people 4 conferenceEach and every working day in Wiltshire we help people resolve their legal, money and other issues.  We do this by providing the advice and information people need for the problems they face and by campaigning to improve the policies and practices that affect people's lives.

We also work in partnership with other local organisations, community groups and Wiltshire Council to ensure the people of Wiltshire get the advice, support and help they need.   

Below we've featured just some of our most recent achievements, new services on offer, campaign successes and the work we've been doing to help the people of Wiltshire successfully deal with life's problems.
16December

Debts build as people struggle to make ends meet

Denbighshire, Merthyr Tydfil and Stoke on Trent are the top three locations where the highest proportion of the local population has got help from Citizens Advice with a debt problem.
 
The national debt charity has released data showing the top 20 debt hot spots in England and Wales as it highlights the changing face of debt.
 
In the last year Citizens Advice helped almost half a million people with debt problems. The charity has published analysis of how the types of debt issues people get help with has changed since the start of the economic crisis. Problems with consumer debt such as credit cards and unsecured personal loans have fallen significantly. In contrast priority debts issues including rent arrears and council tax debt have gone up.

types of debt problems





Posted in News

01December

Government response to improving Employment Support Allowance fails to address “deep-seated problems”

Citizens Advice has said that one of the main sickness and disability benefits is not fit for work, as the Government publishes an update on its approach to improving the Employment Support Allowance system.

The charity’s Chief Executive, Gillian Guy, said:

“Employment Support Allowance is not fit for work. The Government’s failure to get right support for sick and disabled people is unacceptable. We have long campaigned to make ESA fit for work, and the changes proposed by Government today do not appear to address the deep-seated problems with this system. More than 180,000 people have come to us for help with ESA in the past year.

“Urgent changes to fit for work tests must be made to reduce waiting times and improve the accuracy and consistency of the assessments. Many Citizens Advice clients have been left for up to six weeks whilst waiting for a second opinion on their claim, whilst other people have been charged more than £100 by GPs for medical evidence to support their appeal. Ministers must ensure no one claiming ESA is left without financial support whilst challenging an assessment decision. Anyone who is sick or disabled and in need of support has every right to expect a system which is fair, gets decisions right first time and where they do not have to pay for medical evidence to support their claim.”

esa 2

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14November

Woeful customer service plaguing Scottish Power customers, say Citizens Advice

As Ofgem launches a formal investigation into Scottish Power’s customer service and complaint handling, Citizens Advice highlights how complaints about the supplier have doubled since the start of this year.
 

The national charity and consumer advocate has repeatedly raised its concerns about Scottish Power’s effectiveness in handling complaints with the supplier and alerted the regulator to our concerns. 

Posted in News

11November

Cap on the cost of credit will help fight exploitative payday lending

The cap on the total cost of credit is an important step towards protecting consumers from the debt trap of excessive interest rates and charges, says Citizens Advice. Today, the Financial Conduct Authority, which regulates payday lenders, has announced a 100 per cent cap of the total cost of credit, meaning that from January no borrower will have to pay back more than double their original loan.

Posted in News

06November

Payday lenders need to point people towards debt advice

says Citizens Advice

Payday lenders should seize the opportunity to point people they have turned down for a loan towards debt advice says Citizens Advice. New research from the Consumer Finance Association, which represents payday lenders, says that some people say they were left financially worse off after being turned down for a payday loan. Citizens Advice has warned that encouraging borrowers to take out unaffordable loans is not a solution to financial problems.

Posted in News

22October

Contributing to the conversation

Is talking about dying the last taboo?

Funeral Poverty SmallerThe average cost of dying has soared by 10.6% to £8,427 – seven times the rate of inflation and the biggest jump in six years – according to the latest annual research for an ongoing major study by Sun Life Direct.

Hot on the heels of this new research our very own Alison Dewar, author of our report, Funeral Poverty: A plan for managing the impact of funeral costs will be contributing to the conversation by taking part in a panel discussion on “How much should your funeral cost?” as part of this year’s ‘Kicking the Bucket’ Festival. The panel discussion will be taking place at the Friends Meeting House in St Giles on November 1 2014.
 
With Funeral poverty on the rise, Alison will be joining a panel of experts to look afresh at the current cost of dying and how we can better inform ourselves, plan more effectively and combat the pressure to spend more than we need to.

To find out more about the issues around Funeral Poverty, you can download a copy of Alison's full report: Funeral Poverty: A plan for managing the impact of funeral costs below:

 

Posted in News

21October

A nation on standby

Brits could save £1.7 billion a year by switching appliances off standby

TV standby
  • 74% of people are worried about energy bills
  • Yet ONLY half of households who have received an unexpectedly high energy bill check if unused appliances are switched off 
  • 55% of households have games consoles, a quarter of over 55s have them 
  • Nearly 40% leave consoles either on or in standby mode when not in use 
  • Three quarters of those with a spare TV keep it on standby 
  • Campaign calls for a Great British Appliance Check.

