Low-income Scots urged to use free financial health service

Low-income families in Scotland have been urged to seek free financial advice, with around half a million cases of people not claiming all the support they are entitled to.

A “financial health check” service was launched in November, offering impartial advice and support to help people maximise their income and reduce costs.

The scheme, backed by £3.3 million of Scottish Government funding, is being delivered by the Citizens Advice Network in Scotland.

People are currently able to access the service by calling a free helpline, with a face-to-face version also to be implemented.

Aileen Campbell, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, said that the check can help assist people with a range of financial issues.

“The Financial Health Check is an invaluable source of support for families on a low income and friendly, experienced advisers are on hand to walk through all options,” said Ms Campbell.

“Too many people are not accessing everything they could be, and we want to ensure the right support is there to help people make the most of their financial situation.

“The service will cover issues such as access to free school meals, benefit uptake, council tax reduction and cheaper deals on energy and other utilities to reduce household costs.

“If you’re a parent struggling to make ends meet, you’re not alone. It doesn’t matter if you’re in work or out, one call to the free phoneline is all it takes get some advice that could make a real difference.

“We would therefore urge people to pick up the phone for a free financial health check today.”

Derek Mitchell, CEO of Citizens Advice Scotland, said: “We know from research large numbers of Scots are still not claiming support they are entitled to.

“We are pleased to have this opportunity to reach those people who need support the most, particularly at this time of year, given the extra financial pressures it can bring for families.

“Through this service, and all the core work of the Citizens Advice network in Scotland, CAB teams are here to help alleviate financial worries, so people can access their basic rights to food and a warm home for their families.”