Ash Citizens Advice News - Previously Published 2019 News
10 Oct 2019
Ash Citizens Advice News - 9 October 2019
10 Oct 2019
Ash Citizens Advice News - 2 October 2019
03 Oct 2019
Plans to allow renters to access to the Rogue Landlords Database
The Rogue Landlords Database, launched in 2018, contains information about private landlords and letting agents who have been prosecuted or fined. At the moment there are only ten names on the database. The list is only available to local authorities, but government plans would allow the database to be accessed by prospective tenants. The proposal is part of a set of plans which will go through a 12-week consultation period, including consideration of whether to widen the scope of the rogue list to include more housing-related offences, such as breaching the Tenant Fees Act.
Public sector workers pay rise
The Chancellor has announced a pay rise for public sector workers, including teachers, members of the armed forces, police officers, dentists, consultants and senior civil servants. Public sector pay was frozen for two years in 2010, except for those earning less than £21,000 a year. Subsequent rises were then capped at 1%, below the rate of inflation. The rises do not apply to public sector staff such as GPs, nurses and junior civil servants as their pay is dealt with separately.
Body-worn cameras to be compulsory for bailiffs
The government is proposing body-worn cameras to be compulsory for bailiffs. The body cameras will have to be worn by certified enforcement agents (bailiffs) who collect debts such as council tax, traffic penalties and rent arrears. High Court enforcement officers will also have to wear the cameras, but not county court bailiffs. The government will hold a consultation on the proposal, together with looking at ways on tackling the aggressive tactics used by some enforcement companies and protecting vulnerable people.
Workers could be compensated for cancelled shifts
The government has launched a 12 week consultation on proposals to pay compensation to zero-hours and “gig economy” workers whose shifts are cancelled at short notice. They could receive the full value of the shift cancelled or three times the hourly minimum wage for each hour cancelled.
Water bills set to fall by £50 over five years
Ofwat, the water industry regulator, has announced plans which could mean water bills in England and Wales fall by an average of £50 between 2020 and 2025. The proposals follow widespread dissatisfaction with the performance of many water companies. Under the new plans the companies will have to reduce supply interruptions by almost two-thirds, cut pollution incidents, reduce the number of customers with low water pressure and help around 1.5 million customers who are struggling to pay. A consultation regarding the proposals will be held and the final details confirmed in December.
Tesco raises prices on 1,000 products
Tesco has increased the price of more than 1,000 products in the past two weeks by an average of 11%, according to the Press Association. All retailers are facing increased costs of the goods they sell, partly due to a weak pound making the cost of importing goods higher.
Proposal to ban Under 18s from buying Lotto Scratchcards
The government is consulting on proposals to ban under 18s from buying lotto scratchcards. However the age limit for regular draw tickets may remain at 16.
Proposal to ban children from betting on fruit machines
According to the Gambling Commission, fruit machines with a maximum stake of 10p and a payout of up to £5 per spin are the most common way into gambling for children. They can legally play on the slot machines without an adult present. Under a new voluntary scheme launched by the British amusement catering trade association, arcade owners will take responsibility for stopping children betting on fruit machines unless they are accompanied by someone who is 18 or older.
Universal Credit to be paid directly to he main carer to help domestic abuse victims
Amber Rudd announced last week that when a new household registers for Universal Guidance, automatic guidance will direct payments to be made to the main carer, usually the women, to try and help free abused women from controlling partners.
Every Jobcentre in the UK will have a domestic abuse “point of contact” by the end of the summer. Around 600 Department for Work and Pensions staff are receiving specialist training from Women’s Aid to help them identify and support the needs of anyone experiencing abuse.
Britain targeted by international phone scammers
A report by BICS, a subsidiary of Belgian telecoms company Proxmius, has shown Britons are the prime target for international phone scammers. 15% of all call made by fraudsters are to the UK, the highest figure for a country in the G20 group of wealthy nations.
Affordable travel insurance for holidaymakers with medical conditions or a serious illness
The Financial Conduct Authority is proposing to make affordable travel insurance easier to access for holidaymakers with a medical condition or a serious illness by forcing insurers to signpost such customers to specialist companies, which typically charge £1,200 less than mainstream providers. Many holidaymakers with a medical condition or illness are unaware that specialist insurers exist. These insurers often do not appear on price comparison websites. The FCA will consult on their proposals until September.
Copycat HM Revenue & Customs Website
Beware of copycat firms that charge “fees” to help people claim the free married couples tax refunds. Anyone entitled to a marriage allowance £250 each tax year can claim it from HM Revenue and Customs free of charge. However, one site has been reportedly targeting older couples with letters and emails about claiming the allowance and then charging half the allowance as “fees”. Always visit the official website through gov.uk to be safe.
Pitfalls of low cost online and DIY wills
Beware of low cost online and DIY wills if you have a lot of assets or wish to leave them to a range of people. Any unanswered questions or words that are open to interpretation in the will could trigger large legal bills.
Subprime credit card interest rates
A subprime credit card is a credit card issued to people with bad credit, therefore interest rates are high. The average credit card interest rate is around 20 per cent but subprimes vary between 30 and 80 per cent. If a person borrowed £500 on a subprime credit card card at 79.93% APR and only made the minimum monthly repayments, it would take 4 years to repay and they would pay £751 in interest.
Pension scams cost victims £4 billion a year. The rise in scams comes after reforms by ex chancellor George Osborne allowed savers to access a quarter of their pension pot tax free from age 55.
Beware of mobile phone roaming charges in non-EU countries
Which? checked data costs in ten non-EU destinations of 13 mobile networks and analysed how common tasks could quickly rack up charges, for example taking one holiday photo on a mobile and uploading it to the internet could cost £50. Before going abroad, look at roaming packages or just turn off data and auto sync and minimise streaming and downloading emails.
Domestic Abuse Bill
The Domestic Abuse Bill had its first hearing in Parliament this week. The Bill includes:
providing automatic eligibility for special measures to support more victims to give evidence in the criminal courts