Campaigns

Citizens Advice Brighton & Hove campaigns to improve the policies and practices that affect all our lives, as well as providing advice to all.

Current campaigns

Cost of living crisis – Keeping warm and fire advice

As our gas and electricity bills shoot up this year, we know that people might be looking for different ways to keep themselves, their homes, and their families warm. 

We want to make sure that everyone is doing this as safely as possible. See here for advice on keeping safe with indoor heating options.

 

Healthy Start Vouchers – for pregnant people and carers of children up to 4 years

During the cost of living crisis we are raising awareness of schemes that can help people manage.  

Here we highlight the NHS Health Start Voucher scheme

 

Brighton and Hove Food and Fuel Fund

The increasing cost of living is hurting here in Brighton & Hove. Food and energy bills are going up and it’s pushing more people into poverty, especially the most vulnerable in our community.

We want to do something to support households in the city so that people don’t have to choose between heating and eating.

That’s why Citizens Advice and Brighton & Hove Food Partnership have teamed up and, with support from Brighton & Hove City Council have launched the Brighton Hove Food and Fuel Fund. 

You can donate to the fund here: www.justgiving.com/campaign/BHCostofLivingCrisis

You can find more information about the fund here.

Cost of living crisis in Brighton and Hove report 2022 

This report shows that  poverty in the city is much worse than before the pandemic.

You can find more information here.

You can read the summary report here.

You can read the full report here.

You can read our press release here.

Cost of living crisis winter 2021-22

Rises in the cost of living are having a devastating effect on local people and driving up debt.

Our Chief Executive Officer Jo Carden says: “The triple impact of the £20 cut in Universal Credit, the leap in energy prices and the high inflation rate this year is creating a perfect storm for clients on low incomes.”

For the first time in recent memory, in Winter 2021-22, debt enquiries overtook benefit enquiries at our charity. In November 2021 the need for help with council tax debt increased by 100 per cent and fuel debts by 80 per cent compared to October 2021.

As a campaigning organisation we are backing the national office in its demand that the government take immediate steps to avoid a winter cost of living crisis. We are asking for benefits to be raised in line with inflation and to pause deductions from benefits for advance payments and historic overpayments. 

Jo added: “We are always here to offer free money advice. We can also point to groups that can offer practical help for those struggling to afford food and fuel.

See our press release here.

 

Energy costs information 2022 – Back billing

  • Back-billing happens when an energy company hasn’t correctly billed you for energy use and then sends a ‘catch-up’ bill to recover the unpaid amount. 
  • However, an energy company cannot seek payment for energy used over 12 months ago if you haven’t been billed correctly for it, under back-billing rules. 

See here for more information.

Residents in flat blocks with communal heating systems, known as ‘heat networks,’ are facing soaring energy prices despite energy price caps 2022

Heat networks supply heat from a single source and energy is shared to homes through pipes. 

Residential flat blocks that rely on communal energy sources from a heat network are classed as ‘commercial,’ not ‘domestic’ dwellings. This is a loophole that allows energy companies to charge residents beyond the energy price cap.  

See here for more information.

Past campaigns

Winter Help 2021-22 – updates for local advice workers  

This winter will be tough for many people as prices rise, fuel suppliers collapse and Universal Credit has been cut. 

Nationally, Citizens Advice estimates the impact of all these pressures on households who claim Universal Credit amounts to £131 per month being removed from them.

The Government has funded help through the Household Support Grant which supports the work of Brighton and Hove Food Partnership and our Warmth for Wellbeing Fuel Grants scheme.

Details of the help available are on this helpsheet 

Keep the Universal Credit lifeline 

We campaigned, and continue to campaign, to reinstate the £20 uplift to Universal Credit.

Jo-Anne Carden, Chief Executive Officer of Citizens Advice Brighton and Hove, said:

“Every day, our staff and volunteers see the difference the increase to Universal Credit has made to families. It’s what has helped them keep their heads above water.

“A lot of people don’t know that even people who are in work are on such low wages that they need benefits to top up their income. 

“Without that extra money, we fear we’d see more people coming to us in debt, unable to pay their bills or turning to food banks because they can’t afford the essentials. 

“As we look to rebuild from Covid, the government must invest in the benefits system and keep this vital lifeline.”

Write to your MP to tell them what you think about Universal Credit.

Scams Awareness fortnight 14 – 27 June 2021

We’ve seen evidence that scammers are exploiting the pressures that the pandemic is putting people under, including a significant increase in the number of scams relating to financial services reported in the past year. These can include fake “Get Rich Quick” investment schemes or someone pretending to be your bank to get you to transfer money or personal details 

Anyone can fall victim to a scam. People of all ages and backgrounds get scammed. It’s important to be on your guard – if you’re not sure about something take your time and get advice. If you think someone might be trying to scam you, it’s important to act straight away. 

If you need advice and support you can call the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133 or visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk. You should also report scams or suspected scams to Action Fraud.

See our Key Facts and Advice here 

See our press release – ‘2 in 3 people in the South East Targeted by Scammers’ here

EU Settlement Scheme 

Citizens Advice Brighton and Hove urges all who are eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. 

Knowing your employment rights

Your employment status is important because it can affect your legal rights on issues such as furlough, safety at work, help if you’re self-employed, benefits and redundancy.

We saw increases in areas of employment advice through the Covid-19 lockdowns of 2020 and 2021. We created an online advice and information campaign, using our twitter and facebook feeds, to provide advice and information on knowing your employment rights.

You can follow us on Twitter and Facebook using the links towards the bottom of this page and throughout our website.

Increasing Security for Private Renters in Brighton and Hove

Supported by Peter Kyle MP, Brighton Housing Trust and the local charity Justlife. 

See the paper

Our campaign is to end Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions, to increase housing benefit to cover average rents and for grants for renters at risk of losing their homes due to covid-19.

See also Top tips for renters served with eviction notices – Citizens Advice Brighton and Hove.

Brighton & Hove Emergency Accommodation Charter 

Local charities and residents working with accommodation providers and the council to improve conditions in emergency and temporary accommodation.

See the Charter developed by the Temporary Accommodation Action Group, building on similar work by Citizens Advice Eastbourne. round

Local information

  • There are 290,885 people living in Brighton and Hove.
  • 15% of children are living in poverty in Brighton and Hove.
  • 36% people aged 16-74 are in full-time employment in Brighton and Hove compared with 39% across England.
  • 4% of households lack central heating in Brighton and Hove compared with 3% across England.
  • 38% of households have no car in Brighton and Hove compared with 26% across England
  • The overall crime rate is lower than the average across England
  • The % of people ‘satisfied with their neighbourhood’ (85.9%) is higher than the average across England (79.3%).
  • 16% of people have a limiting long-term illness in Brighton and Hove compared with 18% across England.

See https://brighton-hove.communityinsight.org/ for more local information.

Other local campaigns

There are lots of campaign groups in and around Brighton and Hove that you might want to support as well as the work we do at Citizens Advice Brighton and Hove. See Other local campaigns for more information.

How to Get Involved

Here are a few of the ways you can help us campaign for positive change:

  • Be willing to speak to the media about your experience of an issue.
  • Volunteer with us for research and campaigns work.
  • Write to your MP.
  • Tell us about your experience of an issue that we can campaign on.

Please get in touch if you could help us to campaign, at: researchandcampaigns@cabrightonhove.org