Andrew Haldane, Chief Economist at the Bank of England and a member of the Bank’s monetary policy committee, today made a visit to West Lothian CAB, where he met with both clients and advisers to see some of the problems people are dealing with in today’s economy
Afterwards he and his team also met in Edinburgh with Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) and a range of other Third Sector organisations to discuss the issue of household debt in Scotland. This visits came at the personal invitation of CAS Chief Executive Derek Mitchell.
Andrew Haldane says,
“The discussions I’ve had today with representatives of Citizens Advice Scotland and other groups have been hugely informative and helpful. Talking to the staff and volunteers at the Citizens Advice Bureau in Livingston really brought home to me some of the issues that are facing households in West Lothian and beyond, particularly with regards to debt.
“My conversations with those who are currently using the CAB services revealed to me the importance of having such an experienced, sensitive and impartial source of advice. I saw first-hand how the support provided can help people to overcome some of the stigma and embarrassment that can be associated with talking about debt, and set them on the right path towards getting their finances back on track.”
Derek Mitchell, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Scotland, says,
“Earlier this year we heard Mr Haldane say he was keen to meet with people who could tell him about the impact of the policy decisions he and his committee make. We invited him to see a day in the life of a typical Scottish CAB and experience the work our advisers do, the types of clients they see and what help they need. To be fair he has been true to his word and we are delighted and honoured that he accepted our invitation.
“We also spoke to him about the wider experience and evidence of the Scottish CAB network. We are the only agency that offers face-to-face advice across the whole of Scotland and across a broad range of issues, from debt and poverty to housing problems and consumer issues – all of which are impacted by the Bank’s decisions.
“I am pleased that Mr Haldane came to see us and will be keen to engage with him on ways we can work together to help influence policy and support for the people who need it. For example, we would like to develop an ongoing mechanism for providing policy makers at a UK level with our evidence of the experiences of Scottish households who use our services, which includes some of our country’s most vulnerable people.”
Karen Nailen, Manager of West Lothian CAB and a member of the board of CAS, says,
“We were delighted to host this visit here in Livingston, and to show Mr Haldane the real-life picture that our advisers see every day. People come to the CAB with all sorts of problems, but debt is the second biggest advice area for us, after social security.
“People can be behind on their rent or have missed mortgage or council tax payments, or they may be struggling to manage credit card debts or payday loans. Decisions on interest rates have a huge impact on such people, and we would like to thank the local clients who agreed to meet Mr Haldane and discuss their situation with him.”