Ahead of the 2021 Senedd elections, Monmouthshire County Citizens Advice are calling on local politicians and candidates to show their support for advice services and commit to their continued funding.

The call comes as Citizens Advice Cymru launch their #ValueofAdvice campaign, designed to highlight the positive impact that free, independent advice services have in Wales, and encourage all Wales’ political parties to commit to maintaining funding for those services if they are elected to form the next Welsh government. Over the past 12 months, as Wales has battled the unprecedented social and economic challenges posed by the Coronavirus pandemic, the CAB Monmouthshire hasseen more than ever the value of independent advice.

Thousands of families across Wales have sought help to navigate the most challenging of circumstances.

Monmouthshire County Citizens Advice has helped 4615 people since March 2020, with top issues including employment, benefits and housing. However the provision of advice doesn’t just help individuals.

At a time when public finances are under ever greater strain, advice services save local and national government and public services millions of pounds per year.

New figures from Citizens Advice Cymru show that in 2019/20, advice services generated:

£41 million in savings to government and public services

£278 million in wider economic and social benefits

£300 million in financial value to the people we help

Mal Edgson, from Monmouthshire County Citizens Advice, said: “I’m incredibly proud of the work advisers and volunteers at Monmouthshire County Citizens Advice have done over the past year.

‘‘The impact of the Coronavirus pandemic has shown just how important being able to access free, impartial advice is to the people of Monmouthshire. Ahead of the 2021 Senedd elections, we’re calling on local representatives and candidates to recognise the value of advice, and pledge to maintain funding for services across Wales.”