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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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November 2011 Posts

11/2/2011 8:56:28 AM

Universal Credit - the next steps - Turn2us

Universal Credit information sheetOver one million people will be claiming Universal Credit by April 2014, according to the Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith. He has announced the Government's timetable for moving 12 million claimants onto this new benefit by 2017.

The transition from the old benefit system to Universal Credit will take place in three phases over four years:

  1. In the first phase (between October 2013 and April 2014), 500,000 new claimants will receive Universal Credit in place of Jobseeker's Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit (HB England, Scotland, Wales) (HB Northern Ireland), Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit
  2. From April 2014, the second phase will give priority to households who will benefit most from the transition. For example, people claiming Working Tax Credit who currently work a small number of hours a week but who could work more hours with the support that Universal Credit brings. This will affect around 3.5 million existing claimants
  3. The third phase (from end of 2015 to end 2017) will see around 3 million households moving to Universal Credit by local authority boundary. This will focus on safeguarding financial support, such as Housing Benefit payments, to claimants as the old benefit system winds down and local authorities change.

For more information, see our Universal Credit information sheet

Source: Department for Work and Pensions press release (link opens in a new window)

11/3/2011 9:54:35 AM

Join our fuel poverty campaign - Turn2us

Turn2us fuel poverty map More than 150 people have already participated in our fuel poverty campaign by tweeting or submitting online information on how much they pay for gas and electricity as a percentage of their household income. This has been automatically plotted on our interactive map to give a visual picture of the differences in fuel poverty across the UK.

Why don't you join our innovative social media campaign. Find out more at http://fuelpoverty.turn2us.org.uk/

Read our fuel poverty campaign press release

11/4/2011 10:17:15 AM

Work Foundation report reveals black spots for youth disengagement - Turn2us

Work Foundation website (link opens in a new window)Ten black spots for youth disengagement - cities where between one in five and one in four young people are not in education, employment or training (NEET) - have been identified by the Work Foundation and Private Equity Foundation. 

Their report, Off the map? The geography of NEETs (link opens in a new window), looks at NEET rates for 16-17 year olds across Great Britain. It shows that the recession has made this problem worse, with the largest increases in places that already had high NEET levels.

The researchers warn that young people are facing two pressures that contribute to the problem:

  • Rapidly rising unemployment, which means that there are fewer entry level jobs, with young, less experienced workers more vulnerable to job losses
  • Spending cuts are restricting youth services and reducing the ability of Government to respond to the crisis.

Without effective, targeted action from Government and business, they argue, a generation of young people in these cities will face a bleak future in the job market.

Cities with the highest NEET levels include:

  • Grimsby
  • Doncaster
  • Warrington and Wigan
  • Blackpool
  • Rochdale and Oldham
  • Wirral and Ellesmere Port
  • Birmingham
  • Barnsley
  • Swansea
  • Newcastle

Read the Work Foundation press release (link opens in a new window)

Source: BBC News (link opens in a new window)

11/8/2011 9:28:27 AM

Over 400,000 people aged 70+ struggling - Turn2us

CCCS website (link opens in a new window PDF file size 30)New research commissioned for debt charity Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) has found that hundreds of thousands of people over the age of 70 are struggling to make ends meet. Many have debt problems.

The charity is warning that the plight of older people with financial problems is particularly challenging due to social care costs and their limited options in increasing income.

The research was conducted for CCCS by the Financial Inclusion Centre. It identified 427,000 households in the over 70 age group as 'already in financial difficulty - either three months behind with a debt payment or subject to some form of debt action, such as insolvency or 'at risk' of falling behind.

If you are over 70 and struggling financially, use our Benefits Calculator to check your entitlement to benefits and our Grants Search database to see if you are eligible for help from a charitable fund, based on your personal circumstances, background and needs.

Update 5 November 2012

CCCS is now called StepChange Debt Charity (link opens in a new window)

11/9/2011 8:55:13 AM

Save the Children Child Poverty exhibition - Turn2us

Save the Children website (link opens in a new window)Save the Children have created a photography exhibition which reflects the lives of children and their families who are living in poverty across the UK. The exhibition features single parents; young people who have disabilities; and parents who are working, unable to work or struggling to find work.

Award-winning photographers worked collaboratively with families to move beyond the stereotypes and capture daily challenges and family moments. The exhibition provides an intimate glimpse into the subjects' lives - their every day reality as well as their dreams and aspirations. Experiences include parents are regularly going without food so their children can eat and families where the children can only afford to have baths twice a week.

The message behind the exhibition is no child should be born without a chance.

You can view the exhibition on the Save the Children website (link opens in a new window)

11/10/2011 10:39:07 AM

Ask an Expert - Armed Forces personnel, veterans and families - Turn2us

Ask an Expert November 2011For this month's Ask an Expert session (10-16 November) we invite questions from serving Armed Forces personnel, veterans and their families about the benefits and financial support that may be available to them.

Our panel of experts will answer a selection which will be published on 18 November. Every question submitted will receive a reply once the session ends.

