May 10, 2023 7.00 am This story is over 10 months old

Overwhelmed Citizens Advice Lincolnshire can only answer one in three calls

It’s facing an onslaught of demand

By Local Democracy Reporter

A former Lincoln MP has called for Citizens Advice Lincolnshire to be given extra funding following a drastic increase in demand.

Over the last year, the charity received a total of 39,643 calls from people in need via their Advice Line. However, only 13,234 of these were answered, roughly 33%.

Demand across the county has increased dramatically due to the impacts of high inflation, the increase in energy costs and static benefit levels.

The service says that “sadly, this is a demand that we just cannot meet, either nationally or locally, as we just do not have the resources.”

Former MP and Lincolnshire County Councillor Karen Lee said more needs to be done to ensure people in need can reach the relevant help.

Former Lincoln MP Karen Lee. Photo: The Lincolnite

“As a society, we have failed quite a lot of people,” she said during a Public Protection and Communities Scrutiny Committee meeting on Tuesday.

“We’re not talking about relative poverty here, we’re talking about real poverty. People think it’s just impacting the people on benefits, but it’s the working poor as well.”

The Labour County Councillor added that the City of Lincoln Council Benefit’s Advice programme has also faced unprecedented demand in recent months, leading to an average six-week wait.

The prospect of additional funding for the service is set to be discussed at a budgetary meeting in October.

However, Councillor Lee insisted that “we are not helping people” as it has taken several months for the item to be added to the county councillor agenda.

She first pleaded for extra funding at the start of the cost of living crisis in 2022.

At the time, the charity said they faced a “double whammy” of problems due to soaring demand and fewer volunteers.

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