Welsh Labour’s Communities Minister, Lesley Griffiths, has announced £4.4 million for frontline advice services which provide vital support to people in financial difficulty.
The grant funding for 2016-17 will enable Citizens Advice Cymru, Shelter Cymru, SNAP Cymru, Age Cymru and Tenovus to continue to offer free quality advice to help people repay debt, claim the welfare benefits they are entitled to, gain employment, overcome discrimination and resolve housing disputes. Half will go towards Citizens Advice Cymru’s Better Advice, Better Lives project, which sees health practitioners signpost patients to CAB advisors for specialist support – in turn improving patients’ financial situation and wellbeing.
The continued investment will allow the organisations to build on the good work they have already achieved with support from the Welsh Labour Government. Since the start of the programme, Better Advice, Better Lives has assisted over 72,700 people and secured over £66.5 million in benefit income, while to date the Front line Advice Services project has assisted over 67,500 people and secured more than £15 million in welfare benefits.
The funding announcement comes as the Welsh Labour Government launches its refreshed Financial Inclusion Strategy which sets out its vision for everyone in Wales to have access to the advice, services, and skills they need to manage their money well. It includes commitments to ensure people are able to open a bank account, borrow money at a price they can afford, access clear financial information, and learn about managing money throughout their lives.
The Welsh Government is also continuing to support schools to teach children and young people about money, has asked Estyn to review how well the teaching and learning of financial education is progressing, and will work with Credit Unions to promote school savers clubs.
The Financial Inclusion Strategy can be found here.