Benefits delays affecting many in south Warwickshire, say Citizens Advice

From left: Jeremy Vanes, chief executive of Citizens Advice South Warwickshire, Clare Sawdon, High Sheriff of Warwickshire, and Yvonne Hunter, chair of Citizens Advice South Warwickshire.
From left: Jeremy Vanes, chief executive of Citizens Advice South Warwickshire, Clare Sawdon, High Sheriff of Warwickshire, and Yvonne Hunter, chair of Citizens Advice South Warwickshire.

More than half the people who came to Citizens Advice for help in south Warwickshire are having problems with claiming benefits, according to its annual report.

Universal Credit, which is replacing several benefits and tax credits, was introduced to Warwick district on Wednesday October 17. It has been in Stratford district since this summer.

But Citizens Advice South Warwickshire have said Universal Credit, as well as other benefit issues such as tax credits, were responsible for 10,000 problems faced by people visiting the charity in 2017/18.

More than 32,000 issues were recorded by Citizens Advice in that time, with one in four of the clients having debt problems.

The charity also said there was a rise in the number of people visiting to get food bank vouchers because their income was insufficient to support themselves or their families.

At the charity’s annual general meeting on Tuesday November 13, chair of Citizens Advice South Warwickshire Yvonne Hunter thanked those who funded its work.

She said: “Many of our clients are struggling with increasingly complex issues and often we are the only source of help when they need someone to speak up for them.

“We are incredibly grateful to our funders who, in difficult economic times, have continued to support us.

“As a lean and local charity, it is our volunteers and our funders who enable our service to be delivered.

“Those funds act as a good investment when you look at how we are able to get people back on their feet and ensure they are getting all the support they need.”