Ruth Maguire MSP has today welcomed investment of £2.4 million by the Scottish Government to offer free debt advice to households across Scotland.

The money will be distributed among a number of advice organisations to expand their services and invest in more effective methods to assist individuals with debt. This is also aimed at helping organisations meet increased demand due to the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The investment will assist projects which are offering face to face advice using video calls and projects aimed at moving debt solution processes online.

The SNP MSP said: “The economic impact of this pandemic has hit individuals and families hard in North Ayrshire and indeed across Scotland. The expansion of debt advice services with Scottish Government support will hopefully help those affected to manage their finances and access additional support.

“I’d encourage those who are struggling financially at the moment to reach out to these services for impartial and sensitive advice.”

Minister for Communities Aileen Campbell said: “I am pleased that this funding will enable more people to access free debt advice, especially as we expect to see increased demand on these services due to the long term effects of COVID-19.

“Our Debt Advice Routemap sets out our vision for a user-friendly and collaborative free debt advice system in Scotland. Through this additional investment we aim to distribute funds across Scotland, focusing on those hardest to reach, including those who maybe have never sought advice before.

“Debt advice services are looking at innovative new approaches, using technology and new ways of working. I would encourage anyone who finds themselves struggling with problem debt to seek help at the earliest opportunity.”

AdviceUK will be one of the new recipients of funding and has 70 Scottish-based partners who will now be able to extend their services.

AdviceUK Executive Director Chilli Reid said: “AdviceUK warmly welcomes this funding from the Scottish Government, which will make a huge difference to people struggling with money worries. Our members serve communities across Scotland, and this investment will support them in their vital work tackling child poverty, supporting households on low incomes, and helping those most exposed to the impacts of COVID-19.”

The funding is part of the Financial Services Levy for debt advice which has been increased by the UK Government in response to the expected growth in demand for free debt advice due to the long-term effects of COVID-19.

The funding was devolved to the Scottish Government in 2019 and the Debt Advice Routemap was launched to help improve access to services across Scotland.

Established in 1979, Advice UK is the largest network of independent advice providers in the UK.