How Gypsy, Roma and Traveller groups are a policy blindspot and why this needs to change – a Citizens Advice Blog

“…overlooked, under-served by policy, and under-researched.”

That’s how National Energy Action (NEA) described the lack of policy engagement with Gypsy, Roma, Traveller groups (GRT) and people who live nomadically. The consequences of this long standing policy blindspot are stark and ongoing.

The NEA’s report showed that GRT groups are more exposed to fuel poverty than the wider population. Early government support for energy bills was not effective in reaching GRT groups and this problem was addressed after advocacy from GRT charities.

At Citizens Advice we’ve been looking at the impact of the cost-of-living crisis and its impact on marginalised clients. Our series An Unequal Crisis has looked at racially minoritised groups, disabled people and impacts on mental health.

In our final blog of the series, I look at what our cost of living data shows for GRT groups. This includes an overview of the clients we see, fuel poverty and foodbank use. I’ll start by reflecting on a key challenge facing policy makers: the lack of robust data on GRT groups. This is as much a problem of exclusion and discrimination as it is of research methods.

Gypsy, Roma, Traveller

GRT is an umbrella term for Romany Gypsies, Scottish Gypsy/Travellers and Irish Travellers. GRT groups are very diverse. They have different histories, nationalities, ethnicities, and religious beliefs. But they often have a shared history of nomadic lifestyles. This means GRT groups face similar challenges even where people are living in static homes rather than sites. This includes systematic racial discrimination which contributes to poor outcomes for GRT groups.

GRT groups face some of the sharpest inequalities in income, health, housing, employment and education. Post exclusion and digital exclusion are also significant barriers for people to access support. Romany Gypsies, Scottish Gypsy /Travellers and Irish Travellers are protected by the Equality Act. This means authorities should consider how policy decisions impact them as part of the Public Sector Equality Duty.

But the example of early government energy bill support showed that’s not always the case. GRT groups are more exposed to fuel poverty because those who live on sites or roadsides don’t have a direct relationship with an energy supplier or may use alternative fuel sources like energy bottles.

This wasn’t factored into the Energy Bill Support Scheme launched in 2022 which was designed for people with a domestic electricity connection. The oversight was addressed by the Alternative Fuel Payment Scheme, and the Energy Support Scheme — Alternative Funding rolled out later in February 2023.

This delay in supporting those more exposed to rising energy prices was an example of policy making “as usual”. The failure to account for marginalised groups who face many overlapping disadvantages due to racial, gendered and ableist inequality means policy solutions can be partial by design.

Where’s the data?

A vital lesson from anti-racist work in the UK has been using demographic data to map the experiences of different groups. This allows us to understand the type and extent of disadvantages racially minoritised groups face in different areas like health, education, housing or the labour market. This data is used to advocate for policies that improve outcomes for racially minoritised groups. At least that’s the theory.

Being able to tell different kinds of stories in policy means we can advocate for different kinds of change.

There are a couple of barriers to having more robust data on GRT groups. It has not always been an option for people to identify as GRT in demographic data collection. This means it’s hard to track outcomes for GRT groups across policy areas. It’s only since 2011 that ‘Gypsy or Irish Traveller’ was an option in the census. ‘Roma’ was included as recently as 2021.

Despite advocacy by the Traveller Movement, the NHS is an ‘example of poor practice’. In the NHS there is no option for people to declare as GRT. The charity Families, Friends and Travellers (FFT) say the ‘starkest inequalities in healthcare access and outcomes’ are on issues such as life expectancy, disability and mental health. But a tailored approach to healthcare is more difficult to attain because of their ‘invisibility in mainstream datasets’.

“Romany and Traveller people face life expectancies between 10 and 25 years shorter than the general population.”

FFT also argue that GRT groups may be ‘reluctant to disclose ethnicity for fear of experiencing discrimination within services.’ This compounds already patchy data collection efforts. It means the experiences and outcomes of GRT groups are underreported in health, education, employment, and housing.

These are not only issues of data collection methods that are not inclusive. The slow pace of change to include GRT groups is itself a product of the long standing discrimination. The social exclusion experienced by GRT people in society is reproduced by exclusion from being counted as groups protected by the Equality Act.

