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33% rise in Lambeth call centre demand following government benefit cuts

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New figures published today (07.05.2013) by Lambeth Council have provided some of the earliest indications about the impact of the government’s benefit cuts. Since the government’s benefit cuts took effect on 1st April 2013 there has been a:

  • 33% increase in the number of calls received by Lambeth’s revenues & benefits call centre in March & April 2013 compared to the same two months last year. The number of calls rose from 49,793 calls in March/April 2012 to 66,292 calls in March/April 2013.22% increase in the number of residents in Lambeth receiving reminder notices on their council tax accounts.
  • 22% increase in the number of residents in Lambeth receiving reminder notices on their council tax accounts.
  •  Huge response to council-run advice sessions with over 3000 people attending meetings on government benefit cuts in the last four months. (The 3,000 people who attended council-run advice sessions are in addition to the 66,292 residents who contacted our call centre about benefits and financial matters).

The new figures have been published ahead of a major conference on the impact of Government welfare cuts, hosted by Lambeth council. The event – ‘Has reality bitten yet? “Is welfare reform dividing the nation? The Lambeth perspective’ is being held on Tuesday 7th May 2013 from 10.00 – 12.30 at Lambeth Town Hall.

Speakers include: Cllr Lib Peck, Leader of Lambeth Council, Patrick Butler, Guardian – Social Policy Editor and Ryan Shorthouse, Social Market Foundation.

To see how residents are affected by the benefit changes on a ward by ward basis in Lambeth click here >>

Leader of Lambeth Council, Cllr Lib Peck said, “These figures show beyond doubt the impact of the changes to benefits made by government on the lives of thousands of Lambeth residents. In the last month we have seen a 33% increase in the number of people contacting our call centre about benefits and a big rise in the number of people who have been sent reminder notices about their council tax accounts. I hope the government will look very carefully at the growing evidence across the country that their benefit cuts are causing real pain and hardship for hundreds of thousands of people. Our residents need a welfare system that provides help for those in need and support to get people back into work.”

Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, Cllr Paul McGlone said, “In the last four months a staggering 3000 residents and local workers have attended advice meetings we have organised to help those affected by government cuts. The high demand for these advice sessions clearly shows the deep concerns in the community about the impact of the government cuts. We are committed to continuing to do everything within our power to support the 1 in 6 Lambeth residents who are directly affected by the government’s cuts to welfare including housing and council benefit.”

1. 33% increase in calls received by Lambeth’s revenues & benefits call centre

  • There were 49,793 calls in Mar/Apr 12 compared to 66,292 calls in Mar/Apr 13.
  • This is an increase of 33% (16,499 additional calls)

2.  22% rise in council tax reminder notices issued

  • In April 2012 (11th and 12th) 13,989 Lambeth residents were sent reminder notices
  • In the same period in 2013 that figure had risen to 17,945 residents.

3. In the last four months over 3000 people have attended advice sessions on government benefit cuts run by Lambeth council.

  • Attendees have included residents, advice workers, support workers, council officers, councillors, and health workers.
  • Nearly 200 meetings have been held across the borough, 35 of which have taken place in schools and children’s centres.

4. For more information on Lambeth’s work to support residents who have been affected by welfare cuts click here>> 

5.  Journalists must register in advance to attend the event at Lambeth Town Hall, ‘Has reality bitten yet? “Is welfare reform dividing the nation? The Lambeth perspective’  on Tuesday 7th May 2013 from 10.00 – 12.30. Please email jderrett@lambeth.gov.uk by 17.00 on Mondon 6th May 2013.

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