Financial advice bureaux worth millions to Scottish economy

The Citizens Advice network is worth up to £248 million to Scottish society, according to new analysis.

An independent report from Europe Economics estimated the extent to which Citizens Advice information and support can help to resolve people’s problems, and also relieve pressure on the public purse and help maintain economic activity, was worth £97m in 2019/20 across ten bureaux areas.

The advice provided on its national website is worth a further £148.25m in benefits.

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The Citizens Advice Bureaux across Scotland is said to be worth £245m to society.

The report also found Citizens Advice Bureaux (CABs) dealt with 186,600 clients across Scotland in 2019/20, helping them gain more than £170m through access to social security payments, employment entitlements and lower bills for utilities.

CAB clients are also estimated to have financially supported an additional £46.4m of economic output through indirect and induced effects, supporting 3,064 jobs and £73.41m in wage income.

In terms of savings to the public purse, it estimates that £15m was saved on mental health spending, £7.3m on physical health, £11.5m on legal proceedings and environmentally, the work of CAB produced emissions savings equivalent to over 2,000 homes.

Citizens Advice Scotland chair Rory Mair said: “This landmark report shows the exceptional value provided by the Citizens Advice network in Scotland.

“We already know that CABs put money back into people’s pockets by helping them access social security payments and benefit entitlements, as well as reducing their debt payments and cutting their utility bills.

“What we now see is the wider value of this work to the Scottish economy and society, which runs into hundreds of millions of pounds.

“The network generates millions of pounds in economic output, saves the public purse millions of pounds in preventative spending, and even plays a part in helping reduce emissions as we all look to play our part in moving towards a greener economy.”

"During the pandemic CABs stepped up and ensured people got the advice they needed to navigate the crisis, and we’ll be here to help people during the economic fallout that will follow the virus, just as we were following the economic crash of 2008, and just as we have been for over 80 years.”

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