The Citizens Advice service provides free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to everyone on their rights and responsibilities. The information about clients and the types of advice given provides additional insight into some of the problems affecting people’s lives. Between 2009/10 and 2011/12 the numbers of problems presented by Wakefield CAB clients rose by 28% (see chart below). The extent of the fall in in the last three years has been, in large part, due to the ending of the Wakefield District Community Legal Advice Service (CLAS).
Source: Wakefield Citizens Advice Bureau
The most common types of problem people sought advice for in 2015/16 were debt (38% of problems) and benefits and tax credits (26% of problems). Across England and Wales as a whole only 27% of problems were about debt.
Council Tax arrears account for 18% of debt issues people seek CAB advice for, compared to 14% across England and Wales. Problems with Personal Independence Payment are the most common benefits issue people seek advice for, with numbers rising by nearly 60% last year (see tables below).
Top-5 debt problems. Source: Wakefield CAB
Top-5 benefits problems. Source: Wakefield CAB