Help at Hand: Contact CAB if you have concerns over your finances
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This is a column by Rachel Sutherland, of the local Citizens Advice Bureau.
Forty-three per cent of people in Sutherland are concerned about the impact of coronavirus on their household finances.
And 53 per cent of parents in Scotland with 12-16-year- olds say the pandemic is already having a negative effect on their finances.
People in Sutherland experiencing financial difficulty as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak are being encouraged to seek guidance on the financial help available to them.
Research reveals that 38 per cent of 18-24-year- olds are worried about the pandemic having a negative impact on household finances, while this figure rises to 41 per cent among part-time workers.
These findings follow the launch of a new campaign by the Scottish Government and the Citizens Advice network that aims to raise awareness of the financial support available to people in Sutherland.
The campaign provides information and advice on issues including rent and mortgage payments, energy bills, council tax, and benefits people may be entitled to.
People can access this advice online, by phone or by contacting their local Citizens Advice Bureau.
Cabinet secretary for communities and local government Aileen Campbell said: “There is no doubt that this is a difficult and worrying time for everyone. Today’s findings further underline the need to provide people across Scotland with the correct support, guidance and information to help them with their finances.
“To support people and communities affected by Covid-19 we recently announced a £350 million package of funding – ensuring local authorities, community groups and the third sector are able to help people who need it.
“However, we need to ensure that people are aware of all the support that they are entitled to, including benefits delivered by DWP, and I would encourage everyone who is facing financial difficulty to look into what help is available to them.
“That’s why we’ve been working with the Citizens Advice network in Scotland to create this central source of information – with everything from guidance on benefits, right through to what you can do if you are worried about paying your mortgage or rent.”
Rachel Sutherland at East and Central Sutherland Citizens Advice (ECSCAB)said: “The Covid-19 outbreak has presented real challenges for people in east and central Sutherland but the Citizens Advice Bureau is still here to serve the community and ensure people get the advice they need.
“Our service has transitioned during the outbreak so that people are still getting advice over the phone, on email or online.
“People have been coming to us with concerns about employment, housing and social security during this period. Our message to people who are struggling is simple – our bureau is here to help.”
ECSCAB board member Councillor Deirdre Mackay, said: “In Sutherland we have a significant number of people whose livelihoods depend on part-time seasonal employment.
Very often this can mean families depending on more than one job. This sector simply dried up overnight. We also have many small businesses sitting out the current pandemic. Life is difficult for these people. If people are experiencing problems it is so important that they seek advice from the CAB.”
You can contact the local Citizens Advice Bureau on 01408 633000; firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting cas.org.uk
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