Could you be better off?

Every penny counts, especially in the run-up to Christmas
Every penny counts, especially in the run-up to Christmas

Families and individuals are being offered support and advice to help make them better off financially.

Falkirk’s first ‘Fairer Money Week’ is kicking off from Monday and will offer people free and confidential one to one support and advice on a wide range of issues including reducing energy costs, welfare and benefits entitlements, debt advice, affordable credit, savings and directing visitors to other agencies that can help.

Estimates compiled by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) show that around £428 million worth of unclaimed working tax credits or child tax credits, £190 million in carers allowance, £210 million of pension credit and £251 million of housing benefit remains unclaimed in Scotland.

Five days of activities are planned in Grangemouth’s Advice and Support Hub in York Place next week.

Leader of Falkirk Council Councillor Cecil Meiklejohn said: “Many families and individuals continue to struggle with real financial hardships and are actually unaware of the millions of pounds of unclaimed every year in Scotland.

“The Fairer Money Week is designed to bring people in to speak with trained advisers who can point them in the right direction and show them how they can boost their income especially in the run up to Christmas.

“They can also receive free advice on making savings with their energy bills as well as whole range of advice and support.”

During the five days, staff will also be on hand to point visitors to Falkirk Council’s Benefits Calculator (www.falkirk.gov.uk/benefithelp) – a free online service that can give you an estimate of what money you may be entitled to.

Participants throughout the week include Falkirk Council’s debt and welfare advice team; Home Energy Scotland; Citizens Advice Scotland; Falkirk and District Credit Union and Conduit Scotland– a not for profit responsible lender which runs a shop in Falkirk.

Appointments are not required for visitors, however, it may be necessary to book a return appointment if applications cannot be made on the same day.