Benefits and debt are among most common issues faced by Citizens Advice South Warwickshire

Citizens Advice South Warwickshire
Citizens Advice South Warwickshire

Problems with benefits, tax credits and debt are the most common issues faced by people coming to Citizens Advice South Warwickshire, but housing and threatened homelessness are of growing concern.

In the Warwick and Leamington district more than 14,000 advice issued were addressed and more than 4,000 clients were helped, the annual general meeting heard.

Aidan Knox, chief executive of Citizens Advice South Warwickshire said the figures demonstrated that people were coming with multiple problems and even though half of the working age clients were employed, the “just about managing” were often struggling with debt issues.

The affordability of housing was a problem in the district with housing related costs, including fuel costs, putting real pressure on families.

During the past year CASW had helped clients claim more than £1.7 million worth of benefits that they were entitled to but not claiming.

More than £400,000 worth of debt was written off and a further £200,000 worth of debt rescheduled.

The work done by the 150 volunteers had been officially valued at more than £1 million.

Mr Knox also thanked the major funders for their support of CASW, including Warwickshire County Council, Warwick District Council, Stratford District council and Stratford Town Trust.

Chris Elliott, chief executive of Warwick District Council, said the work of Citizens Advice was very valued by the council and there were shared aims in finding and helping those most in need.

He was concerned about finding ways to soften the impact as people in the area move to Universal Credit.

Yvonne Hunter, chair of CASW, said they were very aware of the financial restraints on their funders and partners.

She added: “But I hope you can see that funding us is a form of community investment. “Giving us some income is a way to reduce the burden on local services. And when we are able to help our clients gain their proper entitlements, this is also money spent locally and returned to the local community.”