Commenting on the Scottish Government announcement that a further year of welfare mitigation funding will be made available to Scottish Citizens Advice Bureaux in 2015/16, Citizens Advice Scotland Chief Executive Margaret Lynch said:
“CAS is delighted that the Scottish Government is providing CAB with £1.46 million of welfare reform mitigation funding for the next financial year, following on from the £2.5million we received for CAB in 2013-15. This highlights the valuable work of CAB in this field and shows how necessary the funding is for it to continue.
“In the first year of the project (July 2013 to June 2014) CAB supported 17,568 clients with 54,953 issues and had a client financial gain of over £7 million. Not only are CAB helping get money into the purses and pockets of our citizens, they are also supporting people to navigate their way through a complicated benefits system, and signpost them to other much needed services such as foodbanks.
“Benefits issues now take up 37% of all the work of CAB and in 2013/14 we dealt with over 324,000 issues. Bureaux see complicated cases and can be frustrated by maladministration, delays to benefits, and the sanctioning of benefits which lead to cases of destitution and desperation. CAB advice has never been so needed and people know they can depend on us for support at their time of need.
“CAB provide excellent value for money, not just in the financial gain for clients, which then goes back into local economies, but also by preventing other problems from arising than can have a cost to both society and the individual.
“Without the expertise of CAB and the funding of the Scottish Government, people would not be able to get the help and advice they so dearly need. It is that partnership which was recognised in our winning of the Third Sector Partnership Award at the Holyrood Scottish Public Service Awards in December.”
The Scottish CAB service is a mitigating force against welfare changes by providing advice and information, ensuring benefit entitlement for people, providing budgeting advice, signposting to other agencies such as food banks, and providing representation. Our service is there to help, support and advise people now and in the years ahead.
Citizens Advice Scotland received £2.5million welfare reform mitigation funding from the Scottish Government over the two financial years 2013-15. These resources were distributed across the CAB member network to help deal with the impact of welfare changes that are hitting people across Scotland, and driving an unprecedented need for advice from bureaux.
In the first year (July 2013 to June 2014): of delivering Welfare Reform Mitigation advice CAB supported 17,568 clients with 54,953 issues and had a client financial gain of over £7 million. This means that for every £1 given in grants to bureaux, £6.95 was gained by clients directly in financial gain, in addition to the value of advice in providing peace of mind and solutions for individuals facing problems.
A short briefing on the first year of the project and an outline of the work of some local projects can be downloaded below.