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Citizens Advice Bureau issues warning over introduction of Universal Credit
9:30am Monday 16th December 2013 in News
YORK Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) has warned it will need more resources to cope with soaring demand for help when Universal Credit is introduced.
The charity says York residents will need expert, personalised advice to cope with the upheaval caused by the Government’s flagship welfare reforms.
A spokesman said: “With three-quarters likely to struggle with monthly budgeting and half unable to access basic banking services, there is a risk that without support, many residents of York could end up unable to pay bills and housing costs, resulting in additional costs to councils and huge personal consequences.”
He said national research by CAB had shown that nine out of ten clients anticipated they would struggle with the new system.
And 95 per cent also said they would benefit from fortnightly rather than monthly support payments; 80 per cent said it would help them if their rent was paid directly to their landlord and 21 per cent said they would struggle with payments going into one bank account per household rather than to each individual.
But the spokesman said that after tailored and dedicated support from staff and volunteers in a pilot project operated by three bureaux, over half of clients improved their capacity and skills to manage a Credit claim.
“Government has confirmed that partnerships of local councils and charities will be expected to deliver support to people moving on to Universal Credit but has given little detail about how the partnerships will be funded and supported.”
George Vickers, York CAB manager, said the benefits of the new system were potentially significant and the best way to ensure residents were protected was for York CAB and City of York Council to work closely together to deliver support.
“York CAB will be at the sharp end of making sure this reform helps people become more independent while still protecting those who have lost their job, have a disability or are struggling to pay their rent.
“At York CAB, we already provide personalised, expert advice to our clients and will continue to help people manage with this change, but ministers mustn’t underestimate the impact that proposals from Whitehall will have.”
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