What do we know?

At Citizens Advice our data is impacted by small sample sizes. We see fewer GRT clients than we might expect according to the 2021 census data. We’re also updating our ethnicity categories to reflect the ONS and include “Roma” for future data collection.

Since October 2022, we’ve seen just under 1,300 Gypsy and Irish Traveller clients versus 168,000 of all other racially minoritised clients. This makes it difficult to do comparisons that show robust disparities between white and racially minoritised groups as we’ve done elsewhere.

The data we do have supports the findings of the NEA, the Traveller Movement and Friends, Family and Travellers. I’ve also used Evidence Forms created by advisors at Local Citizens Advice that provide qualitative detail about our clients.

Irish or Gypsy Traveller people we’ve helped

  • Between Oct 22- Oct 23, we’ve seen more Irish or Gypsy Traveller women (68%) than men (32%).
  • 65% of Irish or Gypsy Traveller clients have a disability or long term health condition (65%). This is a higher rate of disability (physical, mental health or illnesses lasting or expected to last 12 months or more) when compared to 19.3% of people in England and 21% in Wales according to the 2021 census.
  • This is also a higher rate of disability when compared with all clients coming to Citizens Advice of whom 47% have a disability or long term health condition.
  • This trend is driven by people who require support to apply for the disability benefit Personal Independence Payment (PIP) — the top issue for all our clients. Irish or Gypsy Travellers also come to us for this issue more than the rest of our clients (26% vs 20%).
  • Accessing Food banks is the second most common advice issue for Gypsy and Irish Travellers. Evidence Forms show that Gypsy and Irish Traveller clients are spending more of their income on rising fuel costs and less on food which is driving food bank use.
  • Charitable support is most commonly sought by Gypsy or Irish Traveller women (76%), of which (43%) are lone parent households.
  • The third issue Gypsy and Irish Traveller clients come to Citizens Advice about is fuel related. We see clients struggling with the increased cost of gas and electricity on sites, lack of access to government support, energy arrears and the need for fuel vouchers.
  • Schemes like the Household Support Fund which are meant to be for vulnerable families dealing with the cost-of-living crisis are inaccessible to those without a fixed address like many GRT people.

What next?

At Citizens Advice we’ve been sounding the alarm about how this winter might be worse than the one just gone by. The energy price cap is still 60% higher than winter 2021. With no more direct government support people can expect to pay the same, if not more, for their energy this winter.

For GRT groups unable to access support and struggling with the increased cost of living, the situation is more challenging. One thing which should be addressed immediately is ensuring support designed for those struggling with the cost of living is accessible to people without a fixed address or who are digitally excluded.

In the longer term, data collection needs to improve in order to bolster the ability of government, regulators and local authorities to understand and address the disparities. Improved data can and should lead to the provision of more targeted and specialist support for GRT groups.

Editor’s Note

This blog is shared by kind permission of Dr Nadya Ali, Senior Policy & EDI Officer, Citizens Advice.

The cost of-living-crisis — a new nightmare normal: a blog from Citizens Advice

Welfare policies are pushing people into the red.

Our latest data insights shows that people are still struggling to afford daily living costs. The data we have for the last quarter, released today, shows that the cost-of-living crisis is no longer a crisis, but a terrifying ‘new normal’ of people living on empty.

The number of people we’re helping to access food banks continues to rise. This is a clear sign that the impact of the April/May Cost of Living payments is wearing off — and presents worrying signs for the winter. We’re now helping more than 830 people every month with an emergency food bank referral.

At the same time we’ve helped a record number of people who can’t afford to top up their prepayment meter this year. By the end of September, we’ve already helped more people who can’t top up their prepayment meter this year than we did for all of 2022 — and 2022 was higher than the previous ten years combined. If someone’s prepayment meter is not topped up, then that means going without light, electricity, heating and the means to cook and store food.

People are cutting back wherever they can. But rising costs are forcing many to stop spending on essentials completely, leaving them cut off from key services like broadband and car insurance.

Negative budgets are pulling everyone into the red

Essential living costs are continuing to outpace incomes as half of the people we help with debt are in a negative budget, with more going out each month than they have coming in.

