Citizens Advice Edinburgh Annual Report

Our annual report provides an overview of our work, how we have helped solve problems and transformed the lives of people in need here in Edinburgh.

Our most recent report shows Citizens Advice Edinburgh helped around 14,000 local residents to resolve some 52,000 issues in the past year.

In 2016 and 2017 we achieved a £2.5m financial gain for clients, including £1.3m in unclaimed welfare entitlement, £985,000 through debt resolution and improved financial capability, along with £130,000 by addressing employment disputes.

80% of clients seeking advice were people living in the poorest 20% of households in Edinburgh, with the top 4 issues being Welfare Entitlement, Debt, Employment, and Housing.

We helped with 15,965 enquiries about PIP, ESA, Housing Benefit, and Working Tax Credit. 30% of all contact was about accessing these benefits. The most common issue was with the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for people with a disability needing advice and help with the complex application and assessment process.

We helped with 13905 enquiries about Council Tax, credit and store cards debt, unsecured personal loans, and income tax. Council tax arrears and people struggling to make payments made up 27% of the demand for debt and money advice.

We dealt with 6301 Employment issue enquiries, including advising on pay, dispute resolution, dismissal, and Terms and Conditions.

Housing enquiries totalled 4018 with issues in the private sector and advice for owner occupiers being the most common, followed by local authority housing issues and homelessness.

Edinburgh Citizens Advice Bureaux had around 260 volunteers working for us throughout the year, including 179 trained advisers and 27 pro-bono lawyers. Volunteers give around 300 hours of service each year and our volunteer advisers give the equivalent of 30 full-time staff, which would be equal to around £678,000 if these positions were paid the Scottish Living Wage.

Lawyers provide an average of 600 hours a year, which is equal to about £60,000 pro-bono advice provided by Citizens Advice Edinburgh.

The single biggest donors and financial supporters of our work are the City of Edinburgh Council, the UK and Scottish Governments, the NHS, The Big Lottery, the Scottish Legal Aid Board, Edinburgh Partners, the Bank of Scotland, Edinburgh City Mission, Scottish Power, Port of Leith Housing, Dunedin Canmore Housing Association, and Veterans 1st Point.

And of course the community and citizens of Edinburgh also generated nearly £20,000 of donations via fundraising in the past year.

The full report will be added soon to the website here.

Dean Willis