A FINANCIAL advice service based in Glasgow’s North East has seen more than eight times the normal amount of people looking for guidance during lockdown.

GEMAP (Greater Easterhouse Money Advice Project) has been offering information to those newly unemployed or made redundant in light of the Coronavirus outbreak as well as home-owners.

Quest speaker Tony Quinn told a Zoom conference call recently that online traffic on GEMAPs website had increased by 822 per cent.

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Mr Quinn said: “We have had to transform our service delivery mode. Pre-Covid we delivered services to face to face and one to one within community environments. Since March we have been operating a remote range of services to clients over a telephone.

“We have two sets of clients. We have pre-Covid clients, who are normally social tenants, and would likely have struggled with illness and disability. They would be looking to claim benefits.

“The group who have approached us since lockdown. They have typically been younger, faced with unemployment, their incomes have been over £20,000 a year mark and a lot of them are home-owners and have limited experience in dealing with advice agencies like us.

“Some were put on furlough. They wanted to know what type of help was made available and how they were going to make ends meet. People still required one to one support.”

GEMAP responded to calls regarding money, fuel costs and mortgage advice as well as increased anxieties and some cases of domestic violence.

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Mr Quinn also raised concerns about potential future problems regarding the furlough scheme and benefit reductions.

He added: “There is a lot coming further down the line. A tsunami of problems is awaiting us as lockdown is lifted. There will be some policy issues and we need to find a way to make the minimum wage a real political issue. Benefit levels must reflect the cost of actually living in society. The current levels of benefit are less than adequate, and we need to do something about that. We need to think about how we work together and remove barriers about who funds who and create integrated teams so people get the help they need.”

Anyone who needs advice can visit http://www.gemap.co.uk/