Our latest Living on Empty report reveals that the number of people employed and in a negative budget has grown considerably over the past few years. This is the case for people across all different types of employment, whether self-employed, working part-time or full-time. We’re increasingly seeing people in full time work who previously had enough to make ends meet, being pushed into the red — the number of people in this group in a negative budget has gone up by nearly 12% since the start of 2019/20.

We’ve also seen mortgage holders, another group who used to break even each month, being pulled below the negative budget threshold.

The increasing challenge for groups we’ve previously helped less often with debt issues to meet daily costs underlines the widespread impact of the cost-of-living crisis. It’s fundamental that the Government acts quickly to bring down essential costs and make sure incomes keep pace with living costs.

Our data continues to highlight how the cost-of-living crisis is hitting marginalised groups harder. Among the people we help with debt advice, a higher proportion of People of Colour are in a negative budget than white people.

Pre-existing structural inequalities have resulted in racially minoritsed groups being disproportionately impacted by rising bills and inflation, while facing additional barriers to financial recovery and rebuilding financial resilience. These figures starkly underline the urgent need for the Government to address disparities in living standards and income.

Unwelcome records

Living with a negative budget means being forced into debt is the only way to cover crucial living essentials. We’ve raised the alarm that arrears for household bills have created a ticking debt timebomb. Our most recent data shows just how close this is to going off, and that for many households, it already has.

This quarter, levels of rent and council tax arrears are the highest they’ve ever been among the people we help with debt advice, while energy debt remains at a record high. Unwelcome records continue to be broken showing how households have no way of stopping debt, let alone begin to pay them back. For so many people, this impossible situation means bailiffs banging at the door, the constant threat of eviction and risk of homelessness, and being trapped in a spiral of debt it’s impossible to stop or get out of.

What could be worse?

Knowing that the very policies intended to support you are keeping you there.

Welfare policy pushing people into the red

Deductions and sanctions to Universal Credit (UC) have pushed many households further into debt.

People with a low income applying for UC to support them with living costs face up to a 5 week wait for their first payment. During this time they can apply for an advance to help them. However, this is a loan which has to be repaid.

Deductions for this are taken as a priority from their monthly payments — meaning they don’t receive the full amount of financial support they’re entitled to until it’s paid back.

People claiming UC can also be faced with sanctions. These are deductions from UC for missing an appointment with a job coach or not fulfilling other mandatory work search requirements in your claimant commitment. This, again, reduces the amount of much needed financial support people receive.

We’ve analysed the data for the people coming to us who receive UC and are subject to sanctions, and found that it’s virtually impossible for someone with a sanction to break even each month. Any kind of sanction pushes someone deeper into a negative budget, and consequently, deeper into debt.

Policies surrounding deductions and sanctions and frozen Local Housing Allowance (LHA) have contributed to them not having enough money to buy food, forcing them to rely on foodbanks and charitable support.

These policies are keeping people trapped in a cycle of poverty and debt it’s very hard to get out of. They also place people under considerable stress. We know the impact poverty and the cost-of-living crisis has on mental health. The worries people have about maintaining access to food, housing and good health are heightened when their financial situation is placed under more stress by benefit deductions.

The scale of this stress becomes even more stark when you consider that we rarely help someone with just one issue. Problems are complex and most of the people coming to us have several interlocking issues which make their situation very tricky to navigate.

The people we see face a confusing web of many different issues, as you can see in the chart below. For example, half (50%) of the people we help with rent arrears, also need help with Council Tax Arrears. This causes a lot of worry, and makes working through them an even more challenging task.

Frontline insights are key to good policymaking

Looking at our latest data insights and the stories of the people we see everyday it’s clear how aspects of the welfare safety net, intended to support them, cause harm and make it even harder for them to get back on their feet.

Our insights from the frontline drive our assessment of policy and the development of our policy asks. That’s why we’re calling on the Government to reduce the rate at which deductions are made to benefit payments — to repay budgeting advances and advance payments etc — and ensure benefits to be uprated in line with inflation in the Autumn statement. We’re also calling for the Government to unfreeze LHA and introduce an enhanced Warm Homes Discount to provide immediate support to people this winter.

