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Citizens Advice Services in Scotland contribute £170m a year to the common good

26 Nov 2014

Research commissioned by Citizens Advice Scotland and carried out by the respected Fraser of Allander Institute, a leading economic research unit, has concluded that Citizens Advice Bureaux Services in Scotland made an economic contribution to the common good of £168.7m in 2013/14.

This figure has been calculated conservatively, and takes into account the benefits that advice has of reducing further problems - for example reducing costs on the NHS, helping people to resolve issues with employers or move back into work, as well as receiving the benefits they are entitled to. 

Major economic benefits of Scottish Citizens Advice Bureaux included: 

  • CAB interventions increased client incomes by £67.9 million in 2013/14. This then creates 1,343 jobs and £29.6 million worth of wage income in Scotland. 
  • The advice provided by CAB reduces the cost of employment issues CAB clients face by £19.5 million in terms of reducing lost economic output. 
  • Advice provided by CAB reduces health costs by £22.5 million. 
  • The advice provided by the CAB reduces the costs of unemployment benefit by £13.4 million. 
  • The service supports £15.9 million of wages in the Scottish economy, both through the pay it provides for its own staff and through the effects of wage and supplier spending.   

The figure is published as Citizens Advice Scotland prepares to meet this evening in Pitlochry for its Annual General Meeting. Speaking ahead of the meeting, Citizens Advice Scotland Chief Executive, Margaret Lynch, said: 

“It goes against the grain to think of the value of the Citizens Advice Bureau service in Scotland purely in pounds and pence.  The help it gives to individuals and communities is so often life-changing, and occasionally life-saving.  But insofar as we can put a monetary value to it, this report has examined our work meticulously.  At almost £170 million pounds, the benefit the CAB service brings to the common good in Scotland is huge. 

“On the individual level we often see our clients benefit massively as a result of resolving an issue with an employer, or receiving the social security money they are entitled to.  However, this report highlights the benefit that advice provides to the whole of Scottish society.  Bureaux in Scotland generate over £7 for every £1 we receive in funding – and that is a remarkable achievement. 

“As colleagues from across the Scottish CAB Service gather in Pitlochry for our AGM and to celebrate our 75th anniversary, I am sure we can all agree that we’re in good shape as we mark three quarters of a century providing generations of good advice.” 

The CAS AGM takes place over 26/27 November, in Pitlochry. Guest speakers include the Secretary of State for Scotland, Alastair Carmichael MP and Scottish government Minister Paul Wheelhouse MSP.


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