Author Archives: Oliver Domleo

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CAB News 14 August 2020

Friday 14 August 2020

The Telegraph has included a warning from Gillian Guy over debt during the pandemic.

National

Debt

Average debt reduced by £2,000 in lockdown, Experian says

Telegraph, 12/08/20

The credit checking agency Experian said its customers had an average credit balance, excluding mortgage debt, of £9,681 in June, compared to £11,615 at the start of lockdown in March.

The Telegraph quoted Dame Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, in the piece.

She said: “Not everyone is feeling the financial effects of coronavirus in the same way.

“Some people have been able to pay off some of their debts in the pandemic. But many others have not and are behind on essential bills, building up arrears they may struggle to ever pay back.”

She pointed out that the ban on evictions ends in less than a fortnight and that those who are in arrears will “likely need financial help to escape their coronavirus debts”.

How to recession proof your finances as UK economy slumps 20%

The Sun, 12/08/20

The Sun included debt advice tips from Citizens Advice in its piece about protecting finances.

Employment

“We’re helping one person every two minutes with a redundancy issue”

BBC Radio Wales, 12/08/2020, Claire Summers

Rebecca Wooley, Director of Citizens Advice Cymru, spoke on the BBC Radio Wales Breakfast Show yesterday morning about the latest ONS employment figures (08:23).

Rebecca said: “Really worryingly, we’re seeing that certain groups are at least twice as likely to face redundancy as other workers. Our data shows that it’s parents, carers, disabled people and people who’ve been shielding.”

She continued to talk about a growing problem with debt: “We know in Wales that 42% of families have lost income as a result of coronavirus, and that can be very significant for some families. Many of the protections easing soon will also be leaving people at risk.”

Rebecca was also interviewed on the BBC Radio Wales drivetime show on Monday.

Rental Evictions

For landlords “it’s like coronavirus isn’t even happening”

New Statesman, 10/08/2020

Citizens Advice provided a case study for a piece in the New Statesman on the struggles renters are facing during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Jessica* a participant in our national Tenants Voice panel told New Statesman that her work dried up during lockdown and a job offer to her husband was withdrawn. But, their landlord still expects the rent to be paid in full each month.

Jessica* said:  “I don’t think the government have a clue about how it’s affecting people.We really are in trouble.”

“It’s like coronavirus isn’t even happening for my landlord. All they want to know is if they’re getting their rent. They’re (government) giving all this help to people with mortgages, full-time jobs and we’re forgotten about.”

Trade

Disabled people in UK find their `lockdown lifeline” of online shopping threatened by delivery problems

Post & Parcel, 10/08/2020

Citizens Advice has found that two in five disabled people in the UK have had a problem with parcel delivery in a single week – a disturbing finding given that online shopping is for many a ‘lockdown lifeline’.

The percentage of disabled people encountering delivery problem – 39%, which equates to 7.1 million – compares to just 27% for people who don’t identify as disabled.

Dame Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said: “It’s hard to imagine how many of us would get through lockdown without getting parcels delivered. Over half of us say we’re more reliant on parcel deliveries than ever before.

“We’d like to see all parcel companies sign our pledge so they can deliver for everyone, regardless of their accessibility needs.”

Redundancy

What To Do If You Think You’re Unfairly Being Made Redundant

Huffington Post, 07/08/2020, Rachel Moss

As job losses continue across the country, parents, carers, disabled people and those who previously shielded are most at-risk of redundancy, research shows.

One in six of the working age population is facing redundancy, according to research from Citizens Advice, but those in more vulnerable circumstances are at least twice as likely to face it than the rest of the working population.

A survey of 6,000 people asked workers if they’d been made redundant in the past three months, or if they were in the process of being made redundant.

One in four disabled people (27%) said they were facing redundancy. This rose to 37% of those who said their disability has a large impact on their day-to-day life. Half of those who were in the shielded group (48%) said they were at risk of redundancy, while two in five parents or carers (39%) faced losing their job.

