Industry Research : Council Sees Rise in Call Centre Demand Due to Benefit Cuts
Lambeth Council has reported a 33% rise in demand upon its call centre since the government's benefit cuts kicked in on 1 April. The number of calls made to its revenues & benefits call centre rose from 49,793 calls in March/April 2012 to 66,292 calls in March/April 2013.
And the council says that there has been a 22% increase in the number of its residents receiving reminder notices on their council tax accounts.
The council has also revealed that 3,000 people have attended advice sessions the local authority has been running on the coalition's welfare reforms. The figures have been published ahead of a council-hosted conference on the impact of welfare cuts being held today at Lambeth town hall.
Council leader, 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."
Cllr Paul McGlone, cabinet member for finance and resources, 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 one in six Lambeth residents who are directly affected by the government’s cuts to welfare including housing and council benefit."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Tuesday, March 26, 2013