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Category Archives: Benefits

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CAB News 24 September 2021

Friday 24 September 2021

The crisis in the energy market is continuing to dominate the news. We’ve been providing advice to worried customers and calling to stop the cut to Universal Credit as households face a difficult winter.



Gas firms may face windfall tax as energy crisis hits households

The Guardian, 22/09/2021, p1, Jillian Ambrose (also The Times (£), FT (£), Independent, Mirror and more)

Another two energy suppliers collapsed yesterday, affecting almost 1.5 million customers. We issued a statement from our Head of Energy Policy Gillian Cooper: “These latest failures will add to people’s worries at what’s already an extremely unsettling time. Supplier collapses and rocketing energy prices, combined with the looming cut to Universal Credit, are creating huge amounts of uncertainty for millions of people.”

Dame Clare Moriarty was on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme  (listen from 1hr 15 mins) this morning, offering advice for people being moved to new suppliers. Our Head of Future Energy Services, Dhara Vyas, went live on the BBC News channel last night and joined a Sky News panel earlier in the week, answering questions from the public.

LCAs across the country have been getting great media coverage, including Citizens Advice Dorset. Energy Specialist, Laura Wilcox, went on BBC Radio Solent’s drivetime show (listen from 16:38) offering advice on what to do if your energy supplier goes bust.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit cut will see ‘600,000 workers struggling to afford food’

ITV News Online, 23/09/2021, (also Evening Standard, Independent, Mirror and dozens of regional outlets thanks to a PA news wire write up)

Our research looked at the impact of the £20-a-week cut to Universal Credit on working people. It showed 1.5 million would be tipped into hardship with 600,000 unable to afford food and other basic essentials. The story was covered in a wide range of national media. Dame Clare Moriarty said: “With energy bills set to rise and family finances already stretched to the limit, this cut is coming at the worst possible time.”


Will your energy bills rise and why is there a gas shortage?


It was a big day in energy news with multiple suppliers warning they faced going under due to rising costs and gas shortages.

Gillian Cooper, Head of Energy Policy gave advice on what to do if your supplier fails. It was included in the BBC, Metro, Daily Express, and Telegraph.

We warned of a perfect storm coming this winter for households on a low income, our statement urging government to keep the £20 Universal credit increase was included in the Mirror and Independent.

National and a number of local Citizens Advice conducted broadcast interviews offering more information on the issue.

Alex Belsham-Harris Principal Policy Manager spoke to BBC for the 8 o’clock news. He said “don’t panic, you’ll still get your energy supply…take a meter reading and keep up with your bills.”

Rob Palmizi spoke to Newyddion S4C about the implications for Welsh energy customers, and Dame Clare Moriarty spoke on the BBC News at 6 (4 minutes 30 seconds in) to offer advice on what to do if your supplier fails.

On the radio Dhara Vyas Head of Future Energy Services spoke to Radio 4 (8 minutes 30 seconds in) about the implications for low income families and why keeping the £20 increase to Universal Credit was vital. Head of Policy and Campaigns at Citizens Advice Cymru Rhiannon Evans spoke to BBC Radio Wales (1 hour 7 minutes in) saying “the single best thing the government can do to help people is scrap the cut to Universal Credit.”

Citizens Advice Leighton-Linslade spoke to BBC Radio Three Counties (15 minutes 50 seconds) advising what customers should do if their supplier goes bust, and warned about the perfect storm coming as a result of cold weather, the end of the furlough scheme and the cut to Universal Credit.

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Universal Credit cut: Everything you need to know

Universal Credit claimants unaware of looming cuts - Citizens Advice issue guidance | Personal Finance | Finance |

Friday 13 August 2021

Over the coming weeks, people claiming Universal Credit will receive notifications about a cut to their benefits this autumn. Benefits experts at Citizens Advice, which is campaigning against the cut, set out what this means for claimants.

When will the cut happen?

As it stands, the government is set to slash benefits by £20 a week – equivalent to £1,040 a year – from 6 October. The exact date  people will see the cut kick in will depend on the day they get their Universal Credit payment. For many, this means September will be the last month they see their benefits paid at existing levels.

How many people will be affected?

If plans go ahead, the cut will hit nearly six million people on Universal Credit. More than a third (38%) of those who’ll see their income hit are already in employment, while one in six (16%) are under 25. Latest figures show roughly 1.9 million families with children will see their benefits cut.

Regions that will see the biggest proportion of residents hit by the cut are London and the North East.

How much could I lose?

While every Universal Credit claim will drop by around £85 a month, the proportion of income claimants will lose will vary depending on their circumstances. Single people under 25 are set to be hit by the biggest drop.

Monthly standard allowances will drop:

  • By a quarter for single claimants under 25, from £344 to £257.33

  • By a fifth for single claimants over 25, from £411.51 to £324.84

  • By 17% for joint claimants under 25, from £490.60 to £403.93

  • By 14% for joint claimants over 25, from £596.58 to £509.91

Previous analysis by Citizens Advice shows £20 a week is equivalent to six days of energy costs or three days of food costs for a low-income family.

What support is available if I’m worried about my income?

You’re not alone and there is support available. Everyone’s situation is different so it’s important to seek independent help from somewhere like Citizens Advice. Depending on your circumstances, this could include:

  • A benefits check. This will help you verify you’re getting all the support you’re entitled to. You can use an online calculator or contact your local Citizens Advice.

  • Support with essential costs. You can contact your local council to see if they can give you any extra help from a hardship fund, including food or essential things like clothes. Check your local council on GOV.UK.

  • Help with debt. Some bills can cause you more problems than others if you don’t pay them. Rent or mortgage arrears, energy bills and council tax are your priority debts as there can be serious consequences if you don’t pay them. Citizens Advice can provide guidance if you’re struggling with bills.

  • Free school meals. If you have children and you get certain benefits, you might be able to get free school meals for your children.

  • Food bank vouchers. If you can’t afford the food you can ask for a referral from Citizens Advice or an organisation that’s already supporting you – for example, a charity, school or children’s centre – for a food bank voucher.

Kate Green, Senior Benefits Expert at Citizens Advice, said:

“Many people seeking our advice at the moment are unaware of an impending cut to their Universal Credit. Understandably, when they realise their benefits are set to drop by £20 a week it causes a lot of anxiety.

“If you’re in this position, remember you are not alone and there is support available. As a first step, make sure you’re checking your online journal regularly so you know how much your benefits will reduce by and when.

“Citizens Advice is on hand to help you understand what the cut means and what you can do if you’re worried about making ends meet.”

Morgan Wild, Head of Policy at Citizens Advice, said:

“More than half a million people have come to Citizens Advice for support with Universal Credit since the pandemic. We know the extra £20 a week has often meant the difference between empty cupboards and food on the table.

“The government should do the right thing and keep this vital lifeline. It’s the best way of making good on its ‘levelling up’ promise and supporting households to recover from this crisis.”