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4 January 2017, 05:23
Two-fifths (41%) of tenants or homeowners in Scotland would struggle to afford their monthly housing bills if they increased by up to £50, a study has found.
Research carried out by YouGov on behalf of Shelter Scotland surveyed 1,005 adults in December - 534 of whom have a mortgage or pay rent.
It found 9% are already battling to keep up with payments, 18% would struggle with an increase of £25 or less per month, and 14% would struggle with a £50 rise.
One in four (26%) said they are worried about not being able to pay their rent or mortgage at some point during 2017, while 8% said they have used a credit card to make their payments and 28% have used their savings.
Housing and homelessness charity Shelter Scotland is now warning that ignoring financial stress rather than seeking advice could lead to people's homes being put at risk.
Alison Watson, deputy director of Shelter Scotland, said: ''It's deeply concerning that as many as 40% of people in Scotland who pay rent or a mortgage would struggle to cope with an increase of £50 per month.
''And set against a background of predicted higher inflation this year, stagnant wages, job uncertainty and harsh welfare reforms, it's no wonder that so many people - one in four - are starting the new year worried about how they'll pay for their rent or mortgage in 2017.
''Every day we hear from people who are living on a knife-edge, overwhelmed by the increasing pressure of sky-high housing costs.
''We understand it is all too easy to bury your head in the sand hoping the problem will go away. But if you're in this situation, it's so important to remember you're not alone and that help is at hand.''