One in 10 cases need foodbank advice
There is a direct link between the energy crisis and food insecurity, Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has warned.
The charity has published its latest Cost of Living Analysis report, examining the second quarter of this financial year.
It found that in one in 10 energy cases related to the cost of living, the client also required advice around food insecurity, such as a foodbank referral.
The report also found that in one in 10 cases where a client has sought help for debts such as credit cards or store cards, they also needed help with crisis grants from the Scottish Welfare Fund, suggesting that people are holding off until a point of financial crisis before seeking help with some debts.
The report also notes key demographics who are seeking cost of living advice at a higher rate than general advice, including people in council rented tenancies and people unable to work due to illness.
CAS social justice spokesperson David Hilferty said:“Our latest cost of living data confirms a direct link between the energy crisis and food insecurity, and should serve as a reminder to policymakers that this crisis is impacting upon all aspects of household budgets, and leading to impossible and at time heart-breaking decisions for many.
“What we need to see in the coming weeks is benefits uprated in line with inflation, and more support for advice agencies like CABs who are on the frontline of this crisis and offer the kind of wraparound service which understands that people will need help with multiple problems to get through this crisis.
“CAB advisers get real results. They unlocked £132 million for people last year, with the average financial gain being over £4,200. That can be life saving money for people this winter.
“However it is concerning to see that one in 10 non-priority debt cases also require crisis grant support. That suggests that some people could be seeking advice sooner, before they reach a crisis point. We would always encourage people to seek advice as soon as possible. It is free, impartial and confidential. With the cost of living at the top of all of our minds, it costs nothing to check our advice.”