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Spare room 'can be a lifeline for a disabled person'

Citizens Advice has said an extra room "can be a lifeline" for a disabled person, calling it "as vital as a guide dog or a wheelchair".

Chief executive Gillian Guy said for many people a spare room "is essential to their wellbeing" as it is needed for dialysis equipment or room for a carer.

A group of MPs said disabled people are suffering 'severe financial hardship and distress' as a result of the 'bedroom tax'. Credit: Reuters

Ms Guy said: "Many sick and disabled people have bedrooms which have been adapted to help them to cope with their condition.

"Moving disabled people out of their houses is not only a potential risk to their health, but can cost the individuals affected and councils significant amounts of money if they need to start from scratch in a new home."


Citizens Advice welcomes Osborne's pensions change

Citizens Advice has welcomed the Chancellor's proposals on pensions in his Budget speech.

Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy said after the announcement: “The proposals to free up pensions are welcome, particularly the new ‘right to advice’, which recognises the significant value of impartial, trusted advice.

Citizens Advice welcomed George Osborne's proposals 'to free up pensions'. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

“People who are able to put money aside into savings will find an increase in how much they can save tax free helpful.

"But the Chancellor does need to remember that for many people, saving money is a pipe dream as they are struggling to make ends meet."

Britain 'on edge of a serious housing crisis'

The Citizens Advice Bureau has warned that the UK is "on the edge of a serious housing crisis" after releasing data on the increase in cases it has dealt with relating to rent arrears and threatened homelessness.

There are simply not enough homes to meet need and the result is yet more pressure on household budgets.

...The emerging trend of increasing social housing arrears is extremely worrying.

Cases of arrears are up across every region of England, with the Midlands and parts of the North showing the starkest deterioration.

Prices which far outstrip incomes and the damaging impact of high food and energy bills make paying rent simply impossible for many people.

– Gillian Guy, Citizens Advice Bureau Chief Executive,

The charity said that the impact of welfare reform is "crucial" and said that recent reforms that have been "rushed in without a proper safety net in place".

Figures on increase in social housing rent arrears

In the second quarter of this year, Citizens Advice Bureau gave advice on:

  • 22,412 issues about social housing rent arrears - a 13 per cent increase on the same period last year
  • 2,840 issues about possessions claims due to rent arrears in the social housing sector - a 38 per cent increase on the same period last year
  • 2,736 issues about threatened homelessness in social housing - a 12 per cent increase on the same period last year
  • 3,307 issues about Discretionary Housing Payments - a 110 per cent increase on the same period last year.

Of all the charity's clients advised about debt issues:

  • 45 per cent are social tenants
  • 31 per cent are private tenants
  • 20 per cent are buying their home
  • 5 per cent own their home outright.

Homelessness threat 'rising for social tenants'

Social housing tenants are facing an increased threat of homelessness, the Citizen's Advice Bureau has warned, after cases of rent arrears cases reported to the charity rose 13 per cent from July to September this year.

Social housing rent arrears cases reported from July to September increased by 13 per cent since the same period last year. Credit: PA

Citizens Advice warned that despite growing confidence in the UK's economic recovery, households are not yet feeling the benefit of the improved economic outlook.

It suggested that the impact of the Under-Occupancy Penalty, combined with changes to Council Tax support, has contributed heavily to rent arrears problems

Instances of Citizens Advice Bureaux advising clients about Discretionary Housing Payments, to help people pay their rent, have more than doubled in the six months since April this year when the charge for under-occupancy was introduced.


Government 'must look at causes of payday loan use'

Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy has welcomed the proposed cap on payday loans but said that it was important to address the causes of the increase in their use:

The Government's plan to cap the cost of loans only goes to show how out of control the industry is ...

Government must also tackle the underlying need for payday loans and ask what is driving people to short-term credit in the first place.

– Gillian Guy, chief executive, citizens advice

New figures released by Citizens Advice found that three out of four borrowers find it difficult to repay payday loans, while 62 percent of loans still come without proper checks to assess whether borrowers can afford to repay.

EDF price rise 'puts spotlight on other big energy firms'

EDF Energy's price increase has put the spotlight on the other big energy firms who have introduced much larger price hikes, according to the Citizens Advice Bureau.

The French-owned company are the latest member of the "big six" to raise their prices, however their increase of 3.9 per cent is significantly less than its rivals including British Gas and SSE.

EDF Energy became the fifth of the "big six" energy supplier to raise its prices. Credit: PA Wire

“The price increase announcement from EDF today puts the spotlight on the other big energy firms who are introducing much larger price hikes. Many consumers will believe suppliers are putting profits before customers’ need to stay warm this winter," Chief Executive Gillian Guy said.

“People do not have the money to keep absorbing price rises. For many households the pot is quite literally empty. Families are facing tough choices, like cutting back on food in order to put the heating on for just a short while."

Calls to Citizens Advice Bureau double after price hikes

Calls to the Citizens Advice Bureau about energy prices have doubled since companies announced increases to bills.

Calls to the Citizens Advice Bureau about energy prices have doubled since companies announced increases to bills. Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The number of people seeking online advice also shot up, rising to 30,118 between 10 and 23 October, compared to 19,436 in the 13 days before the price increases.

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