How Yorkshire Building Society is helping hundreds of families cope with rising costs

A scheme set up by Yorkshire Building Society to help families struggling with rising household budgets has been accessed by hundreds of people, new figures show.

The joint scheme from YBS and Citizens Advice has benefited some 466 people in Yorkshire in its first six months.

The partnership is a pilot programme at six of the society’s branches across the region with Yorkshire Building Society funding Citizens Advice advisers to hold free, confidential appointments at least one day a week.

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Citizens Advice latest research shows one in 10 families – equivalent to 3.2 million households – are facing a financial crisis this winter, owing to rising energy bills, soaring inflation and reduced benefit payments are squeezing people’s budgets.

Dianne Lyons, chief executive of Citizens Advice Leeds, said: “This pilot is helping more people get the advice they need, when and where they need it. We know that there are massive economic pressures on people and families within our communities.

Earlier this month the Bank of England’s deputy governor Ben Broadbent warned that UK inflation could “comfortably exceed” five per cent by the spring when energy bills are set to rise again.

Even for those living on a minimal budget, more than three million households would be unable to cover the essentials.

Dianne Lyons, chief executive of Citizens Advice Leeds, said: “This pilot is helping more people get the advice they need, when and where they need it.

“We know that there are massive economic pressures on people and families within our communities.

“Whether they have been affected by benefit changes, inflation causing increases in food, fuel and energy prices or worried about upcoming tax rises next year.”

The appointments, which are open to everyone in the community and not confined to Yorkshire Building Society customers, allow Citizens Advice advisers to offer independent advice in private meeting rooms to assist people with a wide range of issues, including financial wellbeing.

Adam Waterfall, branch manager at Yorkshire Building Society in Leeds, said: “As one of the branches taking part in our pilot programme it is great to be able to offer this support to both customers and members of the public within our communities.

“In fact, about seven out of ten appointments so far have been with non-customers.

“This programme forms part of £1m in additional investment in 2021 that the society has used to help target those in its communities who need it most.

“I have witnessed first-hand how this partnership can provide an absolute lifeline for people to be able to have access to that vital support when they really need it.”

Each appointment is up to 60 minutes long and can be booked directly by contacting a participating branch.

The six Yorkshire Building Society branches running the pilot scheme are Barnsley, Castleford, Leeds, Rothwell, Wakefield and York.

The news comes after it was revealed that more than 80 per cent of people with cancer in the UK face a “price tag” made up of additional living costs or a loss of income, according to a charity.

For those affected financially by cancer, this cost amounts to an average of £891 a month on top of their usual spending, Macmillan Cancer Support said.

More than one in three (39 per cent) are severely financially affected by their diagnosis – among this group, the average financial impact reaches more than £1,000 a month (£1,038).