Skip to navigation Skip to content turn2us logoTurn2us - to access benefits & grants.
Search this site

You are here:

Turn2us news archive Couple reading the newspaper

Here you will find details of news stories that have been published on the Turn2us home page and Twitter feed (link opens in a new window).

For an instant update with any of our news posts you can use the RSS link below.

RSS Logo RSS 2.0
2/26/2015 10:37:10 AM

Increase in poverty among young adults over last decade

Find out more about the New Policy Institute research into poverty amount young adults (link opens in a new window)


Research published this week by the New Policy Institute (NPI) finds that 29% of young adults (aged 19-25) in the UK are in poverty. This is six percentage points higher than a decade earlier – the biggest increase of any age group.

Worklessness

Around two thirds of the increase was on account of the fall in employment amongst young adults. In the last 10 years, the proportion of young adults in households where everyone worked fell by 11 percentage points to 44%, with increases in the share of young adults in workless households (3 percentage points) and households where only some members worked (8 percentage points).

Working households

Young adult poverty also increased because of a rise in poverty among working households, and this is linked to housing tenure.

In the last decade, the poverty rate among working households in private rent increased from 21% to 27%, while in other tenures it hardly changed. A likely reason for this is that the earnings of working renters did not rise in line with housing costs resulting in falling disposable incomes.

This had a negative impact on young adult poverty as a high and growing proportion of young adults live in private rented accommodation. Since 2002/03, the proportion of young adults in private rented accommodation increased by 10 percentage points to 37%.

Author's comments

Commenting on the findings, report author Hannah Aldridge said:

“The last decade was the perfect storm for young adult poverty. Unemployment amongst young adults soared and even now it is still three times higher than for other adults. For those in work, a high and growing proportion live in the private rented sector where housing costs are higher. To reverse the rise in young adult poverty there needs to be an increase in young adult employment and more affordable tenancies.”

Find out more about the New Policy Institute research into poverty amount young adults (link opens in a new window)

Source: New Policy Institute press release (26 February 2015): Increase in poverty among young adults over last decade more than double that of other age groups (link opens in a new window)

Turn2us resources

If you are a young person struggling to make ends meet, use the Turn2us Benefits Calculator to check your entitlement to benefits and the Turn2us Grants Search to see if you are eligible for help from a charitable fund, based on your personal background, circumstances and needs.

The Turn2us Information and Resources section contains resources on benefits, grants and managing money, including useful links sheets and a Turn2us Find an Adviser tool to help you find national and local sources of further help.

Also in the news

Education

Homelessness

Date of publication: 26 February 2015

2/25/2015 9:31:44 AM

Nightrider: Give yourself a cycle challenge and raise funds for Turn2us

Information on Nightrider and raising money for Turn2us


Could you take on a cycle challenge and raise funds to help Turn2us help people in financial need? We have charity places available for Nightrider - a unique moonlit charity cycle ride past London’s iconic landmarks - which takes place 6-7 June 2015.

Nightrider: Two routes to choose from

This year there are two routes you can choose from:

  • 100k cycle: Following a signposted route through the capital, highlights will include crossing Tower Bridge, riding through Canary Wharf, around the buzzing Piccadilly Circus, seeing the London Eye lit up and cycling over the crossing on Abbey Road. You can choose to begin and end at either Crystal Palace in South London or the Lee Valley VeloPark in East London.
  • 60k cycle: This shorter route starts and finishes at the Lee Valley VeloPark only. It cuts out the Northern and Southern suburbs and essentially takes in the main iconic sights in central London.

To enjoy this event, you need to be a confident cyclist and able to cycle in traffic (roads are not closed). This event is not suitable for beginners and participants must be over 18.

Raise money for Turn2us/Elizabeth Finn Care

To ride in this event, you must register for your own place (entry fee of £99) or register for a charity place (reduced entry fee of £39).

We will be delighted to welcome you to our team if you can commit to raising a minimum of £175 sponsorship for us.

