Citizens Advice record month for queries over paying bills by Koto Amatsukami AdobeStock_329985936

Data shows the changing picture of the nation’s concerns

Citizens Advice said that it has seen record-breaking demand for advice over the past month. Its website had a 39% rise on the same period last year, with nine million pageviews.

After an initial surge in enquiries about sick pay and redundancy, the charity has seen an increase in people seeking advice on paying bills and accessing benefits.

Over the month, pages on benefits were viewed over 2.2 million times, including just under 750,000 views of the Universal Credit pages.

Advice pages on work, for example sick pay or being furloughed, were viewed 1.6 million times.

Coronavirus was the most searched word on the charity’s website. Followed by people looking for information on Universal Credit and the government’s furlough scheme.

Dame Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“Last month we helped millions of people. Behind each enquiry was a family struggling to pay rent, someone self-employed who could no longer afford their bills, or a person attempting to claim benefits for the first time.

“These personal stories combine to paint a bigger picture of how lives have been interrupted by coronavirus.

“Not only will we continue to help as many people as we can with their individual problems, we’ll use that bigger picture to advocate for change to make sure no one is left behind.”

Top online help pages over the last month

Citizens Advice’s service, which is now only provided via telephone, email and web chat due to social distancing rules, helped 220,000 people one-to-one with specific issues over the last month.

On 20 March, it published a new page on what to do if you can’t pay your bills because of coronavirus. Within two days this was the number one viewed page and it has stayed in the top seven ever since.

Since the charity started recording whether a problem was related to coronavirus, 32,000 people have required help with a query specific to this pandemic.

Half of those wanted help with Universal Credit and a third wanted to talk about employment problems.

The top pages people were looking at for help online over the last month were:

You can contact Citizens Advice on Adviceline: 03444 111 444, Text relay: 03444 111 445 or online.