Council helps unlock £1million of income for citizens affected by cost of living crisis

Published: Tuesday, 9th May 2023

More than £1million in increased benefits have been unlocked for Birmingham residents as a result of advice and information services being offered during extended opening hours by the city council.

The million milestone has been reached in the six months since Erdington Advice Centre and Northfield Customer Service Centre began operating specifically for cost of living issues from 4.30pm until 7pm on Tuesdays and 10am until 1pm on Saturdays.

As of April 29, a total of 753 residents had been supported to maximise their income for an estimated combined total of £1,016,364 in additional benefits and grants over the next 12 months.

Of these, 201 made use of the walk-in service, 326 attended on pre-booked appointments, while the remaining 226 were contacted by the advisors on duty through targeted outbound calls to people who had recently received a Local Welfare Provision payment or food bank voucher from the council, to assess what further support may be available.

Cllr John Cotton, Cabinet Member for Social Justice, Community Safety and Equalities at Birmingham City Council, said: “Everyone in the city, regardless of their previous circumstances, has been affected by the cost of living crisis over the last year – but the impact for our most vulnerable has been particularly concerning.

“That’s exactly why we responded quickly to assemble a wide-ranging package of support including the extended opening hours for advice at our Erdington and Northfield offices.

“Although smashing the £1million barrier for income maximisation is a time to recognise the hard work and tireless dedication of our talented and experience advice teams, it is also a moment for serious reflection.”

Cllr Cotton has written to Mel Stride MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, to offer some insight and findings from the Birmingham experience via the NAIS extended hours, with an offer to collaborate on sustainable solutions that ensure people obtain the benefits they are legitimately entitled too as soon as possible.

Cllr Cotton added: “Simple changes, like extending opening hours can make a huge difference and it’s helped more people in Birmingham to get the help and support they are entitled to.

“But it’s clear there is much more that needs to be done – so now is the time for the Government, other agencies and local councils to come together and work on the other steps we need to take to ensure people get the right help, at the right time, and before they are plunged into a full-blown crisis.”

Extended hours are also being offered via the council’s contact centre for those who are unable to make face-to-face meetings or prefer using the phone.  If you are experiencing immediate problems, please call the Contact Centre 0121 303 1116. The opening hours are Monday to Friday from 9am to 7pm, and Saturday 10am to 1pm.

The council’s website also has a wide range of advice and information, including details on initiatives being supported via the Help in Brum campaign.

To find out more, visit:

rating button