Urgent fixes needed ahead of potential “second wave” of Universal Credit claims and more

Citizens Advice is calling for immediate changes to Universal Credit ahead of a potential second wave of claims when the government’s protection schemes come to a close.

Data released today by the Department of Work and Pensions shows 1.9 million households have made a claim for Universal Credit in the last two months. This equates to just under one in ten working-age households in Great Britain.

While the rate of claims has tapered in recent weeks, the charity warns its frontline advisors are preparing for a potential spike in enquiries this summer. The job retention scheme is currently due to end on 30th June, which could precipitate further job losses.

The redeployment of staff by the Department for Work and Pensions has helped respond to an unprecedented surge in demand on the benefits system and ensured people can access financial support.

However, frontline advisers at Citizens Advice say many people they support with Universal Credit can face hardship as a result of the five-week wait until their first payment, or risk getting into debt by taking out an advance payment.

Responding to today’s figures, Dame Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, says:

“The dizzying number of Universal Credit claims since March is a grim reflection of just how many people have seen their income swept away by coronavirus.

“Decisive action from the government means hundreds of thousands of claims have been processed. The next step is to support people during the five-week wait without putting them at risk of debt problems in the future.

“With a potential second wave of claims looming, now is the time for the government to further strengthen the safety net by turning advance payments into grants.”

Nicky Willshere, Chief Officer at Citizens Advice Ipswich says:

“In Ipswich alone, we have helped with over 420 benefits, 143 debt and 62 housing issues since lockdown. We are expecting many more enquiries as the Government now starts to talk about ending lockdown and the return to the workplace. If redundancies are to come, there will be a further wave of hardship for households who have already had to dig deep. The five-week wait for Universal Credit will add to this.”

“£25 a month doesn’t sound like a lot to pay off, but I know it will be a struggle”

Hairdresser Desislava, 33, has lived and worked in London for more than five years. She lost her job in March and applied for Universal Credit. At the time she was a lodger, and with no savings to fall back on and no earnings, she quickly fell into rent arrears and was evicted by her landlord.

Desislava’s local Citizens Advice supported her with an emergency grant while she waited for her application for Universal Credit to be approved. She has since found a new flat and received an advance to tide her over until the first payment, but the experience has left her shaken.

Desislava says: “Losing my job and my home was horrible. I was shaking and crying because I thought I might end up sleeping rough. I tried my best to look for another job, but nobody has one – it’s a global pandemic.

“I applied for Universal Credit but when I saw the amount I’d receive I realised it wouldn’t be enough to live on and cover my bills. While I wait for my first payment I’ve managed to get an advance of £300 which needs to last me until 4th June, but I’m getting stressed and worried about how I’ll survive on that.

“I then need to repay my advance over the next year. £25 a month doesn’t sound like a lot to pay off, but I know it will be a struggle. Particularly as the amount I’m set to get each month won’t even cover my rent and living costs.”

Coronavirus childcare: Is there a right to time off?

With more businesses looking to reopen over the coming weeks, Citizens Advice has set out what parents and guardians can do if they’re struggling to juggle childcare and work during the coronavirus pandemic.

The charity has launched a new webpage – Coronavirus – if you need to be off work to care for someone. Its frontline advisers have also directly helped many parents who are struggling with childcare due to the closure of schools and nurseries while family and friends are unable to help.

Nicky Willshere, Chief Officer at Citizens Advice Ipswich, said:

“The thought of returning to work after being furloughed, while juggling childcare, can be a daunting prospect. This is particularly the case for parents who would usually rely on family and friends for support, but can’t at the moment due to social distancing guidance.

“Parents and guardians who are struggling have a number of options. Anyone who is unsure of what to do can visit the Citizens Advice website for more information, and can speak to an adviser online or on the phone for more help.”

There are a number of potential options when it comes to childcare:

Ask to be furloughed. The government has said that if you’re unable to work due to childcare responsibilities, your employer can furlough you using the Job Retention Scheme. If you’re furloughed, you’ll be paid 80% of your normal pay up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.

