Selected blogs from Citizens Advice
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.
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.
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.
People need better protection against retaliatory evictions
Private renters face a 46% chance of being evicted after making a formal complaint
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Time's running out to fix the loyalty penalty
We've been talking about this for years - and customers are still paying the price
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.
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
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.
We need to overhaul the bailiff industry
The treatment of Jerome Rogers reveals the urgent need for independent regulation
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.
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.
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.
Mental health and employment - a vicious cycle?
People with mental health difficulties need integrated advice to overcome entrenched barriers at work
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.