- Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland have experienced an unprecedented rise in demand during the pandemic
- up to £15 million funding will help them provide advice and information on a range of financial, legal and consumer issues
- part of a £750 million package set out by the Chancellor for frontline charities
Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland will receive a funding boost of up to £15 million to help them deal with increased demand for advice and information from the public during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Consumer Affairs Minister Paul Scully has announced (23 May 2020).
The funding will allow them to increase their capacity so they can continue to deliver advice on a range of issues, such as if a person cannot pay their bills due to coronavirus, or how they can protect themselves from or report a coronavirus-related scam.
The money is part of a £750 million pot announced by the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to help frontline charities continue their vital work during the outbreak.
In line with government advice on social distancing, Citizens Advice, which operates in England and Wales, and Citizens Advice Scotland have temporarily closed their 331 offices, suspended outreach services and shifted their advice services online and over the phone.
They have since seen a significant increase in demand for telephone advice and webchats, and this funding will help them to continue to deliver their services remotely as well as ensuring their online content reflects the most up to date advice.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:
In these challenging times, it is vital the British people have access to all the information they need to stay safe and well. This funding will mean those who need advice can get it – whether it’s about finances, employment or the measures we are taking to help protect the public and our NHS.
This investment is part of a wider government support package for charities on the front line so that they can continue to help those in need.
Dame Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:
During this pandemic we’ve seen a surge in people coming to us for advice. We expect this demand will carry on as people’s lives continue to be affected by the economic impact of COVID-19.
This funding will allow us to increase the support we can provide over the phone and online – especially to those who need it most.
The effects of COVID-19 will continue to be felt for a long time. Support for Citizens Advice and other charities is crucial to making sure that everyone has access to the help they need at this incredibly challenging time.