Citizens Advice Scotland Report Lays Bare Bleak Picture
Local MP Alyn Smith has condemned the UK Government as ‘missing in action’, as the rapidly worsening economic outlook spells misery for households and businesses across Stirling and Scotland.
New analysis from Citizens Advice Scotland shows a significant growth in demand for advice services relating to the cost of living crisis. The first edition of ‘Quarterly Cost of Living Analysis’ compares the first quarter of financial year 2022/2023 to 2021/2022 as a baseline comparison, with requests for advice on food insecurity and utilities seeing large spikes:
- 35% of all utility-related advice in Q1 2022 was related to the cost of living crisis, compared with 26% last year.
- In more than 1 in 10 utility cases, clients seeking guidance also required food insecurity advice – such as a referral to a food bank.
- CAS website views for advice on cost of living and energy have grown by as much as 122%.
- Tenants living in council homes and those unable to work are seeking cost of living advice at higher levels when compared to other client groups.
- Views of one page, What to do if you can’t pay your mortgage, have increased 1,627% from June 2021 to June 2022.
Stirling MP Alyn Smith said:
‘This report makes extremely difficult reading – there’s no denying or downplaying the seriousness of the economic and social calamity we’re facing if the UK Government does not get serious. The UK Parliament should be recalled as a matter of urgency, so MPs and the UK Government can begin taking urgent steps to address the cost of living crisis engulfing households across Stirling, Scotland and the rest of these islands. Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has convened the Scottish Government Resilience Committee to discuss an action plan – but the UK Government control the necessary policy levers over energy and the wider-UK economy to tackle the crisis. We need to see clear action now, not weeks down the line when the situation will have deteriorated even further.
‘I commend Citizens Advice Scotland for the work they’re doing to support some of our most vulnerable community members, but it’s clear much more must be done to provide immediate assistance to struggling households. Amidst soaring prices, inflation and a stuttering economy, any credibility the Tories could claim on ‘levelling up’ or general economic competence is in complete tatters.’