There are concerns about the number of people with money problems in Dumfries and Galloway. A report by the Citizens Advice Bureau says low income households are being penalised by welfare reforms.
The CAB says it's having to specialise in financial advice, as more people struggle with debt and changes to the benefit system. Andy Burn reports.
Many vulnerable families across Dumfries & Galloway are facing financial crisis according to the local Citizens Advice Service.
The charity has published a report which it says shows evidence that many low income households are being hit hard by the Government's welfare reforms.
The Charity claims the report reveals:
- The service dealt with 27,000 cases last year.
- The most common issue was the benefits system. 46% of all cases were from vulnerable people (higher than the scottish average of 38%)
- The second biggest issue was debt, more than 500 new clients in the region reported an average debt of £19,000
Dumfries and Galloway CAS Chief Executive Sue Irving says,
"Many people will be shocked by just how many families in Dumfries & Galloway are suffering.
"The Citizens Advice Service offers free, impartial and confidential advice to anyone who needs it. Our trained advisers offer advice on any issue. But the report shows how we are having to specialise in financial advice - whether it's helping people who are in debt, or those who have been caught out by the changes being made to the benefit system.
– D&G CAS Chief Executive Sue Irving
"It's very worrying that nearly half of all cases we see now are about the benefit system. This rate is higher than the numbers seen by the Scottish CAB service as a whole, which suggests a growing crisis for vulnerable people here in Dumfries & Galloway."