Wiltshire Citizens Advice reveals Universal Credit was its top local issue last year, with almost 1,500 people turning to its advisers for help.
Overall we helped more than 17,000 people last year, an increase of almost 2,000 people compared with the year before. There was also a big rise in the number of problems people sought advice on. We helped with more than 42,000 problems in 2018-19, up 20% from 35,000 in 2017-18.
Citizens Advice is celebrating 80 years of service across England and Wales on 4 September 2019. The charity was formed at the onset of World War II. It originally helped people deal with the impacts of war, such as rationing, evacuation and losing their home in the Blitz. In its 80 years of service, the organisation has helped the British public find a way forward with a wide range of problems.
Across England and Wales, Citizens Advice helped 100,000 more people this year compared to last, with a total of 2.7 million people helped by the charity and its network.
The charity’s national impact report shows the number of people seeking advice face-to-face, via email, phone or webchat in the 2018-19 financial year:
- Consumer and utilities: 930,000 people, up 11% from last year
- Benefits: 740,000 people, up 4% from last year
- Debt: 380,000 people, up 2% from last year
- Housing: 260,000 people, up 3% from last year
Of the people Wiltshire Citizens Advice helped, 44% of people reported they had a long-term health condition or disability.
In 2018-19, for every £1 invested in Wiltshire Citizens Advice, the charity generated at least:
- £2.83 in savings to government and public services - a total of almost £3.5 million in savings. This is by helping stop problems occurring or escalating which reduces pressure on public services like health, housing or out-of-work benefits
- £19.16 in wider economic and social benefits - a total of more than £23.5 million in savings. This is by solving problems that improve lives through better wellbeing, productivity and participation for the people we help.
Suzanne Wigmore, Chief Executive Officer, Wiltshire Citizens Advice, said:
“We are incredibly proud to mark 80 years of providing free, independent and confidential advice for people across England and Wales.
“Locally, we are committed to helping as many people as we can so they can find the knowledge and confidence they need to move forward, whoever they are and whatever their problem.
“We’re here for anyone who needs free, impartial and independent advice.”