East Lothian residents are £124k a year better off following an East Lothian Council campaign to encourage everyone to check they were claiming all the financial support they were entitled to.

The month-long, targeted campaign was launched in response to the increased cost of living and aimed to encourage benefits take-up. It was run along with partner agencies including Citizens Advice Bureau.

The campaign, which ran from early September to early October, resulted in 64 people being able to claim additional support, resulting in a total increase to them of £124,763. Dedicated advisers were based at Citizens Advice Bureau in Haddington, supporting the ad campaign which included an information leaflet available in print and online, accompanied by social media posts, articles in the local press and radio advertising.

Council Leader and Cabinet Spokesperson for Revenues and Benefits, Councillor Norman Hampshire, said: “We know that increases in bills and the cost of living is a huge worry for many of our residents so it’s great to hear that many are now getting the full support they are entitled to. The campaign particularly targeted areas where we knew the uptake was relatively low, including Pension Credit, Council Tax reduction and child benefits including free school meals.

“The special campaign ran for a month but the council will continue to provide advice and support to anyone who is struggling financially, particularly as we move through winter when everyone’s bills will be higher than at any other time. I would advise anyone worried about their household budget to visit our website or get in touch with our Financial Inclusion team right away.”

Gayle Bell, Bureau Manager, said: “Haddington CAB were delighted to support the benefits campaign that East Lothian Council ran. We were able to support and offer much needed advice in relation to boosting income and ensuring that people were given accurate information on their personal circumstances. This is particularly important in such financially challenging times.”

Information on the Boost your Income campaign, and other financial advice, can be found on the council website.

East Lothian Council’s Financial Inclusion Team can be contacted through financialinclusion@eastlothian.gov.uk and 01620 827 827.

CAB Haddington can be contacted through benefits@haddingtoncab.org.uk and 01620 824471.

Published: Friday, 25th November 2022