If the Government doesn’t take immediate action to support people, our figures for the next few months are only going to get worse.

Editor’s Note

This blog, first published on October 10th, was reproduced by kind permission of India Walden, Policy Research Assistant at Citizens Advice.

Annual General Meeting November 2023

Citizens Advice South Warwickshire AGM

Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of Citizens Advice South Warwickshire (a Company Limited by Guarantee) will be held at Venture House Business Centre, Avenue Farm Industrial Estate, Birmingham Road, Stratford on Avon, CV37 0HR,  on Thursday 16th November 2023 at 11.15 am for the following purposes: 

Ordinary business

  1. To receive and adopt the Report of the Directors and Trustees and Financial Statements for the year ended 31 March 2022, together with the Independent Examiner’s Report. 
  2. To appoint Independent Examiners and to authorise the Trustees to fix their remuneration.  
  3. Election and re-election of Trustees. 


Special business 

There is no special business. 

By order of the Board

Charity Number 1106631    

 A Company Registered by Guarantee Number 5168480


Protect Yourselves from Loan Sharks – national campaign week.

This week, October 24th-October 31st, is national ‘Stop Loan Sharks’ week. This is a national public awareness campaign organised by the England Illegal Money Lending Team (the ‘loan sharks team’) aimed at raising awareness of how to spot loan shark activity, how to stop loan shark activity and how to report loan shark activity.

In their own words:

“Every year the England Illegal Money Lending Team run Stop Loan Sharks Week. The aim is to get a message out through all our partners. This year’s theme is ‘People pretending to be something they are  not’. 

We have picked this theme as 56% of people we have supported over the past year believed the illegal lender was their friend at the time at which they took out the loan. We want to encourage people to question if this is the case. 

We have also heard of lenders pretending to be associated with legal lenders that have closed and want to highlight that there are places to go to check”.


Lending can cause people to feel a bit self conscious or embarrassed; especially if they feel they aren’t able to make repayments and start to feel under pressure from lenders. However, illegal lending, ‘loan shark activity’*, can involve much more than embarrassment.

It can also happen to anyone. According to recent research…

  • 48% of borrowers were in some form of employment;
  • 60% of borrowers went without food or fuel to repay a loan; and,
  • 1 in 5 borrowers didn’t tell their partner.

Asking for help can be scary. People don’t often choose to borrow from an illegal lender, but many might take up the offer of a small loan from someone who appears to be a well-meaning friend. False friends can make it seem like they are doing you a favour, but quickly turn nasty.


Illegal lenders are masters of disguise and can draw you in under false pretences. They might tell you they work or worked for a credible organisation but the truth is they are hiding behind a fake mask of respectability. You can check your lender is authorised with a quick look on the Financial Conduct Authority’s website – at . Taking a few minutes to check could be the best decision you ever make.

It can be hard to tell if a relative, friend, neighbour or colleague is involved with a loan shark. If you think you know someone who could be involved with a loan shark, or you think you have been targeted, call @SLSEngland on their 24- hour hotline 0300 555 2222 or visit  and use their live chat feature. 


Finally, a common misconception when reporting a loan shark is that they will find out you’ve talked. This is a myth; the @SLSEngland hotline and live chat feature mentioned above are both anonymous and confidential. Communications are secure and secrecy is guaranteed. 

Please remember, by reporting a loan shark you are not only helping yourself get to a better financial situation, you are helping others to not end up in the same position.

Help the loan shark team stop loan sharks. Go to and find out more about this campaign.


(*a loan with no paperwork, extortionate interest rates, use of bank cards as security and threats of violence).

National Consumer Week 2023 – Top Tips to make Black Friday and Cyber Monday work for you.

In the world we live in today, for lots of people, there seems to be no ‘rush’ higher than the feeling of spending money. For good, or ill, it makes the world go around.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday, on November 24th and November 27th respectively, represent both the height of temptation – coming, as they do, only weeks before Xmas – and the height of risk for those unwilling to apply reasoning to their spending.

Citizens Advice is supporting National Consumer Week this year to help consumers through this difficult period. Between October 16th and October 22nd they are promoting key messages to help consumers avoid the pitfalls of spending too much, spending without an understanding of their consumer rights, and spending in ways that could cause long term harm.