11/14/2011 9:43:01 AM

Jobs market to worsen - Turn2us

Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (link opens in a new window)The UK jobs market will worsen for the rest of this year and the medium-term prospects are no better, according to a new report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

Their quarterly survey of 1,000 employers found that companies were scaling back decisions on whether to recruit more staff against a background of global economic turmoil. However fewer organisations were planning to make redundancies, move abroad or recruit overseas workers.

Read the CIPD report (link opens in a new window

Source: Independent new article (link opens in a new window)

11/15/2011 9:05:24 AM

Why not try the Money Advice Service Health Check - Turn2us

Money Advice Service logoDo you want to make the most of your money? Do you want information about what you need to do to improve your financial situation?

Why not try the Money Advice Service Health Check. This free, unbiased online tool is for anyone who wants to stay on top of their money.

It takes just 10 minutes to answer some straightforward questions. The Health Check then gives you a personalised action plan which identifies the top three things you can do to make the most of your money right now and in the future.

Money Advice Service is an independent service that aims to help everyone understand and manage their money better. It won’t recommend a particular product or provider or try to sell you anything.

Click here to take the health check now

11/17/2011 10:32:37 AM

Youth unemployment reaches 1 million - Turn2us

Office for National Statistics website (link opens in a new window)Youth unemployment has reached a record of 1.02 million, according to the latest Office for National Statistics figures published yesterday. One in five young people are now out of work.

The wider unemployment picture for July-September also showed a deteriorating jobs market.

  • The numbers of unemployed people aged 16+ rose to 2.62 million, up 129,000 on the quarter - the highest level since 1994
  • The number of women out of work increased by 43,000 to 1.09 million - a 23 year high
  • 1.6 million people were claiming Jobseeker's Allowance in October - an increase of 5,300.

Read the Office for National Statistics report (link opens in a new window)

Source: Guardian news article (link opens in a new window) and BBC News article (link opens in a new window)

11/18/2011 9:18:48 AM

Ask an Expert: Armed Forces answers published - Turn2us

Ask an Expert November 2011The answers to our Ask an Expert: Armed Forces session are published today.

This month, we invited Armed Forces personnel, veterans, and their family members to submit their questions on benefits and financial support to the Ask an Expert panel.

Our experts included Alison Wyman, Benefits and Money Advice Manager at the Royal British Legion. They answered questions on benefits for widows; the help that military charities provide; and support that might be available to a student son of an ex-serviceman.

Read our Ask an Expert: Armed Forces session

11/21/2011 10:37:43 AM

Tell Us Once programme being rolled out nationally - Turn2us

Local Goverment website (link opens in a new window)The new Tell Us Once Birth and Bereavement service has begun to be rolled out nationally, according to the Minister for Employment, Chris Grayling.

In a written statement to Parliament, Mr Grayling said that 96% of local authorities have committed to deliver the Tell Us Once' service - which enables people to inform Government of a birth or death just once and have this information shared across the relevant government services. To date, 134 local authorities are offering the service, with the remainder due to go live in this financial year.

Find out more about the 'Tell us Once Birth and Bereavement' service (link opens in a new window)

11/22/2011 10:01:50 AM

Good to Know: How to be safer on the internet - Turn2us

Good to Know website (link opens in a new window)Citizens Advice has joined forces with the search engine Google on a new 'Good to Know' safety campaign about the internet.

The campaign aims to give people practical advice on how to keep their personal information private when they use the internet.

The Good to Know website features information on many internet issues and is aimed at computer users of all levels.

There are five key tips for consumers who want to stay safe online:

  • Pick a strong password. One idea you can try is to choose a line from your favourite song, film or play, such as "To be or not to be, that is the question". Then use numbers, symbols and letters to recreate it: 2bon2btitq. The more unusual the phrase you choose the better.
  • Never reply to suspicious emails with your personal or financial information, and never enter your password after following a link from an email you don't trust.
  • Look for "https" and a padlock in the URL bar to check a site is secure. When you go into a branch of your bank you recognise the official staff by their name, uniforms and the services they offer. Having this level of reassurance shouldn't be any different for online banking or other sensitive services.
  • Always sign out and shut down your browser. Ever gone out for the day and left your front door wide open? Exactly. The same principle applies when you leave yourself signed in to online accounts on the computers you use.
  • Use two-step verification for accounts that offer it, such as Google and Facebook. Two-step verification adds an extra layer of security to your account by requiring you to have access to your phone – as well as your username and password – when you sign in. This means that if someone steals or guesses your password, the potential hijacker still can't sign in to your account because they don't have your phone.

A Good to Know booklet is also available from local Citizens Advice bureaux or to download on the Citizens Advice Adviceguide website.)

Browse the Good to Know website (link opens in a new window)

11/23/2011 9:52:24 AM

Have a savvy Christmas - Turn2us

Money Advice Service website (link opens in a new window)Are you worried about the cost of Christmas?

The 'Have a savvy Christmas' campaign from Money Advice Service aims to help you have a great Christmas without breaking the bank.

