Successful projects that have helped people cope with issues such as debt, mortgage worries and benefit problems will continue thanks to £6 million of funding.
The SNP Government has provided £4.1 million, with £2.35 million coming from the Money Advice Service (MAS) to support 102 projects across a number of jointly-funded advice programmes, which provide a range of advice and information, managed by the Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB).
The programmes were set up between October 2012 and October 2014 to provide additional help for people in Scotland facing debt and other problems following the economic downturn and the UK Government’s changes to the welfare system. Between April 2015 and March 2016, the projects provided help to 28,000 people with 45,000 different issues, securing client financial gain of £31 million.
Cunninghame North MSP, Kenneth Gibson said: “People struggling with debt or who face losing their home are some of the most vulnerable in our society, and are often the ones who need help most. Too many don’t know who to turn to, making an already difficult situation worse. What this money does is make that help available and accessible, and hopefully eases the burden.
“The SNP Government recognises the need for advice, support and information to be as accessible as possible by continuing to fund projects which generate significant benefits for those who use them. We have increased our investment in advice and advocacy services as we strive to tackle inequality and achieve social justice in Scotland.”
Sheila Wheeler, Director of Debt Advice at the Money Advice Service, added: “The Scottish Legal Aid Board performs a crucial role managing important debt advice projects throughout Scotland on behalf of MAS and the SNP Government. We know that more than one in ten people in Scotland are over-indebted and SLAB’s work to manage the provision of high-quality advice and support to communities across the country is vital to reducing this figure. We are therefore delighted to have agreed an extension to the funding of their work with our partners at the Scottish Government.”
Colin Lancaster, Chief Executive of SLAB, commented: “The continued backing for these projects highlights the success of the joint funding approach taken by the SNP Government and Money Advice Service. These projects work with people at crucial times in their lives, whether that’s providing advice on rent arrears that may help avoid eviction or supporting people to challenge decisions on their benefits to make sure they are receiving the income they are entitled to. Often such folk are vulnerable, such as those affected by domestic abuse or with disabilities. This help makes a significant contribution to tackling inequalities in our society.”
People helped from Dec 2012 to Aug 2016:
- New Clients: 79,252
- New Matters: 118,214
- Number of Matters Closed: 81,139
- Client Financial Gain : 75,757,134