Ask your employer about flexible working. If your employer says you have to work, it may be possible for you to work more flexibly, at times that suit you, on different tasks or for fewer hours. Some employers may suggest you take annual leave.

Ask for unpaid leave until you can work again. If you’re unable to be furloughed or work flexibly, you could ask for unpaid leave with no fixed end date. This is called ‘indefinite unpaid leave’ and you should ask for it in writing so that you have a record.

If your employer says no to the options above, the law says they must consider letting you have some unpaid leave, but only for a limited period of time.

This could be parental leave. If you’ve worked for your employer for at least a year, you can have unpaid parental leave for each of your children. The law says you can take four weeks’ leave per child each year, but you can only take 18 weeks in total for the whole period until they reach 18. You also have to tell your employer 21 days before you want to be off work. It’s a good idea to check with your employer as they might be more generous than this. For example, you might be allowed more than four weeks’ leave in a year, or you might be able to give less than 21 days’ notice.

Alternatively, you can ask for time off for a dependent. You can have some unpaid time off to deal with unexpected problems or emergencies with your child. The time off has to be ‘reasonable’ and you can only have enough time to deal with the urgent problem.

For example, if you’re asked to return to work from furlough, you could ask for dependent leave to sort out childcare. You need to tell your employer as soon as possible that you’ll need to be off. You also need to say why you need the time off and when you expect to be back.

If you’re paid less than normal as a result of a flexible working arrangement or the furlough scheme you should check if you can get benefits to help.

‘One in five to need support from benefits system amid employment crisis’ as Citizens Advice Ipswich helps over 500 cases with benefits and employment since lockdown

New research from Citizens Advice reveals one fifth (20%) of UK adults say they have applied or expect to apply for benefits as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. This rises to 68% of people on zero-hours contracts.

In Ipswich, Citizens Advice have supported clients with over 500 queries relating to benefits and employment issues. These issues range from how do I make a claim for benefit, how do the government schemes relate to me, is my employer acting reasonably?

The findings come as government data today shows over 1.5 million households made a Universal Credit claim between 1st March and 12th April. First payments for those who applied for the benefit immediately following the lockdown are due tomorrow.

Figures from Citizens Advice show around six million people in the UK (18% of the total workforce) have already seen their hours cut, been laid off or made redundant.

The charity, which has seen nearly 2.5 million views of its online advice on employment and benefits issues since the lockdown began, says gaps in the jobs protections schemes could be increasing the number forced to apply for the benefit. This includes people who are recently self-employed or at higher risk of coronavirus, such as those who are pregnant or have diabetes.

The swift redeployment of staff by the Department for Work and Pensions has helped respond to an unprecedented surge in demand on the benefits system and ensured people can access financial support.

However, insights from frontline advisers at Citizens Advice show the claims process remains problematic for some groups, such as those who don’t have ID or a bank account or those without an internet connection. Accessibility issues have been exacerbated by the necessary temporary closure of libraries and job centres.

Meanwhile 15% of people anticipate having to borrow money from friends or family to cope with the five-week wait before payment if they do have to apply for Universal Credit.

Citizens Advice is recommending the government make immediate changes to Universal Credit so that those who have lost income as a result of coronavirus can access adequate support quickly without getting into debt.

Nicky Willshere, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Ipswich, said:

“Behind today’s figures are families whose world has been turned upside down by coronavirus.

“The Government has worked hard to shore up protections for workers and process soaring claims for Universal Credit. But we know that some people are still slipping through the safety net, often with desperate consequences.

“Plugging the remaining gaps in the employment support schemes could protect more jobs. And for those needing support from the benefits system, turning advance payments into a grant would really ease the burden.”

