Selected blogs from Citizens Advice

Annual General Meeting 2019

16th October 2019 by Dover, Deal & District Citizens Advice

On Thursday 10th October 2019 we held our Annual General Meeting (AGM) at Deal Town Hall this year and it was very well attended. There was an exhibition with pictures spanning the 80 years of Citizens Advice. Vanessa a former staff member wrote about the history of the Dover bureau. Our Impact Report for 2018/19 can be viewed here.

Citizens Advice Scam Service

New service launched by Citizens Advice

16th July 2019 by Dover, Deal & District Citizens Advice

The service can help people if:

  • They think they might have found an online scam
  • They’ve been scammed online
  • They’re acting on behalf of someone who's been scammed online
  • You can get support by:

  • Phone - 0300 330 3003
  • Use our chat service to talk to a Scams Action adviser online.
  • New advice on how to spot a scam on the Citizens Advice website
  • Face-to-face appointments for those who need it
  • Universal Credit: What's next?

    The 3 big questions for the government

    10th October 2018 by Kayley Hignell Head of Policy (Families, Welfare and Work) at Citizens Advice

    Political parties, think tanks and charities continue to debate the future of Universal Credit. Despite the proposed solutions often being radically different, there's a fairly broad consensus that more changes need to be made.

    Once the rollout is complete, 7 million households will receive the new benefit. It has to work for everyone. Our evidence shows significant challenges remain - and we've helped 150,000 people with Universal Credit since its creation.

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    It's time to end the £490 million mobile rip-off

    Our new research reveals millions of people are paying for phones they already own

    19th September 2018 by Thomas Brooks Principal Policy Manager at Citizens Advice working on post offices

    It's been just 11 years since the first iPhone was launched, and in that time smartphones have moved from luxury products to essential items. Twice as many people now say their mobile is the most important device for accessing the internet, compared to their laptop.

    As technology has changed, so has the way we pay for our phones. Most of us now have mobile phone contracts that include the cost of the handset too. This model - high-value hardware bundled with a service contract -is almost unique across all consumer markets.

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    Problem debt costs the UK economy £900 million a year

    New National Audit Office report backs up our evidence of a growing household debt problem

    7th September 2018 by Ed McDonagh Policy Researcher at Citizens Advice

    New research by the National Audit Office (NAO) shows problem debt costs the UK economy £900 million a year.

    Problem debt includes consumer credit and household bill debts. Household debts include rent and council tax arrears and energy bills.

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    People need better protection against retaliatory evictions

    Private renters face a 46% chance of being evicted after making a formal complaint

    24th August 2018 by Beth Brindle Policy Research Assistant in Consumer & Public Services Team at Citizens Advice

    A complaint about a faulty product or service should never carry the risk of retaliation, especially when retaliation could mean losing the roof over your head.

    In the private rented sector, the stakes are high so people need protection from retaliation. But as we've shown before, people who privately rent often have the weakest rights.

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    How advice on debt and housing helps people manage mental health

    New survey shows 90% of mental health practitioners in Wales are asked about practical problems

    22nd August 2018 by Jamie Matthews Senior Policy Officer, Wales

    Our data shows 49% of all clients we see in Wales have a long-term health condition or disability. The most common of these is problems with mental health.

    Having mental health problems can make it difficult for people to manage other practical issues in their lives, such as money, debt, housing, immigration and employment.

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    What your surname is worth to Royal Mail

    Mail redirection must meet the needs of modern families

    16th August 2018 by Tom Gower Policy researcher at Citizens Advice

    Society is changing fast. If you looked at the typical British household 50 years ago, you'd expect to find a man and woman living together as a married couple.

    Today, family structures are much more diverse.

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    Not getting next-day delivery? You're not alone

    Nearly 1 in 4 people in the UK have had a next-day or nominated day delivery arrive late

    15th August 2018 by Cara Holmes Senior Policy Researcher, Citizens Advice

    Today, after a 6 month investigation, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled that Amazon Prime's next-day delivery claims are misleading. While the ASA found that Amazon delivers the majority of items by the predicted delivery date, this is often later than people would reasonably expect.

