The number of people helped by Citizens Advice has hit a record high, with the charity calling it “our bleakest-ever start to the year”.
New analysis shows it helped more people between January and April than in the same period of any other year on record.
There were record highs on 70 different advice issues, including homelessness, food bank referrals and debt.
The number of people needing crisis support in just these four months is already higher than in all of 2019 and almost as high as in 2020.
Helping just under 10,000 people each day, Citizens Advice supports 94,000 to access a food bank. This is a 178% increase in the same period in 2020 and includes the support for a substantial number of people in work.
As well as helping those who are homeless, the number of private renters facing an eviction issue during the first four months of 2023 was 49% higher than the same period in 2020.
‘Living on empty’
Dame Clare Moriarty, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “The cost-of-living crisis is far from over. The fact we’ve experienced our bleakest-ever start of the year shows the government cannot afford to turn their gaze away from the issues people are facing.
“Millions of people are doing everything they can but it’s still not enough. Too many people are living on empty, simply unable to pay their bills and put food on the table. And while staff and volunteers in local offices work tirelessly every day to help people, there’s only so much we can do.
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“We can see government support helps, but more is needed in the future for struggling households. For many, life is getting worse, not better.”
During the first quarter of the year, more people faced a bill deficit – where their income didn’t cover their basic living expenses – than ever before. For the first time ever, more than half (51.6%) of people seeking support for debt from Citizens Advice were in this position.