Nelleke van Helfteren, Deputy Manager, Citizens Advice Ipswich, said:

“Since the lockdown, Citizens Advice Ipswich alone has dealt with over 500 cases where clients are seeking advice on benefits and how to claim them as well as worries about their work, and this is without our usual face to face service which helps the most vulnerable people in our community, many of whom currently cannot access our service due to lack of digital connectivity.

“Our advisers are receiving calls every day from people whose livelihood has simply disappeared due to this pandemic. Some lost their jobs or were in unstable work when the crisis hit, and others have no income until the self-employed support scheme kicks in.”

“Staff are working flat out to help them with their concerns. Alongside issues with making an online application for Universal Credit, we’re seeing a lot of people struggling simply because they’ve never had to access the benefits system. There’s a huge demand for advice. We are bracing ourselves as we know that beyond lockdown we will be really stretched to help households get back on an even keel: financially, sorting housing issues, accessing benefits and getting back to work. It is not going to be simple or quick. This pandemic will have lasting consequences for the most vulnerable and those households who never thought they were in that category.”

“We urge people not to worry alone – we are here to help and can be contacted by phone on 0300 330 1151 or by email via this website.”

David Sheepshanks CBE DL praises the work of Citizens Advice across Suffolk

Citizens Advice in Suffolk bosses say ‘we’re still here’ as over 1500 people helped since the lock-down commenced.

We may be closed to face-to-face clients, but clients can still get help by phone and email throughout the county.

Since 23 March we have helped over 1500 people across Suffolk who have been affected by the coronavirus crisis and the Government lockdown, whether it be work worries, or on-going issues that are made more difficult due to isolation and lack of access to services.

We are adapting our advice and guidance following on-going announcements by the Government on how they will help people whose livelihoods are affected by the virus.

Nicky Willshere, Chief Officer at Citizens Advice Ipswich, said:

“Probably the biggest area of calls we are getting at the moment are work-related. to do with the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and employees’ 80% subsidy as well as queries from self-employed people wondering what their entitlements will be.”

“At the moment there’s a lot of misunderstanding. A lot of people think they are going to get the money next week. A lot of what we are doing is explaining what the process and procedure is, who qualifies and how people will be able to apply. People who have never accessed our service before are now contacting us for guidance on the way forward.”

Calls and emails are being redirected to service staff and volunteers away from the offices. In the two weeks since lock down, Citizens Advice in Ipswich, for example, has set up over 50 staff and volunteers to access the necessary technology to be able to deliver advice and support work from home. We are delivering much needed confidential, impartial and independent help and support in our own dining rooms, spare rooms, sitting rooms and in a couple of cases, sheds.”

Since 23 March advisers in Ipswich have helped over 300 clients with over 1000 issues. The service continues to support on-going clients with debt and help with Universal Credit and other benefits, which coronavirus is also affecting, as the Job Centre changes its operations.

Mrs Willshere added:

“We are doing our best to respond to as many enquiries as we can. It’s always more difficult over the telephone than face to face. We are also working with other voluntary agencies as well as our Council and Health colleagues to make sure the most vulnerable people across the County get the support they need.”

“I am incredibly proud of my team who have worked tirelessly to make sure that clients can get through for help.”

David Sheepshanks CBE DL, President of Citizens Advice in Ipswich, added his voice:

“Our teams across Citizens Advice in Suffolk never cease to amaze me. All too rarely do we recognise our Unsung Heroes and even less do we understand who they are or the vital services they fulfil. Despite operating remotely, in this unprecedented state of isolation, lockdown and hardship, I have nothing short of total admiration for the way in which they have helped over 1500 people through various states of financial worry and despair in a mere fortnight. As we rightly applaud and thank the wider NHS teams for their unstinting work, so too can we next time please applaud the other unsung heroes that keep our lives going, none more than our heroic Citizens Advice teams in Suffolk. We salute you!”