Enter our charity specific coupon code ELIZABETH at the checkout on the last page of the registration form and the charge for the place will be reduced from £99 to £39. In taking one of our charity places you will be pledging to raise a minimum of £175 for us. As soon as you’ve signed up, we’ll be in touch to help you get your fundraising underway.

If you’d like to have a chat about riding for us in this or any other cycle event, please email Micky Forster on micky.forster@elizabethfinn.org.uk.

Find out more about Nightrider and raising money for Turn2us or Elizabeth Finn Care

Find out about other Turn2us challenge events

Also in the news

Domestic violence

Employment and Support Allowance

Universal Credit

Zero-hours contracts

Date of publication: 25 February 2015

2/24/2015 9:50:38 AM

'The Wrong Blazer' - Parents are fed-up of high school uniform costs

Turn2us Education Costs information


Parents have had enough of paying premium prices for school uniforms, a new report by The Children’s Society has found.

The report, 'The Wrong Blazer: Time for action on school uniform costs', reveals families are spending an average of £251 per year for each child at a state primary school and £316 for a child at a state secondary school.

Much of the high cost is because of school uniform policies that make parents buy specific items of clothing and accessories from specialist shops – rather than allowing them to grab bargains from supermarkets and sew on a badge or logo later.

95% of parents believe they are expected to pay 'unreasonable' amount

The report calls for action from Government to make sure uniforms are more affordable.

Survey of 1,000 parents

A survey of 1,000 parents carried out for the report found an overwhelming 95% of parents believe the amount they are expected to pay is 'unreasonable'.

The survey was commissioned to support the work of the Children’s Commission on Poverty, a panel of young people from across England whose investigation last year exposed the hidden costs of school in the state sector – and how difficult they make life for those in poverty.

Children whose parents cannot afford the price of special uniforms face the humiliation of punishment and bullying for not having exactly the right clothes or kit.

Cost of school uniforms

The new report finds that parents of secondary age children pay the most for school uniform, with shoes the most expensive item, costing £56 annually for each child. They are followed by coats and bags (averaging £55 per year) and sport shoes and boots (£47). Blazers are also pricey, with an average price tag of £42 for secondary school pupils.

Where parents have to buy from a specific supplier, costs are an average of £48 per year higher for secondary school children and £93 higher for primary school children, the report found. Other reasons for high costs include schools requiring many different items of uniform – including coats, different ties for different school years, and multiple items of sports kit.

Based on statistics from the Department for Education on numbers of pupils in state schools, The Children’s Society estimates that parents pay about £2.1 billion per year on school uniforms. That is £1.3 billion more than what parents say would be “reasonable”. And it is despite Government guidance which states that schools should keep the cost of school uniforms down.

Make uniforms more affordable

The report calls for action from Government to make sure uniforms are more affordable. Many low income families find the costs of school uniform a real struggle. Based on responses to the survey, The Children’s Society estimates that more than one million children live in families that have cut back spending on food or other basic essentials as a result of these costs. And more than half a million are living in families that have got into debt because of uniform costs.

The problem of rip-off school uniform policies is not confined to the financial burden on parents. For too many children, it has a real impact on their daily life and education.

The Children’s Society estimates that nearly 800,000 children go to school in ill-fitting uniform because their parents cannot afford to keep buying new items of the correct size. Meanwhile, 400,000 children whose parents could not afford the cost of uniform have been sent home for wearing items deemed to be ‘incorrect’. And a quarter of a million children have had their school chosen partly on account of the cost of the uniform.

It is these children who bear the brunt of school uniform policies which divide children into the haves and have-nots, in some cases leading to children facing bullying and embarrassment.
Create statutory guidance on school uniforms

The Children’s Society is calling on the Government to explore capping the cost of school uniforms to ensure that parents are not paying unreasonable costs, and make guidance on school uniforms statutory so schools have a legally binding commitment to keep uniforms affordable.

Comment from The Children's Society's Director of Policy and Strategy

Lily Caprani, Director of Policy and Strategy for The Children’s Society, said: 'Parents are fed up with paying the costs of stringent and prescriptive school uniform requirements that deprive them of the choice to shop around for prices they can afford. They are digging ever deeper into their pockets to pay for book bags and blazers when what they really want is for their children to receive a good education and a good start in life.

