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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).

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October 2010 Posts

10/1/2010 11:35:45 AM

Equality Act 2010 - Turn2us

Citizens Advice website (link opens in a new window)New UK laws to stop discrimination and encourage equality come into effect today under the Equality Act 2010.

The legislation strengthens some rights that already exist to ensure that a person is not discriminated against because of their age, disability, race, religion/belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or because they are a carer.

New rights are also introduced. For instance, if you are caring for someone who is ill or has a disability, the Act protects you against direct discrimination or harassment because of your caring responsibilities. Carers are already protected from this kind of behaviour at work, but the new law also protects you if you are a carer when you shop for goods, ask or get services and/or use facilities such as public transport.

For general information on the Equality Act 2010, see the Citizens Adviceguide website (link opens in a new window)

See_the_Citizens_Advice_carers_guide (link opens in a new window PDF file size 232kb) for more information on what the Equality Act 2010 means for carers.

10/4/2010 9:19:04 AM

Child Benefit cuts - Turn2us

Turn2us Child Benefit information sheetThe Chancellor, George Osborne, has announced today that high earners will be no longer be able to claim Child Benefit from 2013,

The cut applies to people on the 40% and 50% income tax rates (i.e. families earning around £44,000+). It will save around £1 billion.

More information on Child Benefit

10/5/2010 11:55:47 AM

£26,000 cap - Turn2us

Family sitting at kitchen tableA £26,000 a year cap on the total value of benefits received by households where the parents are unemployed was announced by the Chancellor, George Osborne at the Conservative Party Conference yesterday.

He said that this would mean that unless they have disabilities, no jobless family will be able to claim more in benefits than the income the average working family earns.

The cap will be applied through the Housing Benefit system in most cases.

10/6/2010 10:03:49 AM

The Legal Ombudsman for England and Wales - Turn2us

Legal Ombudsman for England and Wales website (link opens in a new window)If you live in England and Wales and have a complaint about legal services you have received, the Legal Ombudsman opens today. This is a new impartial, independent service that aims to help people resolve legal complaints in a fair way.

It is available, free of charge. to all members of the public, very small businesses, charities, clubs and trusts.

What type of complaints does it get involved in?

The types of complaints about legal services that the Legal Ombudsman can get involved in, include:

  • Wills
  • Family law (e.g. divorce)
  • Personal injury
  • Buying and/or selling houses
  • Intellectual property
  • Criminal law
  • Civil litigation
  • Immigration
  • Employment issues.

The Legal Ombudsman might investigate complaints where your lawyer has:

  • not done what you instructed them to do
  • involved you in unreasonable delays
  • given you inaccurate or incomplete information
  • failed to reply to your phone calls and letters
  • failed to give you enough information about what they'll charge you before they begin your case or give you the final bill
  • failed to keep you informed about what is going on
  • disclosed information about you which you wanted kept confidential
  • put their interests or another client's interests before yours.

The service does not cover complaints about the legal advice you received from a lawyer or disappointment you might feel because you don't agree with the outcome of a court case.

What will it do?

If it decides the service you received was unsatisfactory, the Legal Ombudsman can ask the lawyer and the firm to put it right. If it thinks that the lawyer provided you with a reasonable service, it will explain why.

Most complaints can be resolved informally. but a formal investigation will be carried out if thought necessary. However the service does not have to investigate every complaint it receives, for instance if it thinks the problems you experienced only had a slight impact on you.

Once a Legal Ombudsman's decision is accepted, it can make sure the lawyer does what it says is needed.

More information

For more details of the service and how to contact it, see the Legal Ombudsman's website (link opens in a new window)

If you live in Scotland and have a complaint about legal services, you need to contact the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (link opens in a new window).

If you live in Northern Ireland and have a complaint about legal services, you need to contact the Law Society of Northern Ireland (link opens in a new window)

10/7/2010 12:29:55 PM

Are you a carer? - Turn2us

Elizabeth Finn Care carers survey (link opens in a new window)Are you a carer or have you been a carer in the past 12 months?

Can you spare just 10 minutes of your time to help us learn more about the issues that affect you by filling in our carers survey.

Turn2us is part of a charity called Elizabeth Finn Care, which wants to raise awareness of the issues faced by carers in poverty. As winter approaches, the survey aims to gather information how seasonal changes affects carers.

Data from the survey will be used in a confidential manner to highlight the needs of carers to energy companies, policy makers, charitable funds, intermediaries and others working with carers.



