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Westminster Hall Debate

Alex Norris – Member of Parliament for Nottingham North delivered a speech in Westminster Hall on Wednesday 11th October on Advice services in Nottingham City.

Citizens Advice Nottingham & District, Nottingham Law Centre and Disability Direct all shared case studies and information on the services they provided.

Alex wanted to pay tribute to the services and also raised awareness of the impact of Universal Credit on advice agencies.

Citizens Advice Nottingham & District case study from the Westminster Hall Debate.

“Claire visited Citizens Advice Nottingham & District in May this year. She was in great distress when she first saw an advisor and it was very difficult for her to talk about her situation. She had recently been forced to leave her home because her now ex-partner became violent and physically assaulted her. On top of the physical and emotional trauma of the situation, Claire now had to find a new home and apply for benefits.

Claire found a new home and applied for Universal credit, however, she waited for over 8 weeks for her 1st payment. Before applying for Universal Credit, Claire worked in a local shop and was paid weekly, she didn’t have any savings and was unable to make the rent payments for 2 months, leaving her in arrears, and she was also in arrears with council tax. Claire had some credit card debts which were unable to be serviced during this time as well. At the end of two months, she was severely in debt and being threatened with eviction proceedings. During the two months waiting period she’d survived on food bank vouchers and tokens for electricity and gas, just to get by, however, now she was faced with mounting debt and no real way of paying it off.

When Claire’s Universal Credit payment came through, she had hoped to get back on her feet and make some formal arrangements to pay back her debts; however, the paperwork stated that 40% of her entitlement would be deducted to cover rent and council tax arrears. This meant Claire now had £30 a week to cover food, gas, electricity and other household essentials. This has now left Claire in a perpetual cycle of borrowing to cover her essential needs.”

You can watch the debate here

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