'We know that children whose parents cannot afford the cost of specialist uniforms face punishment and bullying for not having exactly the right clothes or kit. It’s time for the Government to introduce legally binding rules to stop schools from making parents pay over the odds for items available only at specialist shops.'

Source: The Children's Society press release (24 February 2015): Parents fed-up with rip-off school uniform policies (link opens in a new window)

Turn2us resources

If you have dependent children 16 or under, see the Turn2us Expecting or bringing up a child information section. If your children are 16-25 see also the Turn2us information section for Young people.

The Turn2us Educational Costs information section has information about the financial help that is available for those in education, who is eligible, how much you can get and how to apply. This includes Turn2us School clothing costs information.

If you are struggling to make ends meet, use the Turn2us Benefits Calculator to check your entitlement to benefits and the Turn2us Grants Search to see if you are eligible for help from a charitable fund, based on your personal background, circumstances and needs.

The Turn2us Information and Resources section contains resources on benefits, grants and managing money, including useful links sheets and a Turn2us Find an Adviser tool to help you find national and local sources of further help.

Also in the news

Local council cuts

National Minimum Wage

Energy network costs

Date of publication: 24 February 2015

 


2/23/2015 1:41:04 PM

Tax Credits: Letters from Concentrix on behalf of HM Revenue and Customs

x


 

There have been reports in the press about letters that people claiming tax credits are receiving from a company called Concentrix which is currently working with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

HM Revenue and Customs' statement about Concentrix

"From November 2014, a company called Concentrix will be working on behalf of HMRC to check that people are receiving the correct amount of tax credits.

Some tax credits customers will receive a letter that shows both HMRC and Concentrix logos. The letter will tell customers what they need to do, and the information they may need to provide. Concentrix may also contact customers by telephone.

HMRC and Concentrix won’t ask customers to disclose any personal or payment information by text or email. Both HMRC and Concentrix are committed to ensuring the security of customer information."

Source of quote: Genuine HMRC contact and recognising phishing emails guidance (link opens in a new window)

Tax credits and changes of circumstances

The checks HMRC and Concentrix are carrying out are aimed at finding out if your circumstances have changed since you started your claim for tax credits, which is called a 'compliance investigation'.

The amount of tax credits you are entitled to can vary (go up, go down or stop altogether) if there are changes in your family or work life.

This is why it is very important that you report any changes to the tax credit office.

Certain changes must be notified within one month, for example a new partner moving in with you. If you do start or end a relationship you have to make a new claim for tax credits, if you don’t you may receive tax credits you’re not entitled to. If this happens, you may have to repay any overpaid money, and you may receive a penalty. The penalty could be up to £300 if you report a change late or up to £3,000 if you give wrong information carelessly or on purpose.

Read the Gov.uk website information on changes that affect your tax credit entitlement (link opens in a new window)

Reporting a change to the tax credit helpline

You can call the tax credit helpline for advice on tax credits, including telling HMRC about any changes to your circumstances or making a complaint.

Telephone:  0345 300 3900
Textphone:  0345 300 3909
Outside UK:  +44 2890 538 192

8.00 am to 8.00 pm, Monday to Friday
8.00 am to 4.00 pm Saturday

Closed Sunday, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day

Read the Gov.UK information on Tax credits: general enquiries (link opens in a new window)

What to do if you get a letter from Concentrix/HM Revenue and Customs

If you get a letter from Concentrix/HM Revenue and Customs and you want to discuss the contents or the information you have been asked to provide, you can call the company on 0345 600 3130 or write to them at:

Concentrix on behalf of HMRC

PO Box 4949

Lancing BN11 9YS

The tax credit helpline (listed above) may also be able to advise further.

Please note: If you ring Concentrix or the tax credit helpline, you should make a note of who you spoke to, when and what was said in case you need to appeal a decision. If you write, send the letter recorded/signed for and keep a copy of the letter and any correspondence you receive from Concentrix/HMRC. It's important to have that record.

