Affordability is issue for people in district

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Debt and benefit issues remain the highest areas of demand for the Warwick district’s Citizens Advice Bureau branch but the need for unemployment and housing advice is also increasing.

The charity, for which its volunteers provide specialist help and advice for people with a variety of problems, has released its annual report which will be presented for approval at the annual branch meeting next week.

In the last 12 months the branch dealt with 5,865 debt issues, 4,817 welfare issues and, 1,898 unemployment issues.

Aidan Knox, branch manager, said: “One of the key issues for the people of Warwick district is affordability and we are advising more people who are in work yet unable to make ends meet than ever.

“Affordability not only impacts on the need for debt advice but on housing security too. Over the last year we have been advising on average three people per week with some form of housing repossession action taken against them.

“Affordability, or the difficulties people are facing trying to achieve it, is one reason we are increasing the work we are doing in helping people save money and reduce costs. This includes helping people research their options to change energy suppliers, be savvy bargain shoppers and budget more effectively and many other areas of money saving help.”

Paul Hobday, a money advisor for the branch, said the downward pressures on incomes have led to many working families struggling to meet basic household expenses and so arrears for priority bills such as utilities are now more common than ever.

While a rise in mortgage interest rates could also provoke a significant increase in repossession proceedings client problems have also been compounded by the ‘bedroom tax’, which has led to an increase in levels of rent arrears over the last 12 months.

Mr Hobday added: “Excellent relations between the CAB and the district council have enabled efficiency in setting up repayment arrangements and avoiding evictions, bailiff action and other measures and sanctions that are costly both to our clients and to the council.”

The annual meeting is open to the public and takes place at St Mary’s church hall in St Mary’s Road, Leamington, on Tuesday from 2pm.