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Citizens Advice Data Insights: Predictions for an Election Year

Date: 18th January 2023

Time: 12-1pm

Venue: Online event – register for free on Eventbrite

Our monthly briefings give a unique insight into the realities of what people are experiencing on a daily basis through examining our real-time data dashboard

We will be joined by Professor Sir John Curtice,  Britain’s foremost pollster, Professor of Politics at Strathclyde University in Glasgow and Senior Research Fellow at the National Centre for Social Research and the ESRC’s ‘The UK in a Changing Europe’ initiative.

Professor Curtice will be discussing how the cost-of-living crisis and household budgets are influencing public opinion ahead of the upcoming elections, and the opportunities and barriers this presents for politicians when writing their election manifestos. 

Register now

Our Chief Executive, Dame Clare Moriarty and Chief Data Analyst, Tom MacInnes will explore our unique data from the time of the 2019 election up to the present day; what are the key shifts we can see in our data? And what does this tell us about the lives of the people we help and their key issues ahead of the election? 

In addition, we’ll review our 2023 predictions and use our data to make new ones for the coming year. We’ll emphasise the key issues politicians should be considering when making election promises later this year.

The event is online and you can register here for free.

January Advice Column

I’ve built up a bit of debt and I am panicking. Even though I cut back, Christmas was
expensive, my rent has gone up and my paycheque just doesn’t stretch as far as it
used to. I’m doing everything I can but it’s not enough – what can I do?


First of all, it’s important to know you’re not alone in finding things difficult and, crucially,
there’s support available.


It might feel overwhelming when you see all of your debts written down – but try not to worry,
the important thing is that you’re sorting them out.


If you’re behind on household bills, prioritise paying your rent or mortgage, plus energy bills
and Council Tax first. Not paying these bills has the most serious consequences. You should
speak to the person or company you owe money to, to see if there are any manageable
steps you can take to start reducing your debt.


Once you’ve got these debts under control, you should look at any other debts like credit
card or store card debts, payday loans or missed Buy Now Pay Later payments.


While you’re looking at the money going out, do remember to consider money that could be
coming in. It’s always worth checking if there are any benefits that you’re eligible for,
including support with your energy costs and living costs. There’s a benefits calculator,
advice on how to reduce living costs and information on other ways to increase your
income, on the Citizens Advice website.


There’s also emergency support that you may be able to access, such as a food bank or fuel
vouchers. You could also contact your local council to see if they can offer support.


We know that times are incredibly tough but please remember, you don’t have to face this
alone, do contact Citizens Advice to help you find a way forward.

Citizens Advice December cost-of-living briefing

Date: 14 December2023

Time: 14:00-15:00

Theme: When advice is not enough – the rising problem of negative budgets

Venue: Online event – register for free on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/citizens-advice-december-cost-of-living-briefing-tickets-676047043907?aff=oddtdtcreator

Our monthly briefings give a unique insight into the reality of what the people we help are experiencing on a daily basis, through examining our real-time data dashboard

This month we will be joined by guest speaker Martin Lewis, Founder and Chair, of Money Saving Expert and the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute. Martin will share his extensive experience of advising the nation on financial management, and when advice is not enough, campaigning on the most pressing issues and advocating for political change.

Register now

Martin will be joined by Citizens Advice Chief Executive, Dame Clare Moriarty and Chief Data Analyst, Tom MacInnes who will examine our most up-to-date data and reflect on the recent Autumn Statement, the rise of negative budgets and the impact of high energy costs on the people we help.
The event is online and you can register here for free.

Bereavement benefits extended to cohabiting parents

Following the Supreme Court decision in McLaughlin v SSWP [2018] UKSC 48 and the High Court decision in Jackson & Orrs v SSWP [2020] EWHC 183, the Government has altered the law to allow bereaved cohabiting parents to claim bereavement benefits.

The deadline to claim this backdated entitlement ends on 9 February 2024. 

What does this mean?

The changes to the eligibility criteria mean that cohabiting parents and carers whose partner dies from 9 February 2023 will be able to make a claim for Bereavement Support Payment if they meet the other eligibility criteria. We expect around 1,800 more families to be able to make a claim each year.

Around 21,000 families will also be able to make retrospective claims. Because the eligibility criteria were found to be unlawful on 30 August 2018, the Government will also make retrospective payments back to that point to those who had missed out because they were not married or in a civil partnership. Some of these families will have been bereaved as long ago as 2001.

What you should know about making a retrospective claim

You will have until 9 February 2024 to put in a retrospective claim and get the full amount you are entitled to. Make sure you have the advice and information you need about how a retrospective payment might affect previous and future tax, tax credits and benefits before you put in a claim.

Find out more from The Childhood Bereavement Network website.

Adviceline reduced capacity

Our Adviceline will operate at reduced capacity on Wednesday, 8th November, from 1.30 pm to 5.00 pm.

We apologise that during this time may take longer than usual to speak to an adviser.

Our self-help and information are available 24/7 online⤵️ www.citizensadvice.org.uk

Whitchurch Outreach Temporarily Closed

8 September 2023:
Due to building safety issues, some parts of Whitchurch Civic Centre are closed to the public for the time being, so the weekly information drop-in session is not currently running.

