people 4 conferenceEach and every working day in Wiltshire we help people resolve their legal, money and other issues.  We do this by providing the advice and information people need for the problems they face and by campaigning to improve the policies and practices that affect people's lives.

We also work in partnership with other local organisations, community groups and Wiltshire Council to ensure the people of Wiltshire get the advice, support and help they need.   

Below we've featured just some of our most recent achievements, new services on offer, campaign successes and the work we've been doing to help the people of Wiltshire successfully deal with life's problems.
30March

Workers struggling at ‘sharp end’ of insecure jobs

Second choice jobs

Irregular hours from flexible work and zero hour contracts leave some workers anxiously facing eviction, afraid to speak out about their employment rights for fear of losing their work, or with debts piling up, new research by Citizens Advice finds.

A survey of Citizens Advice Bureaux reveals that three quarters (75 per cent) of staff and volunteers said that people coming to them for help are more likely to have fluctuating hours or shift patterns now than they did a year ago:
  • 83 per cent say people with fluctuating work have problems with debt.
  • 70 per cent of CAB staff and volunteers surveyed state they are aware of cases where someone’s hours or shifts changed negatively after they turned down work or took holiday or sick leave.
  • 87 per cent say people with fluctuating work face complications or delays to benefits such as working tax credits or housing benefit.
  • Three quarters (74 per cent) report they feel that people with fluctuating work seeking help from CAB have problems with childcare.

second choice jobs

Posted in News

17March

Incomes & the National Minimum Wage Rise

but money remains tight for working-age households

The announcement today that the National Minimum Wage will increase by 3% to a new rate of £6.70 per hour from October this year is welcome news for Britain’s lowest paid workers – with over 1.4 million set to benefit. The increase is the biggest real-terms rise in seven years.
 

However Frances O'Grady, the general secretary of the TUC, said the rate increases go "nowhere near enough to end in-work poverty", and should have been "much bolder".

Labour has promised the minimum wage would rise to £8 an hour over the course of the next parliament if it wins in May.
 

The Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister have also announced that the National Minimum Wage for apprentices will increase by 57p an hour to £3.30.

Posted in News

16March

Universal Credit goes live in Wiltshire

From today (16 March 2015), Universal Credit goes live in Wiltshire Jobcentres in Chippenham, Devizes, Salisbury and Trowbridge. It will roll-out to new claims from single people who would otherwise have been eligible to claim Jobseeker's Allowance, including people claiming Housing Benefit or Working Tax Credit.
 
Universal Credit started in one area in the North of England on 29 April 2013 and is being rolled out gradually to the rest of the country over the following months and years.
 
Universal Credit (UC) is a new single benefit for working-age people. It will gradually replace most means-tested benefits such as income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, tax credits and Housing Benefit.
 
If you are a single person and you want to make a new claim for JSA at one of these jobcentres, you will have to claim Universal Credit instead.

Click here for more information about Universal Credit, including how to claim it.

 

Posted in News

02February

Welfare system ‘too important to be a political football’

Citizens Advice has called for radical changes to welfare to restore faith in a system which has become ‘a political football’.
 
 
The national charity says the political focus on the welfare budget should shift to how to deliver a system which works for people and offers value for money.
 
 
In its new Responsive welfare report Citizens Advice argues that the welfare system has not kept pace with changes in our economy and society. It highlights that the labour market has fundamentally changed since the recession, including more people who work part time, are self-employed or on zero hours contracts.
 
 
Every day Citizens Advice sees the human impact of the current problems in the welfare system. A third of all problems people come to Citizens Advice Bureaux for help with relate to welfare, and in 2014 the national charity helped people with almost 1.8 million benefit issues.

Posted in News

22January

Wiltshire Mental Health Forum Support Cafe

taking place 5 February 2015

Mental Health Forum Support Cafe

Posted in News

19January

Citizens Advice urges energy firms to cut bills

Citizens Advice has called on the Big Six energy firms to do the right thing for their customers and cut energy bills.
 

Today, British Gas has cut its standard gas prices by 5%, equivalent to £37 off an average annual household gas bill. The charity has said that with wholesale costs having fallen steadily for a year, the other large energy firms must also pass these savings on to households struggling to make ends meet.

Fair Play for PrePayment meter customers

Posted in News

08January

Families “starting the year in the red” with record demand for credit

Citizens Advice has warned that whilst credit card debt is the second most common debt problem it helps people with, more are now getting help with priority debts like council tax as they struggle with everyday costs. Bank of England figures today revealed that demand for credit cards and other unsecured debt products like personal loans is at its highest level since 2007.

Posted in News

19December

Citizens Advice Calls for Four Broadband Ads to be Banned...

Complaints about four adverts for broadband services from BT, Virgin, Sky and Talk Talk have been made to the Advertising Standards Authority by Citizens Advice.
 
