Citizens Advice at the heart of offering advice to claimants and landlords coping with new direct payments of housing benefits
The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) have published findings on pilots testing the direct payment of housing benefit to tenants rather than landlords. The DWP have also announced they are extending the pilots for another six months.
In response, Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of national charity Citizens Advice said:
“Citizens Advice Bureaux are at the heart of the Government's welfare reforms, helping to prevent and mitigate the effects of people falling into rent arrears as they cope with new rent arrangements.
“Bureaux are supporting people in pilot areas with face-to-face advice on budgeting and managing their personal finances, so that landlords and tenants can get it right first time. It is thanks to intensive support like this that helps people manage.
"The Government must make sure everyone who needs it gets this type of support if it wants to achieve its aims of simplifying the benefits system through the introduction of Universal Credit, of which direct housing benefit payments are an important part.
“CABs are the go-to place for help with changes to the benefit system, supporting people to navigate new systems. DWP asked housing associations tenants where they go to for advice on money management, bank accounts or debt problems. CAB was the most common answer - no other source came close. The Service is keeping a watchful eye and will sound the alarm bell if they identify people suffering problems due to the way Universal Credit is being implemented."
Notes to editors:
- The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local bureaux, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.
- The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential, and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
- To find your local bureau in England and Wales, visit citizensadvice.org.uk. You can also get advice online at adviceguide.org.uk
- You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers
- Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.3 million clients on 5.4 million problems from October 2013 to September 2014. For full 2013/2014 service statistics see our quarterly publication Advice trends
- Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 3,000 service outlets across England and Wales.