Benefits meltdown

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An explosion of calls from worried Sheffield residents struggling with benefits cuts is swamping city helplines and citizens’ advice bureaux, The Star can reveal.

The number of phone calls to Sheffield Council’s contact centre has soared fifty per cent in 12 months.

In the year to April, almost 40,000 phone calls were received from residents desperate for help with changes to their benefits.

Today one Citizens’ Advice Bureau boss said his staff are having to ration help they give.

And Sheffield Council leader Coun Julie Dore sald: “The huge increase demonstrates the Government’s unfair cuts to welfare are hitting Sheffield people hard.”