Below are well known, but worth remembering, top tips for making Black Friday and Cyber Monday work for you.

1. Check online payments are secure – ensure ‘https’ (the ‘s’ stands for secure) and a padlock icon are present in the browser bar.
2. Know who you are buying from – if buying from a company you have not used before, check reviews and previous customers’ feedback. If in doubt, don’t buy.
3. Be wary of suspicious web links – avoid clicking on email web links. These may direct you to fake (but realistic looking) websites. It is better to type in the website address yourself. Again, if you’re not sure, don’t do it.
4. Know your return rights – remember, with goods bought online, you have a 14 day cooling-off period to cancel most types of orders, return the items and get your money back.
5. Choose the best payment method – paying by credit card for single items costing £100 and over gives you valuable legal protection if goods do not arrive, are faulty, or do not match the description. Paying by credit or debit card for orders costing less than £100 also gives you protection using your card provider’s voluntary ‘Chargeback’ scheme.
6. Know your delivery rights – before you buy, check the company delivers to where you live, the cost and the expected delivery timeframe.
7. Make sure you are spending responsibly – try to remember, a purchase is only a bargain if you needed it!
8. Set a sustainable household budget – try to spread your (pre) Xmas spending over several weeks so you aren’t going short on essentials or building a ‘debt hangover’ for January and February.

(source: The Consumer Council, 2019 –

For more information on your consumer rights and protections in general visit the Citizens Advice website at .

For information on spotting, stopping and reporting scams visit your local council’s website and enter the search terms, ‘Trading Standards’ or ‘scam prevention’.

For more consumer protection advice geared specifically to Black Friday and Cyber Monday go to .

Finally, if you want to know more about CA’s National Consumer Campaign 2023, go to and enter the search term, ‘National Consumer Week’.

According to research published by Citizens Advice in July, one in six people (8.5 million) ended up buying something online last year they didn’t want, need or came to regret because of online shopping traps used by some retailers.

Nobody wants to turn down a great deal before Xmas. Make sure you are in the know before making costly decisions.

Ed Hodson
‘Citizens Advice working in partnership across Warwickshire’.

Homelessness Prevention Awareness Week and ‘World Homelessness Day’

Tuesday October 10th is internationally recognised as ‘World Homelessness Day’ .


To mark this day, and the importance of this issue, we are setting out a series of daily messages this week through social media and via our partners to highlight key statistics around homelessness, top tips for renters, and guidance for those in mortgage arrears; finishing with putting a spotlight on a specific issue blighting new tenants across the country – the inconsistent provision of essential furnishings, such as flooring and window coverings.


Threatened homelessness is on the increase, driven by rising rents, inadequate benefit levels, and the knock on impact of cost-of-living pressures on household budgets. However, public, and political, discourse around homelessness often focuses only on the relatively few street homeless (ie ‘rough sleepers’) to the exclusion of thousands and thousands of those living in temporary accommodation, emergency accommodation (such as refuges), or ‘sofa surfing’.


If you want to understand the real numbers of those without a secure roof over their heads, how this is broken down into families and singles, and what the barriers are to accessing affordable suitable and secure accommodation take a look at, respectively, CRISIS’s ‘Homelessness Monitor’ and the findings of St Martin-in-the-fields’ ‘Annual Survey of Front Line Housing Sector Workers’.


Despite recent, and legitimate, concerns over the impact of rising mortgage rates on homeowners, tenants in social or private rented accommodation continue to be much more insecure in their housing.


As a response to potential cost-of-living pressures this winter the government has updated and re-published its ‘How to Rent Guide’. This is a must read for new tenants or for those supporting tenants.


Recent mortgage interest rate rises have, nevertheless, left homeowners with either substantially higher monthly payments or faced with difficult remortgaging decisions. This is causing tremendous stress and anxiety as well as heightened financial difficulties.


For those with mortgage arrears, or those worried about generating mortgage arrears, help is out there. Citizens Advice provides impartial and independent advice and guidance for struggling households on this and related housing issues. ‘Moneyhelper’ also provides valuable money management help around mortgage payments.


