About Deborah Padfield

Deborah Padfield is a Citizens Advice Bureau supervisor in north Essex. She has previously worked as a CAB adviser in Cambridge and Peterborough, and has lived and worked in the east end of London. She writes in her personal capacity, not as a representative of Citizens Advice.


Articles by Deborah Padfield

This week's editor


Adam Ramsay is co-editor of OurKingdom.

It is bust, so fix it: time to discuss the basic income

Witnessing first hand the problems in our current system of welfare payments, basic income has many attractions. But are the alleged pitfalls justified?

Austerity - update from the front line

The cumulative assault on economic security unleashed by this government have left many just a small mishap away from a cascade of misery. The reality for most claimants is very different to inflammatory media protrayals.

The government is misleading in its claims for Universal Credit

The British government's response to criticisms of its welfare reforms are misleading - the overall picture remains one which will ensure poverty and misery for many through little fault of their own.

Britain and benefit tourism: a story full of holes

What can an EU citizen entering Britain expect from its welfare system? And is this fair? A Citizens Advice Bureau adviser gives us the real story on migrants and benefits.

The new normal: housing and protest in Britain

Action is stirring in response to the country-wide housing crisis. Severe shortage and cuts to housing benefits leave the UK struggling to put roofs over heads. Some local authorities and tenant groups are trying to rebel; they need concerted support.

Britain's 'tough choices': a call for a new approach to welfare

At the Citizens Advice Bureau the real Thatcher legacy can be seen every day: social disengagement, indifference and injustice. It is Thatcherism that needs burying.

Equality before the law: a principle abandoned by Britain

A Citizens Advice Bureau adviser describes how recent 'reforms' to legal aid and cuts to services are impacting on the ground. She has a question: At what point did Britain decide that legal rights don’t apply to poor people? 

The real cost of benefit fraud in Britain

Honest mistakes, personal fraud, organised crime. Where does one end and the next begin?

Falling through the cracks in Britain 2013

Strivers vs skivers. Last week saw a game show-like battle between our politicians over the proposed benefit cap. What do they know? Here, a Citizen's Advice Bureau adviser maps the predicament of Britain's dying welfare state through the lives of those living in the system.

How does Britain treat its modern slaves?

How the UK authorities deal with trafficked women speaks volumes about the values at the heart of our democracy.

A job seeker has set himself alight: how many in the UK are steps from such desperation?

The job seeker who set fire to himself in Birmingham appears to have been driven to this horrific act by an all-too-common glitch in the welfare system. A Citizens Advice Bureau worker explains how such desperation is only steps away for many seeking support from the British state.

Cameron's collective responsibility

David Cameron's welfare speech implored the UK's unemployed to 'do the right thing' and work their way out of hard times. His tough rhetoric and cunning manipulation of statistics fostered a dramatic press responsse. But if the 'welfare crisis' really is a crisis of social responsibility, then this monolithic display of misdirection is symptomatic of how 'responsibility' itself is being mishandled by a hypocritical elite.  

Legal aid and arbitrary power

Today marks the final reading of the legal aid bill in the Lords. If - as seems likely - the bill goes through, 'ordinary people' in Britain will be shocked to discover how thin is their access to law when things go wrong. Deborah Padfield, whose work has for several years been funded by legal aid, considers a measure whose significance echoes through our democratic system.

Benefit cap: a divide-and-rule tactic

26K per family in hand-outs is the limit. Reasonable, isn't it? How else do we get Britain off benefits? A Citizens Advice Bureau adviser gives her views from the ground.

Child neglect: welfare benefits and child carers

The plight of young carers in Britain is described by a benefits adviser at Cambridge Citizens Advice Bureau.

The human cost of flexible labour

There is a new dangerous class in the UK: the precariat. Flexible hiring and firing is scarring a generation who want to work, causing an increase in mental health problems and making it harder for people to rejoin the labour force.

Through the eyes of a benefits adviser: a plea for a basic income

Constant fear, routine humiliation, no escape: this isn't prison, but life on incapacity benefit in the United Kingdom. There is another way: one that respects human dignity.

Universal credit: fair for whom?

New changes intended to simplify the UK's welfare benefit system could have negative consequences. While the government moralises about "individual responsibility", its policies will entrench poverty for some

Who’s responsible? Our final ‘Report from the Poverty Line’

We conclude our series of 'Reports from the Poverty Line' with a call for a reassessment of who contributes to society, and who is parasitic. Why can't we look at the wealth-generating potential of the poor, and the costs of the rich to the health of our country?

Living with Fear: Part 4 of 'Reports from the Poverty Line'

Deborah Padfield, a citizen’s advice bureau adviser, returns to report from the poverty line. In the fourth of a series of five posts, she describes the debilitating levels of insecurity under which benefits claimants, and especially those with disabilities, are often forced to live

Get ’em off benefits? Part 3 of 'Reports from the Poverty Line'

Deborah Padfield, a citizen’s advice bureau adviser, returns to report from the poverty line. In the third of a series of five posts, she examines the drive to get claimants off benefits. Should we be deterring state 'scroungers', or helping the 'work-hungry' masses into employment?

Fraud’n’error: tax avoidance and evasion. Part 2 of 'Reports from the Poverty Line'

Deborah Padfield, a citizen’s advice bureau adviser, returns to report from the poverty line – a part of Britain that is outside David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’. In the second of a series of five posts, she describes how politicians and the media would much rather focus on benefit fraud than the far bigger problem of tax avoidance and evasion .

Living under the benefits regime: Part 1 of 'Reports from the Poverty Line'

Deborah Padfield, a citizen’s advice bureau adviser, returns to report from the poverty line – a part of Britain that is outside David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’. In the first of a series of five posts, she describes the benefits regime under which state beneficiaries lead their lives.

Legal aid reform proposals: immoral, inefficient and anti-democratic

Deborah Padfield, a Citizens Advice Bureau specialist adviser, offers a systematic breakdown of the potentially disastrous effects of proposed cuts to legal aid. She concludes that the cuts not only risk leaving the most vulnerable without access to the law, but in many cases may increase public sector costs, as cases are left until they reach crisis point.

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