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Citizens Advice warns of generational groundhog day

Being out of work is the top concern for teenagers, housing problems are plaguing people in their 20s and the cost of care is the biggest worry for those over 70, finds Citizens Advice as it reveals the top concern for each generation.

The new figures are released today, 4th September 2014 to mark Citizens Advice’s 75th birthday.  The charity first opened its doors just a few days after the outbreak of the Second World War, offering advice from town halls, libraries, private homes and even horse boxes. Now people can get advice face to face, over the phone and online.

The new analysis of is the 1.3 million problems experienced by 480,000 people who walked through bureaux doors in April to June 2014.

Issues around unemployment and housing are key problems for those in their teens and twenties. While it is pensions and help with care costs that are the number one issues for people later on in life.

Financial challenges are clearly visible as people seek help to cover day to day costs.  Advice around housing benefits, working tax credits and pension credit are all among the top issues demonstrating that many households need help to top up their income.

But for people seeking advice online it is their basic rights at work that people want to get to the bottom of.

Citizens Advice also reveals that despite receiving help from the charity 1 in 7 people are unable to solve their problems due to issues beyond their control. Flawed systems, irresponsible employers and difficulties accessing legal redress are some of the main barriers preventing people putting an end to their problems.

Top issues Citizens Advice helped with between April and June 2014, broken down by age:

Age Top issue Number of people

Teens Job Seekers Allowance 570

20s Housing benefit 6,224

30s Working and child and tax credits 7,925

40s Employment and support allowance 10,894

50s Employment and support allowance 15,054

60s Pension credit 5,441

70s Attendance allowance 2,981

80 and over Attendance allowance 2,053

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“There is a real risk of generational groundhog day.  People face different challenges at different stages of their lives. Young people are bearing the brunt of a chronic housing shortage and households are increasingly struggling to make ends meet.  Some of the issues confronting people when we started in 1939, such as debt and housing, are still around today.

“Every day bureaux up and down the country help around ten thousand people get to grips with their problems.  It is important that everyone has access to the relevant and impartial advice that they need to help them make complex decisions and have the confidence and opportunity take control of their problems.

“Politicians also need to be looking at these problems and finding ways that they can break down barriers when people can’t tackle issues themselves, like making sure people get free medical evidence as part of Employment Support Allowance applications and appeals.

“As we celebrate our birthday it is a great opportunity to thank all of those who have given their support to Citizens Advice over the years. I am very proud of and grateful to the twenty eight thousand staff and volunteers who are helping people across the country solve their problems and get their lives back on track.”

Further analysis from Citizens Advice highlights that housing is the biggest issue for people under 30.  Between April and June 2014 more than 6,750 people in their teens and twenties sought help around housing benefit and over 5,750 needed advice for a private rented sector property problem. Overall, housing issues were the third biggest problem facing Citizens Advice clients, with over 100,000 people getting help from bureaux during the three-month period.

Problems with repairs and maintenance in rented homes have risen 10 per cent since the same period last year, with more tenants of all ages from private rented sector, housing association and local authority housing all coming to bureaux for help. Citizens Advice Bureaux helped with 6,000 problems with poorly maintained properties between April and June 2013.

Earlier this week Citizens Advice launched the Citizens Manifesto where it called on all politicians to support the provision of free, independent advice as part of the charity’s Advice for the Future by signing a pledge.

Advice channellTop issue in 2013-14

Citizens Advice Bureaux (face to face advice)Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

Consumer Service (consumer advice over the phone and via email) Second-hand cars

Adviceline (telephone advice from a Citizens Advice Bureau) Private rented sector property

Advice guide (online advice) Basic rights at work

Citizens Advice

Notes to editors:

  1. This year the Citizens Advice service celebrates its 75th anniversary. We’ve planned a year of activity running from January to December 2014. Contact the press office on 03000 231 080, or via email at press.office@citizensadvice.org.uk, to find out more.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. To find your local bureau in England and Wales, visit citizensadvice.org.uk. You can also get advice online at adviceguide.org.uk

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 22,000 trained volunteers, working at over 3,000 service outlets across England and Wales.

Channel website: https://www.icaew.com

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