Hike funding

Council plans to expand funding for Citizens Advice as crisis support hits record highs

£660,000 of extra funding could be injected to support the Citizens Advice charity in North Yorkshire, as the service revealed more people were seeking its face-to-face than at any time during the pandemic.

Leading North Yorkshire County Councilors on Friday will consider extending funding to Citizens Advice Agencies in the county for the next two years to allow it to continue working with more than 200 partners to provide advice and information spanning a range of topics including debt, housing, unemployment. , benefits and bankruptcy.

The move comes as the charity warned that crisis support – including referrals to food banks and advice on managing energy debt – was at the highest level ever.

Dame Clare Moriarty, chief executive of Citizens Advice, described cost-of-living pressures as “boiling”.

She said:

“April price hikes have yet to hit and already people are turning to our services in record numbers.

“Frontline counselors hear desperate stories of families living in one room to keep warm, people turning off their fridges to save money and others relying on hot water bottles instead of heating for fear of heat. increase in bills.

“Our data has reached red alert levels. If the government does not act quickly and come up with a package of supports for those on the lowest incomes, many more households will be pushed beyond the point. a break. “

An officer’s report to the meeting points out that while all district and borough councils provide funds or premises to the charity, the county authority is the main funder of the charity. charity.

It says while these citizens’ councils have been five times more likely to have low incomes, mental health issues and precarious employment since 2010, the majority of council charities in North Yorkshire have closed.

The report says Citizens Advice is the only organization “providing free information and advice at this level and at a time when it is absolutely necessary”.

The report adds:

“He is forward-thinking, innovative and proactive in the services he provides, giving due consideration to patterns and trends presented by clients. During the pandemic, he successfully created and applied
different ways of working to ensure continuity of service delivery.

Councilor Michael Harrison, executive member of the council for health and adult services, said the services the charity provided to people when they needed them, on the high streets and also online, were more than never needed and were “absolutely vital”.

He said that while some people might be surprised to find that Citizens Advice was not directly funded by the government, the authority was more than happy to continue to part-fund the organisation.

Earl Harrison added:

“We absolutely believe that people get what they need from Citizens Advice. The range of issues they help people with is almost endless and if Citizens Advice wasn’t there, where would these people go? They are well known and trusted by residents and council.