Fear of looming benefit woes

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A CHARITY is warning of a “benefits timebomb” – with government reforms set to affect one in five people in Wigan.

The Citizen’s Advice Bureau says more than 100,000 people in Greater Manchester will be affected by the introduction of Universal Credit and changes to disability and housing benefits.

The advice service is now trying to recruit 200 extra volunteers to staff its telephone advice line and estimates calls are set to double this year as benefits changes come in.

It is desperate for more people to help before the main benefits changes are introduced in October.

The anticipated surge in demand comes at the same time the CAB is set to lose £1.3m in government funding towards its services, which also include debt advice and free legal representation.

The largest benefits change will see Universal Credit replacing a combination of other benefits – with an estimated 60,000 people who claim Job Seekers’ Allowance and 45,000 who claim Tax Credits affected.

More than 14,000 families in Greater Manchester will also see changes to housing benefit, with cuts made where properties are under-occupied – the so-called “bedroom tax.”

For more information email volunteering@manchestercab.cabnet.org.uk or go to manchestercab.org.

The CAB Adviceline is on 08444 111222