Holyrood to recognise impact of Citizens Advice in Scotland

MSPs from across Scotland will recognise the impact of the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) network in Scotland in a special members’ business debate at Holyrood today.

Lodged by Christine Graham, MSP for Constituency Member for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, the debate will recognise the value of the Citizens Advice network with:

  • Over £170 million unlocked for people in 2019/20
  • A £16 return for every £1 invested in core advice
  • Over 188,000 people helped.

During the coronavirus crisis, CABs across the country have transitioned to remote working, ensuring that people still get vital advice through email, the phone or webchat, with CABs still open for face to face advice in essential cases for vulnerable clients.

Speaking ahead of today’s debate, Derek Mitchell, Citizens Advice Scotland chief executive, said: “We are extremely proud of our network and of what it does for people across Scotland. To deliver £16 for every £1 invested is a fabulous rate of return which is making a real difference in communities across Scotland.

“We’re here to help everyone, from employment and housing advice, to social security and consumer issues. Many of the people who turn to us for help are in really desperate situations, on the verge of being made homeless or drowning in debt. With a footprint in every community people know they can turn to us for help, and we’ve been a trusted provider of advice for 80 years now.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic the CAB network didn’t miss a beat, transitioning to remote work and continuing to provide free, confidential and impartial advice. We know the aftermath of the pandemic is going to be incredibly challenging for people, with the biggest shock to our economy in living memory. We’ll be there to help, just as we have been for over 80 years.”

Christie Graham MSP, Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, added: “I’m delighted to be able to lead a debate in the Scottish Parliament on the incredible work done by the Citizens Advice network in Scotland. In my previous career as a solicitor I used to volunteer with my local CAB to do an evening surgery and it never fails to amaze me the degree to which the service is powered by volunteers – people making a difference in their own communities, that’s what it’s all about.

“Many MSPs implicitly understand the work that CABs do, often referring our own casework to get people further help. That’s one reason why my motion gained cross party support across parliament.

“As Scotland grapples with the aftermath of coronavirus, the Citizens Advice network will be an essential resource for people who need help.”

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