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Spotlight on: Money and debt
Around one in four of the issues brought to Scottish bureaux relate to debt. As well as working with clients in crisis debt situations, many Scottish bureaux undertake financial capability work, including delivering face to face Money Advice Sessions on behalf of the Money Advice Service. The Scottish CAB Service campaigns tirelessly for responsible lending and appropriate solutions for people whose debts have become unmanageable.
Find out more here about our money and debt work.
3 May 2022
by Sarah-Jayne Dunn, Policy Manager in the CAS Financial Health team.
This article was first published in the Herald on 2 May 2022.
26 Apr 2019
Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has today published new figures showing the numbers of Scots who struggle to make ends meet.
27 Jul 2022
Citizens Advice Scotland has welcomed a report by MPs which recommends a debt repayment holiday for struggling households who owe money to the tax or benefits system.
Publication date: April 2022
This briefing presents the impact of the Scottish Citizens Advice network over the last few years, and its value to the communities it serves.
Publication date: January 2022
Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) is supportive of the proposed approach to ending poverty and the need for food banks. The twin emphasis on prevention and response ensures the reasons for food bank use are tackled at source, rather than focusing only on how emergency support is delivered, and overall CAS would agree that moving towards a cash-first approach to food aid is a positive step. Measures which enable people to choose their own food can restore dignity in emergency food provision, enable people to buy food they enjoy and choose the items that will make the most difference to themselves and their families.
However, there are additional dimensions to the need for food banks that CAS would call for further consideration of. These include:
› The role of advice services in food bank referrals
› Availability of social security support for different types of people
› Debt as a driving factor in food bank use
› Fuel poverty as a driving factor in food bank use
› Housing costs as a driving factor for food bank use
› Potential barriers to a cash-first scheme
Publication date: October 2021
In May 2019, The Scottish Government committed to establishing an independent Energy Consumers Commission (ECC) to enhance the voice of consumers who reside in Scotland within the energy market. The Commission was formed in July 2020 consisting of representatives with a wealth of experience in national consumer advocacy and advice bodies, academia and local groups serving energy consumers in their communities.
Eradicating fuel poverty has been a policy priority for the Scottish Government since 2016, and has been a statutory obligation since the passage of the Fuel Poverty (Targets, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Act in 2019. While fuel poverty has been formally defined since 2019, and a fuel poverty strategy is expected in 2021, fuel debt has not been given the same attention by researchers and policy makers.
Fuel debt is likely to become more prevalent and more unmanageable this winter as energy prices rise, and financial support such as the £20/week Universal Credit uplift and furlough end. This briefing, based on research commissioned from Changeworks, examines how fuel debt differs from fuel poverty, what key issues exist in Scotland, and the Commission’s recommendations on how to address rising levels of fuel debt.
Publication date: September 2021
Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) gathers evidence from the more than 171,000 clients a year supported by our network. Many of the problems faced by our clients are rooted in or linked to their incomes not being enough to meet their needs and live a dignified life. For many people coming to see us they simply do not have enough money to make ends meet: YouGov in May of this year indicated 1 in 7 Scots is struggling on their present income even with the temporary financial support measures put in place as a result of the pandemic. In fact, 56% or half a million pieces of advice provided by our network every year can be attributed to income maximisation. During the pandemic CABs unlocked £147million for people through things like social security payments, employment entitlements and lower bills for utilities. A Minimum Income Guarantee would mean the Citizens Advice network could ensure people have even more security and opportunity.
This evidence base, from over 80 years as Scotland’s largest free, impartial and confidential advice network, gives CAS a unique understanding of the issues that IPPR proposes could be addressed by a Minimum Income Guarantee. In addition, our experience supporting clients over the course of the pandemic shows that even those who were coping before the crisis still found themselves vulnerable if their income dropped or costs went up even slightly.