As well as providing advice and support to help people, Citizens Advice Brighton & Hove works to improve the policies and practices that affect people’s lives through our research and campaign work.
Keep the Universal Credit lifeline
As an expert provider of welfare advice, we see the difference the £20 Universal Credit increase makes to the local community. It’s money straight in the pockets of families who need it most – supporting them to cover basic essentials, such as food, heating or travel to work.
However, the increase is due to be cut in October, with around 5 million low-income families facing the biggest overnight cut to the basic rate of social security in living memory.
- Benefits cut of £20-a-week set to hit 1 in 7 in Brighton and Hove
- Citizens Advice Brighton and Hove warns of increased debt and hardship if ‘lifeline’ ends in October
Citizens Advice Brighton and Hove is urging the government against a cut to Universal Credit that would impact 1 in 7 working-age people in Brighton and Hove.
According to the latest available figures, approximately 1 in 4 of residents set to see their benefits drop are families with children and 37% of claimants are already in work.
Our volunteers and staff have helped 1610 people with Universal Credit since March last year. The £20 a week increase has been a lifeline and has supported people who were already struggling before the pandemic as well as those hit by Covid job losses.
We warn that a cut to the benefit this autumn – as energy bills rise with the colder weather and an energy price cap increase will see typical bills rise by £139 a year – will see many struggle to afford their essential costs. A drop in income could be particularly difficult for new benefits claimants who may be unaware of the looming cut.
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 to #keepthelifeline.
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
Citizens Advice Brighton and Hove urges all who are eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.
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.
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.
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.
Citizens Advice Brighton & Hove contributes to national campaigns through the national Citizens Advice network, sharing statistics, ideas and experiences to influence policy and services that affect all our lives.
- 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.
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: email@example.com