Citizens Advice helps put £120m into pockets of Scots

Scotland's Citizens Advice service helped put £120 million back into the pockets of people seeking help last year, according to a new report.

The service's network of 61 bureaus, phonelines and its website enabled clients to claim £72 million in entitled benefits in 2015/16 - up 22% on the previous financial year.

The staff also cut the amount owned by those seeking debt advice by £27 million in 2015/16, and helped reschedule more than £134 million of new debt recorded in about 14,000 cases.

The service gave a million pieces of advice during the period to more than 310,000 people, equivalent to around one in every 14 adults, helping them avoid crisis situations such as poverty, debt and homelessness.

The charity's Impact Report shows that for every £1 of core funding received, the network returned £11 of value to local communities, and 99% of Scottish citizens say they regard it as an essential community service.

Citizens Advice Scotland acting chief executive Anne Lavery said: "We are very proud of the work of the service, and of the fact that our advice is completely free, impartial and confidential.

"Our service has a huge positive impact, not just on the individual people we help but also on their families and on the wider community.

"We can only achieve this through the hard work and dedication of the 3,400 skilled staff and volunteers who provide advice to those who come to the service for help: many of whom are facing challenging circumstances due to strains on employment, finances and the everyday cost of living.

"But in addition to the individuals we help, we are also very proud of the wider impact we have. By analysing our case evidence at a national level, we have a powerful database of information on societal issues.

"We provide this information to governments and decision makers to help them improve services and policies for the better."