Experts from Scotland's Citizens Advice movement are meeting in Edinburgh today (Wednesday) to consider how the movement can help people through the recession.
Citizens Advice Scotland
Contact: Tony Hutson 0131 550 1010. m07774 751655
Advice Chief Sees Tough Year Ahead
s over 400 representatives from CABs all over Scotland gather to celebrate the movement's 70th anniversary, figures released today show a dramatic 10% hike in demand for CAB advice in the last year. CAS Chief Executive Kaliani Lyle will tell delegates that, for the poorest and most vulnerable in society, the impact of the recession is due to get worse before it gets better.
Mrs Lyle said today,
"This recession came about because the economic 'establishment' built a whole economic boom on the flimsy basis of the housing investment market. Because house prices were going up and up and up, they believed the economy was strong. And they clung to this belief, regardless of the fact that all the other indicators showed very clearly that it was built on increasing debt and growing poverty.
"Already we are seeing talk about the 'green shoots of recovery' - based on a slight up-turn in the housing market over the last three months.
“While this may be true, our advisers deal every day with the people who are suffering at the rough end of this recession. And we are seeing more of them than ever before. Just look at these figures over the last year: a 10% increase in demand for advice, right across the board and in all parts of Scotland
“Debt, redundancy, housing problems, concerns about benefits, legal issues: all of these are going through the roof because the most vulnerable people in society are seeing their incomes fall, while prices rise and credit sources dry up. And for them, it is about to get worse before it gets better.
"If people in government want to get it right this time, they need to listen to those of us who are actually talking to the most vulnerable people in society, and reflecting what is happening to them.
“The fall in income, the threat of redundancy, the spiralling debt, the disappearance of reasonable credit, the lack of affordable housing and the spectre of homelessness. Many are suffering combinations of all of these things, and the result is often depression, illness, family or relationship breakdown. This is the reality. And it's hard to talk the language of recovery when you are dealing face-to-face every day with people who are living with such dreadful circumstances.
“For 70 years now we have offered the people of Scotland advice which is free, impartial and completely confidential. We are rightly proud of that record, and we will continue to provide the service for as long as there are people who need it.
“That need certainly exists. And, provided we can continue to secure the necessary funding and support to keep going, we will.”
For all enquiries, contact Tony Hutson: 0131 550 1010. m07774 751655.
Kaliani Lyle is available for interview – either in advance or during the conference. Interviews with CAB Managers around the country can also be arranged.
Some ‘case studies’ of clients who have been helped by Scottish CABs are also available on request (there are a limited number, so ‘first come first served’!)
The CAS conference is taking place at Heriot Watt University campus in Edinburgh, on 12 and 13 August. Reporters and photographers are welcome.
Citizens Advice Scotland have revealed their end of year statistics for financial year 2008/09. These figures, reflecting the totality of cases brought to Scotland's CAB offices in that period, show an increase of 10% in cases across the board (change from the previous year). This included a 10% increase in Benefit cases and a 13% increase in Employment-related cases. In total, there was a 14% increase in cases relating to some kind of debt. A full briefing sheet will be issued in time for the conference beginning next week.