While we provide advice to people for the problems they face, we also gather information and campaign to improve the policies and practices that affect people’s lives.
The high number of clients we see each year means we can identify trends and that often the cause of people’s problems is an unfair policy, practice or piece of legislation. Citizens Advice Allerdale are part of a Cumbria wide network of bureaux who come together and feed our clients’ experiences into reports, strategies and action plans and share these to influence policy makers. We also provide anonymised evidence of client difficulties and experiences to our national campaign team, who use this information to inform parliamentary committees and government policy development.
See some of the previous successful campaigns led by Citizens Advice
By 2022, 7 million families in the UK will receive Universal Credit, which is replacing 6 existing means-tested benefits. We welcome efforts to simplify our benefits system. But Universal Credit is already failing thousands of people.
Every day at Citizens Advice we see people being pushed into desperate circumstances by problems with the new system. Despite this, a dramatic increase in the number of people affected is planned for October.
The government’s ‘test and learn’ approach can’t end up being an experiment with people’s lives. When they see problems with the new system, they need to stop and fix them.
That’s why we’re calling on the government to pause the Universal Credit roll-out and fix the problems with both design and delivery.
We already see people who are struggling to make ends meet, falling into serious debt and on the verge of eviction because of problems with Universal Credit.
There are 3 significant problems that the government needs to fix:
Across the country we see the impact on people’s lives.
Since the Department of Work and Pensions began rolling out full service Universal Credit in May 2016, we’ve worked with them to share our evidence of the problems people face when they make a claim.
The government has plenty on its plate right now. But Universal Credit will affect so many people that it needs to be fixed urgently. Our new report ‘Delivering on Universal Credit’ sets out what we’ve learned, and what needs to be done.
It’s not too late. But they must act now. The financial security of 7 million families depends on it.
You can read our local campaign and research groups Universal Credit Report here Universal Credit Report.
Clare in Yorkshire had to wait 7 weeks for her claim to be processed. She told our adviser who was helping her with the claim, "I just don’t understand how they expect you to live". More than 1 in 3 people we’ve helped on Universal Credit wait more than 6 weeks to receive any income. And 11% are waiting over 10 weeks.
Paul in the West Midlands was one of the 30% of people we've helped who've had to make 10 or more calls to the Universal Credit helpline to sort out their claim. He ended up buying a cheap contract phone just so that he could get inclusive minutes for calling the helpline.
And Carly in Wiltshire, a lone parent, came to us afraid of losing her home, as she and her son struggled to cope for almost 2 months without any income. Over half of the people we’ve helped with Universal Credit borrowed money while waiting for their first payment.