10/8/2010 10:34:52 AM

WaterSure and Welsh Water Assist - Turn2us

Press release about the WaterSure Scheme and Welsh Water AssistTurn2us is urging people in severe financial need who live in England or Wales and struggle to pay their water bills to check their eligibility for help from the WaterSure Scheme (England) or Welsh Water Assist (Wales).

These schemes help people on certain welfare benefits who are finding it difficult to pay their water charges because they:

  • use a lot of water because they have certain medical conditions, or
  • have three or more dependent children under the age of nineteen.

People who meet the criteria for help under these initiatives can have their water bill capped at the amount of the average household water bill for their water company. In some cases, being accepted for this scheme can halve the amount they have to pay.

Read our press release about the WaterSure Scheme/Welsh Water Assist

Read our information sheet on the WaterSure Scheme/Welsh Water Assist

10/11/2010 9:57:32 AM

Graduate tax proposal scrapped - Turn2us

Earlier news blog item on graduate taxThe Government has decided not to introduce the proposed graduate tax to fund higher education. This was announced by Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, at the weekend.

This means that he has accepted the case for higher tuition fees - a move that is likely to spark major protests by students and academics. There are concerns that the fees - currently £3,290 - may more than double.  Although figures of £10,000-12,000 are being suggested, the likelihood is that the government will try to limit the amount to £7,000.

Read our previous news blog item on the graduate tax

10/12/2010 9:54:52 AM

In-work poverty on the rise in London - Turn2us

London Poverty Profile website (link opens in a new window)The recession has accelerated the growth of in-work poverty in London, according to a report by the charity Trust for London (link opens in a new window) and the independent 'think tank' New Policy Institute (link opens in a new window). There are also more children living in poverty who come from working families than those who live in jobless households.

London's Poverty Profile, released yesterday, measured families living on incomes that are under 60% of the average income - the official definition of poverty used by Government and many organisations working in the field. The report used an 'after housing costs' measure because housing costs in London are disproportionately high.

It found that:

  • London still has the highest rates of child, working age and pension poverty of any region in England
  • Over half of London's children and adults of working age who are living on a low income are from working households - over 300,000 more than 10 years ago
  • 44% of children in Inner London and 37% of those in Outer London live in low-income households, compared with 30% for the rest of England
  • Poverty rates are highest in Inner London for all ages. They have however declined since the late 1990s
  • Child and working age poverty has risen in Outer London. Pensioner poverty has fallen more slowly than any other part of England.

For more information, see London's Poverty Profile website (link opens in a new window)

10/13/2010 11:44:03 AM

Winter weather scams and older people - Turn2us

Turn2us information sheet on scamsThe Office of Fair Trading and Age UK are warning older people to be wary of rogue doorstep traders who offer winter home improvement services.

While canvassing on the doorstep is not illegal and there are many legitimate businesses selling to people in the home, rogue doorstep trading is an ongoing problem in the UK. Many people experience considerable financial loss and emotional upset as a result of being 'scammed'.

Last year, the advice service Consumer Direct received more than 5,300 complaints about traders offering home maintenance work on the doorstep - a 16% increase from the previous year.

Their joint awareness drive is being supported by 'agony aunt' Denise Robertson, who commented:

'I receive many letters from people who have been swindled by illegitimate doorstep handymen They often feel too embarrassed to talk about it, even with their closest family and friends. I hope that by bringing this issue into the open, people will feel more comfortable to talk about it and also more confident, if they are approached, to say no or ask for time to consider, rather than agree to work on the spot.'

See the Office of Fair Trading press release about this campaign (link opens in a new window)

See our information sheet on scams

10/14/2010 11:41:30 AM

Incapacity Benefits - Turn2us

Incapacity benefits reassessment process informationAre you receiving Incapacity Benefit, Income Support because you have an illness or disability, or Severe Disablement Allowance?

From this month, as part of the welfare benefits system reforms, the Department for Work and Pension is to start reassessing the claims of people who are receiving these benefits to see if they are eligible for Employment and Support Allowance.

People living in Aberdeen and Burnley will be the first to have the checks. Assessment on claimants living in the rest of the United Kingdom will start in February 2011.

After the assessment, depending on your circumstances, you may move on to the following benefits:

  • Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) if you are capable of work
  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) (work related activity group) if you need more support while you prepare for work
  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) (support group) if you are severely disabled or terminally ill. You will not be expected to look for work
  • Income Support or Pension Credit if you satisfy the conditions.