The path away from street homelessness usually starts with placement in temporary social or council housing, or low cost private rented accommodation. In an increasing number of cases tenants are being placed in unfurnished properties or, even if basic fixtures and fittings are present, in accommodation with no flooring or heat insulating window coverings (such as curtains or blinds).


We, and many others, believe this ‘furniture poverty’ is unacceptable. If you are unaware of this issue, and the impact it has on tenants, read the recent report from Altair entitled ‘Lesson 2: the tenants’ perspective’. If you want to know more about, or actively support, the wider campaign go to the website of the charity End Furniture Poverty and see how you can help.


Finally, if you work in the front line of the housing and homelessness sector, and want to have your voice heard (as well as gain access to training funds and other benefits), visit St Martin-in-the-fields website and consider joining their Front Line Network.



Almost 430,000 young people urged to claim unclaimed Child Trust Fund cash – a press release from HMRC

The article below is reproduced in full from a Press Release shared by HM Revenue & Customs on September 18. To see the original version go to .


According to a Press Release from HM Revenue & Customs, hundreds of thousands of young adults could have an average of £2,000 waiting for them in their unclaimed Child Trust Fund account. The press release continues as follows:

Almost 430,000 18-21 year olds with an unclaimed Child Trust Fund, worth an average of £2,000, are being urged by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to claim their cash as part of UK Savings Week (18 to 24 September 2023).

Child Trust Funds are long-term, tax-free savings accounts and were set up for every child born between 1 September 2002 and 2 January 2011, with the government contributing an initial deposit of at least £250. Funds can be withdrawn once the account matures when the child turns 18.

A recent student survey, conducted by UCAS, asked first and second year university students about Child Trust Funds and the results showed that they were most interested to know how much money was in their account (43%) and how to claim it (32%). The survey also revealed 60% of students got their information about Child Trust Funds from their parents.

Young adults and parents can search on GOV.UK to find out where their Child Trust Fund account is held.

Angela MacDonald, HMRC’s Second Permanent Secretary and Deputy Chief Executive, said:

Many 18-21 year olds are starting out in first jobs or apprenticeships, starting university or moving into their first home and their Child Trust Fund is a pot of money with their name on. I would encourage young people to use the online tool to track it down or, for parents of teenagers, to speak to them to ensure they’re aware of their Child Trust Fund. It could make a real difference to their future plans.

There are currently 5.3 million open Child Trust Fund accounts. Young people aged 16 or over can take control of their own Child Trust Fund, although the funds can only be withdrawn once they turn 18. More than 500,000 matured Child Trust Fund accounts have been claimed or transferred into an ISA since the oldest children on the scheme turned 18 in September 2020.

Families can continue to pay up to £9,000 a year tax-free into a Child Trust Fund until the account matures. The money stays in the account until the child withdraws or reinvests it into another account.

The UCAS survey revealed that 74% of respondents were aware of Child Trust Funds.

Further findings include:

  • more men (75%) were aware of Child Trust Funds compared to 73% of women
  • 78% of 19 year olds were aware of Child Trust funds compared to 71% of 20 to 21 years olds
  • of the people who had not yet claimed their Child Trust Fund, 76% of respondents were likely to take steps to learn more about how to withdraw it.

Sharon Davies, CEO of Young Enterprise, said:

We would encourage all young people to investigate if they have money which is unclaimed in a Child Trust Fund and to use it wisely. A disproportionate amount of the money is unclaimed by young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who are the very people who would benefit most from these funds. The investment could be placed into an adult ISA or put towards driving lessons, education or starting a business.

The money in a Child Trust Fund has the potential to be life changing and the lack of knowledge about them shows the importance of financial education and financial planning from a young age.

The government is offering help for households. Check GOV.UK to find out what cost of living support you could be eligible for.


Further information

More information on Child Trust Funds and how to access the money can be found on GOV.UK.

Latest figures for Child Trust Funds were released on 22 June 2023 and include figures up to April 2022.

The Child Trust Fund scheme closed in January 2011 and was replaced with Junior Individual Savings Accounts (ISA).

If a parent or guardian was not able to set up an account for their child, the government opened a savings account on the child’s behalf.

If teenagers or their parents and guardians already know who their Child Trust Fund provider is, they can contact them directly. This might be a bank, building society or other savings provider.