The information resources provided on the Money Advice Service website are divided into three areas:

  • Christmas Past: tips for setting yourself a budget; making your own Christmas gifts and decorations; and planning your food and drink
  • Christmas Present: hints about shopping; stretching your money; and buying on credit
  • Christmas Future: suggestions about borrowing for Christmas; getting the most out of the sales; and planning for the year ahead.

The website also contains a cutback calculator (link opens in a new window) and financial health check (link opens in a new window) to help you manage your money.

The Money Advice Service provides free unbiased advice to help people make the most of their money. It provides resources to help individuals make the right financial decisions and act on them, by giving personalised advice online, over the phone on 0300 500 5000 and face to face across the UK through a national network.

Read the Have a savvy Christmas tips (link opens in a new window)

11/24/2011 9:15:32 AM

Households facing 'pay cuts' of more than 3.5% - Turn2us

Office for National Statistics website (link opens in a new window)UK households are facing the equivalent of 'pay cuts' of more than 3.5% as salary increases fail to keep up with inflation. This is according to the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings published by the Office for National Statistics this week.

  • The median salary for a full-time worker in the UK rose 1.4% in 2011 to £26,244, against a CPI inflation rate of 5% or higher
  • Overall earnings growth was even lower. The average UK salary increased by just 0.5% on 2010 levels once part-time workers were included. Reasons for this include a shift to part-time work as a result of high unemployment and low economic growth. Official figures indicate that there are 380,000 fewer full-time workers than the previous year and 72,000 more part-time employees.
  • Women in full-time employment earned £5,409 less on average than men. Progress on closing the gender pay gap slowed - it narrowed by £179 in 2010 compared with £558 in 2009.
  • There were sizeable falls in pay for some of the UK's lowest earning professions and sizeable salary boosts for senior managers and directors.

Read the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (link opens in a new window)

Source: Guardian news article (link opens in a new window) 

11/25/2011 9:12:11 AM

Nick Clegg announces Youth Contract - Turn2us

Press Association news release (link opens in a new window)Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, has announced the creation of a £1 billion Youth Contract scheme, aimed at helping young unemployed people find work or education opportunities.

This is in response to the record levels of young people who are 'not in education, employment or training' (NEET).

Over a three year period, from next April, the Youth Contract will find 410,000 work places for 18-24 year olds.

The scheme will include wage subsidies worth £2,275 for employers to take on 160,000 young people. These will be worth half of the youth national minimum wage and last for six months. They will help unemployed young people who need the most help after three months and all of those who have been on Jobseeker's Allowance for nine months.

The Youth Contract will also offer a work experience placement of up to eight weeks for every unemployed 18 to 24-year-old that wants one. Extra funding for apprenticeships and a £50 million programme to help persistently NEET 16 and 17-year-olds will also be provided.

Under the plans, young people who fail to sign up to the Youth Contract will be considered for "mandatory work activity", while those who drop out of work experience or jobs without good reason will lose their benefits.

Source: Press Association (article no longer available) and Guardian news article (link opens in a new window)

11/29/2011 10:08:37 AM

George Osborne statement - Turn2us

BBC News website (link opens in a new window)The Chancellor, George Osborne, will deliver his Autumn Statement to the House of Commons today.

He is expected to provide more details of schemes that have already been announced, including the:

  •  £1 billion, three year Youth Contract scheme to subsidise work placements for young people
  • £40 billion scheme to underwrite bank loans to small businesses
  • mortgage indemnity scheme to boost the housing market.

He is also expected to announce:

  • a doubling the number of free childcare places for deprived two-year-olds to 260,000 to help more mothers back to work. This will cost £380 million a year.
  • the development of 40,000 extra primary school places at a cost of £600 million over the next three years.

Source: BBC News (link opens in a new window) and Guardian (link opens in a new window)

11/30/2011 9:16:17 AM

Benefits to go up in line with inflation but tax credits will be below - Turn2us

BBC News website (link opens in a new window)Working age benefits are to be increased (uprated) by 5.2% next year - in line with inflation - the Chancellor George Osborne announced yesterday when he delivered his Autumn Statement to the House of Commons.

Other measures include:

  • The basic State Retirement Pension will rise by £5.30 to £107.45
  • There will be an inflation-linked rise in the disability element of tax credits and a below-inflation increase in other tax credits
  • The £110 rise above inflation in the child element of the Child Tax Credit  has been scrapped
  • £1.2 billion extra spending on schools in England, half will go to councils to pay for more school places and half to fund 100 additional free schools
  • £50 cut in water bills for families in South-west England
  • Childcare places for the most deprived two-year olds in England doubled to 260,000
  • Mortgage indemnity scheme will be launched to help up to 100,000 people buy homes with a 5% deposit
  • 50% discount for social tenants wanting to buy their own homes in England.

Source: BBC News (link opens in a new window) and Guardian (link opens in a new window)

11/30/2011 9:17:20 AM

Read the November Turn2us News - Turn2us

November 2011 Turn2us e-bulletinRead the November issue of Turn2us News - our monthly e-bulletin for intermediaries. You can find out more about our third birthday celebrations; how you can support our fuel poverty campaign; and the findings of our research about grant-giving and charitable funds.

Browse the November Turn2us News

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