To get advice check out the website Citizensadvice.org.uk or telephone Suffolk Adviceline on 0300 330 1151

To contact the Citizens Advice in your area

 

Local Citizens Advice

Telephone

Email

Ipswich

0300 330 1151

https://www.citizensadviceipswich.org.uk/?page_id=876

Felixstowe

 0300 330 9016

 

 

Email: advice@felixstowecab.org.uk

 

Leiston

Phone – 01728 832193 (Leiston office – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 10-2) ● Suffolk Advice Line – 0300 330 1151/Advice line – 03444 111 444

 

supervisor@leistoncab.cabnet.org.uk

Mid Suffolk

01449 676060 / 01449 676280

 

https://www.midsuffolkcab.org.uk/contact-us/

 

North East Suffolk

01502 518510  / 01502 717715

 

 

www.northeastsuffolkcab.org.uk/contact/

Or bureau@nescab.cabnet.org.uk

 

Sudbury

01787 321400

 

https://www.sudburycab.org.uk/contact

 

Suffolk West

0300 330 1151

https://suffolkwestcab.org.uk/contact-us/

 

Citizens Advice Universal Credit – Help to Claim Line 

 

Free phone  0800 144 8444

Text  18001 0800 144 8444

 

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/universal-credit/claiming/helptoclaim/

 

Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline

 

 

Telephone   0808 223 1133
Textphone  18001 0808 223 1133

 

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/get-more-help/if-you-need-more-help-about-a-consumer-issue/

 

 

 

Press Release: Wrong side of the tax: Hidden financial hardship of those in council tax arrears revealed

New research from Citizens Advice finds that many people in council tax arrears can’t afford to pay their debts, and have an average of just £7 left at the end of the month after covering their living costs. Some four in ten have no money left at all.

The overwhelming majority – nine in ten of the people who seek help from Citizens Advice with council tax debt – also owe money on other household bills, most commonly water and energy costs.

Yet outdated government regulations are forcing these people into sometimes desperate hardship. They push councils to use the courts to recover council tax debts which can add legal costs and bailiff fees to the debt.

The charity says the rules also mean people become liable for the full annual bill two weeks after a missed payment. This means that missing an average council tax payment of £167 in the first month of the financial year can escalate to a debt of over £2,000 in just nine weeks. This is almost 300 times the monthly amount available to the average person seeking support from Citizens Advice on council tax arrears.

The system is also failing local councils. A 2019 Freedom of Information request revealed that, for every £1 of debt referred to bailiffs by councils, only 27p is ever returned to them.

Since April 2019, Citizens Advice Ipswich have helped clients with over 550 council tax problems, over 40% more than the next biggest debt issue. The amount of Council Tax debt brought to our specialist Debt Advice team totals £200,000 since April 2019.

Marcia, who sought help from Citizens Advice on council tax arrears, had to stop work owing to poor health and began applying for benefits. While she was waiting for a decision, she got behind on rent, council tax and energy bills. She made one payment to the council to cover both old and new arrears, but after a few months was told that she wasn’t paying anything towards the old debt, so a bailiff would now collect.

“I have had the bailiffs round which is scary as I just do not have the money to pay them. They are asking me to repay so much that, if I do pay it, I won’t have enough money to pay towards my gas and electric debt or have food.

“It’s really stressful as I just do not know how I can afford to repay all these debts when I am expected to pay out more than I have coming in.”

Nicky Willshere, Chief Officer of Citizens Advice Ipswich, said:

“We are pleased that local councils have signed up to the Citizens Advice Council Tax collection protocol, but that doesn’t change the fact that Government regulations push local authorities to use harsh collection processes. They pile rapidly-escalating debts on people who barely have enough money to get by.

“Many people who need our help with council tax arrears have no more than a few pounds spare every month to repay their debts. An unexpected bill for thousands of pounds, accompanied by legal threats and bailiff action, is terrifying for the person concerned and ineffective for the council trying to recover the debt.

”To protect people from further harm, the government must change the rules to give councils the flexibility to collect council tax fairly and compassionately.”

