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Cumbrian CAB struggling to cope with demand

Workington Citizens Advice Bureau is struggling to cope with the increasing volume of calls at the same time funding dries up.

Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) Allerdale has confirmed that it had seen a “steady increase” in the number of queries in light of changes to the benefit system and the general state of the economy.

The CAB has also seen a rise in queries from the “working poor” with concerns over their job security and how to make ends meet in the difficult economic climate.

Martin Telford, manager of CAB Allerdale, said: “We are seeing more employment queries where people have lost their jobs or are concerned about the security of their employment.

“We never were an organisation with an awful lot of fat or overheads and it is becoming increasingly difficult.

“We are definitely struggling to cope with demand. We want to do the best job that we possibly can but if we can’t get the resources we will struggle.”

Mr Telford said that the situation was likely to get worse as job losses continue and government cuts continue to bite.

He said there were now fewer secure tenancies available through social landlords.

Even housing previously deemed “affordable” was becoming less so in a low wage economy, he added.

Recent changes in the working tax credit mean that families who were previously reliant on it could no longer meet their commitments. Some people who worked 16 hours a week to qualify now need to work 24 to qualify. But in many cases, the employers themselves are unable to afford to give their workers the extra hours, Mr Telford said.

At present, the CAB is part funded by the Legal Services Commission but a bill is being debated in Parliament which could see this change.

Mr Telford said: “It could be from 2013 that the Government could withdraw that money to help people with debt and housing just at a time going through more changes to the benefit system.”

Have your say

I travel right across Cumbria and wherever I go I keep seeing cards in shop windows advertising vacancies. Where I live the chip shop and bakers both have adverts and have had for weeks. Maybe the CAB should tell people to get a job, low paid or otherwise. I work 50ish hours a week and have never had benefits in my life. I really don't think it is unreasonable to ask a couple to work 24 hours between them if they want hand outs. Maybe if the CAB charged a small consultation fee, £10 or so, people would think before they complained.

Posted by Anon on 2 May 2012 at 18:44

seen this article and i instantly cried, so sad. thoughts go out to them struggling to cope with the demand. Feel so sorry for you all :(

Posted by Bryce Dean-Norman on 1 May 2012 at 12:16

View all 4 comments on this article

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