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‘TOUGH DECISIONS’: Watford MP candidates discuss Citizens Advice priorities for new government

 Published on: 26th June 2024   |   By: News Bulletin   |   Category: Uncategorized

Citizens Advice Watford hosted a meeting on June 17 with Watford’s election candidates Dean Russell (Conservative), councillor Ian Stotesbury (Liberal Democrat), and Matt Turmaine (Labour), to brief them on the organisation’s priority actions for the new government.

Campaigns manager Steph Sykes explains: “Through our frontline advice, we have a unique, real-time insight into the problems faced by households. Our data tells us that close to 8,000 people in Watford are struggling on negative budgets, falling into debt just covering essential bills. Poverty is deepening and housing insecurity in particular is now a reality for too many families in the town.”

Citizens Advice has identified eight priority actions for the new government which would immediately pull 1.1 million people across the country out of a negative budget.

The actions include uprating benefits using the ONS Household Cost Indices to better reflect the true cost of living, continuing to increase the minimum wage to lift people out of negative budgets, reforming Local Housing Allowance, and ending section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions.

In addition, the organisation wants to see the reform of disability benefits to improve access, scrapping the five-week wait for Universal Credit and the introduction of comprehensive social tariffs across all essential services, along with improved energy support for those in fuel poverty.

Emma Burgham, chief officer at Citizens Advice Watford, said: “At Citizens Advice Watford, we’re driven by our ambition to make things better for people. I’m grateful to Matt, Ian and Dean for giving us their time to look at our Watford data and the actions that our research shows will help move households out of the red and into the black.

“The new government will have tough decisions to make, but the current situation is not sustainable. We want to see the tide turned on living standards.”

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