A stitch in time to ease poverty

Blackpool Citizens Advice Bureau volunteers and prospective volunteers with the giant scarf.
Blackpool Citizens Advice Bureau volunteers and prospective volunteers with the giant scarf.
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DEBT experts have unveiled a giant scarf to raise awareness of the fuel poverty plight facing residents.

Blackpool’s Citizens Advice Bureau used the 40ft scarf, which was knitted by volunteers, to emphasise the problems they believe people will face when welfare reforms are introduced at the end of the month.

At the moment, 26 per cent of the resort’s residents live in fuel poverty, a statistic managers at the Whitegate Drive centre claim will only get worse as a result of changes being introduced at the start of April.

Julia Hannaford, advice services manager for Blackpool CAB, said: “Big welfare reforms are on the way, particularly changes to Housing, Disability and Council Tax Benefits, and we want to let people know about them.

“With Legal Aid being cut from the March 31, the resources of Voluntary Agencies such as ours are going to be challenged to the limits, so we are also promoting the volunteering opportunities we have available within the Bureau.

“The new Council Tax reduction scheme will make these numbers rise from April 1 as those hardest hit will be single jobseekers and single people suffering ill health as they will have an extra six per cent of their income to pay.”

Paul Maynard, MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, added: “For decades the welfare bill has been getting out of hand.

“Every pound that is spent in welfare has to be earned by someone else’s hard work.

“It is right that the Government addresses the concerns many have over long-term unsustainable costs so as to protect the most vulnerable in society for decades to come.”

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