UK news Cambs facing 'Bleak winter of redundancies' as more people seek help last minute news
MetiNews.Com - The Citizens Advice Bureau warned the worst was yet to come as the furlough scheme winds down this month
Breaking News ! Cambridge could be facing a “bleak winter of redundancies”, as the number of calls for help with benefits, debt and jobs increase. The Citizens Advice Bureau in Cambridge has seen a sharp rise in the number of people asking for help with Universal Credit, budgeting and redundancy this autumn – an increase of 39.5 per cent on last year. From September 1 to October 16, 2,125 have called the helpline, compared to 1,523 in the same period in 2019. 975 residents were calling about benefits, tax credits and Universal Credit, making it the most common issue. Last year, a combined 762 Cambridge residents called about the two issues combined. Calls about this issue have been “constant over the lockdown period”, but there was a spike in April, said Citizens Advice. Read More Related Articles B1040 Bluntisham crash: Police name 72-year-old man killed in car and lorry crash Read More Related Articles Burglar runs from police but leads them to £170,000 cannabis factory in Wisbech The biggest year-on-year increase was in people looking for help with money management, financial services and day-to-day budgeting. The number of people needing help increased by 80.6 per cent to 233. However, Citizens Advice warned that the increase would become more stark from October 31 when the furlough scheme officially ends. Rachel Talbot, CEO of Cambridge and District Citizens Advice, said: “As the furlough scheme draws to a close, we could face a bleak winter of redundancies. “The Chancellor has acknowledged that the new Job Support Scheme won’t protect every job. While people look for work it’s critical our benefits system provides a strong enough safety net.” The Cambridge Citizens Advice Bureau (Image: David Johnson Photographic) Under the new scheme, which is replacing furlough, businesses who are legally required to shut for some period over winter, as part of local or national restrictions, will receive grants to pay the wages of staff who cannot work. The government will support eligible businesses by paying two thirds of each employees’ salary, up to a maximum of £2,100 a month. Ms Talbot added: “The next few months of redundancy data will give an early indication of how successful the Job Support Scheme has been in protecting employment. “Many employers will have difficult decisions to make in the coming months. Given the design of the new scheme it seems likely that there will be a significant number of redundancies in the winter.
“We are concerned that it will be the lowest-paid workers in the hardest-hit sectors who will be affected the most.” This autumn compared to the same time last year, there was also a 39.7 per cent increase in people with questions about employment, with 292 individuals calling this year, compared to 209 last year. This was one of the “highest enquiry areas” over the past six months, said Citizens Advice, with help on furlough and redundancy offered. The number of people needing help with health and community care was 68 this year, compared to 49 last year. Housing has also been a big issue this year, with an increase of 27.8 per cent of people calling, from 280 to 358. More people needed help with consumer services, such as if they could not get a refund or were sold something faulty. There was an increase from 58 individuals to 93.
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The gender split of people seeking advice has stayed roughly the same, with slightly more women calling for help compared to men. The split between the number of people with and without disabilities has stayed consistent, and likewise with different ethnicities and age groups. Ms Talbot said: “The worry of redundancy and financial insecurity can be overwhelming, but you do not have to face this alone. “We would urge anyone who is unsure or struggling with these issues to take the first step to getting help as soon as possible.” Citizens Advice can offer advice to anyone about money worries, employment rights and benefits entitlement. For help call Citizens Advice on 0344 848 7979, Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. Or you can use the online form at cambridgecab.org.uk.