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Citizens Advice call for tailored face to face and online support to help reduce benefit error

13 May 2013

Latest estimates from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) are that £1.6bn is lost through claimant errors and £0.7bn through official errors in the benefits system.

Responding to the latest figures from DWP, Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of national charity Citizens Advice said:

"As Government's own figures show, benefit claimants are victims of the complexity of the current benefits system - Universal Credit is a much-needed simplification of this outdated system.

"This radical overhaul of the benefit system will not be without teething problems and could increase error in the short term.

"Government needs to focus on ensuring tailored face to face and online support is available so people get their claims right first time round and aren’t caught in a blizzard of benefit changes.

“Day in day out Citizens Advice Bureaux witness first hand the impact of benefit changes and support people to navigate new systems. Tameside CAB are helping the first people ever to claim universal credit and in 2012 CABs dealt with 430,000 queries around the Employment and Support Allowance."

Notes to editors:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. To find your local bureau in England and Wales, visit You can also get advice online at
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 3,000 service outlets across England and Wales.