Borrowing from loved ones dropped by nearly a half during lockdown, according to a Bank of Scotland study.

The figure plummeted in lockdown, to 44 per cent, but there had already been a downward trend, with a drop of almost a third, 30 per cent, in the last year. The main reason for borrowing from loved ones is to pay off other debts.

The survey also found lending money to friends and family reduced by almost a third, 29 per cent, in the last year, then a further third, 31 per cent, during lockdown.

Figures show borrowing money from friends and family has reduced significantly since 2019, and even more so following lockdown, with a 61 per cent decrease in borrowing and a 51 per cent decrease in lending, since March of last year.

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Tara Foley, managing director, Bank of Scotland, said: “This significant shift in loved ones’ borrowing or lending money to each other suggests that recent uncertainty has made people much less likely to be reliant on each other financially.

“Even before the pandemic hit in Scotland, there had been a sharp reduction in borrowing and lending between friends and family, and this has been compounded further by the pandemic. We expect to see this change over the next 12 months, as people try to balance the financial fallout of Covid-19, with wanting to move forward with life plans after months of restrictions.”

Of those who have borrowed money recently, the main reason for doing so was debt consolidation, with 17 per cent of people citing this as the reason. The second most popular reason was to buy a car, 15 per cent, followed by home improvements, 13 per cent. One in four Scots lending money to love ones did so without knowing what it was going to be used for.

More than half of Scots, 53 per cent, who have borrowed money feel unhappy about doing so as they would have liked to provide for themselves and around a quarter, 26 per cent, say they feel comfortable borrowing money from family.

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Family and friends who have been lending money are much less likely to be happy about doing so, with just 49 per cent saying they were pleased to be able to help someone out, compared to 58 per cent in 2019, and fewer people expect to be paid back than in 2019, 44 per cent compared to 46 per cent.

Across Scotland there was some exceptions to the rule. Those in the Highlands and Islands are least likely to borrow money from friends and family, with just one in 10, having done so in the last 12 months. This is also the greatest reduction in borrowing, down 63 per cent since 2019. Those from the Lothians are the most likely to borrow from loved ones, with 15 per cent having done so in the last year, down from 41 per cent in 2019.

The survey involved a nationally representative sample of Scotland's population, with 3,048 Scottish panellists interviewed in March 2020 and 3,038 followed up in June.