By Kevin Unitt Thursday 17 January 2013 Updated: 22/01 08:56
THE BOSS of Leamington's Citizens Advice Bureau fears "horrendous" benefit reforms will make 2013 extremely hard for those struggling to make ends meet across the district.
The bleak forecast was made by CAB Leamington's manager Hilary Holland this week in the face of more cuts and radical changes to welfare reforms being made by the government.
She told the Observer: "January is always a busy month for us because in December people invariably try to bury their problems for a while.
"But I'm still shocked by the number of people we are seeing who are ill - physically or mentally - yet have been declared fit to work.
"There are some pretty horrendous changes coming down the line too. The real benefit reforms haven't even kicked in yet so I think 2013 is going to be really tough year for many people.
"So many people are already priced out of renting and buying property in this area, an issue I've been going on about for a long time, so it is only going to get worse when housing benefit changes come in."
But she added there was always help at hand for those struggling.
"As we always say, it is never too early or too late to ask for help, and taking charge of your situation is a positive start toward sorting things out."
Conservative MP for Warwick and Leamington, Chris White, insisted the cost of benefits had risen to "unsustainable levels" in recent years which unfortunately meant tough choices had to be taken.
He added: “I appreciate concerns about the Government’s welfare reforms and I believe that we need to support people through these changes by providing resources for our local Citizen Advice Bureau.
"I want a welfare system which is sustainable and rewards people who work whilst providing a safety net for those who need help."
For more advice and information visit www.adviceguide.org.uk.
To contact Leamington CAB call 0844 855 2322.
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