Pension Credit Helps To Boost Income

If you are over the age of 66, do you like the sound of being able to boost your income by an estimated £1,700 a year? Experts say that an estimated three million people could see their bank balances boosted simply by claiming all that they are entitled to. As much as five billion in pension top ups goes unclaimed, often simply because older people are too ‘proud’ to get the help on offer. Other pensioners told researchers that they found the process to be too complicated or personal, whereas some people just did not know they were entitled to the money.

However, the research found that claiming a package of pension credit, council tax discounts and housing benefit could line their pockets with an extra £1,716 per year. Yesterday, a pension specialist urged those close to retirement or already retired to make sure that they get what they are entitled to. She said that the current pensioners built Britain up to what it is today, so they should not have to scrape by. She said thPension Credit phone numberat women especially have very small incomes.

A new report which was commissioned by Age UK and found that one in 10 pensioners would not be able to pay a £200 bill if they were hit with it unexpectedly. Statistics showed that one in four over 65s feel financially worse off than they did last year, with a third worried about the cost of living in general. A spokesperson for the charity said that Age UK helps people every day claim what they are entitled to.

The basic state pension is £113.10 a week for a single person. However, if the person’s total income is below £148, they could get a top up as part of Guarantee Credit from the Pension Credit scheme. Those who have saved towards their pension can get Savings Credit. Even if the person’s income is not boosted a lot by this credit, it opens the door to other benefits such as Council Tax reductions and housing benefit. They are also eligible for free NHS prescriptions and eye tests, as well as getting Cold Weather payments after a spell of bad weather.

 

Labour Leader Rallies UK Businesses To Help Rebuild Economy

Labour leader Ed Miliband made a public attempt to rally UK business leaders earlier this week by telling them they are ‘vital’ Labour-businesses-UKto bringing prosperity to Britain.

As well as laying out plans for a national infrastructure commission in order to build more airports and roads, Mr. Miliband addressed businesses and business-leaders, saying that their “entrepreneurship and inventiveness” is vital to putting the British economy back on track.

In what was his second major intervention in the UK economy this week, the party leader claimed that the recession would not be resolved by returning growth to the economy alone.

In addition, he went on to suggest that the problems facing Britain were actually in existence before the 2008 banking crisis.

[quote]Unless we change the way we do things, we simply will not create the high-paying, high-skilled jobs needed to improve the condition of our country, and the rewards of growth will be unfairly shared.”[/quote]

the Labour leader said. He stated that Labour would “build prosperity” and “rebuild faith in business and in [British] politics” for the future.

Mr. Miliband has come under considerable pressure lately over his party’s plans for the economy and for Britain’s place in Europe, and has been criticised for having a lack of ambition and radicalism in matching the policies of the opposition.

In particular, his policies have been described as ‘anti-business’ by some critics, which could affect how his message is received by companies and business-owners.

However, the MP admitted:

[quote]I know we won’t always agree on everything and I won’t just tell you what you want to hear either.”

What I want to offer however is a clear, one-nation mission for the country. You as British businesses are vital to this mission because of your entrepreneurship, your inventiveness, and your ability to change people’s lives through the power of your ideas.”[/quote]

As the general election draws nearer, Labour has promised it will balance the books by 2020, and raise the top rate of tax to 50% to help reduce the deficit.

It has also warned however of plans to cut spending in order to reach its goal, should it regain power.

The Conservative Culture Secretary Sajid Javid, however, dismissed the promises as “the same old Labour”.

[quote][It’s] just offering more spending, more borrowing and more taxes,”[/quote]

he remarked.

[quote]Its clear Ed Miliband is too weak to take the difficult decisions needed to secure Britain’s future.”[/quote]

 

Skills-Based Volunteering Is ‘Best Way’ For Businesses To Make A Difference

Skills-based volunteering is being newly hailed as the most effective way for businesses to make a difference to their communities, a company-volunteeringreport says.

Using the natural skills of employees, which often relate to the roles they play in the company, can be a better way to contribute to local charitable causes than simply offering general tasks or manual labour. The new claim follows Business in the Community’s (BITC) Give & Gain Day 2014, which saw 14,343 employee volunteers from 186 companies take part.

The annual volunteering initiative is a chance for companies to give back to their local communities through group activities and maintenance. Traditionally this has involved manual labour, but more recently there has been a trend towards skills-based volunteering, such as mentoring and employability workshops.

Offering services related to employees’ natural skills has been found to be a much more effective way to really make a difference, allowing workers to implement the skills and knowledge they use in their jobs every day. Simon Lucas, managing director of executive search firm Society, said:

[quote]We really wanted to something that other people can’t. It just feels more meaningful. Anyone can do some gardening, but the skills-based stuff is very specific to what we do day-today and it feels like a more worthwhile use of the day.”[/quote]

London is said to have seen a ten-fold increase in the proportion of skills-based volunteering at Give & Gain over the last two years, with more businesses choosing to employ services unique to them. Lucas says he still believes there is a place for all types of volunteering, but that skills-based activities have a particularly ‘potent’ effect.

