At Citizens Advice Hull and East Riding we are seeing the impact that the continuing cost of living crisis is having on members of our community on a daily basis.
Locally, we supporting hundreds of clients each month with debt related issues. The debt that the majority of those clients are seeking our specialist support for is regarding their fuel bills. This is a pattern that is continuing month on month and has been on the rise since April this year.
This data is also supported by figures from National Citizens Advice who reported that general debt issues are yet to return to pre-COVID levels but not for queries regarding energy debt. These queries are now much higher than they were pre-COVID and it is predicted that this will only increase as we head in to the colder months.
We are supporting members of our local community with vouchers for both food and fuel as many simply cannot afford to keep themselves and their families fed and warm. Nationally, Citizens Advice has helped over 3500 pre-payment clients who were struggling to top up in the last month alone.
The cost of living crisis has also led to an increase in the number of clients contacting our local offices for help with benefits. Many of these queries are clients asking us to look in to their current financial situation to see if they may be entitled to claim anything else. The last month has seen almost 50% of all of our benefit related enquiries being about Universal Credit and 17% were related to claiming Personal Independence Payment. Queries regarding Attendance Allowance have also increased over the last month which highlights that not only are members of our local community trying whatever they can to increase their income, but it is spanning the age ranges. Both working age and pension age residents are being impacted by the ever increasing cost of living.
As Citizens Advice Hull and East Riding, we continue to support those who are most in need and make referrals to our in house specialist teams for that much needed holistic help and support.
We also gather and report evidence of the cost of living crisis that our community are facing for National Citizens Advice to allow them to continue their vital campaign work.
Finally, we continue our ongoing recruitment drive for volunteers who form a vital part of the work we do in our local communities. This allows them the opportunity to give something back to their local area.
For more information on this and how to access advice, please visit our website https://www.hullandeastridingcab.org.uk/
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