Housing and council tax debt built up during the pandemic should be written off for those struggling to pay bills, Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) says.
The charity says 44% of its clients who are dealing with complex debts have no money left at the end of the month after meeting their living costs.
In its manifesto for all parties ahead of the Scottish Parliament election, CAS says urgent action will be needed to tackle debt as the country exits lockdown.
It says the next Scottish Government should write off, or help to pay off, housing and council tax debts built up during the pandemic.
It is also calling for changes to the legal aid system and a review of fuel poverty support schemes.
CAS chief executive Derek Mitchell said: “The next Scottish Government will face the immediate challenge of our economy reopening as various financial support schemes expire.
“This is a moment of huge risk for people, many of whom will have built up new or additional debts and arrears because of the crisis, and face reduced incomes, rising bills, and unemployment.
“Our analysis suggests more than two in five people coming to us for help with multiple debts have no money left at the end of the month after meeting their living costs.”
He continued: “It’s vital that the next Scottish Government addresses this threat with the urgency it requires.
“Failure to do so increases the chances of people across the country being swept into further destitution and poverty and will risk any wider economic recovery.”