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Argyll and Bute Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) has launched a new campaign to help people in Argyll and Bute take control of their finances.

For Your Benefit, which is being run by the Citizens Advice Bureau network across Scotland, will focus on three key areas:

  • Helping people maximise their incomes
  • Raising awareness of the danger of scams
  • Tackling and destigmatising debt

As part of the campaign, the CAB is running a financial health check service, funded by the Scottish Government, to ensure people are claiming all the benefits they are entitled to, paying the lowest possible bills for items such as gas and electricity, and getting access to further advice on unmanageable debt.

New figures released by Citizens Advice Scotland show an almost 40 per cent increase in people across Scotland visiting a CAB to check their eligibility for benefits. For the first six weeks of the financial year, around 1,120 people a week have visited a Scottish CAB to check their eligibility for benefits compared to around 800 people a week in the last two quarters of the previous financial year.

Gillian McInnes, Argyll and Bute Citizens Advice Bureau manager, said, ‘Here in our CAB we help thousands of local people every year, and what we have seen in recent months is more and more people turning to us to check what social security payments they are entitled to.

‘That’s a sign of how the cost of living crisis is squeezing people’s incomes, but it should also be seen as a positive step in terms of them being willing to check what they are entitled to. In some cases we have been able to identify thousands of pounds per year that people are missing out on.

‘No one should feel embarrassed about claiming benefits they are due. That’s how the social security system works: we all pay in when we can and get support when we need it.

‘In launching this campaign I hope local people feel they can come to us and get all the help they need in taking control of their financial situation. Our advice is always free, confidential and independent. We don’t judge or criticise anyone—we’re just here to help.’

‘People can get the free financial health check by calling 01546 605550 or email: info@abcab.org.uk.