BENEFIT claimants across Flintshire are struggling to afford essential bills, a charity has found.

New data from National Citizens Advice reveals that 49 per cent of benefit claimants have struggled to meet the essential costs such as rent, household bills and food.

Figures also show that 40 per cent of people are losing sleep due to money worries.

The charity is calling for increased financial support for people claiming benefits as it finds that two in five people have less than £100 at the end of each month, after paying for essential bills.

Data from Citizens Advice Flintshire (CAF) reveals that of the 1,239 people it helped with issues relating to legacy benefits, 55 had council tax debt and 101 had rent or mortgage arrears.

Salli Edwards, Chief Officer of CAF, said: “Too often our frontline staff and volunteers see how the benefits system is not working for people in times of need.

“People on benefits who come to use for help are often struggling to cover everyday costs and bills, which can cause spiralling debts and sleepless nights.”

Of the 917 people CAF helped with issues relating to Universal Credit, 86 had council tax debt and 138 had rent or mortgage arrears – almost double that of legacy benefits.

CAF has added its voice to the call for urgent solutions from the government, including ending the freeze on benefit rates.

They are also calling for the reductions of the five-week wait by bringing forward the first non-repayable payment to no later than two weeks into a Universal Credit claim.

Ms Edwards added: “We want the government to take urgent action and reduce the five-week wait for Universal Credit and end the freeze on benefit rates.”