News Review: Those at the bottom struggling more


Most people still cutting back on spending and those at the bottom are struggling ever more - The Independent

Would you be able to rustle up £200 in a hurry? One in three of us couldn’t find the cash in an emergency. A fifth admit they would have to borrow the money or sell a personal possession to fund such a one-off expense, with a further one in 10 saying they simply could not pay, according to data published today by the University of Birmingham.

Its latest Financial Inclusion report reveals that the majority of the population is still cutting back on spending – and those at the bottom are struggling ever more. “The welfare cuts from 2010 onwards are starting to bite, which we can see in various indicators – not least the increase in possession orders granted to landlords, from 95,000 in 2010 to more than 120,000 in 2014,” said Karen Rowlingson, professor of social policy at the university. “An increasing number of people are at risk of losing the roof over their heads.”

'No plans' to abolish or means-test Winter Fuel Payment - BBC News

Scotland's social justice secretary has promised not to abolish, cut or means-test the Winter Fuel Payment when it comes under Holyrood control. 

Alex Neil made the pledge after a Scottish government paper said ministers were "considering the eligibility criteria". 

Alternative options included a fuel bill rebate or using the funding to provide warmer homes, the paper said. 
The government said no one who receives the benefit currently would lose it.

The winter fuel allowance of up to £300 is currently available to everyone aged over 62 and is paid to about 1.1m people in Scotland each year.

Families of pensioners who receive state help paying mortgages may have to repay money and interest when they die - Daily Mail

The families of up to 60,000 pensioners face having thousands of pounds taken by the Government from the sale of their relatives’ homes when their loved ones die. These elderly homeowners are receiving state help with their mortgage repayments.

However, because of a change to the way this benefit is awarded, they face being forced to hand back the cash they receive, plus interest, under a £600 million cost-cutting drive. As these homeowners are unlikely to have savings, the debt they build up will be docked from their estate when they die — or from the sale of the house if they move into care.