Slump leads to advice sessions every week

AN ADVICE service is about to launch weekly sessions amid escalating demand as householders battle mounting pressure on their finances during the economic slump.

The new service will run every Tuesday at Cleckheaton Library and Information Centre and every Thursday at Heckmondwike Library and Information Centre starting from Tuesday.

Kirklees Citizens Advice offer free advice on a wide range of issues including debt, employment, housing, benefits and form filling as well as immigration, personal and family matters.

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The chief executive of Kirklees Citizens Advice, Mark Lacey, said: “Outreach advice services help us to reach people who are unable to travel to the main Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) offices in Huddersfield and Dewsbury.

“We monitor client numbers across Kirklees carefully, so that we can decide where to set up new outreach advice services.”

Clients questioned after receiving advice have all agreed the service is invaluable. Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.1 million clients on 7.1 million problems from April 2009 to March 2010. Last year more than 60 per cent of CAB work concerned debt and benefits.

Fuelled by the recession, this grew at an annual rate of 22 per cent. Employment and housing were the next biggest sources of problems. The most common types of debt problems continue to be card and store card debts and unsecured personal loans, followed by overdrafts and council tax arrears and all these continue to show substantial increases.

During 2009/10, the CAB service dealt with 9,500 new debt problems and 8,200 new benefits problems every working day. The new sessions will run alongside the outreach sessions already running at Fieldhead Sunshine Centre and Batley Library and Information Centre and will be by appointment only.

Contact 01484 451381 for more information.