At the end of September the Government is removing some of the financial support currently in place to help people and businesses through the economic crisis caused by COVID-19. These include the £20 uplift on Universal Credit and the end of the Furlough Scheme.
Whilst Citizens Advice have been campaigning to #KeeptheUplift it is important that clients who will see their income reduced act now. We are here to help and there are a few steps you can take to ensure you maximise your income and reduce outgoings.
- We can help you plan now before your income is reduced
- Seek to reduce your outgoings, things like energy costs and high tariffs
- Get help to reschedule your debts if you are struggling to pay bills
- Check in case you are entitled to other forms of help, this can be things like other benefits or special grants and tariffs for those on low income.
- Summer holidays can be expensive for those with families Nottinghamshire County Council are providing free meals in Nottinghamshire
We anticipate the number of people impacted by these changes will be significant, 70% of the people contacting us during 2020/21 did so as a result of COVID-19. There has been an unprecedented spike in claims for Universal Credit during the pandemic with almost 6,000 people in Broxtowe on Universal Credit by the end of June 2021 according to the Department of Work and Pensions. That’s an annual value of over £6 million per year.
At the same time priority debts are on the increase. A recent report by the Money Advice Trust found that: “Council tax arrears are reaching a ‘crisis point’. More than 7 million people in Britain (14%) are worried that they won’t be able to afford their council tax bills over the coming year – and £4.4 billion is already owed in unpaid council tax.”
That’s why Citizens Advice Broxtowe and our partners in Nottinghamshire have written Community COVID Recovery Plans to reorganise our services to help those most impacted by COVID-19 as the communities move forward out of the pandemic. If you feel you need help don’t wait until September when your income may be reduced, we are happy to guide you through planning a way forward now.
Prioritise your debts (Debt Advice: 01773 768363 (Eastwood area) 01159 173802 (Beeston area)
Telephone our advice line and ask to be referred to and energy adviser
Community Stakeholder Resource Pack
We are asking all our community partners to help us get the message out and encourage local people to plan ahead if they are likely to be impacted by the reduction in Universal Credit or the end of the Furlough Scheme. We have put together a number of resources to help you help your service users and seek help from their local Citizens Advice service. We are working jointly with Citizens Advice services in Ashfield and Newark & Sherwood through our Community COVID Recovery Plans.
Please share our survey with your service users and colleagues. We are using the survey to collect information on how people in our communities think the loss of the £20 a week uplift is going to impact them. We can then use this information to help further tailor our service to the needs of our community.