Category Archives: Coronavirus

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CAB News 13 November 2020

Friday 13 November 2020

National Consumer Week starts on Monday and we’ve produced a range of tools to help local Citizens Advice take part in the campaign.

National

Universal Credit

Charity helps more than 250,000 people with Universal Credit

Your Money, 11/11/20

More than a quarter of a million people have been helped with Universal Credit by Citizens Advice since March.

Since March, Citizens Advice has helped nearly 280,000 people with Universal Credit, with seven out of 10 never having used the service before.

Alistair Cromwell, Acting Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said: “Our frontline advisers have helped more than 250,000 people with advice on Universal Credit since March. For many, it was the first time they’d needed support from the benefits system.

“The government was quick to boost Universal Credit by £20 a week in recognition of how hard this pandemic would hit.

“But this vital support is only in place until spring, the point at which the furlough scheme is also set to end.

“Making the uplift permanent will provide people with a long-term safety net as our economy and jobs market recover.”

Universal Credit: Rising UK unemployment fuels calls for £20-a-week increase to become permanent

CFM, iNews, Independent, Times Radio (clip starts 2:39:40), 10/11/20

Record redundancy levels amid the coronavirus pandemic have further fuelled calls for the government to permanently raise the rate of Universal Credit to support those who have lost their job.

Citizens Advice, which has helped more than a quarter of a million people with their Universal Credit claims since March, said many people were first-time claimants.

Alistair Cromwell, acting chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “The Government was quick to boost Universal Credit by £20 a week in recognition of how hard this pandemic would hit.

“But this vital support is only in place until spring, the point at which the furlough scheme is also set to end.

“Making the uplift permanent will provide people with a long-term safety net as our economy and jobs market recover.”

Principal Policy Manager Minesh Patel spoke to Times Radio about the latest figures and the need for the benefits system to provide a strong safety net.

Andy Auld, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Carlisle and Eden, spoke to Carlisle FM about a 160% increase in people asking for employment help.

Energy

Eon, Ovo Energy and Octopus Energy raise pressure on gas levy

LoveMoney & The Times, 09/11/20

Three of Britain’s biggest energy suppliers have joined the backlash against government plans to charge all households and businesses a flat levy to support “green gas”.

Ministers were already facing opposition from Citizens Advice over the proposed scheme, under which every gas customer in Britain would be charged a levy of up to £6.90 a year, irrespective of how much gas they use.

Scams

Martin Lewis issues urgent warning on ‘nonsense’ scam linked to him

Express, 10/11/20

The Express has warned about a scam doing the rounds, and has included advice. It says according to Citizens Advice, it may be possible to identify a scam if:

  • It seems too good to be true
  • Someone the person doesn’t know contacts them unexpectedly
  • A person suspects they’re not dealing with a real company – for example, if there’s no postal address
  • They’ve been asked to transfer money quickly
  • They’ve been asked to pay in an unusual way – for example, by iTunes vouchers or through a transfer service like MoneyGram or Western Union
  • They’ve been asked to give away personal information like passwords or PINs
  • They haven’t had written confirmation of what’s been agreed

Employment

Workers at higher risk of Covid can be furloughed by bosses if they can’t work from home

The Sun, 05/11/2020, Hollie Borland

Employees who are classed as “clinically extremely vulnerable” can be furloughed if they can’t work from home during England’s second lockdown.

Shielding workers were eligible for furlough during the first lockdown but Citizens Advice warned thousands of workers with under-lying health conditions were being denied support.

“Speak to your employer to see if you’re eligible,” said Tracey Moss, expert adviser at Citizens Advice.

“If your employer can’t or won’t furlough you, you may be able to claim sick pay or benefits to support you during this period of restrictions.”

Advice

Financial first aid: how to make it through the second Covid lockdown

The Guardian, 07/11/20

Your financial first aid kit.

The Guardian has looked at what steps you can take if you’re struggling due to the pandemic.

Lorraine Charlton, an adviser at Citizens Advice, said: “Check what additional support is available from your local authority.

“You may be entitled to additional support with your living costs, and school costs if you have children.”

In other news

Kickstart jobs scheme creates 19,000 work placements

Coronavirus: Northern England ‘worst hit’ by pandemic

‘Real living wage’ rises to £9.50 an hour