This story was also mentioned in yesterday’s Sunday Times (page 14)

In other news

UK employment falls by biggest amount in over a decade .

Eat Out to Help Out sees 10.5 million discounts claimed in first week.

One in three UK employers expect to make staff redundant between July and September .


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CAB News 07 August 2020

Friday 07 August 2020

This morning we published a press release revealing parents, carers and disabled people are at least twice as likely to face redundancy.

National

Employment

Parents, carers and disabled people in the UK are ‘twice as likely to lose job’ as a result of Covid-19

Various, 06/08/2020

Our press release on redundancy has been picked up in Telegraph, Sky News, Financial Times, Independent, Evening Standard, Metro, and Guardian. It reveals that parents, carers and disabled people in the UK are ‘twice as likely to lose job’ as a result of Covid-19.

Director of External Affairs Katie Martin spoke to the Today Programme at 06:42 this morning, Katie said: “We’ve been seeing case after case of people coming to Citizens Advice for help around redundancy – in particular, selection for redundancy and potential questions around discrimination.”

“So we’re helping somebody about once every two minutes at the moment and visits to our advice pages on selection for redundancy have doubled in the last couple of months. We’ve also conducted some polling that suggests that disabled people, parents, carers and those people who have previously been shielding are more than twice as likely to be at risk of redundancy as other workers. It is a really, really concerning trend and something that we feel really needs to be addressed.”

Principal Policy Manager Morgan Wild also spoke to Sky News (06:50), and Tom Godwin from Citizens Advice Plymouth spoke to BBC Radio Devon (07:42).

Redundancy

Redundancy pay: everything you need to know

Good Housekeeping UK, 04/08/2020, Caroline Bloor

Good Housekeeping provides advice on being made redundant. Tracey Moss, senior employment expert at Citizens Advice says: “A genuine redundancy is one where your employer has a real business reason to make you redundant, such as it doesn’t need you to do your job any more, your workplace is closing or your employer is going out of business or needs fewer employees. Cases where your redundancy might not be genuine include if your employer has discriminated, for example if they make you redundant because you’re pregnant or on maternity leave.”

Housing

Coronavirus in Wales: Tenants to get six months’ notice for evictions

BBC, 03/08/2020

Many private landlords in Wales will now need to give six months’ notice before evicting tenants, under a change to the law due to the pandemic. The Welsh Government said the temporary law meant fewer people would face homelessness while councils were less able to respond.

Citizens Advice Cymru had called for the three-month period to be extended to six in July. It said calls for help with rent doubled during lockdown, with 1,037 between 24 March and 23 June this year, compared to 497 during the same period last year.

Regional

Employment

Citizens Advice on hand to help those excluded from government’s Job Retention Scheme

BBC Radio Cumbria, Vicky Warham, 06/08/2020, (3 hours 15 minutes and 20 seconds in)

Dan Abel from Citizens Advice Carlisle and Eden speaks to BBC Radio Cumbria about government support packages. Dan says the service is seeing a lot of self-employed people and new starters who are excluded from the scheme.

New service launches to help with backlog of EU citizen settlements

Settlement Scheme

Northern Echo, 06/08/2020, Alexa Fox

Citizens Advice Mid North Yorkshire has launched its EU Settlement Support Service across the Hambleton district.

Carol Shreeve CEO of Citizens Advice Mid North Yorkshire said: “We are delighted to be able to roll out the EU Settlement support service across Hambleton as we have seen a spike in people needing our assistance with settlement over the last six months.”

“The Coronavirus has seen many people’s priorities shift as we have seen a rise in redundancies and debt so it was vital that we got this service up and running as soon as possible.

In other news

Fifty million face masks bought by the government in April will not be used in the NHS because of safety concerns.

The Bank of England has said the UK is still set for a record economic slump due to COVID-19 as it left the interest rate unchanged at 0.1%.

One in eight childcare workers in England earn less than £5 an hour.


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CAB News 31 July 2020

Friday 31 July 2020

Citizens Advice, in its role as the official watchdog for energy consumers, issued this statement in response to this morning’s announcement on network price controls by the regulator Ofgem.

We’re also the official consumer champion for microbusinesses, and issued this statement yesterday, in response to Ofgem’s proposals for new protections – something we’ve been campaigning for.

National

Consumer

Covid means it’s even more important to tackle the loyalty penalty

BBC Radio 4, You and Yours, 29/07/2020 (from 37’30” mins into clip)

Our Director of Policy, Matt Upton, appeared on Radio 4’s consumer programme You and Yours yesterday, to talk about the loyalty penalty and particularly the cost of broadband.

Matt said: “We think, if anything, covid increases the need to tackle the loyalty penalty head on.”

Trade

Housing

Tenants flood Citizens Advice website searching for rent arrears advice

Your Money, Inside Housing,Mortgage Solutions, Letting Agent Today, 23-30/07/2020

Our figures showing a huge surge in searches on our website for help with rent arrears continues to get coverage on a wide range of financial and housing websites. The full press release is here.

Scams

Banks reveal 10 coronavirus scams to be wary of

BBC, 29/07/20

Clever New Scams Arise Amid Coronavirus Fears. Could You Spot Them? – NBC Bay Area

UK Finance, which represents banks, has named 10 Covid-19 scams the public should be wary of.

Citizens Advice warned that the most vulnerable people are often at greater risk of being contacted by a scammer.

Dame Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said: “While so many people have pulled together to help and support each other through
the challenges of coronavirus, opportunistic scammers have instead chosen to prey on unsuspecting victims.

“We’ve had nearly a quarter of a million views of our web pages on scams during this pandemic and we’re urging everyone to only use trusted sources of information and be on the lookout for signs of a potential scam.”

The charity’s research showed almost half those with a disability or long-term illness had been targeted, while half of those with an increased risk of Covid-19 or those shielding had been too.

Travel and Quarantine

How 14-day post-holiday rules expose gaps in the Universal Credit system

iNews & Sky News, 28/07/20

 Citizens Advice has warned that claims for Universal Credit could affect entitlement to other benefits. It said people should seek advice before making a new claim if they need help while quarantining.

It has also outlined some options people may have if they need to quarantine when they return from holiday.

Energy

Ofgem takes action on ”unscrupulous” UK energy brokers

Guardian & The Energst, 29/07/20

Citizens Advice, in its roles as the official consumer watchdog for domestic and microbusiness energy consumers, has responded to Ofgem’s announcement of proposals for new protections for microbusinesses.

Dame Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said: “The proposals announced today are good news for around 1.5m microbusinesses. Our research showed how the actions of unscrupulous brokers can lead to microbusinesses paying more than they need to, being aggressively pursued for debts and being needlessly disconnected.

“Cooling-off periods, brokers being part of alternative dispute resolution processes and other measures would provide microbusinesses with significantly improved protections.

“Microbusinesses are diverse and range from pubs and convenience stores to sole traders like photographers and many will have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. As well as these changes, Ofgem must make sure microbusinesses struggling with debts are treated fairly by suppliers in the months ahead.”

Coronavirus

What are the rules for travelling to Spain?

BBC Radio 4, Today, 27/07/20 (clip starts 18:24)

Our Director of External Affairs, Katie Martin, was interviewed on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 about what rights holidaymakers have in light of the new government guidance on travel to Spain, and the new quarantine measures announced at the weekend.

She said it’s up to the airlines whether they cancel their flights, but some have already started offering people a change in dates.

She said it’s clearly a very difficult situation for the airlines, but they should “continue to do the right thing” for consumers, whether that is cancelling flights, giving refunds, or offering alternative flights.

In other news

Universal credit needs £8bn overhaul, says cross-party report.

Disabled people ‘fear being excluded’ in post-lockdown world.

Over-40s in UK to pay more tax under plans to fix social care crisis.