Friday 20 November 2020
We responded to Ofcom’s user needs review of the postal sector and Alistair Cromwell’s comment was picked up by several national papers.
Royal Mail could drop Saturday post
The postal regulator appears to have cleared the way for the government to relax the statutory commitment of Royal Mail to deliver six days a week to all addresses in the UK.
An Ofcom review of Royal Mail’s universal service obligation, enshrined in law, found that most homes and businesses will experience little impact in cutting deliveries to five days a week.
However, postal workers and consumer groups are strongly critical.
Alistair Cromwell said: “We must be cautious about making swift judgments about the long term during the pandemic. We don’t want to see the start of a slippery slope in reductions to the service.
Black Friday UK: Citizens Advice issue guidance as scam and data breach figures skyrocket
Citizens Advice has issued advice on how to ensure safe and savvy shopping this Black Friday, as it has seen online shopping-related problem queries jump to almost 125,000, nearly double what was seen in 2019.
Jerry Houseago, Consumer Expert, shared his top tips for helping consumers stay safe online.
Martin Lewis helps Briton to claim £1,600 from bank and pay off 12 years of debt
Express & Martin Lewis Money Show, 24/11/20
Lisa Marie told her story of how she finally managed to overcome her debt worries on the Martin Lewis Money Show.
After spotting Martin Lewis’ advice in 2015 on gaining debt help from charities such as Citizens Advice, she approached it for help.
The charity helped her to plan arrangements for each of her debts. This enabled Lisa Marie, who lives in Glasgow, to be able to tackle the issue far better, compartmentalising her debt and gradually working towards paying it off.
She said: “You worry about it for so long, but then finally the pressure is then released. It proves to be a real weight off your shoulders.”
Call to expand £500 grant for Covid self-isolaters
Citizens Advice has called on the government to look again at the support available to those asked to self-isolate. It comes as concerns were raised that the £500 self-isolation grant is only available to those contacted via NHS Test and Trace, but not those who are told to self-isolate via the NHS Covid app.
Director of External Affairs, Katie Martin said: “We know that people generally want to do the right thing, and that’s why they come to us to try and see what they are eligible for. But ultimately people are facing an impossible choice.
“They are taking a big hit on their incomes if they can’t work from home and they do need to self-isolate, but they still have their bills to pay and they still have food shopping to do.”
Citizens Advice Dorset provided invaluable help in raising this issue by highlighting the case of dad-of-five Oliver, who wasn’t eligible for the grant as he was told to isolate via the app.
He said: “I have a young family, there’s seven of us who rely on my income.
“I want to follow the guidelines but they leave you in the lurch a bit without the financial support. It’s been a rough year – that financial burden feels like a massive injustice.”
Energy price: Ofgem ”wants £21 increase for EVERY household” to cover others’ ”bad debt”
Every household could have to pay an extra £21 on their energy bills to compensate for the number of customers who are getting into debt due to coronavirus.
The regulator Ofgem has proposed raising its cap on the maximum amount the UK’s 11 million households can be charged from next April and has started a consultation.
Recent analysis by Citizens Advice has uncovered the impact of the ongoing pandemic on the ability to meet bills and costs.
Household debts on the rise
BBC Radio Manchester, 23/11/2020 (from about 2 hours 12 mins into clip)
Rosi Avis from Citizens Advice Manchester has been talking about rising household debt on BBC Radio Manchester.
Rosi said the numbers of people coming to the the charity for help with debts is increasing: “Christmas itself very often doesn’t put people in debt, but it can create an additional financial pressure for people… so we do advise people to set themselves a budget for gifts and really stick to that… and if you are going to use credit be really clear on what that means for you going forward.”
In other news