Press release

CHESHAM & AMERSHAM’S MP TACKLES WORK & PENSIONS SECRETARY ON BEHALF OF CHESHAM CITIZEN’S ADVICE BUREAU

Delays within the Department of Work and Pension’s telephone system are leaving vulnerable claimants without access to the information they need, Rt Hon Dame Cheryl Gillan MP told the House of Commons on 2 July.

The information had emerged during a recent visit by Dame Cheryl to the Chesham Citizens Advice Bureau.

Tackling the Work & Pensions Secretary at Question Time, the Chesham & Amersham MP said:

“Vulnerable claimants often consult their local Citizens Advice Bureau. On a visit to the Chesham CAB, staff told me that the fixed-term, timed appointments for their clients are often taken up by them hanging on to the SWP telephone line for up to 25 or 30 minutes, and then the time for the appointment has expired.”

Dame Cheryl asked the Secretary of State, Rt Hon Esther McVey MP, to look at the telephone system and try to improve its efficiency and effectiveness, “so that CAB advisers can instantly access the advice that they need to help these clients to make universal credit go smoothly”.

Esther McVey responded:  “ My Rt Hon. Friend, who does so much for people in her constituency and particularly those with autism, raises a very good point. We will look into exactly what we can do to do that for the Citizens Advice Bureaux, as we have a very good working relationship with them.”

“ I hope things will improve swiftly so that claimants and advisers will be able to get through more quickly and access the information they need,”  commented Dame Cheryl.