UCAS surveyed 1,130 first and second year students in the UK between 6 and 20 July 2023. The survey was conducted on behalf of HMRC.

Young Enterprise is a national charity who specialise in Enterprise Education and Financial Education and are a trusted and valued provider of knowledge, resources and training to anyone teaching young people how to manage money. Young Enterprise works directly with young people, teachers, and volunteers, with the support of corporate partners, to build a successful and sustainable future for all young people.

Young Enterprise’s vision is to ensure that every young person is provided with the opportunity to learn the vital skills needed to earn and look after their money. Any investment to improve young people’s financial literacy not only pays huge dividends to their lives, but their families, their communities and to wider society.

Young Enterprise is partnering with Wealthify to launch free tools for teachers, designed specifically for young people to understand Child Trust Funds, and how they could make best use of them for their future.



National ‘End Digital Poverty’ Day

Today, September 12th 2023, is national ‘End Digital Poverty’ day. Below are some key points about what the issue is, who is driving the campaign, and what we can do to support it together.

How to define ‘Digital Poverty’

The Digital Poverty Alliance – see below – define ‘digital poverty’ as “the inability to interact with the online world fully, when, where and how an individual needs to”. 

Digital poverty exacerbates wider poverty, divides society socially and culturally, and generates economic and social inequalities. While it continues, the ability of society to move forward together remains uncertain.

What is ‘End Digital Poverty’ day?

End Digital Poverty day is a nationwide initiative, driven by the Digital Poverty Alliance, dedicated to raising awareness about the pressing issue of digital poverty in the UK; it is an opportunity for all to come together to address this urgent issue head-on. 

By working together on this the hope is to raise awareness, promote practical actions, and rally support from individuals and organisations to make a tangible difference.

The work of addressing digital poverty goes far beyond this one day.

Digital Poverty in Four Numbers

When thinking about digital poverty it can be hard to recognise its breadth and scale; especially if you personally are not affected by it. The Digital Alliance promotes 4 statistics that try to break through that veil and highlight how this issue should be put into context. 

According to them:

  • 1 in 5 children homeschooling during the pandemic did not have access to an appropriate device like a laptop;
  • 26% of young people currently do not have access to a laptop or similar device;
  • 56% of people offline can’t afford an average monthly broadband bill; and,
  • 2.5 million people are behind on their broadband bills.

This is an urgent issue generating a growing divide.

What does Digital Poverty mean to our communities?

Here, in local Citizens Advice offices across the country, we know as well as anyone the issues and impacts of digital poverty in our communities. 

Whether in the form of a lack of digital access, a lack of digital literacy, a lack of digital support infrastructure, or as the victims of growing forms of digital discrimination we see clients everyday unable to obtain or retain their entitlements from government, exercise their legal rights, or secure what they have paid for via public and commercial service providers. 

Effective and cheap communication, vital information gathering and sharing, and the ability to hold others accountable are essential in the proper exercise of legal rights and societal norms. 

Values which underpin the aspirations of a modern society such as equal access to the law and being able to compete on a level playing field in the ‘markets’ for employment and training, education, health and housing services are all undermined if commonplace service provision becomes ‘digital-by default’ before those that need support the most have become ‘digital-by-default’ themselves. 

Digital poverty is a classic “something must be done” issue. ‘End Digital Poverty’ day is an attempt to raise awareness of that and give interested parties the opportunities to make their contribution to this non-political cause.

To find out more about how you can support this campaign, today and in the future, go to 


Editor’s Note

Most of the content for this piece was extracted from the campaign website of the Digital Poverty Alliance. 

The Digital Poverty Alliance was established in 2021 by the Learning Foundation, Currys plc and the Institute of Engineering and Technology.  

It is now funded by donations from the public, organisations, and charities across the UK. It does receive government funding.

In their own words they “convene, compel and inspire collaboration for the UK & global community to lead sustainable action against digital poverty”, working to end digital poverty for all by 2030.

For more information on the Digital Poverty Alliance go to .

Citizens Advice Across Warwickshire warns consumers to protect themselves from ID Theft in the run up to Xmas

As the digital-by-default online delivery of public, as well as commercial, services becomes common the threat, and potential impact, of ‘Identification Theft’ only increases.