Responding to the report, Cllr Richard Watts, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Resources Board, said:

“Councils have a duty to their residents to collect taxes so important services, like caring for older and disabled people, protecting children, fixing roads and collecting bins are not affected. They strive to recover unpaid tax as sympathetically as possible and to provide support to households at risk of financial exclusion or hardship.

“As the Citizens Advice’s report makes clear, this needs to be supported by better guidance and funding. Councils would be in favour of it being made easier for them to recover money without having to use bailiffs, and would support the removal of the requirement for the entire annual sum to become payable if an instalment is missed.

“Bailiffs should only ever be used as a last resort by councils. Before it gets to that stage, people will have been encouraged to apply for financial support by their council. Anyone having trouble paying their council bills should get in touch with their local authority for financial help and advice as soon as possible.”

Full report – Wrong Side of the Tax: Council tax debt collection needs to change

Press Release ~ To mark National Student Volunteering Week, Citizens Advice Ipswich thanks University of Suffolk law student volunteers for their valuable contribution to our advice team

Citizens Advice Ipswich is celebrating National Student Volunteering week (10-15 February) by thanking the University of Suffolk Law Students who use their time to help people face problems that may seem complicated or intimidating as part of our Advice Team at Tower Street.

As part of a partnership, a number of University of Suffolk Law Students spend a day a week with Citizens Advice in Ipswich training into advice roles. This gives them the chance to put their study into practice and gain experience of how the law affects people in their everyday lives.

Training Officer and Students

The scheme is a WIN WIN partnership – the students gain valuable work experience and Citizens Advice get to help more clients by expanding our volunteer workforce. Over 70 clients have been helped to date by the student volunteers since October.

Nicky Willshere, Chief Officer said:

“Not only do the students gain valuable experience which stands them in good stead for their careers, but our volunteers here love having them around with the passion and commitment they show and the perspective they bring to the team. Long live the partnership with University of Suffolk!”

https://www.citizensadviceipswich.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/students-1.jpg
Reilly Willis, Lecturer in Law at University of Suffolk added:

‘We are pleased to be able to offer our students this module, called Clinical Legal Practice, as part of the Law Degree at University of Suffolk. It gives them valuable client facing experience and enhances their communication skills which will be great when applying for jobs or further studies. In this module the students have been putting the law into practice in a wide range of scenarios and developing their client contact skills. They will compile a portfolio of legal issues and consider the law as it impacts on peoples’ everyday lives as part of their academic studies.’

Don’t just listen to us, though, this is how former volunteer advisers say volunteering with us at Citizens Advice Ipswich helped them get on with their careers in law and finance …

Although I have not pursued a career within the legal sector after studying law, I have very recently been promoted to a regulated role within the finance sector (Mortgage and Protection Manager). The time I spent volunteering at the CAB helped me immensely, as it was the first time I was in the live environment helping and advising customers with their needs and budgeting. Without CAB I’m not too sure I would have started a career in the banking sector.

Lworking for a High Street Bank

Volunteering at Citizens Advice was one of the best choices I have made, as I was surrounded by like-minded individuals who are passionate about helping the people who are in need of it. I have gained invaluable interpersonal skills when advising clients. I would urge anyone who wishes to pursue a career within the legal profession to volunteer.

Tcurrently working as a claims assessor for a firm of solicitors

I found that my experience at Citizens Advice was incredibly useful at developing legal skills that are not acquired as part of a typical law degree, particularly client-focussed skills such as interviewing clients to gather relevant information about their enquiries; identifying clients’ objectives; and preparing accurate attendance notes of meetings. Citizens Advice was also a referee for my application to join a law firm as a trainee solicitor; I still work at the firm, now as a qualified solicitor in its dispute resolution department.

Mworking as a solicitor in Ipswich

Citizens Advice gave me the confidence to interview and advise clients in a supportive and professional environment.

