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Oxfordshire South & Vale Citizens Advice Headlines – February 2019

Citizens Advice encourages people to seek advice when they have a problem they can’t resolve.  Postponing action can make problems much worse.  

National Citizens Advice 80th birthday

It’s Citizens Advice’s 80th birthday in 2019.  We were set up the day after World War 2 began in September 1939 to advise people ‘on how to cope with its impact’. Our advisers at the time lobbied government on matters such as the evacuation of children from cities. Citizens Advice also influenced rationing policy – a decision was made in 1946 to give gardeners more cheese in their rations. 

Citizens Advice in Abingdon and Didcot were set up 50 and 40 years ago respectively. We will be organising a celebration later in the year.

Universal Credit – new ‘Help To Claim’ service in South and Vale

Government is funding Citizens Advice to help people make new Universal Credit claims from April 2019. We will provide this service by phone, webchat and face to face. Its purpose is to support people who need additional help to make a Universal Credit claim. It does not deliver Universal Credit on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions.

In February, we will meet with district council officers, Job Centre Plus, housing associations and local charities. We will brief them on the overall design of the service and hear their views about how to make it work in our area for those who most need it.

We will receive funding to cover the cost of this service, equivalent to 1 FTE staff member.

Reducing energy costs in South and Vale

Citizens Advice is helping people every day to reduce their energy costs either by switching tariffs or supplier, reducing energy use or insulating their homes. If you know of anyone who would benefit from advice on energy costs, please ask them to contact us.

National campaign for an independent bailiff regulator
Late last year,  our research found that every minute a person sees a bailiff break the rules. We’re calling for the introduction of a regulator to hold bailiffs to account and case studies will really help this work. If you know of people who would be willing to share their stories, please let us know.

The ‘Loyalty Premium’

National Citizens Advice was praised last month after our advocacy work led to two regulators making major interventions into unfair markets.

Ofgem clamped down on the amount of money energy network companies were making from running the pipes and wires

The Competition and Markets Authority said the loyalty penalty paid by consumers in unfair markets (energy, insurance, broadband and mobile) must come to an end.  The CMA reckons this ‘loyalty premium’ costs consumers to £4bn each year.

And finally, an example of our work

One of our advisers recently helped a mother who has a disabled 16 year old son apply to transfer from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payment.

With our support, her son has been awarded the enhanced rate to cover daily living needs until Nov 2022 and an enhanced rate to meet his mobility requirements.

Our client was very grateful for this support, in particular, the expert guidance that our adviser was able to provide.

Please contact Sarah Purdie on 01235 550553x 205 if you have queries, or email sarah.purdie@osavcab.org.uk .  To unsubscribe from this newsletter, please reply to her with the word Unsubscribe.

 

Citizens Advice Oxfordshire South and Vale is an independent charity that provides the local Citizens Advice service. Our 160 skilled volunteers work from locations and are supported by 9 FTE staff. We advise over 10,000 clients each year. All our income is raised locally. We are very grateful to the two District Councils, the Town Councils, numerous Parish Councils and local charities for their continued support.

 

 

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