Citizens Advice Exeter response to Budget 2016

Media release
Thursday 17 March 2016

In its response to the Budget 2016, leading local advice charity, Citizens Advice Exeter highlights how it dealt with 32% more enquires about disability benefits, including Personal Independent Payments, last year and the importance of more investment in frontline money and debt advice services.

Steve Barriball, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Exeter, said:

“Household finances mirror the instability of the wider economy. Increasing the personal tax allowance threshold to £11,500 from April 2017 and helping households to save are both very positive steps. We helped with 4,500 debt issues last year and know there are many people struggling to balance the books.

“Getting effective financial guidance to people early is key to improving household finances and economic security so the commitment to invest more in frontline debt and money advice is good news. It’s crucial financial help isn’t just available at crisis points, people should be able to access it at key moments in their lives, like when they move jobs or have a baby.”

On changes to Personal Independence Payments, Steve Barriball added:

“Disabled people who rely on Personal Independence Payments (known as PIP) for help to get dressed or use the toilet will be worried about the impact this Budget has on their ability to live an independent life.

“People sought our help with 1,850 PIP, and other disability benefit, issues in 2015 – making it one of the most common issues we give advice on. Many of the problems relate to how PIP is being implemented – including wrong decisions and double booking of medical assessments. It’s premature for the Government to make such a fundamental change to PIP before it’s implemented properly.”