Turn2us would also strongly suggest that anyone receiving a letter from Concentrix/HM Revenue and Customs about their tax credits should seek advice from a benefits adviser.  You can find a local one using the Turn2us Find an Adviser tool.

Source: Gingerbread press release: HMRC compliance checks through Concentrix (link opens in a new window) and Genuine HMRC contact and recognising phishing emails guidance (link opens in a new window)

More information on tax credits

Read the Turn2us Working Tax Credit information

Read the Turn2us Child Tax Credit information

Date of publication: 23 February 2015

2/23/2015 10:26:11 AM

Attend our free Stoke-on-Trent and Crawley intermediaries workshops

Information about Turn2us regional workshops

Are you an intermediary working with people in financial need in the Stoke-on-Trent or Crawley areas?

Want to know how Turn2us tools and resources can help you in your work?

Spaces are still available on our free half-day intermediary workshops to be held:

  • Stoke-on-Trent: Tuesday 24 February  9.30 am – 12.30 pm or 1.30 pm – 4.30 pm 

    Venue: The IT Suite, City Central Library, Bethesda Street, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, ST1 3RS.
  • Crawley: Thursday 26 February  9.30 am – 12.30 pm or 1.30 pm – 4.30 pm 

    Venue: Crawley Library, Southgate Avenue, Crawley, RH10 6HG.

For more information or to book a place, contact Michelle Brookes, Turn2us Training Co-ordinator, at email: training@turn2us.org.uk.

Read more about Turn2us regional intermediary workshops

Date of publication: 23 February 2015

2/19/2015 4:07:01 PM

Rising childcare costs mean working doesn't pay for families

 

Man with daughter


Childcare is now so expensive that families are increasingly better off if one parent gives up work, a major new report by the Family and Childcare Trust has found.

Changes to the cost of childcare

The cost of sending a toddler to nursery part-time has risen by around a third over the past five years, with parents now forced to pay an average of £6,000 a year – £1,533 more than in 2010.

Britain’s poorest families are having to find substantial sums to bridge the gap between childcare costs and the help they can claim under working tax credits. For the first time outside of London, families are finding that the maximum help they can claim of £175 a week does not even cover part-time childcare costs.

Calling on Parliament

As well as an independent review of childcare, the Family and Childcare Trust is calling on any incoming government in the next Parliament to:

  • Merge Universal Credit support for childcare with the tax-free childcare scheme to create a single and fair system.
  • Extend free early education to cover all two year olds and for 48 weeks of the year for all two, three and four year olds.
  • Make early education and childcare a legal entitlement for parents, bringing it in line with a right to a school place.
    Overhaul the free early education funding formula for three and four year olds to make it more responsive to social factors.

The report says: "Over the last five years, while there have been deep cuts to other public services, the coalition government has increased spending on childcare.

"But despite this welcome investment, this year's survey, the 14th in the series, finds childcare prices have continued to increase and the gaps in provision remain unfilled. The reality is that for too many families it simply does not pay to work."

Read the full report

Further information

Read the Turn2us Childcare Costs information

Sources: The Guardian: Cost of childcare so high that it does not pay UK families to work (link opens in a new window) and Childcare charity urges all-party costs review (link opens in a new window)

Date of publication: 19 February 2015

2/16/2015 11:21:15 AM

Universal Credit expands today

Turn2us Universal Credit information


 

The national roll out of Universal Credit (UC) starts today. Single people will be able to claim the new benefit at 150 more job centres over the next two months. The Government hopes to have it available in all job centres in England, Scotland and Wales by 2016.

Citizens Advice: Right support key to Universal Credit roll out success

Citizens Advice says it is concerned about levels of support available to people being moved onto UC.

Research by Citizens Advice with people seeking help from Citizens Advice bureaux in UC pilot areas found that nine in ten of the charity's clients were not ready for UC:

  • One in five did not have access to basic banking
  • More than half said they'll struggle with online applications
  • In the first roll-out area, 78 per cent of all clients needed help with any online form.

Although the Government is working with local authorities to develop Universal Support for UC claimants - offering support such as getting online and budgeting skills - this service is only being tested at 11 sites across the country.

