and prosperity by hampering our ability to participate fully in our communities, and to fulfil our potential at work.

While we are all weathering the storm of Covid-19, we are not all in the same boat. Our analysis finds that those at greatest risk include:

  • low-income families
  • parents and carers
  • young people
  • disabled people
  • black and minority ethnic workers
  • renters
  • the self-employed.

This report argues for both long- and shorter-term action from both the UK and Scottish governments, and makes a number of recommendations that we believe can be delivered in the rest of this parliamentary term, between now and May next year.