Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid has welcomed a UK Government announcement of £15million to help support Citizens Advice services across the country.
The funding will help CABs in Scotland and the rest of the UK cope with the increased demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The funding will allow local organisations to increase their capacity to continue to deliver advice on a range of issues, such as if a person cannot pay their bills due to Coronavirus, or if they need protection from a Coronavirus-related scam.
The money is part of a £750 million pot announced by the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to help frontline charities continue their vital work during the outbreak.
In line with government advice on social distancing, Citizens Advice, which operates in England and Wales, and Citizens Advice Scotland have temporarily closed their 331 offices, suspended outreach services and shifted their advice services online and over the phone.
They have since seen a significant increase in demand for telephone advice and webchats, and this funding will help them to continue to deliver their services remotely as well as ensuring their online content reflects the most up to date advice.
Commenting on the announcement from the UK’s department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has led the allocation of funding to support charities providing key services to help vulnerable people during the crisis.
David Duguid, Scottish Conservative MP for Banff and Buchan, said:
“While Citizens Advice Scotland premises have been shut due to COVID-19, a lot of work is still going on behind the scenes.
“There has been a huge surge in demand for these services during this crisis.
“This funding will I am sure be very welcome.
“It should ensure that these local organisations can continue to offer support to those who need it.”
UK Government Consumer Affairs Minister Paul Scully added:
“Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland have continued to provide an invaluable service to the public throughout this deeply unsettling period.
“Now more than ever, it is imperative people have access to free, confidential advice on money, legal and consumer problems.
“This funding will ensure Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland have the right resources to provide people with the support they need, when they need it most.”
Citizens Advice Scotland Chief Executive Derek Mitchell said:
“This additional support for the Citizens Advice network is hugely welcome. All across Scotland individual bureaux staff and volunteers have done incredible work transitioning to remote working to ensure people are still getting the advice and support they need.
“The Citizens Advice network was born in the shadow of the Second World War, we’ve always adapted to the changing challenges of the time. This funding will help ensure our network can adapt to meet the challenges presented by COVID-19, and continue to deliver the advice people need.”