SPECIAL arrangements have been made in South Cambridgeshire to help deal with an expected rise in welfare enquires.

The district council is make arrangements to help deal with potential questions from more than 3,000 people in the area who will be affected by the Government's reform to the welfare system, which take effect on April 1.

Some residents may need to start paying rent or Council Tax for the first time, whilst others may need to increase the amount they currently pay, SCDC said.

The council is writing to each household affected to let them know what it will mean for them and to advise what information and support is available. Rent letters have already been sent out to council tenants and benefit entitlement letters will follow this week together with Council Tax bills.

To ensure that residents are given the maximum support and advice, SCDC has also put in place a dedicated team of welfare reform advisors who will be available for the next 12 weeks to help people with enquiries. Information and advice is also available on the council's website.

Councillor James Hockney, cabinet member for corporate and customer services, said: "This is a critical time for many of our vulnerable residents who may be affected by one or more of the Government's welfare reform changes and it is important that we do everything we can to provide the support and advice they need.

"We are writing to every household that may be affected and letting them know what support and advice is available, but we would encourage anyone who has concerns or questions on receipt of their letter to visit our website www.scambs.gov.uk where more information can be found. Alternatively they can call us on 03450 450 061. Our dedicated welfare reform phone lines will be staffed from 8am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday for the next 12 weeks to coincide with the letters going out."