Citizens Advice reports rising demand and falling income

The chief executive of the Citizens Advice says its workers are “having to do more” amid “flat or reducing” funding to tackle an increase in demand from people in need of advice due to the cost-of-living crisis.

Clare Moriaty says this increase in both quantity and complexity of cases comes amid funding challenges at both national and local level.

“As well as more people seeking help, we're finding that they come to us with more issues,” she warned.

“Our advisers can feel that they're running out of tools, as measures in place to support people in financial difficulties turn out to be better suited to short-term problems than sustained crisis of the sort that we're now seeing.

“That often translates into more activity rather than less by advisers on behalf of clients, as they try different avenues of support.

“We're trying to meet this huge need for our services with funding that, at both national and local level, is flat or reducing in the face of increasing inflationary pressures.”

She has made the comments in the charity’s annual report for 2021/22, which shows a drop in total income from £162.6m in 2020/21 to £153.6m in the last year.

This takes into account the end of a one-off government funding package of £13.5m in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The charity’s spending has dropped from £169m last year to £151m this year, the accounts show.

While admitting that rising demand and a drop in funding “paints a pretty stark picture” Moriaty says she is “optimistic about the future”.

“In large part this is because I've spent as much of the last year as I could learning more about our services, visiting local offices and seeing the impact of the amazing work our national and local colleagues do together,” she added.

“We're galvanised around our purpose, and have immense strength as a system of support, and a movement for change."

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