£1.5m boost for advice service

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CONSUMER minister Jo Swinson announced a £1.5 million boost to Citizens Advice Bureaux in Scotland when she visited a CAB office in Paisley.

A total of £9.5m is being given to the service across the country as it takes over responsibilities previously carried out by 
Consumer Focus.

The government argues that expanding the remit of CABs will make them more efficient.

Swinson said: “Citizens Advice has built up trust in communities to become a respected household name; consumers know that when they have a question or a problem they can approach their local Citizens Advice with ease. That is why the Citizens Advice Service is setting the standard as the consumer body and will take on new functions from 1 April. I am confident that these changes will boost consumer confidence and protection enormously.”

Margaret Lynch, chief executive of Citizens Advice Scotland, said: “The CAB service in Scotland is in the front line of helping people deal with the problems they face as a result of the recession and the changes to the benefits system. Here in Paisley, as across Scotland, CAB staff and volunteers are stretched more than they have ever been, and the level of demand is set to continue to rise. Our advisers need the best possible support if they are to continue the vital work that they do – not just in giving free, confidential and impartial advice to those who need it, but also in taking on these enhanced responsibilities for providing consumer information and advice.

“The funding that is being announced today will help and every penny of it is sorely needed and will be put to good use. But it must not be a one-off. Our service needs sustained investment which recognises the crucial role the CAB plays in Scotland’s communities..”