Saturday, January 25, 2020

Next government ‘must act’ on policies that cause ‘preventable problems’, says Citizens Advice

Citizens Advice calls for major reforms to welfare and housing.

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The next UK Government must take action to address existing policies that are causing “preventable problems” for many of the poorest and most vulnerable people in society, says Citizens Advice.

The nationwide charity is calling for major reforms across welfare, debt, housing, consumer markets and energy.

Proposals outlined in the charity’s 2019 general election manifesto include ending the benefits freeze and increasing working-age benefits, action on bailiffs who break the rules, the abolition of Section 21 ‘no-fault’ eviction notices, and indefinite tenancies in the private rented sector.

Other recommendations from the manifesto include (as quoted):

“Consumer markets – action to tackle the loyalty penalty, in which loyal customers are penalised to the tune of around £4 billion a year for staying with their providers in essential markets such as broadband, home insurance and mobiles.

“Energy – consumer protections must be built in at the start as new technology products and markets emerge as the UK transitions to a low-carbon economy.”

A Trussell Trust foodbank. Photo credit: Newfrontiers via photopin cc

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said: “At Citizens Advice, we know the problems that people face every day, because it’s us they turn to for advice and support. But many of these problems are preventable.

“The next government has a major opportunity to make a meaningful difference to people’s lives. From fixing the difficulties people face with housing, welfare and debt through to ensuring consumers are protected in the shift to net zero.

“The benefits system needs to provide enough for people to live on. Private renters should have safe and secure tenancies with landlords who are held accountable.

“And people who fall into debt need advice, support and to be treated fairly.

“Where existing markets are failing – like the £4 billion loyalty penalty people pay for staying with essential service providers – they need to be rebalanced in favour of consumers and prevent those who can least afford it from being ripped off.”

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