Surrey Welfare Rights Unit has released its Impact Report covering 2018/19 – the year when Universal Credit finally made its debut in the county. And also the year – 2019 – of the 80th anniversary of the Citizens Advice service.

The Unit which, as a member of the Citizens Advice service, reports its advice to welfare claimants and others delivered an overall value – in terms of direct and indirect financial outcomes – of more than £4.25m including £40,335 of savings for the NHS.

Describing its service, Surrey Welfare Rights Unit says: “Funders ask why the local Citizens Advice service can’t help the clients we support. The answer is that local Citizens Advice offer generalist advice; and those services are excellent. Most have no funded casework service and those that do are restricted by geography or funder priorities. The Unit’s services are part of the advice services landscape. We exist to provide justice for clients who face the most discrimination, the most intractable benefit problems and to ensure our advice partners can get on and help their clients.”

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said: “Since the very beginning, Citizens Advice has been at the forefront of providing free, confidential, independent advice. We started giving advice in 200 locations on 4 September 1939, the day after World War Two started. But these services didn’t wait for people to find them — instead they ventured out into some of the areas worst affected by the Blitz to find those in need. They gave advice to whoever needed it on a range of issues including evacuation, what to do if they’d lost their home and how to get a new ration book.

“As we mark 80 years of Citizens Advice we are more determined than ever to provide the advice and support that people will need over the next 80 years and beyond. Because that’s why we’re here; to give people the knowledge and the confidence they need to find their way forward — whoever they are, and whatever their problem.”