Help is at hand
Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) is today (5 September) launching Our Advice Adds Up, a new campaign encouraging people to seek advice as the cost of living crisis continues to squeeze household budgets.
This autumn consumers are set to face a huge increase in energy bills, soaring inflation and the impact of higher interest rates.
Research published by the charity suggests over 1.2 million people in Scotland have less than £125 left after covering essential monthly expenses.
CAS is encouraging people to seek advice from across the Citizens Advice network.
Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020, around 1 in 5 people who have come to the Citizens Advice network in Scotland for help have made some sort of gain, the average financial value of these gains is over £4,400.
This includes direct cash in people’s pockets and benefits in kind, like free school uniforms. This doesn’t include debt advice, which can help people financially by reducing their repayments, or people who have benefited from understanding and enforcing their rights in a non-financial sense.
Derek Mitchell, CAS chief executive, said: “The Citizens Advice network has been helping people in Scotland since the Second World War and we are here to help people during this crisis.
“Advisers in CABs across the country get real results, with one in five people who seek advice seeing some sort of financial gain, the average value of which is over £4,400. That can be life changing for people – the advice really does add up. The network helped over 171,000 people last year, and a further 2.5 million people checked our online advice pages.
“The crucial thing to understand is we are for everyone, regardless of background or circumstance. Our advice is confidential, impartial and free. We don’t charge people for advice and we don’t judge either – we just help.
“This crisis is on the scale of the pandemic, and need to see a similar sort of response to it in the coming days from policy makers. Meanwhile CABs in communities across Scotland will be on the frontline of this crisis helping people.”