Meeting Broxtowe’s MP, Cost-of-Living Crisis

Citizens Advice Broxtowe have been busy consulting with community partners, elected representatives and service users to put together a plan that supports people through the cost-of-living crisis and improve household financial well-being in the longer term.

On Tuesday 29th March we were pleased to meet with Broxtowe Member of Parliament Darren Henry to discuss how inflation, especially energy prices are impacting people locally. We explained our modelling of a representative household budget (taken from an actual case). It showed a shift from a small surplus to a significant deficit by April 22. Mr Henry was interested to hear about the plans we are making to support hard pressed families through the next twelve months and beyond and about the importance of helping people access the support they need. Mr Henry agreed to follow-up on some of the key issues raised and possibly schedule a follow-up meeting later in the year.

Since the beginning of the year Citizens Advice Broxtowe have seen a 117% increase in client numbers compared to the same period last year. There have been rising numbers of local people wanting to know what extra help they can get with household bills as inflation, currently at 7.4% is forecast to increase further. The biggest rise will come in April when the energy cap, the maximum amount energy providers can charge those on flexible tariffs, is due to rise by £693 per year from April. The cap is set by the energy regulator OFGEN. In the meantime the average wage rise is 3% (ONS) and benefits, including pensions and Universal Credit are set to increase by 3.1% (DWP).

The complexity of local and national schemes, grants and projects to support people facing financial difficulties can be overwhelming. Citizens Advice can help people navigate these complexities but also help with longer term household financial resilience.

Nationally, Citizens Advice are calling for the government to up-rate benefits to better reflect the cost of living, support households in October through a more generous, non-repayable Energy Rebate and an expanded Warm Home Discount scheme. They are also lobbying for better targeting of existing energy efficiency schemes and helping consumers make the right choices to decarbonise their homes .

The charity’s Chief Executive Sally Bestwick explained how Citizens Advice Broxtowe welcomed the support announced in the Chancellors Spring Statement, especially the increase in the National Insurance threshold. It was agreed that these are unprecedented times and there was a commitment to work together with our MP and other elected representatives to help the community through the crisis.

Stapleford Jobs Fair

We were please to take up a stand at the Stapleford Jobs Fair on the 10th March. The event, organised by the Stapleford Community Group was attended by members of the public who were able to discuss jobs and training opportunities with a variety of employers and organisations that provide skills and employment support. Citizens Advice Broxtowe talked with a number of attendees who were interested to here about what it’s like to work for Citizens Advice and also how becoming an advice volunteer can provide transferable skills for those seeking employment in the private or public sector. If you wish to find out more about becoming a volunteer please visit the Volunteering with Citizens Advice page.

Help for Ukrainian Refugees

The government have announced a number of measures to help people fleeing the conflict in Ukraine. More details are available on GOV.UK. However, after arrival it can be very confusing knowing what help is available, such as benefits and accessing schools for children. This is especially true if English is not your first language. Citizens Advice have produced leaflets in Ukrainian to explain how to access help from the charity.

Literacy Volunteers

Do you think you could help improve a child’s literacy and communication skills? Literacy Volunteers work in local primary schools helping children develop a love of reading that will open doors for life-long achievement. Details below:

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