At the same time, as online vulnerabilities increase, it is important not to forget the range and sophistication of offline threats.


Below is a brief explanation of what is commonly meant by the term ‘ID Theft’, how it can be spotted and how you can protect yourself, your family and friends from avoidable exposure.


What is the difference between ID Theft and ID Fraud?

Action Fraud describes Identity Theft as happening when fraudsters access enough information about someone’s identity (such as their name, date of birth, current or previous addresses) to commit a fraud. Identity theft can take place whether the victim is alive or deceased. Identity theft is often a precursor to fraud but is not considered a recordable crime in itself.


Action Fraud describes Identity Fraud as the use of that stolen identity in criminal activity to obtain goods or services by deception. Fraudsters can use your identity details to:


  • Open bank accounts.
  • Obtain credit cards, loans and state benefits.
  • Order goods in your name.
  • Take over your existing accounts.
  • Take out mobile phone contracts.
  • Obtain genuine documents such as passports and driving licences in your name.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) states that your identity is one of your most valuable assets. If your identity is stolen, you can lose money and may find it difficult to get loans, credit cards or a mortgage.

Your name, address and date of birth provide enough information to create another ‘you’. An identity thief can use a number of methods to find out your personal information and can then use it to open bank accounts, take out credit cards and apply for state benefits in your name.


Top Tips to Spot Efforts to Steal Your Identity


The ICO identify a number of signs to look out for that may mean you are or may become a victim of identity theft:

  • You have lost or have important documents stolen, such as your passport or driving licence.
  • Mail from your bank or utility provider doesn’t arrive.
  • Items that you don’t recognise appear on your bank or credit card statement.
  • You apply for state benefits, but are told you are already claiming.
  • You receive bills or receipts for goods or services you haven’t asked for.
  • You are refused financial services, credit cards or a loan, despite having a good credit rating.
  • You receive letters in your name from solicitors or debt collectors for debts that aren’t yours.


How to Protect Yourself and Others from ID Theft.


The ICO believe following the steps below will significantly lower the risk of falling prey to ID Theft:


  • Store any documents carrying personal information – such as your driving licence, passport, bank statements, utility bills or credit card transaction receipts – in a safe and secure place.
  • Shred or destroy your old documents so that nothing showing your name, address or other personal details can be taken.
  • Monitor your credit report and regularly check your credit card and bank statements for suspicious activity.
  • When you move house, contact your bank, credit and store card providers, mobile phone provider, utility providers, TV licensing, your doctor and dentist etc, and give them your new address – you don’t want the new tenants to have access to letters containing your personal information. You can also redirect your mail by contacting Royal Mail.
  • Remember, less is more. The less you give away about yourself, the lower the risk of information falling into the wrong hands.
  • Think before you buy online – use a secure website which displays the company’s contact details, look for a golden padlock symbol and a clear privacy and returns policy. Check the web address begins with https.


What Do i Do if i’m a Victim of ID Theft

If you think you are a victim of identity theft or fraud, act quickly to ensure you are not liable for any financial losses.

  • Report all lost or stolen documents, such as passports, driving licences, credit cards and cheque books to the organisation that issued them.
  • Inform your bank, building society and credit card company of any unusual transactions on your statement.
  • Request a copy of your credit file to check for any suspicious credit applications.
  • Report the theft of personal documents and suspicious credit applications to the police and ask for a crime reference number.
  • Contact CIFAS (the UK’s Fraud Prevention Service) to apply for protective registration. Once you have registered you should be aware that CIFAS members will carry out extra checks to see when anyone, including you, applies for a financial service, such as a loan, using your address.


With Christmas coming, cost-of-living pressures mounting, and online service provision increasing, it has never been more important to protect your personal details from fraudsters and scammers. Don’t let fraudsters steal your identity.




Editor’s Note.

The content above is drawn from a combination of two published sources from key stakeholders and experts in the field. These are:


Action Fraud 


Information Commissioner’s Office 


For more information on how to report information about Identity Theft contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit: 


For an alternative explanation of ID Theft, ID Fraud, and how to spot and report it go to Which? at: