Medway Citizens Advice

Advice for Medway

Citizens Advice Medway is a registered charity that offers free, independent and impartial advice to the whole of Medway on a range of issues including Housing, Welfare Benefits, Employment, Debt, Family Law and many others.

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October Update

29th October 2014

October Update

Scottish Power Complaints:

Complaints about Scottish Power have doubled since the beginning of the year, the biggest rise of any large energy supplier, the latest energy complaints league table from Citizens Advice has revealed. Changes to their billing system has left Npower at the bottom of the table for the second year in a row but Scottish Power is now seeing the same problems with its own system change. Citizens Advice CEO Gillian Guy said: “Households are paying the price for changes to billing systems".

Scottish Power’s billing change has led to the biggest rise in complaints about the energy supplier between April and June this year, with late bills forcing many to suddenly to find an extra hundred pounds to cover costs.

Gillian Guy said: “That complaints about Npower have finally started stabilising is encouraging. Scottish Power customers are now facing a growing number of problems that Npower customers will be all too familiar with".

Universal Credit:

Today Gillian Guy meets with Lord Freud, the minister in charge of the Universal Credit flagship benefit, to raise concerns about the rollout and Citizens Advice’s evidence that 9 out of 10 clients are not ready for the changes. This follow’s Monday’s Dispatches documentary, which spoke to Steve Cullen from Warrington CAB as it looked at the problems claimants were already having.

Monday’s Dispatches looked at Universal Credit, the Government’s flagship benefit reform, and the troubles claimants were experiencing in its pilot area. Warrington CAB chief Steve Cullen was on hand to give Citizens Advice’s expert insight, saying he had concerns about it being rolled out to more complicated cases given the problems that were already being raised.

Citizens Advice client Connor Helps and his foster mother explained how they were passed from pillar to post when Connor applied for the flagship benefit. Even though he’d already been turned down for Universal Credit, when Connor got a part-time job and a training scheme he was incorrectly turned down for Income Support because of his existing Universal Credit claim.

Payday Loan Brokers:

Some Payday Loan credit brokers are making as many as 1m attempts per month to raid people’s the bank accounts, with high street bank Natwest, saying it is being inundated with complaints from its most vulnerable customers. Natwest said it is seeing as many as 640 complaints a day from customers who say that sums, usually in the range of £50 to £75, have been taken from their accounts by companies they do not recognise but are in fact payday loan brokers. Citizens Advice has previously warned about credit brokers posing as payday lenders.

Asylum Applications:

The Home Office is facing a fresh backlog of asylum cases, on top of 30,000 unresolved applications dating back to 2007, MPs have warned. The Public Accounts Committee said the number of new asylum seekers awaiting an initial decision on their status rose 70% in the first quarter of 2014. The mayor of Calais has said Britain’s benefit system is generous enough that migrants are willing to risk death to access it.

Medway Citizens Advice

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Telephone: 01634 383760
Fax: 01634 383767
info@medwayadvice.org.uk

3rd Floor Kingsley House
37-39 Balmoral Road
Gillingham
Kent
ME7 4PF