Beware of Spring Tax Scams

Why are scammers likely to target taxpayers in spring?

HRMC is warning taxpayers to be wary of springtime scams. From March to May last year, there were a quarter of a million reports of scams. HMRC had to shut down around 6,000 websites operating tax scams. As this is the time of year when HMRC is genuinely contacting people about tax rebates, they anticipate another surge in tax scams.

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What will happen to UK passports after Brexit?

From the buzz about blue passports to the loss of free movement within the EU, there is a lot of concern amongst the British public over what is going to happen to our passports when the UK leaves. Brexit is going to happen whether the British government secures a deal by 29th March or not. If there is no deal then it will be a total disaster. However, there are already guidelines in place for the future of UK passports and their use when travelling in the EU. These will apply regardless of a Brexit deal or no Brexit deal. Read this guide to learn about UK passports after Brexit.

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PIP Refusing To Recognise Invisible Chronic Illnesses

There have been countless cases over the years of people struggling with ‘invisible’ chronic illnesses not being able to receive the correct and necessary benefits from the government. Sufferers are left with no income when their illness stops them from working but the government’s assessments say they are fit to work and refuse any financial help.

pip invisible chronic illness

What is an Invisible Chronic Illnes

A chronic invisible illness is an illness that affects people every single day but can often be overlooked by the eye as sufferers often do not look phsyically unwell. It is used as an umbrella term for illnesses that are usually neurological. Some of these illnesses are Fibromyalgia, CRPS/RSD (complex regional pain syndrome), chronic fatigue, rheumatoid arthritis, autism and mental illness. As the title, invisible chronic illness is an umbrella term it covers hundreds of illnesses that thousands of people struggle from in the UK.

PIP and Their Unfair Assessments

PIP (personal independence payment) is a benefit funded by the UK government that is supposed to help those who suffer from long term ill-health or disability. The issue people have experienced with the assessment of this benefit is the fact that the assessors are not medical professionals and that they often ignore letters from GP’s and specialists who deal with those affected by these illnesses and still choose to not grant them PIP.

PIP assessments are usually 30 minutes long and for someone with an invisible chronic illness this is not enough time for the assessors to understand the pain they experience every single day.

There have been many petitions brought forward from those who suffer from an invisible chronic illness who have been denied PIP along with other benefits which have gained tens of thousands of signatures but people who suffer from these illnesses have seen no change in the government’s policies and are still being refused assistance.

New Maternity Plan is Announced by the Government

new maternity plan announced by the government

The government has recently issues a plan to ‘improve the safety, quality and continuity of care to halve stillbirths, maternal and infant deaths and serious brain injuries in new-born babies by 2025.’ This plan aims to redesign the neonatel services with expansions in staff which will include expert neonatel nurses and specialist with new roles for allied health professionals.

The health and social card secretary Matt Hancock made a statement regarding the new plan saying he would like ‘our NHS to be the best place in the world to give birth’ and that they ‘will take steps to ensure every expectant mother is supported – from pregnancy, to birth, to those critical first months of parenthood – with a comprehensive package of personalised, high-quality support.’.

He also addressed the plans to digitalise the ‘red book’ which is used to store child health records, stating that ‘in this digital age we need to keep page with the times. So, from birth, each child will now be able to start life using the best of modern technology – in a way that’s easier for parents and fit for the future.’.

Speaking about stillborn, maternal and infant deaths Hancock said ‘great care also means safe care, but sadly too many women are still suffering the unimaginable tragedy of losing a child. We are committed to saving 4,000 lives by 2025 by halving stillbirths, maternal and infant deaths and serious brain injuries in new-borns.’.

Some of the measures that will be taken due to the new plan will include:

  • Digitising the paper child health record known as the ‘red book’.
  • Piloting digitisation of maternity records for 100,000 women by the end of 2019 to help women make more informed choices about their care in a more convenient way.
  • Improved accomodation for critically ill new-born babies and support dedicated care co-ordinators from 2021 to 2022.
  • Wider availability of physiotherapy for the 1 in 3 women who experience incontinence after child birth.
  • Asking all maternity services to deliver an accredited, evidence-based infant feeding programme in 2019 to 2020 such as the UNICEF Baby Friendly initiative.

The plans are backed by the increase in funding by £20.5 billion every year by 2023 to 2024 for the NHS.