High volumes of benefit calls

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Advice centres have been inundated with calls from residents concerned about the impact of benefit changes in South Holland.

Since the changes came into effect on Monday, both South Holland District Council and the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) have reported high volumes of calls.

The changes include:

l The introduction of a £26,000 cap on the amount of benefits a household can receive

l A cut to housing benefit for working-age social housing tenants whose property is deemed to be larger than they need

l Disability living allowance replaced by personal independence payment

l Working-age benefits and tax credits to rise by one per cent - a below-inflation cap

A spokesman for the district council said: “We have experienced a high volume of calls on Tuesday, partly because of the benefit changes, annual council tax billing and the Easter Monday Bank Holiday coinciding with the start of the financial year.

“We would urge people concerned about the welfare changes to check on the South Holland District Council website, where they can use the online council tax support calculator and look through advice on housing benefit and council tax support.”

Yesterday, the CAB reported a full day of appointments. A receptionist said: “We’ve been really busy - and this is early days. Once the benefit changes kick in we are expecting to get even busier.”

Advice on benefits and council tax is available by visiting http://www.sholland.gov.uk