Blog

Digital Disconnection for CAB Clients 7th February 2018

Almost a fifth of people who seek advice from Scottish CABs say they never use the internet, with more than half unable to apply for jobs or benefits online without help, according to new research published today by Citizens Advice Scotland.

The data is a concern because many social security and justice services are now only or manly accessible online, which means that many people are not getting the essential support they need.   

The survey of over 1,200 Scottish CAB clients found that:
  • 34% have no or limited ability to use the internet, with 18% saying they never use it at all
  • 20% only have access to it through a smart phone
  • 21% don’t have an email account
  • 64% of benefits claimants need help to apply for their benefits online

When asked what were the barriers to internet use, 18% reported it was the cost of broadband, 17% said phone costs, and 64% said they had not received any training or support in internet use. 41% of respondents in rural areas reported poor broadband connectivity.

Publishing the report, Citizens Advice Scotland’s Policy Manager Keith Dryburgh says,

“These findings clearly show that many Scottish CAB clients still have difficulty using digital services, either through lack of skills or lack of access. While the research also shows that younger people are more proficient than the older age groups, the general picture remains a concern.
“Although the sample for this survey cannot be said to represent the Scottish population as a whole, it nevertheless indicates that Scotland is not yet at a stage where key services like social security and justice can be moved entirely online without excluding a significant proportion of society from them.
“We therefore suggest that all key public services should continue to have alternative options (e.g. paper-based systems) available to people who are not able to competently use online services.
“In the meantime, we commit to working with the Scottish government, Digital Scotland, the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations and others to improve people’s digital skills and levels of digital access.”

The research is set out in full in our report, Disconnected.

Let's get people to #TalkMoney 15th November 2017

Financial Capability Week (FinCap Week) celebrates, showcases and amplifies the work underway to improve financial capability and ultimately to improve financial wellbeing. 

The week is organised as part of the Financial Capability Strategy for the UK and aims to bring together organisations to improve collective understanding of the issues different groups of people face and find the most effective ways to tackle these problems and get more people talking about money. #talkmoney

Here at the Bureau we have services available to those in our local community that will help maximise their income through budgeting and debt advice as well as quick benefit checks for those not getting what they may be entitled to.  Our trained advisers are on hand to help in our Bureau through Drop-ins on Tuesdays & Thursdays (0930-1230) or through appointments if these times do not suit.  We also have our Tackling Money Worries project which you can be referred onto by your health professionals, if you require assistance.  As well as these services we also have our Outreach Clinic in Possilpark Library which is by appointment only and our adviser here can help you with benefit applications and money advice (call the Possilpark Library on  0141 276 0928 for an appointment)

 

Levels of financial capability across the UK remain stubbornly low, and millions of people lack the financial resillience to deal with unexpected financial shocks.  FinCap Week provides an important opportunity to discuss life events and how colectively we can support people at risk from uncontrolled levels of debt or suffering from other financial difficulties. 

For more information on #TalkMoney Financial Capability Week and how you can get involved, go to fincap.org.uk  

Local bus passengers urged to have their say in new survey 9th October 2017

Maryhill & Possilpark Citizens Advice Bureau is urging local people to complete a new survey about local bus services.

The ‘Your Bus, Your Say ‘ survey aims to collect the views of bus-users on issues like cost, frequency and quality of service. The survey runs till 22 October and is available online, but paper copies are also available at the local Citizens Advice Bureau in Avenuepark Street, Maryhill.

Maryhill & Possilpark CAB Chief Officer Sarah Erskine says,

“If you’ve ever wanted to complain about the local bus service, or if you’ve ever wanted to pay it a compliment, now is your chance. From today we are asking everyone in our service area to complete our survey about bus services.
“Thousands of bus journeys are taken locally every year. Some are just a few hundred yards, others last for miles. Many people get the bus to work every day, while others use it to make journeys to hospital, school or college, to shop or just to visit friends.
“We are interested in the views of all bus users, regardless of how often you use the bus. The survey is anonymous and only takes a few minutes to complete, but the information you give us will be vital in helping us campaign for improvements to the service.
“Our local survey here is part of a national survey of all Scots, so your views will help us build a picture of bus services both here in Maryhill, Kelvin & Canal wards and across the whole country. Remember it’s only by speaking up that consumers can effect change.
“You can find the survey at www.cas.org.uk/betterbuses. or you can pick up a paper copy here at our office in Avenuepark Street, Maryhill. But remember you only have until 22 October to take part, so don’t miss your opportunity to have your say.”

The survey is at www.cas.org.uk/betterbuses. It is open until midnight on Sunday 22 October. 

Use the #betterbuses to keep up to date with the campaign news. 

Changing the way that Universal Credit is paid in Scotland 4th October 2017

From 4 October 2017, if you make a new claim for Universal Credit in a full service area in Scotland you can ask to change the way that your UC is paid.

 You can ask: 

  • to be paid every two weeks instead of monthly, and/or
  • for the housing costs element of your UC to be paid directly to your landlord. 

These are called the 'Universal Credit Scottish Flexibilities' and have been designed to help people claiming UC in Scotland to manage their money and to help prevent the build-up of rent arrears. 

The Scottish Flexibilities are available to anyone claiming UC on or after 4 October in full service areas. You do not need to be in financial difficulty in order to request a Scottish Flexibility. This is in contrast to the alternative payment arrangements that some people claiming UC can set up with the Jobcentre Plus. These are only available in some circumstances e.g if you are in debt, have rent arrears or are vulnerable in some way. 

The Scottish Flexibilities are not yet available to people who started claiming UC before 4 October 2017. The Scottish Government are working with the Department for Work and Pensions to make the Scottish Flexibilities available to everyone claiming UC in Scotland in the future. 

We have written new content on our public advice website about the Scottish Flexibilities. Please let us know what you think of the new information by using the feedback form on the website page.

This is crucial information with the full service roll out's completion in all areas being imminent.

Parliament Visit launches benefit awareness campaign for Older Scots at MAPCAB 2nd October 2017

Hundreds of thousands of older people in Scotland are missing out on social security money they are entitled to because they are not claiming it, according to Citizens Advice Scotland.

The Scottish CAB network is today joining with the Scottish government to launch a campaign urging people to seek CAB support in claiming the benefits they are entitled to.  The campaign was launched at Maryhill & Possilpark CAB in Glasgow.

Citizens Advice Scotland’s Chief Executive Derek Mitchell says,

“Many people are entitled to claim financial support that could make a big difference to their lives, but they don’t claim it because they don’t know how to, and in some cases they feel embarrassed about claiming. This is often particularly true of older people.
“Our message today is that nobody need hold back from claiming what they are due. You’ve earned it, so claim it, and the CAB network is here to help you. Our trained advisers will assess what benefits you are entitled to and help you go about making the claim.
“The social security system can seem complex and intimidating, particularly to those not used to it. But if you are entitled to some kind of assistance that money is not charity, it is yours and you should claim it.
“If you dropped money in the street you would pick it up. If you won a competition you’d entered, you would take the money. This is just the same. You may be entitled to hundreds or even thousands of pounds. So take this opportunity and let us help you get what you are entitled to.”

Sarah Erskine, Chief Officer of Maryhill and Possilpark CAB says,

“Every day at this CAB and at others across the country we see clients who are not aware of their benefits entitlements and the income they could be receiving, particularly if there’s been a change of circumstances such as ill health or having to take on additional caring responsibilities.
“At your local CAB, we can undertake a benefits check and talk you through your benefits entitlements, and even support you to make an application if you would like to do so.
“As Scotland’s largest independent advice network, our advice is free impartial and confidential – so there’s really nothing to lose by coming to see us.”


People can get the relevant advice from their local CAB here at Maryhill & Possilpark CAB, through our Drop-in mornings on Tuesdays & Thursdays 0930-1230 or call 0141 948 0204 to enquire about an appointment or further information.