You will not be affected if:

Jobcentre Plus will be in touch with you well ahead of your reassessment and in the meantime there is no action you need to take.

You will continue to receive your current benefit, as long as you meet the conditions of entitlement, until Jobcentre Plus have completed the reassessment.

Click here for more information on how the reassessment of incapacity benefits process will work


Date of publication: 14 October 2010

10/15/2010 9:24:15 AM

Almost a fifth of UK children live in severe poverty - Turn2us

Millennium Cohort Study website (link opens in a new window)Almost a fifth of British seven-year-olds live in severe poverty according to new findings from the Millennium Cohort Study. This means homes where the total income, including benefits, is less than £254 a week. This is less than half the average national income for a family with one child (£563).

The Millennium Cohort Study (link opens in a new window) collects longitudinal data on the health, lifestyle, education, employment and income of individuals in families with children born in 2000-2002 in the uk to see how these factors affect outcomes and achievements later in life. It is run by the Centre for Longitudinal Studies, part of the Economic and Social Research Centre (link opens in a new window), and funded by several Government organisations.

The latest findings also reveal:

  • Almost three-quarters of children whose parents are of Pakistani or Bangladeshi origin live in poverty. Largely, say the researchers, because of high unemployment rates for the parents
  • Seven-year olds in the North-East are most likely to live in poverty (40%) and least likely in the South-West (22%)
  • 36% of seven-year olds in London live in severe poverty.
10/15/2010 2:35:55 PM

Get Online Week: 18 – 24 October 2010 - Turn2us

Get online website (link opens in a new window)This week Turn2us is supporting Get Online Week 2010, a UK Online Centres (link opens in a new window) initiative that aims to get thousands of people started with computers and the internet at more than 3,000 local events across the UK.

There are ten million adults in the UK who don’t use the internet, and with services going online and most new jobs now requiring computer skills, they could be missing out on all sort of benefits, opportunities and savings. 

National Get Online Week takes place between 18 and 24 October. It is also backed by Race Online 2012 (link opens in a new window) partners, such as the BBC and the Post Office.

 If you or someone you know someone could benefit from being online, find out what is happening in your area by calling 0800 77 1234 or visiting the Get Online Week website (link opens in a new window).

10/19/2010 10:02:24 AM

Social housing budget to be cut - Turn2us

BBC news report on social housing (link opens in a new window)According to BBC reports, the social housing budget in England is to be cut by more than half as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review, to be announced tomorrow.

Council housing 'for life' may be phased out and 'flexible tenancies' for people moving into it may be introduced. This means they would get fixed-term contracts and encouraged to move into the private housing sector if their financial situation improved.

Read the BBC news item about the social housing budget 'to be cut in half' (link opens in a new window)

10/20/2010 9:54:36 AM

Comprehensive Spending Review is announced today - Turn2us

Information on the Comprehensive Spending ReviewThe Government's Comprehensive Spending Review is to be announced today. It will have significant implications on every aspect of public services in the years ahead and in particular the structure of the welfare benefits system as well as the availability of welfare benefits and Tax Credits. There also likely to be substantial public sector job losses.

Find out more about the Comprehensive Spending Review

10/20/2010 4:57:07 PM

Welfare Cuts - Turn2us

picture of moneyA further £7 billion was cut from the Welfare Budget, as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review, announced yesterday by the Chancellor, George Osborne.

Measures to cut the Welfare Budget include:

• The pension age will rise to 66 by 2020 – six years earlier than planned
• A time limit will be introduced on some claims for Contributory Employment and Support Allowance
• Further changes to Tax Credits and Housing Benefit

There were some positive outcomes for pensioners, including:

• Universal benefits for pensioners are to be retained, in line with the budget provided by the previous government.
• The temporary increase in the Cold Weather Payment made last year will be made permanent.

The cuts made in the Comprehensive Spending Review are the biggest since the Second World War.

Many other Government departments also had their budgets cut. However, some, such as the Department for International Development, the National Health Service and the Department for Education’s Schools Budget will be increased, and the Science Budget has been ‘ring-fenced’ so it can only be used for scientific purposes.

10/21/2010 2:09:59 PM

October e-bulletin - Turn2us

October Turn2us e-bulletinRead the latest issue of our e-bulletin for intermediaries to find out more about the Comprehensive Spending Review, how to follow us on Twitter and our London workshop for intermediaries.

10/22/2010 11:31:24 AM

Know someone who has never been online? - Turn2us

UK Online Centres website (link opens in a new window)Know someone who has never been online? Why not use the opportunities that ‘Get Online Week’ offers to get them started.

