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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.

News

  1. 26 Apr 2019

    Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has today published new figures showing the numbers of Scots who struggle to make ends meet.

  2. 6 Dec 2021

    More than one in three people in Scotland find energy bills unaffordable, according to new polling for Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) by YouGov.

  3. 6 Dec 2021

    by Derek Mitchell, CAS Chief Executive.

    This column was first published in the Herald on 6 December 2021.

Publications

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Publication date: May 2021

    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.

  4. Publication date: November 2020

    We work on the issues that matter to our network’s clients and our member CAB. Our focus is on delivering advocacy drawn from the experience and insights of the Scottish Citizens Advice network, which is rooted in communities across the country. 

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