Scotland’s Citizens Advice network empowers people in every corner of Scotland through our local bureaux and national services by providing free, confidential, and independent advice. We use peoples’ real-life experiences to influence policy and drive positive change. We are on the side of people in Scotland who need help, and we change lives for the better.
Our 2021/22 Impact work plan outlines the areas where we will be working to secure changes on behalf of our network’s clients. It has been drawn together following extensive analysis of advice data and consultative workshops with representatives from the network to identify significant trends and areas of concern.
This work comes as Scotland faces a cliff edge following COVID-19. Even before the pandemic people in Scotland faced insufficient incomes and rising living costs, and the pandemic will have exacerbated these issues for many.
Estimates suggest Scotland’s fuel poverty rate, already at an unacceptable 1 in 4 homes, could reach 29% as a result of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, analysis of clients with multiple debts undertaken during the pandemic reveals more than half have debts of more than £10,000, and more than 2 in 5 have no money left at the end of the month after meeting their living costs.
Later this year people will see various financial support schemes implemented during the pandemic expire. This is a moment of huge risk for many, who will have built up new or additional debts and arrears during the crisis, and face reduced incomes, rising bills, and unemployment. It is essential then, that we see change to improve incomes and cut living costs for people as we face the biggest economic challenge in living memory.
Our work plan is rooted in delivering positive change for people during this unprecedented period and is split across four policy workstreams: Fair Markets, Financial Health, Strong Communities and Social Justice.