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.

Consumers getting trapped in unwanted subscriptions

Wiltshire Citizens Advice is warning people about getting stuck with subscriptions after new research reveals people are wasting hundreds of pounds on them when they’re no longer wanted.
Analysis of 500 cases reported to the Citizens Advice consumer service between June and August 2017 finds people lost an average of £160 from subscriptions they wanted to cancel, but weren’t able to.
NCW Subscription Traps Twitter N

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Shoppers swindled after buying ‘phantom goods’

consumer shopping basket
More and more people are being caught out by ‘phantom goods’ scams costing them an average of £1,100, Citizens Advice says.
Shoppers are conned into buying high value items like cars and flights, namely online, which turn out not to exist.

New figures reveal a 17% increase in people reporting ‘phantom goods’ to the Citizens Advice consumer service.

People were also more likely to lose money from ‘phantom goods’ than any other scam - ranging from fake doorstep sales to investment scams - with 96% losing money compared to 55% across all scam types.

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People in Wiltshire are being denied their right to paid holiday

says Wiltshire Citizens Advice

Between April 2016 and March 2017, Wiltshire Citizens Advice helped 1,897 people with 3,190 issues related to employment, of which more than 750 enquiries were about pay and entitlements, with more than 100 specifically related to paid holiday.

This is an increase on the previous year when the charity helped clients with 2,854 issues.

Nationwide research by Citizens Advice recently found that half of people on zero hours contracts, and 2 in 5 people on temporary contracts wrongly believe they are not entitled to paid holidays.

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We're ready to help private renters with housing problems

With more people renting privately than ever before, Wiltshire Citizens Advice is calling on renters to contact the charity for advice if they face a housing problem.

Last year Wiltshire Citizens Advice helped more than 500 people with a problem relating to a privately rented home.

The top three most common issues for people across Wiltshire were:

        Repairs and maintenance
        Rent and charges
        Tenancy deposit protection

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Wiltshire Citizens Advice to offer services from the Library in Warminster

Local charity, Wiltshire Citizens Advice is relocating its offices in Warminster.

From Tuesday 4 April 2017 Wiltshire Citizens Advice will operate out of the Library in Warminster. 

The charity will offer free advice, help and information services to the community, once a week on Tuesdays between 10am and 3pm.

Warminster for web

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Failure to pay national minimum wage undermines people’s financial security

says Citizens Advice

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has today launched a campaign to raise awareness of national minimum wage after new research reveals that people are unsure about what deductions employers can legally take from their wages.
Responding to the campaign launch, Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice said:
“Workers who do a fair day’s work aren’t always getting a fair day’s pay.
“Last year, Citizens Advice helped with 77,000 problems with pay, including situations where people’s wages were reduced by having to pay for training or uniforms themselves, or their hours were misrepresented so they weren’t paid for the time they’d actually worked.
“It’s right that the government is highlighting people being underpaid, which is not only illegal but poses a serious threat to people’s financial security. People plan their finances based on what they expect to be paid, and failure to pay people what they’re owed undermines their ability to pay the bills and plan for the future.
“Anyone who is unsure about whether they’ve been paid correctly can come to Citizens Advice for help.”

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Debts to household bills outnumber consumer credit debts

reported to Citizens Advice

Regular readers of our news column will know that at the beginning of the month we were expecting more than 400 people in Wiltshire to seek our advice on financial matters in January, 2017.

Well, thanks to the hard work of our frontline advisers, we helped almost 500 people with over 1,000 debt and money issues

For some people, like many of us, they were reviewing their finances at the beginning of the year and wanted advice about their options and guidance about what they could do, for example with their pension pot or to find out if they could get a better deal on their utility supplies.

For others, their situation was more complex and more urgent. The three biggest debt problems we helped people with this January were all related to household bills - Council Tax arrears, rent arrears and water debts.     

Earlier this week the the national Citizens Advice charity responded to the Bank of England’s latest money and credit statistics saying that while rising consumer borrowing could lead to serious debt problems further down the line - it is household bills putting the pressure on people’s finances now.  

According to the Bank’s December 2016 figures, unsecured consumer credit is at its highest level since the financial crash and recession of 2008.