He also says:

[quote]When people are doing something they are familiar with, they can collaborate even more closely. The team building element becomes even more successful.”[/quote]

Meanwhile, BITC’s head of community investment Stephanie Hagan agreed that there is “growing recognition” for businesses using their skills to make a real impact.  She added that many businesses are now able to make a solid case for employee volunteering on the bases that it boosts employee engagement, retention and collaboration.

Also taking part in Give & Gain day 2014 was Lloyd’s Banking Group, where 5000 of its staff offered services like CV training as well as more traditional volunteering activities. Head of colleague engagement David Littlechild reported that the activities indeed raised the company’s people metrics significantly.

[quote]Our research shows that colleagues who have participated in activities like this are significantly more engaged than those who have not been involved.

This is reflected in greater satisfaction, pride, advocacy and intent to stay, as well as positivity towards growth and development opportunities within the company.”[/quote]

Liberal Democrats Promise Bonus For Carers

nickcleggClose to one million carers are being promised an annual bonus in proposals set out by the Liberal Democrat party. The party’s leader and deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said their manifesto for the next general election will include a promise to increase Carer’s Allowance for each claimant.

It will go up by £125 every year reaching £250 by 2020. The extra money will be paid to carers who have been receiving state support for 12 months. This extends to 85% of claimants.

Nick Clegg praised the ‘superhuman’ work being done by what he called a ‘hidden army’ of carers in the United Kingdom. The leader said:

[quote]Carers are Britain’s unsung heroes – up and down the country behind closed doors, you’ll find a hidden army of carers doing amazing things every day. It is estimated that six in ten of us will at some point in our lives find ourselves caring for someone else – an elderly relative, a sick child, a friend who needs our support. Obviously this makes a massive difference to the people being cared for – but Carers UK calculated that it saves us a whopping £119 billion every year – more than the entire NHS budget[/quote]

However, Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats have given no indication of how £130 million will be raised in order to support this scheme. Some have feared that it will lead to cuts elsewhere in the welfare budget.

The Liberal Democrats do not have a good record of following through on their word either. Their main campaign pledge to not raise student fees was broken when they joined a coalition with the Conservative party in the last general election. It sparked outrage from those in higher education. The Lib Dems later lost all but one of their MEPs in the European election sinking them to fifth place behind the Green Party with 6.9% of the vote.

Nick Clegg continued:

[quote]These are people who deserve our support even in these straitened times, which is why the Liberal Democrat manifesto will include a Carer’s Bonus to give them a little extra help. It is completely up to the carers themselves how they spend it – it is a no strings attached bonus from a party that is grateful for the superhuman work they do.[/quote]

He suggested that the money could be spent not only on those who need care, but treats for the carers themselves who might need a break.

HMRC Sends Renewal Warning To 1.5 Million People

taxcreditsClose to 1.5 million people living in the United Kingdom and receive tax credits have less than one month to renew their claims. If they do not, the claimants risk having their payments ceased according to warnings by Her Majesty’s Revenue And Customs.

The British tax authority is giving UK residents the opportunity to renew their tax credits online for the first time ever. It must, however, be completed ahead of the deadline on July 31st.

To do so, they are being told to visit the government’s Renew Tax Credits page on their official website. It can also be done via a free HMRC mobile app that is new and available to download from the Apple and Google app stores.

Those who do not wish to renew their tax credits by these new online methods are still able to do it via traditional methods. They can write to Her Majesty’s Revenue And Customs by post or call the helpline for tax credits.

At the start of July, 135,000 people had submitted the renewals for their tax credits over the internet. Her Majesty’s Revenue And Customs revealed that the satisfaction with the government’s website was 96%.

The warning reminder comes after 650,000 people failed to renew their tax credits before last year’s deadline. This is also the major reason Her Majesty’s Revenue And Customs has implemented its new online system — people now have no excuse for missing it.

The director general of benefits and credits at Her Majesty’s Revenue And Customs, Nick Lodge, said:

[quote]Loads of people have already renewed their tax credits claim online, and have found it quick and easy to do. We have now made it even better and are encouraging everyone to renew online if they can, at a time that suits them. The most important thing is to renew before the 31st July deadline, so as not to risk losing your money.[/quote]

Her Majesty’s Revenue And Customs distributed its tax credit renewal pack to 5.8 million people at the beginning of April. It asked those who use tax credits to check how accurate the information about the claim is. It also demanded that people provide any new information about their circumstances including working hours, childcare costs and annual pay.

Most of the people who received these packs will not have to make any amendments and their claims will automatically be renewed. This occurs if there has been no change for a long period of time. 1.5 million are set to make changes though.