NEW figures have revealed a “fun deficit” as more than 40% of Scots have given up social activities as the cost of living soars.

Research published by Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) suggests 41% of Scots have stopped some form of social activity, such as eating out, in the last financial year.

CAS says 23% of Scots have ended a hobby and 3% have had to give up a pet.

The statistics, gathered via a YouGov poll, come after figures taken from the same survey published last month found 36% of people in Scotland cannot afford a holiday.

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CAS chief executive Derek Mitchell said this is largely due to the cost-of-living crisis.

He said: “Of course the most severe cases are those where people can’t afford food, energy and rent/mortgage. Those of course are the absolute priority issues.

“But we also see many people who are just able to avoid this extreme poverty but only by giving up things like hobbies and socialising – things which are perhaps not essential to life but certainly make it more enjoyable.”

He added that the results are not only “sad to see but also worrying” in relation to how being unable to afford simple pleasures can affect a person’s quality of life and mental health.

Mitchell highlighted that this may have a knock-on effect on local businesses.

He said he was “particularly moved” by those who have made the “heart-breaking decision” to give up their pet – particularly families with children and lonely people.

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He added: “In highlighting these trends we want to show both governments and others that the cost-of-living crisis is having a hugely detrimental impact on people, not just in terms of the absolute essentials but also in the things that help make life worth living.

“It just underlines the fact that every effort should be made to alleviate this crisis and let people get back to living a life that’s not just secure but also includes a reasonable amount of fun.”