Comment from Citizens Advice Chief Executive

Citizens Advice Chief Executive, Gillian Guy, said:

‘Support for claimants is key to the success of Universal Credit. Research by Citizens Advice shows that nine in ten of our clients need assistance to deal with things like monthly payments and budgeting. 

‘Simplifying welfare and making every hour of work pay are good principles. But we are concerned that as more and more people move on to Universal Credit many may not be able to access the help and support they need to understand the new system. As Universal Credit is rolled out nationally it is vital that proper support is also expanded in order to support new claimants.’

Further information

Read the Turn2us Universal Credit information

Department for Work and Pensions guidance: Details of Universal Credit national expansion tranches one and two 2015-2016 (link opens in a new window)

Sources: BBC News: Universal Credit benefit roll out '£600 million under budget' (link opens in a new window) and Citizens Advice press release: Right support key to Universal Credit roll out success (link opens in a new window)

Also in the news

Dementia

Older people

Date of publication: 16 February 2015

2/13/2015 10:31:18 AM

Cut out the Cold

Information about the Turn2us 'Cut out the Cold' campaign


 

This week saw the end of our fuel poverty campaign, Cut out the Cold, which focused on growing problems that families are experiencing because of rising energy costs. Families on low incomes often have to choose between energy bills they struggle to afford or leaving their heating off and their homes cold. This is having a big impact on children, putting their health at risk and affecting their progress at school.

There is a range of help available have been highlighting as part of our 'Cut out the Cold' campaign.

Go to the Turn2us 'Cut out the Cold' microsite (link opens in a new window)

Also in the news

Benefit sanctions

Domestic abuse

Housing

Date of publication: 13 February 2015

2/11/2015 10:09:06 AM

Northern Ireland Welfare Reform Bill goes to next stage

Turn2us Benefit changes information


 

Members of the Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly have voted the Welfare Reform Bill (Northern Ireland) through to the next part of the law-making process.

The bill is due to be discussed again in the assembly in two weeks' time.

It is thought that the legislation will then be amended to give the Department of Social Development (DSD) the authority to set up schemes to protect people who would lose money because of changes to benefits.

More than £0.5bn is expected to go towards five schemes to help with these changes.

Source: BBC News article: Welfare reform: Bill passes consideration stage (link opens in a new window)

Also in the news

Children

Food poverty

Fuel poverty

Housing

Scotland

Unemployment

Universal Credit

Date of publication: 11 February 2015

 

2/10/2015 9:45:24 AM

Improve the energy efficiency of your home

Turn2us Grants for energy efficiency information


According to the Energy Bill Revolution, a fuel poverty campaign group, Britain’s homes are amongst the worst insulated in Europe. More people die of the cold in Britain than in freezing Sweden, with thousands dying each year unnecessarily of the cold.  The UK ranks second only to Estonia for fuel poverty due to appalling standards of energy efficiency.

Improving the energy efficiency of your home will not only make your home warmer but will also reduce your energy costs.

Grants to help with energy efficiency

If you need help with energy efficiency improvements in your privately-owned or rented home, there are a number of schemes that may be able to help - from the Government, energy suppliers, local councils and other sources.

What is available depends on what country you live in. Some schemes are only available to people on low incomes or certain benefits.

Read the Turn2us Grants and schemes to help with energy efficiency information to find out what is available.

Find out more about the Turn2us 'Cut out the Cold' campaign

Turn2us is highlighting the problems families experience because of rising energy costs through our 'Cut out the Cold' fuel poverty campaign

Families on low incomes often have to choose between energy bills they struggle to afford or leaving their heating off and their homes cold. This is having a big impact on children, putting their health at risk and affecting their progress at school.

There is a range of help available which we are highlighting as part of the campaign.

Go to the Turn2us 'Cut out the Cold' microsite (link opens in a new window) 

Also in the news

Childcare

Discretionary Housing Payments

Northern Ireland

Date of publication: 10 February 2015

Facebook (opens in a new window) Twitter (opens in a new window) YouTube (opens in a new window) Nominet Award - Doing Good Online Highly Commended