To find out other ways to access information and advice go to get advice page

net with people falling through the holes in it

When the safety net fails: Experiences of navigating local support services during the cost of living crisis

In Winter 2022/23 we surveyed and interviewed people of Shropshire to find out about the impact of rising costs on their lives. The people we spoke to told us they have to make tough choices with their money all day, every day, with no room for errors.

“We’re in a position where the income coming into the house is way less than the bills going out. We have been in an immensely difficult position for a very long period.”

For those we spoke to, this balancing act was often impossible. It was common for people to have gone without essentials such as adequate shelter and food.

In this report, we explore learnings from conversations we had on the local support system in Shropshire, along with recommendations for how we can work together to best support residents facing financial crises. By sharing lived experiences, we want to raise awareness of the stigma people face when accessing support.

Key themes that emerged from this research are:

  1. Navigating the social support system is not an easy task for people in Shropshire.
  2. Stigma is huge, but positive experiences of support can help to alleviate it.
  3. Not Having access to enough support has far-reaching implications for people’s lives.
  4. The cost of living is hitting Shropshire harder because of its rurality.
  5. The national safety net sets context for local support.

Based on those 5 key areas we recommend:

Partnership working

Shropshire needs a coordinated approach if we are to support our residents effectively.

  • Our local system needs to effectively triage those seeking support.
  • Shropshire’s key forum for partnership working, the Social Taskforce, must continue and be adequately resourced.
  • Ongoing training for staff and volunteers to ensure they feel confident in helping people to navigate the system.
  • Data sharing between organisations to help proactively identify local residents who may be in need of support.

Support system design

Local services should be designed to protect people’s dignity and help individuals to come forward for support.

  • There should be multiple points of entry to access support. There must be alternatives to digital, and some face-to-face support available in each town.
  • Services should be trauma-informed and raise awareness of the challenges and stigma caused by financial difficulty.
  • Review and improve the design of application systems for local support to ensure it is distributed fairly. Clear and transparent criteria for local support schemes and simple and accessible forms are particularly important.
  • There should be a preference for a ‘cash first’ approach when delivering local crisis support.

Recognition of the value of the local voluntary sector

The voluntary sector plays a vital role in local support systems, but resources are needed to be able to do this.

  • Invest in building trusted relationships across sectors. Clear communication and recognition of the expertise, professionalism and reach of the sector will help to make sure that all players in the local support system feel like equal partners.
  • Identify funding for local advice services. Local advice services bring more money to the local economy by encouraging uptake of underclaimed benefits. They also save other services money by preventing people from falling into crisis and costing the local system more in the long-term.
  • Funding for the voluntary sector needs to be future proofed, to ensure the sector is able to recruit and retain the skilled staff it needs.

Advocating for ‘big picture’ change

While there is much change that can be effected at a local level, it is important to make sure the wider context of the challenges we face is not forgotten.

  • Local leaders and decision-makers should advocate for changes in the funding formula for rural areas to ensure it accurately reflects the needs of a rural population and the additional costs of delivering services in rural counties.

We want to thank everyone who engaged with this research project. Most of all those who agreed to be interviewed. We recognise that sharing your personal experiences and perspectives was not easy. We want to thank you for your time, courage and openness.

Citizens Advice June cost-of-living data briefing

Date: Monday 5 June 2023

Time: 12pm – 1pm

Venue: Online event – register for free on eventbrite Citizens Advice June Cost of Living Briefing Tickets, Mon 5 Jun 2023 at 12:00 | Eventbrite

Register now to join Citizens Advice and a panel of experts for the June cost-of-living briefing where we will analyse the latest front-line data.

Foodbanks and the rapidly escalating numbers of people who depend on them to survive is the focus of our June cost-of-living briefing.

We’ll be joined by Emma Revie, Chief Executive at The Trussell Trust and Dr Sarah Hughes, Chief Executive at Mind alongside Dame Claire Moriarty, Chief Executive at Citizens Advice to explain how the crisis is escalating and what collective support is needed to help people overcome what often becomes a downward spiral of debt and anxiety. Our data will be presented by Tom MacInnes, Chief Data Analyst.

A recording of this event will be available afterwards for anyone who was unable to attend or would like to watch it back.

Register for the free, online event now

sign 'sorry we are closed' hanging on the door

May changes to Adviceline opening times

We wanted to reach out and let you know that our operating hours will be slightly affected during May. We will be closed on the following days:

  • Monday 1st May, and will reopen as usual on Tuesday, 2nd May at 10 am
  • Monday 8th May, and we will reopen as usual on Tuesday 9th May at 10 am
  • Monday 29th May, and we will reopen as usual on Tuesday 30th May at 10 am

Additionally, will operate at reduced capacity on Wednesday, 10th May from 1.30 pm to 5.00 pm due to monthly staff training. We apologize for any long wait times to speak to an advisor during this period, and we hope to return to normal levels by Thursday, 11th May.

We understand that your time is valuable, and we want to ensure that you can access the support you need. Our self-help and information are available 24/7 online at www.citizensadvice.org.uk.

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this time.