THE number of Scots struggling with rent and mortgage payments has been driven up by almost a third in just two years, research suggests.

The change is driven by a “perfect storm” of rising costs, stagnant wages and austerity, according to housing charity Shelter Scotland.

READ MORE: Universal Credit reforms do not go far enough, experts tell Rudd

Director Graeme Brown said: “It’s quite clear from these numbers that tens of thousands of people in Scotland are entering 2019 worrying about meeting the costs of their rent or mortgage over the next few months.

“Many thousands more would struggle with even a modest rise on those costs.”

Research by YouGov for Shelter Scotland found 12% of people surveyed were struggling to cover accommodation costs.

When the same question was asked two years ago, that figure was 9%.

The National:

The rate is based on a survey of 600 people.

Almost 40% of respondents said that they would struggle to pay their rent or mortgage if it rose by as little as £50 a month this year.

The same percentage admitted they had borrowed money from a friend, used a credit card or used their savings to pay for the roofs over their heads at least once.

READ MORE: We must build a nation that lets the next generation of Scots flourish

A Scottish Government report issued late last year showed average monthly charges in the burgeoning private rental sector have risen by an inflation-busting 22% in just eight years.

The average for a two-bedroom property – the most common in the sector – rose from £508 to £652 between 2010 and 2018. Meanwhile, the increase in inflation over that period was less than 19%.

However, the extent of the rent hike varied across the country, from 42% in the Lothian area and 31% in Glasgow to 6% in Dumfries and Galloway and 1.7% in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

However, figures for the latter conceal more significant fluctuations and costs there remain higher than in many other regions.

Shelter Scotland has warned that ignoring money worries rather than seeking advice could lead to people’s homes being put at risk.

Brown said: “A perfect storm of austerity, harsh welfare reforms, stagnant wages, job insecurity and the high cost of housing are making it harder for people to make ends meet and plan for the future.

“It’s a disgrace that in 21st century Scotland so many people should have to worry about the basic right of keeping a roof over their heads.”

READ MORE: How Modern Monetary Theory could help indy Scotland – in the short term

According to the charity, one household every 18 minutes was made homeless in Scotland last year, with nearly 11,000 households forced to live in temporary accommodation – including more than 14,000 children.

Appealing for donations to run the charity’s free advice helpline, Brown encouraged those struggling with

living costs to seek support and advice.

He said: “It’s absolutely vital that people who do find themselves struggling to make ends meet and keep a roof over their heads should seek help sooner rather than later.

“It’s much better to put a plan in place to deal with debt and arrears in the early stages rather than wait for eviction notices and court orders.

“All year round our teams are ready to help, but, in order to do so, we need help from the public so we can keep up our fight against bad housing and homelessness.”

To support the charity, visit or text SHELTER to 70020 to give £3.