28th June

The Queens Speech — Citizens Advice response

Gillian Guy has published a response to the Queens Speech on behalf of Citizens Advice. In it, she welcomes the content of the speech saying, “ it will go some way toward tackling some of the biggest challenges facing our clients and consumers.” Workers’ rights should be better protected, energy suppliers should help cut costs to loyal customers. I had a prime example personally of this. We have been with the same energy firm for years and pay our electric/gas on a monthly tariff. We received a letter informing us that our consumption meant our standing order would increase considerably. We complained as we use double the amount of energy in the winter than the summer and their assessment was on our last bill. After nearly an hour on the phone and eventually getting to a manager we have been changed to a new plan that will save us circa £1,500 in the next year. When we asked why we were not told about this option they could not answer. I think it’s tantamount to fraud and shameful that companies think this is OK.

Loneliness is now a major health and well-being concern. Two fifths all older people (about 3.9 million) say the television is their main company (Age UK, 2014). Many will be unable understand how to change tariffs, let alone what choice is available. It strikes me that its the wrong way round, customers should have choice according to their needs within an open, competitive market.

Also a ban on Letting Agent Fees will help to simplify the growing rental market will be introduced along with other draft legislation to be put before parliament will be the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill and the Good Mortgages Bill introducing greater protections for borrowers who take out a logbook loans. For more click here.

Advice trends goes public

For those of you that don’t know (I didn’t) Citizens Advice now have a public advice trends website. This is quite comprehensive although it only drills down to regional level; but still, I think it’s really good to show trends and client need. There are a number of tabs along the top of the page relating to issues, people and trends.

South East Advice Subject ESA/PIP in the last year

For example, select Universal credit and ESA and it shows an increase in both over the last 12 months but UC does not seem, as yet to have had the devastating effect one might image. But, look at ESA and PIP then the numbers are far higher, which I guess is due, in part, to recording practices. Incidents are above average each month bar one since August 2016.

Brexit hits the number of Immigration Advice clients in the South East

Overall trends in the south east, compared year on year, show a 17% increase in Immigration and asylum issues. This is, undoubtedly, a direct result of the EU referendum, the election and the resulting unease through the Brexit process. For more click here.

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