Citizens Advice was contacted by 422 people from Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole who needed help with both income-related and debt issues in 2019.
From April income-related benefits will increase by 1.7% in line with inflation.
While a welcome move, national Citizens Advice analysis shows that almost four in 10 households that ask for debt advice and receive these frozen benefits would still not have enough to cover their costs. This would be the case even if these rises were to continue each year until 2024.
Citizens Advice is calling on the government to fix the problem by making sure that income-related benefits support people to cover their costs. It says Local Housing Allowance, which sets housing benefit for private tenants, must also provide more support. This will help provide families with financial security and protect people from further hardship.
The charity also argues that as well as changes to benefit levels, the government must make sure the benefits system as a whole provides people with the right help. This includes ensuring Universal Credit gives people enough to live on. The government must review rules for claimants who are in work, and deductions for those dealing with debts or repaying advance payments.
Zoe Bradley, Chief Officer of Citizens Advice Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole said:
“While any increase is better than nothing, this rise won’t be enough to make sure people have enough money to make ends meet.
“We hope more will be done to fix the benefits system, which was created to support people in times of need. In the meantime, Citizens Advice Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole will be on hand to provide free, independent, confidential and impartial advice.”
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Tel: 03444 111 444
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