More than 2.5 million people checked online advice during lockdown, which is an increase of 39 per cent since March 2020.
Demand for online advice has soared since the UK went into lockdown last March, new figures released by Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) reveal today.
Statistics released by the charity show the Advice for Scotland website saw over 4.5 million unique page views from Monday 23 March 2020 to Sunday 21 March 2021.
Those views were generated by over 2.5 million unique users, up from 1.8 million users the year before.
Popular advice pages include employment, benefits and debt and money advice.
Throughout the crisis, CABs have continued to provide advice remotely, and are open for face to face advice in essential circumstance for vulnerable clients and those who need further support than from the website.
Commenting, CAS Deputy Chief Executive Anne Lavery said:
“In the year since lockdown, the Citizens Advice network in Scotland didn’t miss a beat, with CABs transitioning to remote working so people could still get the help they need.
“But in the year since the first lockdown of March 2020, we have seen soaring numbers of people turn to our online advice for help.
“Many of the people who checked our advice online will have gone on to access further detailed support from our network, the website being one of many entrances to our trusted advisors.
“This shows the scale of the crisis, and the economic and financial impact Covid-19 has had on people across the country.
“On issues such as employment, social security and debt people turned to our online advice and CABs for help.
“We saw fast action from policy makers at the beginning of this crisis, such as the furlough scheme, payment breaks, increasing Universal Credit, boosting the Scottish Welfare Fund and Discretionary Housing Payments, and Council Tax Reduction schemes. Our advice – both online and through CABs – will have helped people understand how they could benefit.
“We want to ensure people get the advice in a manner that suits them, so while these numbers are a cause for concern, it’s also encouraging that people are seeking advice in the first place, highlighting how essential a service well-resourced advice is for Scotland’s communities.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
From 23 March 2020 to 21 March 2021 the Advice for Scotland website saw 2,552,745 users, up from 1,831,065 users last year
The site received 4,507,816 unique page views compared to 3,354,121 in the previous year.