Residents of south Bristol will have an opportunity to talk with local money experts to check they are receiving all their financial entitlements, when MP Karin Smyth organises the latest of her free community events on Friday 22 July.
Research by the Labour MP shows that around £16 million per year in Pension Credit, and upwards of £20 million in Income Support, goes unclaimed by Bristol residents each year.
The Bristol South MP took practical steps earlier this year to help people she represents check they are not missing out when she ran a special event which nearly 100 people attended. Its success means she is now repeating it, this time at the City of Bristol College, South Bristol Skills Academy (SBSA) in Hengrove.
“It’s only fair that if you work hard and contribute to society, through taxes and other means, the system is then there for you when you need it,” says Karin Smyth.
“It’s clear that, whilst many people rightly claim what they are entitled to, some miss out. So I’m again bringing together a number of Bristol’s financial specialists to give first hand advice and information to local people at a free community event on Friday 22 July.
“Organisations including Age UK, The Royal British Legion, Care & Repair, Bristol Citizens Advice Bureau, South Bristol Advice Services, The Department for Work and Pensions, and the city council’s benefits team will be there to help.
“They are experts at navigating the processes and are very keen to help, so I felt it would be a good idea to get them together and invite local people to come and have a chat individually, over a cup of tea or coffee,” she added.
STOP PRESS: Representatives from Bristol Water and Wessex Water will also attend to advise on their low rate tariffs and on help available with water bills for those on pension credit.
“Free parking will be available, and those using public transport are reminded that the South Bristol Skills Academy is served by bus numbers 36, 50, 51, 75, 76 and 90, with a bus stop right outside.” (more details of ‘how to get there’ are at the foot of this page)
The charity Age UK calculates that nationally up to £3.7 billion goes unclaimed by older people each year and whilst the primary focus of the event will be older people, all will be welcome.
“Staggering amounts are involved, and what makes this even more striking is that it’s money that people are eligible to receive, having contributed through taxes and other means,” Karin Smyth adds. “If this was rightly claimed, just think what it could do to help the lives of those who are entitled to it. Think too of the positive impact it would have on the local economy when people spend it. I think it’s got to be worth trying to boost local take-up.
“Sometimes people are not fully aware of what they should be able to receive, and when the rules and regulations change, as they often do, it can be really difficult to keep on top of things. And when you are having a hard time financially it feels so much harder to navigate the paperwork.”
Karin Smyth’s next financial entitlement event takes place at City of Bristol College, South Bristol Skills Academy, The Boulevard, Hengrove Park, BS14 0DB from 10.30 am – 12.30 on Friday 22 July. Attending organisations will have separate tables in a market-style layout in the main hall. There is no need to book a place.
How to get there
South Bristol Skills Academy (SBSA) is served by bus numbers 36, 50, 51, 75, 76 and 90. There is a bus stop right outside the Skills Academy.
There are secure lock-up cycle facilities at SBSA.
If using an online street map or sat nav, please use BS14 0JZ, which is the postcode of Constellation Europe Ltd, the building next to SBSA on Whitchurch Lane.
Free parking will be available to those who wish to attend. As you drive into The Boulevard, SBSA will be on your right. Then take the first right turning into Christopher Brain Street. The car park is at the end of Christopher Brain Street.