An organisation helped unlock more than £142 million for Scottish people last year, new figures have revealed.

Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS), part of the larger Citizens Advice network, and the Extra Help Unit (EHU) helped unlock £142.3 million for people through social security payments, employment entitlements and benefits last year.

It represents an increase when compared with the previous year, having unlocked £132 million for Scottish citizens.

Citizens Advice says those who sought help last year were on average £3,700 better off after asking for financial advice.

They also said data analysis showed that for every £1 invested in the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), £14 is delivered back to the community in client gains.

The figures also revealed that 2.5 million people accessed information through CAS’s online advice pages last year.

CAS chief executive Derek Mitchell said the data is “extraordinary” and has shown “life-changing results” delivered by CAS.

He said: “It’s been a really tough few years for people across Scotland, with first the pandemic, then the cost-of-living crisis and CABs have been on the front line of these crises, helping people every step of the way.

“That’s what this network is all about. Founded in the shadow of World War Two, we’re there for people through the challenges they face with free, impartial and confidential advice.

“These figures also show the inescapable reality that demand on the service is increasing.

“CABs and the EHU are dealing with more cases, and those cases are more likely to be complex and involve people who have reached a crisis point.”

He added: “This crisis is not going away any time soon, and it will cast a long shadow over people’s finances, as many will have turned to debt to cover essential costs and found themselves caught in a vicious cycle of higher costs and higher debt repayments to cover those costs.

“The special thing about our service is it is person centre and wraparound. We help people through all their problems rather than signpost them to multiple different agencies, we don’t judge people, we just help.

“It delivers incredible results but needs more support – more secure and flexible funding would make a huge difference, and ensure people get the support they need.”