RE­VEALED: SCALE OF UNIVER­SAL CREDIT AD­VICE NEEDED IN GLAS­GOW

Evening Times - - FRONT PAGE - BY HEATHER CARRICK

CIT­I­ZENS Ad­vice Scot­land has called upon the next gov­ern­ment elected to im­prove the cost of liv­ing, as sup­port and ad­vice ses­sions in Glas­gow reached more than 2,000 re­gard­ing univer­sal credit.

The city saw 2,081 pieces of ad­vice handed out to Glaswe­gians, with the full ser­vice only op­er­at­ing for three months of the re­port­ing pe­riod.

The char­ity also an­nounced fig­ures as part of their ‘Ad­vice in Scot­land’ re­port, which also saw Univer­sal Credit ad­vice ses­sions more than dou­bling in the past 12 months across the coun­try to nearly

40,000.

Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Scot­land has re­ported that fig­ures for those seek­ing ad­vice from the char­ity all across the coun­try more than dou­bled this year com­pared to last with 272,000 peo­ple helped by the ser­vice in 2019, equalling around 1 in 18 peo­ple who sought ad­vice in the past 12 months.

The char­ity’s web­site also gar­nered over 3.7 mil­lion page views from cit­i­zens seek­ing ad­vice on is­sues such as em­ploy­ment, hous­ing and pay.

CAS are now call­ing upon can­di­dates for Glas­gow’s con­stituen­cies to make a dif­fer­ent in the lives of those they see on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.

Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Scot­land chief ex­ec­u­tive Derek Mitchell, pic­tured, said: “We’re an in­de­pen­dent and im­par­tial char­ity but the data from our state of the na­tion re­port makes clear that the next UK gov­ern­ment sim­ply must have liv­ing stan­dards at the heart of its agenda.

“From is­sues such as debt and so­cial se­cu­rity to en­ergy, we are see­ing peo­ple strug­gle with the cost of liv­ing. Boost­ing peo­ple’s in­comes while deal­ing with ris­ing costs must be a pri­or­ity for pol­i­cy­mak­ers – par­tic­u­larly with big chal­lenges around cut­ting emis­sions in the fu­ture.”

More than 13,000 food­bank re­fer­rals were also made by Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Scot­land made through­out 2019, with the top ad­vice cat­e­gories used by peo­ple be­ing ben­e­fits.

The plea comes as sim­i­larly last week, The Trus­sell Trust warned of an ‘un­prece­dented’ strain on Glas­gow’s food­banks dur­ing the harsh win­ter months, and urged in­com­ing politi­cians to make changes for those who rely on them.

The Trus­sell Trust’s in­de­pen­dent re­port showed that food­bank use has in­creased 22% al­ready in 2019, with that fig­ure ex­pected over Christ­mas and New Year. The Trus­sell Trust’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, Emma Re­vie, said: “Our next gov­ern­ment must start work­ing to­wards a fu­ture where no one needs a food­bank. “Help us end the need for food banks for good, by ask­ing all your lo­cal can­di­dates up for elec­tion to pledge to pro­tect peo­ple from hunger by mak­ing sure ev­ery­one has enough money for the ba­sics.” Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Scot­land ex­plained how ad­vice ses­sions in Scot­land re­leased over £130mil­lion in financial gains for peo­ple ac­cess­ing the ser­vice. Derek Mitchell con­tin­ued, say­ing: “With a foot­print in ev­ery com­mu­nity in Scot­land the Cit­i­zens Ad­vice net­work helped hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple last year. Last year we un­locked financial gains of £131mil­lion for peo­ple in Scot­land – that gives you an idea of the scale of what peo­ple are miss­ing out on if they don’t turn to us for ad­vice and sup­port.

“Peo­ple should know that their lo­cal CAB is there to help.”

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