Citizens Advice Bureau – also known as the (CAB), is a UK-registered charity which provides UK residents free, impartial advice.
This helps you understand exactly what your responsibilities and rights are.
Across the whole of Wales and England, there are over 3,400 Citizen Advice Bureau offices and they are run by over 300 individual charities.
Topics like health, housing, consumer issues and debt are what the CAB offers advice on. The Citizens Advice is a charity on it’s own and operates as a membership organisation for the CAB, this creates the Citizens Advice Bureau.
Citizens Advice aided 2.1 million consumers to resolve 7.1 million problems between 2010-11. The average UK household debt is at £7,975, so debt is a major issue they deal with on a regular basis. 9% of the population is behind with bill payments, financial debts or just struggling with monthly bills.
Credit cards, store cards or unsecured personal loans are the most regular issues the Citizens advice bereau deals with. The biggest upsurge of enquires were in council tax arrears, water debts and debt relief orders.
They help people to work out a way to re-schedule payments and try to write-off some different debts.
The CAB use a definition called ‘overdebtedness’ which means that that you aren’t capable to reach all your financial commitments without reducing your expenses below the minimum level. You get to this level by making unrealistic expectations on your repayments, have a sudden change in circumstances like being poorly, going through a break-up or divorce or suffering from any effects caused by government legislation.
Poverty, social exclusion and financial exclusion can contribute or cause this level of overdebtedness. 35% of low-income or moderate income families can’t make repayments of at least one credit commitment or monthly bill, according to research
Debt can affect you both emotionally and physically, with debt affecting your relationships, employment, education and any future plans. Absenteeism, loss of the will and attitude towards works can lead to health issues that are debt related. These debt-related health situations can have quite a lot of knock-on effects.
Serious debt problems can cost the pubic thousands of pounds and it’s estimated that it’s around £1k per debt issue, due to all these knock-on effects.
The Legal Service Research Centre and Citizens Advice have led some research on the positive benefits of debt advice. One of their main findings was that one of the key outcomes of receiving CAB advice regarding debt is that you can successfully prioritise debt and re-schedule debts including debt management programmes, individual voluntary arrangements.
From 2010 to 2011, the Citizens Advice Bureau has successfully helped UK residents to reschedule £113m of debt, as well as write-off £238m debt via bankruptcy or debt relief orders.
During this same period of time, the CAB achievement with overall customer satisfaction for their service was 96%, as they continue to help people who reside in England and Wales. People can contact the CAB via their website, telephone or in person.
It appears that nearly most people are satisfied with the information and advice they get from the CAB and would return or recommend their services.