Scurrently volunteering with Suffolk Law Centre and continuing training in law as well as advising with us here at Citizens Advice Ipswich

student volunteering week

Ending the benefits freeze won’t stop families facing the choice between heating and eating

MPs voted to end the benefits freeze by agreeing to increase income-related benefits by inflation on Monday.

While a welcome move, new analysis by Citizens Advice shows that almost 4 in 10 households that seek debt advice and receive these frozen benefits would still not have enough money to cover their costs by 2024 – even if these rises were to continue in future years.

Citizens Advice has helped people such as Sheila, 64, who works part time and receives Universal Credit. Her payments can change on a monthly basis, making it hard for her to budget and cover her monthly costs. She is trapped in council tax and rent arrears, and has had to resort to a foodbank.

She said:

“Quite often I don’t have any electric, so I’m very cold. I can’t even make a hot water bottle to keep warm, or make a hot drink. I have to stay under the duvet.

“Even in the months when I am paid my full Universal Credit and wages it’s still really hard to afford everything, including food.

“It’s all swings and roundabouts, I just don’t have enough money coming in to pay the council tax and rent arrears, the actual council tax, buy food and top up my gas and electric.”

The analysis from Citizens Advice found that the number of people who are unable to cover their living costs has increased since the benefits freeze began in 2016. In the first five months of the current financial year, 40% of the people the charity helped with debt who claim income-related benefits didn’t have enough money to cover their living costs – an increase of 25% since the freeze came into effect.

Citizens Advice is continuing to call for the government to help address this problem by increasing income-related benefits by the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) plus 2% for four years, and to recalculate Local Housing Allowance, which determines housing benefit for private tenants. This will help provide families with financial security and protect people from further hardship.

It also argues that changes to benefit levels need to be accompanied by wider reforms to ensure the benefits system as a whole provides people with the right support. This includes ensuring Universal Credit gives people enough to live on by reviewing areas such as the amount of money retained by working claimants, and deductions for those dealing with debts or repaying advance payments.

Dame Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“Our evidence shows that increasing numbers of people simply don’t have enough money to make ends meet. While a step in the right direction, increasing benefits by inflation will not go far enough to help solve this problem.

“The benefits system was created to support people in times of need. The government should show it’s serious about meeting this ambition by properly investing in working-age benefits, and making sure fewer families are left in a downward spiral with no way to pay their bills.”

Vacancy ~ Tenants Committee of 19 Tower Street Ipswich

Building Caretaker

Contract: Permanent subject to probation period

Salary: £16,777 pro rata – £8.72/hr

Hours: 10 Hours per week (8.30am – 10.30am but flexibility required)

Closing Date: Friday 31st January 2020

Interview Date: W/c 10th February 2020

The Tenants Committee are looking to appoint a Building Caretaker to support with the day to day running of 19 Tower Street Ipswich.

The successful candidate will have good interpersonal skills, a flexible approach, and will reside within 20 minutes of 19 Tower Street in order to respond to emergency callouts.

You will have the ability to work on your own initiative, prioritise your own work and meet deadlines.

Ideally, you will have previous experience of Caretaking and basic maintenance.

For application forms please contact: Carl Ward – Office Support

Tel: 01473 219770

or via contact form on this site.

‘Protect yourselves on Black Friday and Cyber Monday’ Citizens Advice Ipswich offers top tips for safe and savvy consumers

In the last year, Citizens Advice consumer service has dealt with almost half a million consumer-related issues like faulty washing machines, undelivered parcels and fake designer goods. Over 50,000 of these were during November 2018, by far the busiest month for the consumer service.

Black Friday which is on 29 November this year, and Cyber Monday, 2 December, mark the busiest shopping weekend of the year.

With the sales just around the corner, Citizens Advice Ipswich is guiding consumers on how to buy and budget smart. Even though the prices are reduced, your consumer rights are fully protected.

