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Autumn Statement “tackles some of the problems facing struggling families”

23 November 2016

Citizens Advice has this afternoon responded to the Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Autumn Statement.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“This Autumn Statement tackles some of the problems facing struggling families.

“It is good that government is willing to take action on failing consumer markets, including energy and letting agents, and tackle issues around pension scams.  Banning letting agent fees will save renters money and ending pension cold calls will help to protect consumers.  

“Government does need to look at how it can intervene in the energy market to help customers who are on a low income but paying high bills, there is also the need to look at problems in other markets, such as mobile and broadband.  People are losing up to £23billion a year, that’s around £446 each - equivalent to the average weekly wage, from consumer issues and we help hundreds of thousands of people a year who find businesses are letting them down.

“Rights and enforcement are two sides of the same coin and it’s good to see the government investing in making sure people get paid the wage they’ve earned. There is an opportunity to go further by increasing enforcement across other employment rights - like sick pay and maternity leave - and make it easier for workers to challenge exploitative employers by lowering Employment Tribunal fees.

“Reducing the Universal Credit taper rate shows an encouraging change of tack from the government - putting money into welfare instead of taking more out.  Helping people on Universal Credit get the most from their earnings is the right intention but it won’t fully offset the cuts to the work allowance.

“Going forward we hope to see the government build on today’s announcements and take further action to help just managing families by improving the security of people’s income and tackling failing consumer markets.”

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Notes to editors

  1. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local Citizens Advice, 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 get advice online or find your local Citizens Advice in England and Wales, visit citizensadvice.org.uk
  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. Local Citizens Advice in England and Wales advised 2.5 million clients on 6.2 million problems in 2014/15. For full service statistics see our publication Advice trends.
  6. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 2,500 service outlets across England and Wales.