    The ASA has said that people who subscribe to Amazon Prime could reasonably expect all Prime-labelled items to be available for next-day delivery. As this isn't the case for a significant number of items, Amazon's promotion of the Prime service as offering unlimited next-day delivery was seen to be misleading for shoppers.

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    Why we're calling for the smart meter rollout to be extended to 2023

    Consumer experience is paramount to the rollout's success

    10th August 2018 by Victoria MacGregor Director of Energy at Citizens Advice

    This morning, I spoke to BBC Breakfast about our call for the government to extend the smart meter rollout deadline by 3 years, to 2023.

    Smart meters -a new type of energy meter -have a huge part to play in modernising Great Britain's energy infrastructure. And they'll bring a raft of positive changes to consumers compared to the current old-style meters, including:

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    Time's running out to fix the loyalty penalty

    We've been talking about this for years - and customers are still paying the price

    25th July 2018 by Matthew Upton Head of Policy (Consumer & Public Services) at Citizens Advice

    The facts are clear - loyal consumers are overpaying by almost £1,000 a year for essential services like broadband and energy.

    It's the people who can least afford it who are more often paying the price: those on lower incomes, older people, and people with mental health conditions. These points aren't contentious - most regulators now accept that the loyalty penalty hits the most vulnerable the hardest, and the government is catching up too.

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    Too many people struggle to make a Universal Credit claim

    The new benefit works for many but fixes are needed so everyone is paid on time

    23rd July 2018 by Kayley Hignell Head of Policy (Families, Welfare and Work) at Citizens Advice

    Universal Credit has been back in the news over the past couple of weeks, after the National Audit Office highlighted a number of delivery challenges with the system.

    These challenges were inevitable - Universal Credit is the biggest change ever to the welfare system and affects around 7 million people. The real test for the government is whether they're willing and able to act on emerging evidence, and make the necessary improvements so it works for everyone.

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    We need to overhaul the bailiff industry

    The treatment of Jerome Rogers reveals the urgent need for independent regulation

    18th July 2018 by Marini Thorne Policy Researcher in Consumer and Public Services team at Citizens Advice

    At 9pm tonight*, BBC1 will show a docudrama about the life of Jerome Rogers.

    The film demonstrates the terrible effects escalating debts and aggressive debt collection by bailiffs can have on people's mental health. These practices led Jerome, aged 20, to take his own life.

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    Why we need to invest in more than just mental health services

    Without support for issues like debts or access to benefits, people can't focus on treatment

    5th July 2018 by Mette Isaksen Policy Researcher at Citizens Advice

    The latest research from Citizens Advice shows 65% of mental health practitioners are seeing more clients with practical problems. This could be anything from facing eviction or redundancy, to caring for a relative with cancer.

    These problems are a part of everyday life -but they can lead to people feeling stuck, depressed or anxious. For some, mental health problems mean they're unable to manage practical issues alone.

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    Universal Credit must adapt to support working families

    Self-employed people can be hundreds of pounds worse off compared to employees under the new system

    13th April 2018 by Frank Hobson Welfare policy at Citizens Advice

    Public debate about welfare is often focused on people who are not working. When we talk about Universal Credit, this perception needs to shift. By the time it's fully rolled out in 2022, more than half of people claiming it will be in work.

    This is a huge change for working families. Our new research explores the reasons why 2.1 million of them are likely to be worse off than under the old system. We also show how a benefit designed before the rise of non-traditional employment could now disadvantage those groups.

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    Mental health and employment - a vicious cycle?

    People with mental health difficulties need integrated advice to overcome entrenched barriers at work

    9th February 2018 by Marini Thorne Policy Researcher in Consumer and Public Services team at Citizens Advice

    Around 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem this year. Many of them will be working full time.

    Last year, our research found 1 in 3 people with a long-term mental health condition experienced difficulties with their employment as a result - from making it into work and deteriorating relationships with colleagues to needing reduced hours.

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