The national charity and consumer body has raised concerns that the adverts are not clearly presenting the actual cost of broadband packages.
In a report sent to the ASA today, Citizens Advice complains that promises of free or cut price broadband deals for a set period of time are misleading consumers into contracts that turn out to be more costly.
 
The adverts appear to offer deals ranging from free to £5 a month, but the actual average price per month during the contracts ranged from £19 to £29. One contract, advertised only as “Free for 6 months”, would have cost over £500 over 18 months once installation fees and line rental were factored in.
 
The report also highlights how the adverts can make it difficult for people to compare prices between companies and establish which deal is best for them.

Posted in News

23March

Personal debt could hit £10,000

The average household will owe almost £10,000 in loans, overdrafts and credit card debt by the end of next year according to leading accountancy firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
 
In their latest report Precious Plastic, PwC said borrowing rose £19.7 billion last year, an increase of 9% to reach an all-time high of £239bn; and if current trends continue they forecast that the average UK household is set to owe close to £10,000 in unsecured debt by the end of 2016.
 
The figure includes spending on credit cards, bank borrowing and student loans, but excludes mortgages.
It would be the largest amount in cash terms that consumers have been in debt.

household debt

Posted in News

16March

Product choice ‘just a small part of any pension decision’

New research from Citizens Advice finds that people’s perception of an idealised retirement is often at odds with their real experience.

In a report out today the national charity looks at how people approach big decisions about pensions and the different factors which influence their choices.
 
Instead of retiring and being able to go on holidays or renovate their home, the How people think about older age and pensions report reveals many people face challenges managing their money day-to-day, planning future finances with certainty and supporting their family.
 
Citizens Advice finds that people don’t think about pensions in isolation, rather in the context of other personal and financial decisions. In the first quarter of 2014, of the 1,672 people who sought help from Citizens Advice about occupational and personal pensions, 50 per cent also asked for help on one or more other issues such as employment, tax and benefits, debt, consumer issues or family and relationships.

pensions how people think about older age

Posted in News

27February

Creditors still chasing debts covered by Debt Relief Orders

Creditors are causing ‘additional financial distress’ by continuing to collect debts despite the individual having a Debt Relief Order (DRO), reveals Citizens Advice.
 
A new report, Cutting our losses, published today by the national charity highlights how creditors aren’t acknowledging that debts are cancelled or frozen in a DRO.
 
In some cases landlords have threatened possession action for non-payment despite the debt being in a DRO.
 
Citizens Advice helped with 127,000 issues around DROs in 2014.

cutting our losses 2

Posted in News

23January

Emerging trend: Private rented sector

The private rented sector is a market where consumers have relatively little protection. An increasing number of people are coming to Citizens Advice about problems with privately rented homes.

households in the private rented sector

households in the private rented sector overtaken social rented with text

Posted in News

20January

Mandatory Reconsideration: One Year On

ESA the human and financial costWe agree with the Government that sick and disabled people should be helped financially through the Employment and Support Allowance benefit if they’re too ill to work and that those who are found fit for work but want to appeal against that decision should continue to be supported until a court has made a final decision.
 
However, the Department for Work and Pensions have repeatedly defended their decision to stop people’s benefits during the first stage of that appeal process, which is known as Mandatory Reconsideration. This leaves many sick or disabled people with no money for weeks on end and wastes taxpayers’ money trying to move them onto JSA to support them while they wait.

Posted in News

09January

Settled and safe: a renter’s right

rentingIn the last year more than 80,000 people suffering a problem with a privately rented home sought help from Citizens Advice. That's 230 people every day, hit by issues from illegal eviction to harassment to lost deposits and struggles to secure the most basic repairs.

Posted in News

05January

2,000 people a day to seek debt help from CAB

More than 2,000 people will get debt help from Citizens Advice Bureaux today as they reopen after the Christmas break.
 

As people seek to get to grips with their finances in the new year, figures from the national charity predict that the first week of January will see over 10,500 people come through its doors for help sorting out debt.

Last January saw a 27 per cent increase in the number of debt problems people came for help with, compared to the December before. Debt problems caused by taking out credit like overdrafts, payday loans and credit cards, rose by higher than the average as bureau helped with 32 per cent more every working day of January 2014 compared to December 2013. The highest increase was catalogue debt which was up 39 per cent, followed by payday loans at 34 per cent.
 

Bureau also helped with more problems caused by essential bills like energy, rent and council tax. The biggest rise of all was for help with housing costs.

Problems caused by priority debts like council tax or rent arrears can be exacerbated by Christmas as extra expenses put additional pressure on budgets which are already squeezed. Bureaux helped with a higher proportion of debt problems caused by basic bills throughout 2014 as slow wage growth, low pay and short hours and meant that many people struggled to make ends meet.

Posted in News

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