“The ‘normal’ work of delivering advice in The Meadows and elsewhere is still being driven by the joint forces of poverty and the ongoing changes to people’s benefits and by repeat demands on clients by the Department for Work and Pensions and HM Revenue and Customs.
“Universal Credit began to affect people in Nottingham in a major way in October We are not yet seeing the longer term problems as most people are just starting on it. The immediate problem is being without income for several weeks or taking out an advance payment which then reduces the amount of Universal Credit received for up to 12 months. As we expected many people are struggling with dealing with everything online. The Department for Work and Pensions are already struggling to cope with replies to online queries taking weeks to be dealt with and the advice given to us is to use the phone!
“We identified a problem in The Meadows with the amount of help given to people with their rent, who have a private landlord. The amount has been frozen for several years and rents have risen considerably. This means even the poorest families having to pay towards their rent. This was identified first as a Citywide problem and was taken up by Advice Nottingham and then as a nationwide issue which was raised by Lilian Greenwood MP in the House of Commons
“Our fuel debt project continues to provide extra support for people struggling to pay for gas and electricity and, increasingly, water charges as well.
‘This year we helped 624 people, raised a total of £922978 in additional benefits for them and managed £177182 in debts for them.’
Special AGM at Meadows Advice Group celebrates 40 years.
Although the names of those involved at the outset are known, none could be found to be invited, although Paddy Tipping sent a message and former local City Councillor Di Clausen attended.