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MP visits Citizens’ Advice Bureau as report warns of hard winter ahead

By David Porter

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Gordon MP Richard Thomson has met with North-west Aberdeenshire Citizens’ Advice Bureau as Citizens’ Advice Scotland published its first quarterly Cost of Living Analysis which warned that with energy bills and inflation both expected to continue to rise sharply, there is a real risk people could freeze or starve this winter without urgent support.

Shona Watson (left) and Tracy Copeland, with Richard Thomson MP at North-west Aberdeenshire Citizens’ Advice Bureau.
Shona Watson (left) and Tracy Copeland, with Richard Thomson MP at North-west Aberdeenshire Citizens’ Advice Bureau.

Commenting on his visit, Richard Thomson MP said: “It was a pleasure to meet with Shona Watson and Tracy Copeland of North-west Aberdeenshire CAB and hear from them at first hand of the issues and challenges they deal with on behalf of clients.

“Energy costs are a clear concern for people and the report from Citizens’ Advice Scotland this week gives us a deeper understanding of the Cost-of-Living crisis with some quite shocking insights.

“In addition, the news that inflation has hit 10 per cent - the highest it’s been since 1982 – will be desperately concerning for many people already worried about energy costs.

"Households and businesses in Gordon are being badly hit and I know from my inbox just how worried my constituents are about these pressures.

“The situation is rapidly becoming unbearable for many households, with lower income households suffering the most, and there are businesses locally that are fearing for the future because of high bills and customers becoming anxious about spending.

“While organisations like the team North-west Aberdeenshire CAB will continue to do their utmost to help people, we urgently need the UK Government to step-up and to intervene.

"The Scottish Government has committed to an emergency budget and to looking at what more can be done to help with the powers it has.

"However, most of the levers and resources are in the hands of UK Ministers – including borrowing, the ability to cancel the energy cap, and wider reform of the energy market. We therefore need to see them use those levers to support businesses, households, and the public sector, or pass control of them to the Scottish Government who most certainly would use them to help people.”

The Citizens’ Advice Scotland report shows that in more than 1 in 10 utility cases clients also need food insecurity advice like a food bank referral; Cost of living related and income crisis related advice regarding utilities has increased significantly across the CAB network.

It represented 26 per cent of utilities advice last year, that figure is now 35 per cent; Views of cost of living and energy related pages on the Advice for Scotland website are up massively, in some cases as much as 122 per cent, and Council rented tenants and those unable or out of work are seeking advice related to the cost of living at higher levels than other groups.

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