Being able to use computers and the internet is becoming more and more of a necessity. Ninety percent of all new jobs require basic internet skills and millions of jobs are advertised online. There are also many  savings to be had by ordering online for goods and services.

Yet, more than ten million adults in the UK have never used the internet and are missing out on these benefits and services. Often the people who need the internet the most are those who are already at a disadvantage – including people who are older, have a disability or are on a low income.

Get Online Week, a UK Online Centres initiative, aims to help people who have never used the internet to get online. Activities include free events at UK online centres, libraries and community centres across the UK and free computer courses.

UK Online Centres have also developed Pass It On resources (link no longer available October 2011)to help people who want to help family members or friends learn more about computers and the internet.

More information

10/22/2010 2:09:43 PM

The Comprehensive Spending Review - Turn2us

Information on the Comprehensive Spending Review and Upcoming Benefits Changes (PDF file size 282kb)The Comprehensive Spending Review, outlined on Wednesday, will have a significant effect on the structure of the welfare benefits system as well as the availability of welfare benefits and Tax Credits in the next few years.

We have compiled a list of upcoming benefits changes that will take effect in the next few years and frequently asked questions based on the enquiries we have recently had about the Comprehensive Spending Review.

Turn2us timetable of benefits changes

10/25/2010 9:53:12 AM

New pension plans - Turn2us

Picture of an older woman The state pension may be standardised at £140 per person per week, under plans being drawn up in a Department for Work and Pensions green paper.  This would mean a single person could receive £7,280 a year and a couple £14,560.

Currently a single person on the State Retirement Pension can receive £97.65 a week and a couple £156.15 with means-tested top ups available for pensioners on a low income.

By removing means testing, ministers hope to save around £6 billion a year.

Married couples and mothers who do not work are likely to benefit most from these changes. The latter often don't qualify for the full basic pension because they have not built up enough national insurance contributions.

10/26/2010 10:51:23 AM

Disability Living Allowance changes - Turn2us

RNIB website (link opens in a new window)If you have a severe visual impairment, you may be eligible to claim the higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) from 11 April 2011.

To satisfy the eligibility criteria, claimants must be:

  • aged between three and under 65 on 11 April
  • be certified as severely sight impaired by a consultant ophthalmologist


  • have a best corrected visual acuity of less than 3/60 or
  • have a best corrected visual acuity of 3/60 or more, but less than 6/60, a complete loss of peripheral visual field and a central visual field of no more than 10 degrees in total.

From 15 November until at least April 2011, DLA claimants who have a visual impairment and are currently in receipt of the lower rate mobility component will be telephoned to discuss their eligibility to the higher rate mobility component under the

10/27/2010 9:00:46 AM

Work Choice launched - Turn2us

Directgov website (link opens in a new window)Work Choice, a new employment scheme for people with disabilities, has been launched this week. It helps people with disabilities whose needs cannot be met through other work programmes because they need more specialised support to find work or keep a job while in employment.

Work Choice has three sections:

  • Work entry support - lasting up to six months. People receive help with personal skills and work-related advice to get them into supported or unsupported work
  • In-work support - help to start work and stay in the job, lasting up to two years
  • Longer-term in-work support - help to progress in the job and move into unsupported work (where appropriate).

The scheme replaces other Government work support programmes, including WORKSTEP, Work Preparation and the Job Introduction Scheme.

The Government's Gov.UK website has more information on Work Choice (link opens in a new window)

10/27/2010 2:54:51 PM

Maternity leave and debt - Turn2us

Press release about maternity leave and debtMore than half of mothers (53%) on maternity leave have built up debt, according to new Turn2us research.

The study, carried out for Turn2us by Bounty Parenting Club, shows the financial hardship that new and expectant mothers experience.

Findings include:

  • 23% of women said they used credit cards or relied on overdrafts
  • 27% used up all or most of their savings
  • 14% said they can't afford to have any more children
  • One in five (21%) said that the impact of a child on family finances had made or will make them return to work earlier than expected.

Turn2us is encouraging pregnant women and new mothers to check their benefit entitlement and eligibility for charitable grants in the light of this new research.

Read our press release about this research about maternity leave and debt

10/29/2010 10:10:34 AM

Staying warm this winter - Turn2us

NHS Choices website (link opens in a new window)With the winter around the corner and temperatures starting to drop, staying warm is very important, especially if you are older, are ill, have a disability or are caring for someone.

There may be help available through benefits or grants:

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