Fifers feeling financial strain of Covid-19 urged to seek support
Fifers experiencing financial difficulty as a result of the coronavirus outbreak are being encouraged to seek guidance on the financial help available to them.
It comes after research commissioned by the Scottish Government in partnership with YouGov has revealed almost half (48 per cent) of people in Mid Scotland and Fife report being concerned about the impact of the lockdown on their household finances.
Across Scotland as a whole, nearly a third of people say they have already felt the financial strain of the Covid-19 pandemic and are worried about its impact on their household finances.
Citizens Advice and Rights Fife (CARF) is currently trying to raise awareness of the financial support that’s available to people across the Kingdom at this time.
The campaign, run in partnership by the Scottish Government and the Citizens Advice network, provides information and advice on issues including rent and mortgage payments, energy bills, council tax and benefits people may be entitled to.
And despite the lockdown this advice is still available online, by phone or by contacting CARF.
Norma Philpott, chief executive of CARF, said: “The Covid-19 outbreak has presented real challenges for people here but Citizens Advice and Rights Fife is still here to serve the community and ensure people get the advice they need.
“Our service have transitioned during the outbreak so that people are still getting advice over the phone, or online.
“This pandemic is an anxious time for everyone, while Covid-19 is a public health emergency, it’s a huge economic challenge too, and people have been coming to us with concerns about employment, housing and social security during this period.
“Our message to people who are struggling is simple – Citizens Advice and Rights Fife is here to help.”
And Fife Council is also playing its part in working to help people across the Kingdom.
Les Robertson, head of revenues and commercial services at Fife Council, said: “As well as the national measures announced by the Scottish and UK governments we’ve put a range of things in place to help locally.
“These include relaxation of verification standards especially for the self-employed by not asking people to provide proof of earnings when applying for council benefits such as housing benefit, council tax reduction, Scottish Welfare Fund and discretionary housing payments.
“This means we can process new claims much quicker. We’ve also stopped taking debt recovery action on a temporary basis.
“To replace free school meals, we make direct payments to parents’ bank accounts if their child/ren are entitled to these.
“This is being done automatically so people don’t need to worry about applying. However, if anyone feels they should’ve received a payment but hasn’t, please get in touch via www.fife.gov.uk/coronavirus-moneyadvice
“More information is also available on this dedicated web page if anyone needs any further help with benefits and money advice.
“I’d urge anyone who is struggling financially to have a look at this page to make sure they’re getting all the help they can during this extremely challenging situation.”
Those who have been financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and require free, confidential, financial support, can contact Citizens Advice and Rights Fife on 0345 1400 095, by visiting cabfife.org.uk, or calling Scotland’s Citizens Advice Helpline on 0800 028 1456
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