Benefit claimants struggling to afford essential bills and lose sleep over finances
People claiming benefits are struggling to meet essential costs such as rent, household bills and food.
New data from national Citizens Advice reveals that almost one in two (49%) benefits claimants have struggled to pay for essentials, while 40% have lost sleep due to money worries.
The charity is calling for increased financial support for people claiming benefits as it finds two in five (39%) of people who claim have less than £100 at the end of each month, after paying for essential bills.
Data from North Tyneside Citizens Advice reveals that of the 2,111 people it helped with issues related to legacy benefits in the last year, 298 (14%) had council tax debt and 347 (16%) had rent or mortgage arrears.
Of the 1,975 people it helped with issues related to Universal Credit, 438 (22%) had council tax debt and 505 (26%) had rent or mortgage arrears.
North Tyneside Citizens Advice has added its voice to the call for urgent solutions from the government. This includes:
- End the freeze on benefit rates. Uprate payments by the Consumer Prices Index plus 2% for four years. Recalculate the Local Housing Allowance to re-establish the link with rental prices.
- Reduce the five-week wait by bringing forward the first non-repayable payment to no later than two weeks into a Universal Credit claim.
Mark Almond, Chief Officer of North Tyneside Citizens Advice, said:
“Too often our frontline staff and volunteers see how the benefits system is not working for people in times of need.
“People on benefits who come to us for help are often struggling to cover everyday costs and bills, which can cause spiralling debts and sleepless nights.
“We want the government to take urgent action and reduce the five-week wait for Universal Credit and end the freeze on benefit rates.”