 Below, how debt enquiries to Citizens Advice have changed over recent years:

household debt

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Wiltshire Citizens Advice to offer services from the Library in Calne

Calne CAB moving to Library from October 2016Local charity, Wiltshire Citizens Advice is relocating its offices in Calne.
From Monday 3 October 2016 Wiltshire Citizens Advice will operate out of the newly refurbished facilities at the Calne Community Hub and Library.
They will offer free advice, help and information services to the community, two days a week. Once up and running they hope to recruit more volunteers to train as advisers to enable the charity to extend its opening hours.

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1.85 million households wait longer than they should

for a repair in their home to be carried out

Private renters aren’t pressing landlords to carry out repairs to their home over fears they’ll be evicted, reveals Citizens Advice.

A new report from the charity finds more than 2 in 5 private renters (41%) - the equivalent of 1.85 million households - have waited longer than they usually should for their landlord to carry out a repair in the last four years.

At best living in a home in poor condition is an inconvenience but at worse can impact on people’s health. Problems can range from a broken window or hot water outage, to leaks and dangerous electricals.

housing keys

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You make the difference - Volunteers' Week 2017

celebrating ordinary people who do extraordinary things – our volunteers

NCVO Volunteers week 2017 logo

It's Volunteers' Week (1-7 June 2017), an annual celebration of the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK. During Volunteers’ Week hundreds of events and celebrations will take place across the country to say thank you to volunteers, recognising the important contribution they make.

You make the difference

This year we're celebrating local people giving their time and skills to make a difference to the lives of people in Wiltshire.

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Broadband prices rise by an average 43% when fixed term deals end

People on the cheapest basic broadband deals are hit with an average price rise of £113 a year once their deal ends - with many unaware they face an increase in cost, finds Citizens Advice.

A new report from the national charity reveals that more than a third (35%) of broadband customers don’t realise they could face price hikes by staying on the same contract with their provider after their initial deal ends.  

With broadband customers staying on the same contract for 4 years on average, Citizens Advice warns customers are being charged a ‘loyalty penalty’ for remaining on the same deal.

Citizens Advice wants broadband providers to help customers avoid loyalty penalties by being much clearer about how much their services will cost after the initial fixed deal ends.

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Check you’re eligible for sick pay

Wiltshire Citizens Advice is urging people to check if they’re eligible for sick pay after national research finds that some employers are tricking people out of pay when they are off work because of illness or injury.
Nationally, Citizens Advice helped with 19,800 problems with sick pay and sick leave in 2016.
Over the same period, Wiltshire Citizens Advice helped people with more than 250 problems including those where employers exploited confusion around the rules to try and get away with not paying people who need time off sick.

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Renting costs put home ownership out of reach for private tenants

Private tenants are struggling to get a foot on the housing ladder because of the costs that come with renting, Citizens Advice can reveal.
A new report from the charity finds that just under three quarters (74%) of private tenants say the combined costs of rent, agency fees and moving make buying a home harder.
The findings from ‘A State of Disrepair’ report hold true across the income scale, with more than three quarters (78%) of people from households earning £50,000 - the top 25% of household earners - reporting that renting costs make buying a home harder.

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Sick and disabled people still let down by failures with PIP

Wiltshire Citizens Advice has helped over 3,200 people in Wiltshire with over 7,000 problems with Personal Independence Payments (PIP) since the benefit was introduced in April 2013. 

In 2016 alone the local charity has had over 2,700 enquiries about PIP and it is the number one issue people ask for help with. 
In April 2013 PIP replaced Disability Living Allowance (DLA), and it is designed to help people with a disability or a long term health condition with the extra costs they face. For instance someone with multiple sclerosis might need help to pay for specialist mobility aids, or for someone to come in to support them with household chores.

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People will seek help with their finances every 3 seconds in January

says Citizens Advice

Local charity, Wiltshire Citizens Advice is expecting more than 400 people to seek advice on financial matters in January as the national Citizens Advice charity reveals that people are more likely to research financial decisions in January than any other time of the year.
Analysis by the national Citizens Advice charity shows that across the country, demand for advice over the last year shows that January and February were the busiest months of the year for queries about finances, with someone viewing online advice pages every 3 seconds in January.
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While January is often associated with squeezed budgets and debt worries, the research reveals that people also used the New Year to take stock of their money situation and plan their finances long-term.
The charity is expecting demand to reach its peak on 12 January - after people visited twice as many online advice pages about issues around money, insurance and pensions on the same day in 2016.

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