If you change your mind about a purchase

Unless you made your purchase online, shops aren’t legally required to accept returns for unwanted goods. Despite this, the shop may choose to have its own returns policy. If it does, they must honour it, so it’s worth checking your receipt.

If you buy online however, unless it’s bespoke or made to measure, by law you will get an automatic 14-day cooling off period. This starts the day after you receive your order, and there doesn’t need to be anything wrong with the item for you to get a refund.

If you’re worried your purchase is faulty

If something’s gone wrong with an item you’ve bought, you may be entitled to a refund. You’ll have legal rights if you unwittingly bought an item that is broken or damaged, unusable, not what was advertised or doesn’t match the seller’s description.

You’ll have to move quickly, as you only have 30 days to return something that’s faulty with the guarantee of getting your money back. Your rights don’t end after 30 days, but after this period the retailer doesn’t necessarily have to refund you, instead they have the option of repairing or replacing the faulty product.

If you’re worried about scams

Be careful not to end up with a counterfeit item. Secure websites should start “https” and have a padlock symbol in the taskbar. Be wary of spelling or grammar mistakes, and companies that don’t provide an address.

Also seek out reviews of the seller from other buyers as these can help you decide whether or not you trust the seller. If there is a lot of negative feedback from other people, it’s a sign that something’s not right.

If you’re worried that something you’ve seen online might be a scam, you can get advice with a Citizens Advice Scams Action adviser by calling 0300 330 3003. Alternatively, you can visit Citizens Advice Ipswich at 19 Tower Street, Ipswich, IP1 3BE.

If there’s a problem with your Black Friday delivery

If you bought something to be delivered, it’s the seller’s responsibility to make sure the item is delivered to you.

If the seller used a delivery company, they should chase the company to find out what’s happened to your order – it’s not your responsibility.

Check the delivery address you gave the seller. Then contact them and ask where your order is.

Tips to stay within your budget:

    As well as making sure you’re clued up on your consumer rights, don’t get roped into buying something you can’t afford. Citizens Advice offers the following tips to make sure you’re staying within your budget:

  • Spend time shopping around, researching what deals are on offer and getting advice.
  • Always look at the total amount you will have to repay when borrowing money. A shorter repayment period may be better than a slightly lower Annual Percentage Rate (APR) amount.
  • Take care when looking at buy-now-pay-later deals. It might seem like a good option but you’ll need to make sure you pay on time in future. If you don’t these deals can be very expensive.
  • Never borrow money on the spur of the moment. Think about payment options beforehand. Work out your budget and stick to it so that you can afford the repayments.

Nicky Willshere at Citizens Advice Ipswich says:

“At this time of year many people may feel the pressure to part with their money.

“It is important that anyone thinking about turning to credit or taking out a loan to help pay for purchases understands the full costs involved and if they can actually afford to pay it back.

“If you are struggling with your finances, it is important to do something about it as soon as possible. You can get free debt and money advice from Citizens Advice to find a way forward and avoid spiralling debts.”

Trainee Money Adviser / Debt Caseworker

Contract: Initial 12 month contract

Salary: £17,000

Hours: 37 Hours per week

Closing Date: Friday 22 November 2019

Interview Date: W/c 2nd December 2019

Ipswich Citizens Advice is looking for a well organised trainee Money Adviser/ Debt Caseworker to join our expanding Money Advice Team.

The successful candidate will be trained into providing an in-depth casework service to the organisation’s clients, working face to face as well as by telephone. You will therefore need a good working knowledge of money and debt advice, the ability to prioritise cases efficiently and the ability to work as part of a team.

Ideally, you will be have a background working with clients in a financial setting; and be willing to work towards becoming a qualified Debt Relief Order Intermediary.

For application forms please contact: Carl Ward Office Support

Tel: 01473 219770

or via Contact form on this site

For informal discussion please contact: Nelleke Van Helfteren – Deputy Manager

Tel: 01473 219772

Address: 19 Tower Street

Ipswich

IP1 3BE