Edinburgh is facing a 'tidal wave of personal debt’ fears credit union
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An Edinburgh based credit union was inundated with hundreds of enquiries about claiming benefits after launching a new online calculator to help people manage their personal finances.
More than 500 people used Capital Credit Union’s new tool to find out what benefits they are entitled to claim during the coronavirus crisis within days of its launch.
The online calculator is available to anyone on the credit union’s websites.
Finance and economy experts fear many families and individuals previously able to support themselves face turning to benefits as a direct result of the impact of Covid-19.
The pandemic has seen tens of thousands of employees furloughed, thousands of others lose their jobs as firms folded and many others – particularly the self-employed – losing their source of income.
Meanwhile, daily living costs have increased and anecdotal evidence has emerged of greater numbers of people living ‘hand-to-mouth’ and those who previously ‘got by’ financially are now struggling to pay for basics such as food, clothing and heating, as well rent and insurance premiums.
The resource has been accessed by people across Scotland with users from the Lothians, the Highlands, Glasgow, Fife, North Ayrshire and North Lanarkshire.
Capital Credit Union Chief Executive Marlene Shiels said people are in “desperate” need of help with their personal finances.
Ms Shiels said: “There is no doubt the coronavirus crisis has raised deep financial concerns for many of our members.
“Lots of people who would not normally feel financially vulnerable, or indeed claim benefits at all, are in a difficult and uncertain position.
“My fear is that we will see a tidal wave of personal debt in the coming months and people must access whatever support is available to them.
“This online tool takes just a few minutes to complete, provides an estimate of what they might be entitled to claim and also points them in the direction of where to get help.
“We are determined to offer as much support as we can to help our members get through this difficult time.”