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Advising Londoners Report

05 August 2020

Many Londoners left without access to advice as the social welfare advice sector reaches crisis point, even pre covid-19

Research by the Advice Services Alliance (ASA) has found that increasing numbers of people in London seek advice for welfare benefits, debt, immigration and employment issues even before the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

The research, which is evidenced in the ‘Advising Londoners’ report, found that 75% of respondents identified gaps and shortages in social welfare advice in their area.

Disability Rights UK and a number of it’s London based member organisations participated in the research, while Michael Paul, Head of Advice & Information, was also a member of the research advisory group.  He said:

“It’s always been clear that the advice sector, which plays a vital part in supporting Londoners by filling gaps left by cuts to services, is oversubscribed but under resourced. This report, the research for which was carried out prior to the coronavirus pandemic, evidences that in real terms. The immediate, and likely long term impact of the pandemic means the sector will continue to play an increasingly important role in helping Londoners address their needs. Policymakers need to build this into planning to ensure Londoners get the advice they need. ”

Lindsay Poole, Director of the ASA, said “This is a pivotal moment for policy makers and funders across London to understand the needs of their communities and to place the eco-system of organisations in the advice sector at the heart of the recovery from Covid-19 and lockdown. There is a desperate need for the government to support the advice sector, which provides a lifeline to people facing crisis and alleviates strain on public services. Demand for advice could be reduced if government departments took measures to resolve their systemic failures and reverse welfare cuts. The opportunities to open up new relationships and new ways of working are very real and we very much hope that the findings of this report will help rebuild and reshape access to advice for all Londoners”             

The report, including foreword, can be accessed by clicking here.