Friday 03 July 2020
Citizens Advice has welcomed the government’s new funding package for local councils. In a statement, Dame Gillian Guy also said the commitment to look at council tax debt in more detail in the forthcoming spending review is an opportunity to help those in financial difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Overdraft rates set to skyrocket in surprising blow to Britons
Daily Express, 02/07/2020, Rebekah Evans
Our advice for those struggling with their finances has been used by the Express, which reports that overdraft rates look set to rise following an announcement by the finance regulator.
The FCA said it will not require lenders to continue with lowered overdraft rates, except in cases of those who are financially impacted by COVID-19.
Citizens Advice helping one person every two minutes with a redundancy issue
HR Director, 02/07/2020 Makbool Javaid
Citizens Advice is warning of a surge in redundancy based on evidence from our frontline advisors, reports HR Director, in an article that links to last month’s press release on the issue.
Meanwhile, this week we have issued advice for those receiving universal credit as rules on job seeking, paused since March 30, are reinstated.
Long term protection planned for struggling energy customers
Citizens Advice, the official consumer watchdog for energy, has welcomed industry regulator Ofgem’s new and permanent protections for customers using prepayment meters and those struggling to pay their bills.
Dame Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said: “The problems faced by customers using prepayment meters, and others struggling to keep up with their payments, have been a big concern for Citizens Advice for many years.
“It was heartening to see the industry rally round when the coronavirus pandemic struck. A series of measures was put in place to help people struggling with their energy bills – whether that was because they were shielding and finding it difficult to top up; or they’d seen a sudden and dramatic cut in their income.
“It’s even more welcome to see the protections we’ve been arguing for made permanent. It’s a recognition that as we move out of this first phase of the pandemic, many people will still need a more flexible approach to keeping up with their payments.
“Energy is an essential service – we all need it for basics such as home heating, and cooking and washing. At a time when more people are building up debts, everyone should be confident they’ll be given time and support to get their finances in order without the risk of disconnection.”
Over a third of adults have been targeted by a scammers since the start of lockdown
BBC Your Money and Your Life, 30/06/20 (clip starts 12:20)
Citizens Advice’s research for Scams Awareness has been featured as part of a package by the BBC.
DWP change to Universal Credit law will hand 200,000 pensioners £350 each
Ministers are changing the law to formally end a Universal Credit loophole that left new pensioners in the lurch without cash – for as long as two months.
Previously, some claimants saw their Universal Credit payment end weeks before they hit state pension age. But they then also had to wait up to five weeks for their pension to be paid.
Citizens Advice warn of council tax “D-Day”: Bailiffs to chase debts again under new rules
The Express, 26/06/2020, Connor Coombe-Whitlock
Council tax debt has become a real problem in recent months and new legislation put through by the government may only make this worse reports The Express.
Three of the UKs largest debt charities have called on the government to take urgent action to stop bailiff visits restarting at the end of August.
Dame Gillian Guy said: “The government now has a two-month window of opportunity to make changes to council tax collection that will help millions of people facing the prospect of spiralling debt. Over the last few years, Citizens Advice has helped hundreds of thousands of people with council tax arrears.
“Using bailiffs to collect debts is a blunt tool that’s extraordinarily damaging to those on the receiving end, and economically ineffective for councils.”
In other news