Is it time that South Ayrshire finally got a Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB)? With a cost of living crisis now firmly placing the squeeze on people, could the inhabitants of South Ayrshire benefit from the free, impartial advice provided by CAB?

One man certainly thinks so. John Dunlop, a well-known campaigner on many issues in Ayr, including the new leisure centre and the demise of Ayr’s historical buildings, says the area needs a CAB to hold the “councils’ feet gently to the fire.”

South Ayrshire is one of only two areas in Scotland which does not have an independent citizens advice bureau.

Thirty of the 32 Scottish local authorities have at least one Citizens Advice Scotland centre.

But South Ayrshire is believed never to have had the help and rights championing service.

Inverclyde is the only other area which does not have a CAB.

The council currently provides its own financial advice via its council’s Information and Advice Hub (IAAH), which raises questions of impartiality.

John has been campaigning to get a CAB in South Ayrshire for some time now.

In a letter issued to the Advertiser John said: “The debt problems coming down the line to many people is going to be absolutely horrendous. And be assured, debt leads to the whole suite of misery of family breakdown, homelessness, health issues. Nightmare stuff.

“It’s going to be much worse than 2008 where the problem was mostly rescheduling of too much mortgage debt. This time it’s going to be instantaneous misery - about simply not having enough cash to feed yourselves or your children. A complete loss of dignity. And a food parcel is no way out of poverty.

“I only wish we had managed to get a CAB established four years ago at first time of asking.

“It will not be easy to get a CAB up and running quickly enough to meet the new demand, but set one up we must. And we really should start now.”

This sentiment was echoed by independent candidate for Ayr North, Andrew Russell, who said: “He’s right, I already know of just one very real example of the many who are in the private rental sector where rents are very much higher than the council rents.

“They are now seeking council houses as they are struggling to pay private rents. They are in a twofold Catch 22. Can’t pay, debt or lose your private rental and the council can’t offer you a council house because you made yourself homeless and the waiting list I read is 1,328 and an estimated eight years they were told.

“There will be an almighty social problem and a shortage of affordable council housing along with all the spiralling problems associated with not enough money.

“Surprisingly in my example they also had problems with the boiler and having a recent baby along with a landlord not doing much.

“They tried the SAC route and spoke to a phone message who would call them back and never did, how familiar is that? So they phoned and managed, to get the sympathy of a very nice lady in East Ayrshire CAB who immediately resolved the situation for them by sending the landlord a letter.”