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CAB - Government must ‘learn from mistakes’ of welfare reforms

Citizens Advice has said the Government must fully understand the impact of any changes to welfare, and implement any further reforms at a safe and steady pace.

The National Audit Office published a new report calling on the Government to use the lessons it learned from implementing its recent programme of welfare reforms to improve how it manages further welfare changes over the coming years.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“The Government must learn from the mistakes of previous changes to welfare. Citizens Advice has found that delays and problems with the delivery of reforms such as Employment and Support Allowance increased hardship and anxiety for many people.  Last year we helped people with almost two million benefit issues, more than any other type of problem.

“As Ministers look to make further savings from the welfare budget it is important they fully understand the impact proposed reforms have on people’s lives.   The Government must be certain that further cuts won’t just shift costs away from the welfare budget and into other areas such as health and social care.  Changes to benefits can have a far-ranging impact on people’s lives, so any reforms need to be delivered at a safe and steady pace. ”

Notes to editors

  1. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local bureaux, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.
  2. The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential, and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
  3. To get advice online or find your local bureau in England and Wales, visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk.
  4. You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers
  5. Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.1 million clients on 6.6 million problems from April 2012 to March 2013. For full 2012/2013 service statistics see our quarterly publication Advice trends
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