The Government response to the coronavirus crisis will be “vital for defining the next decade”, Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) warned as it reported an increase in the number of people seeking advice on redundancy.

The charity’s latest weekly report said people were issued with such advice 907 times from the 59 bureaux across the country in the first three weeks of June.

In comparison, there were 543 occasions of redundancy advice being sought in the whole of April, and 679 in May.

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Redundancy accounted for 18% of all employment advice given in that June period, while the May figure was 12%.

In February, the figure was 9%.

The CAS online advice page helping people check if their redundancy is fair was viewed 224 times in the week beginning June 15.

The same page received just 46 views on average per week in February.

CAS social justice spokeswoman Mhoraig Green said: “This is a stark increase in demand for advice around redundancy, it’s clear that the economic impact of Covid-19 is being felt now.

“There is a real risk this impact becomes even worse in the months to come without an ambitious policy response.

“The Job Retention Scheme has been broadly successful in ensuring people have an income during lockdown, but some people have fallen through the cracks and employers are starting to face difficult decisions about what comes next as the economy reopens and support winds down, with news of significant job cuts becoming a familiar feature in recent days.

“The response from Government in the weeks and months ahead will be vital for defining the next decade.

“We need an approach that protects jobs and creates new ones, as well as strengthening the social security safety net to prevent people being swept into poverty by an economic storm.

“The Citizens Advice network has been helping people for over 80 years and we stand ready to help people again through this crisis.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We know the scale of the challenge facing Scotland as a result of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and understand that many people will be feeling a deep sense of anxiety about their livelihoods.

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“We welcome the support that has been provided through the UK Government’s Job Retention Scheme and Self Employment Income Support Scheme, but know there are some people who have not been able to receive this support, and the UK Government has said it intends to close those schemes in October.

“The Scottish Government has spent more than £4 billion so far tackling the effects of the virus, including a £230 million Restarting the Economy stimulus package.

“Keeping people in work while supporting those who have lost their jobs will continue to be at the heart of our thinking as we reopen the economy, but protecting public health is an absolute priority – it is only by properly suppressing the virus that we will achieve a sustainable economic recovery.”