12/12/2019

Living standards questioned as over 270k Scots turn to their local Citizens Advice

12/12/2019

Living standards questioned as over 270k Scots turn to their local Citizens Advice

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More than 270,000 Scots have turned to their local Citizens Advice this past year, with 44% cases relating to benefits, new figures have revealed.

Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has revealed in its latest annual report, Advice in Scotland, it has seen a “notable increase” in queries about Universal Credit. The benefit made up nearly 40,000 of benefit related cases in 2018-19, rising to 13% from the previous year.

It also revealed that debt help is more important than ever, with debt problems being the second most common reason for people to seek advice.

More than 100,000 pieces of debt advice were given by CAS across 2018-19 and over 13,000 people were referred to foodbanks, with the organisation fearful that the cost of living is reaching an ‘unsustainable’ level for many Scots.

The report states: “What the Advice in Scotland data shows is that people across Scotland continue to feel the squeeze on incomes, whether that is through social security payments, unsustainable levels of debt or low pay and insecure work.

“The challenges of the next decade, such as moving to a green economy, should not add to that income pressure, instead the next government must put living standards at the heart of its agenda.”

This has resulted in the charity, which provides help to those in need from 280 locations across the country, asking for the next UK government to put the improvement of the cost of living at the top of its agenda.

Commenting on the issue, CAS chief executive Derek Mitchell said: “With a footprint in every community in Scotland the Citizens Advice network helped hundreds of thousands of people last year.

“We’re an independent and impartial charity but the data from our state of the nation report makes clear that the next UK government simply must have living standards at the heart of its agenda.”

Matters relating to employment were the third most common reason for people to turn to them for help, with over 43,000 bits of advice given out. However, it seems that people are becoming more concerned about their pay, entitlements and the terms and conditions of their contracts.

Mitchell added: “Last year we unlocked financial gains of £131million for people in Scotland – that gives you an idea of the scale of what people are missing out on if they don’t turn to us for advice and support.”

Statistics in the report also revealed that the charity took over 110,000 queries relating to debt in 2018-19. The statistics show that Council Tax remains the top category for debt related queries at 13%, with rent arrears (7%) and fuel debts (4%) slowly creeping up behind.

Mr. Mitchell continued: “From issues such as debt and social security to energy we are seeing people struggle with the cost of living.”

“Boosting people’s incomes while dealing with rising costs must be a priority for policymakers – particularly with big challenges around cutting emissions in the future.

“People should know that their local CAB is there to help. We’re for everyone and offer free, confidential, impartial advice.”

How Carrington Dean can help

If your local Citizens Advice hasn’t been able to help you with your debt problems, maybe we can.

We offer free and confidential advice to those who are struggling with their finances and, if necessary, offer you a solution for your debts. Our solutions help you to pay back what you owe at a rate that’s affordable for you without all the added stress of dealing with your creditors.

Both a Trust Deed and a Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) allow you to make one affordable payment towards your debts and freeze all interest and charges. Assets such as your home and car will be protected and contact from your creditors will be stopped.

The main difference between the two is that you could write off a percentage of your debt during a trust deed, whereas you will be required to pay off your debts in full if you enter into a DAS.

Although both solutions are agreed for a set amount of time, a Trust Deed will usually run for four years. Whereas a DAS can run anywhere up to ten years depending on how much you can afford to pay and your overall debt level.

Whatever one you choose, we’re on hand to support you from beginning to end. We’re proud to break down the stigma surrounding money worries and encourage Scots to address their money worries without fear of being judged.

One conversation can change everything, so why not contact us today on 0808 2085 195 to speak to one of our expert advisers.

You could write off up to 75% of unsecured debt with our debt assistant.

Get debt help now

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