Posted in News

09October

World Mental Health Day

mental healthWorld Mental Health Day is the annual global celebration of mental health education, awareness and advocacy.

Every year - on 10 October - people come together in shining the spotlight on a particular aspect of mental ill health and the theme in 2014 is "Living with Schizophrenia". 

Every one of us has mental health, just as we have physical health. Everyone can feel low, anxious or unable to cope from time to time. They’re all normal responses to life’s challenges.

As part of the Wiltshire Voluntary Sector Mental Health Forum we helped produce some simple suggestions to help you improve your mental well being.



 

 

 

04December

‘Small gains but big household costs not addressed’ says Citizens Advice

Responding to yesterday’s Autumn Statement, Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of national charity Citizens Advice, said:
 
‘The Autumn Statement offers small gains but does not address big household costs. Despite welcome progress in our economy, many households are still struggling to get by and the next Government will still have tough decisions to take on public spending.
 
‘It's good news that the post-recession economy offers more jobs, but far too many people are facing instability in work and wages which have stubbornly failed to meet rising prices.  Raising the personal tax allowance will mean more money for some, but not all, low income workers. But freezing the Universal Credit work allowance will make it harder to make work pay.


Posted in News

17November

Lack of rights leaving private renters powerless

Citizens Advice has called for greater protection for people living in the private rented sector. The national charity’s comments come as the Joseph Rowntree Foundation publishes new research showing that by 2040 one in five people will live in a rented home. The research also finds that by this date rents will have gone up by 90 per cent- twice the predicted rate of incomes.

housing problems - rising rents


 

Posted in News

14November

Eighty percent of low income households are worried about energy bills

This winter, Citizens Advice is offering record levels of support to vulnerable people who are struggling with their energy bills. Thirty eight per cent of people told the charity that, before getting help from the Energy Best Deal programme, they couldn’t heat their homes enough to be comfortable.
 
Energy Best Deal funds will be used to roll out additional support, which will give tailored, one to one advice to people who are struggling to make ends meet. Energy Best Deal Extra will help people cut the cost of fuel bills, sort out debts, solve benefit problems and help with the search for work.

cannot afford the heating

Posted in News

10November

"Two in five" parents say barriers to accessing childcare prevent them working extra hours

puzzle small

National charity Citizens Advice has welcomed calls from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) to give working families more financial help with the cost of childcare. The charity's Chief Executive has called on the Government to adopt recommendations from its citizens’ manifesto to increase support for parents to meet the cost of raising a family. The CBI's Director General John Cridland says today that reducing National Insurance contributions and increasing childcare support can “ease the pressure” on low income households.
 

Posted in News

04November

Our Awesome Fundraisers Make Their Donations Count Double

with their ten pound challenge

grow your tenner 2In the run up to Christmas some of our fabulous supporters are taking up the Ten Pound Challenge to raise money for us, Wiltshire Citizens Advice as part of Grow Your Tenner. 

Over the next 3 months there’s an opportunity to double each £10 donation we receive online at www.localgiving.com/wiltshirecitizensadvice where it will almost magically turn into a payout of £21.55! 

From bake sales to pub quizzes, from runner bean seeds to car washes our awesome fundraisers are coming up with fun, creative ways to raise the money for us.

If you fancy joining them in taking up the Ten Pound Challenge we’d love to know what you’re doing. You can send us a message, a photo or tweet us @WiltshireCAB & good luck!

We'll try and include as many of your piccies here and on our social media as we can and thank you to all who have taken part so far!

Posted in News

21October

Saving consumers money and energy

BESW header3 in 5 household billsBig Energy Saving Week (BESW) is back in time to prepare consumers for winter. All week we’ll be helping people understand their usage, cut their fuel bills and get the financial support they are entitled to.
 
This year, BESW focuses on saving consumers money and energy by assisting people directly on how to check they are on the best tariff, switch if they’re not and insulate to cut down on wasted energy. 

 

Posted in News

20October

Big Energy Saving Week - 20 - 24 October 2014

besw-130x130

Energy bills are the top financial concern for households, Big Energy Saving Week highlights positive, practical actions that will help you take control of bills and save energy. Citizens Advice are leading Big Energy Saving Week this October.

Throughout this Autumn, CABx and partners will work to spread awareness of energy issues to help you get the best deal on your energy costs and keep control of your usage.


Posted in News

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