Almost half of Fife’s residents are concerned about the impact of coronavirus on their household finances, while 53% of parents with 12 to 16-year-old children say the pandemic is already having a negative effect on cashflow.
The new figures have emerged following a YouGov survey of more than 1,000 adults which suggests 48% of people in the region are worried about cash as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Around 38% of 18 to 24-year-olds report being worried about the pandemic having a negative impact on household finances, while this figure rises to 41% among part-time workers.
The findings follow the launch of a new campaign by the Scottish Government and the Citizens Advice network that aims to raise awareness of the financial support available.
The campaign provides information and advice on issues including rent and mortgage payments, energy bills, council tax and benefits.
Norma Philpott, chief executive of Citizens Advice and Rights Fife, said the way its services are provided has had to change in recent weeks but people are still getting support.
“The Covid-19 outbreak has presented real challenges for people here but Citizens Advice and Rights Fife is still here to serve the community and ensure people get the advice they need.
“This pandemic is an anxious time for everyone, while Covid-19 is a public health emergency, it’s a huge economic challenge too, and people have been coming to us with concerns about employment, housing and social security during this period.
“Our message to people who are struggling is simple – Citizens Advice and Rights Fife is here to help.”
Les Robertson, head of revenues and commercial services at Fife Council, added said a range of things has been put in place to help locally, on top of measures announced by the Scottish and UK governments.
These include the relaxation of verification standards, especially for the self-employed, by not asking people to provide proof of earnings when applying for benefits such as housing benefit, council tax reduction, Scottish Welfare Fund and discretionary housing payments.
“This means we can process new claims much quicker,” Mr Robertson said.
“We’ve also stopped taking debt recovery action on a temporary basis.
“To replace free school meals, we make direct payments to parents’ bank accounts if their children are entitled to these.
“This is being done automatically so people don’t need to worry about applying.
“However, if anyone feels they should’ve received a payment but hasn’t, please get in touch via www.fife.gov.uk/coronavirus-moneyadvice.”
People can access advice online, by phone or by contacting their local Citizens Advice Bureau.