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Everything posted by impecunious

  1. Luckily, I'm clued up after being a member here for years now ... fought off Rossies for 14 months by being totally pig-headed and working my way through all the info on here ... knowledge is power :O) Best wishes (Still) Impecunious! P.S. Isn't it awful when you're better off on JSA than working 8-12 hours a day, 7 days a week!
  2. Hi Can anyone advise whether there is a minimum level of income/benefits below which it is deemed unrealistic to make deductions for CT arrears? Until my business establishes itself and I am able to draw a wage and my claim for WTC is processed/approved, my only income is £44.00 pcm. (I will continue to receive £33 pw NEA but that ends in 2 weeks' time and contributes towards my business rent.) I have two liability orders for CT: one current, one historic to another council. BOTH are insisting I pay them in excess of what I can realistically afford .... .. the current council wants £3.80/week (bailiff action and Magistrate Court on hold) and the historic £2.50 each week (I pay them token £1/month but they are threatening bailiff action). So, from approx. £10.26 per week income, they want to take £6.30 .. . leaving me with just under £4.00 pw for food, gas, electricity, water rates, etc. How do I make them understand that it isn't possible atm? I have explained and sent both councils income/expenditure figures til I am blue in the face. (Still) Impecunious!
  3. If they had levied on the car, surely they would have left notification?? Either through door or attached to car that it had been levied. My daughter bought the car but I'm the registered keeper, she only uses it when her own car is out of action (as in for 3 days this week). She has fully comp insurance on her own car and I insure the one I use. V5 isn't proof of ownership - just registered keeper's information isn't it? The car is next to worthless anyway ... only cost £100 and you have to jemmy the front panel out of the way before the driver's door opens :O) Anyway, heard from council today that they are treating it as a Stage 1 formal complaint and will respond to all my questions within 20 days and have put all recovery action on hold for now. (Still) Impecunious!
  4. Hi lookingforinfo Thanks! Exactly as I thought, just wanted to make sure before I respond to the council again ... I managed to keep Rossendales at bay for over 16 months before now and had the account returned to the council so kinda know my way around but knew that changes were in the pipeline re: bailiff charges. I just couldn't understand why my council would want me to pay B&S so much and still pay the council a separate amount directly! It didn't make any sense, especially when I haven't heard a thing from B&S. Starting business after being unemployed is fraught with difficulties but I know it will work ... and eventually pay me a wage. I put in a claim for WTC two weeks ago and this still has be processed/approved. HMRC advised that this may take about 5 weeks. I already advised the council that I was classified as "vulnerable" for CT/bailiff purposes. Phantom visit? Yes, a distinct possibility! Levying on a car? Yes, a distinct possibility but if they did levy on my car -- Ooops-a-daisy, my daughter bought it, she's the owner, I'm just the registered keeper. I shan't be losing any sleep over this but, obviously, can do without all the hassle. Thanks for responding so quickly. (Still) Impecunious
  5. Hi Everyone I've been out of the loop for a while because I've been able to stay on top of my Council Tax until fairly recently... currently receiving £33 pw NEA to help with my new business start-up, HB and CT reduction. My current income, after business expenses, is just £44.00 pcm (private pension). The council have just sent me an e-mail stating that Bristow and Sutor attended earlier this month (whilst I was out) and I owe them almost £285.00. B&S did not leave any notification evidencing their attendance or unsuccessful entry ... don't they have to leave me a letter in a sealed envelope stating 1st visit and stating their charges? I'm not unduly bothered by bailiffs, as I'm aware of "peaceful entry" etc being a long-time member here. I notice that Bailiff charges are increasing in April this year but until that time are 1st and 2nd visit charges still £24.50 and £18.00??? I've also been advised that I owe the council directly (under £100). From what I've read, it might be that because the debt is under £100 instructing bailiffs (despite a liability order) is OTT and that adding £285.00 to my outstanding arrears is disproportionate and I can appeal/make a formal complaint. (I assume that the £285.00 is the new Bailiffs charge plus VAT but because no letter was left, I'm just guessing.) Some advice would be welcome before I send off an e-mail to the local council tax office. And, I have been keeping the council updated as to my(dire) financial situation for the last few months. Thank you. (Still) Impecunious!
  6. Well, I've appealed my council's decision to impose the "bedroom tax" on my 2nd upstairs room which is used as a craft/art/sewing room and not a bedroom, regardless of its size. I rent the house from my daughter and son-in-law on a purely commercial basis. I'm loathe to leave as my family would rather I lived here and looked after their house with respect rather than let it out again to totally unsuitable private tenants who were placed through a letting agency and left the house in a total state of disrepair. Additionally, as I originally gave my daughter the deposit to buy the house, I feel it very much a family home and I'm happy to live here for as long as my daughter and her husband allow me. Let's see what the Council response is .. nothing ventured, nothing gained. The imposition of the "bedroom tax" adversely impacts on the lives of so many people and families. If we were first of all given the opportunity to move into smaller accommodation (if any actually do exist .. and how do we afford removal costs, deposits, first month rent in advance????) and refused, then yes sanctions could be brought into play. But, the "bedroom tax" as it is grossly unfair and is imposed regardless of financial circumstances. Let's hope it's killed off .... thank you Scotland for showing the way. Imp
  7. Can they make an Attachments to Benefits when NEA will only run for another 5-6 weeks and when it's the only income I have? Surely £33 pw is not enough to live on, never mind make deductions from. I'm already exhausting every ounce of money-saving skills I have to keep the wolves from the door. After spending almost a year on JSA, I'm loathe to go cap in hand to the Government for more hand-outs .... especially when I'm working full-time plus on the new business. Especially when there's every possibility that the business could be successful .. and start making money any day/week/month soon. I'm constantly being distracted from business activity to satisfy the admin needs of Housing Benefit, CT benefit, NEA team, business adviser, etc. I just feel that another level of bureaucratic interference will send me over the edge. Imp
  8. Female, single, no children. Am now self-employed - new small business start up ... retail .. still in receipt of benefits - NEA currently £33 pw for another 5-6 weeks. Current CT is in arrears but on payment plan .. due to low/non-existent income. I've advised council(s) of my financial circumstances, completed income forms and yet they still ask for more than I can realistically afford. The NEA I receive goes to cover some of my business overheads .... it's not household income. Imp
  9. Thanks! No, haven't gone down that route yet ... it's definitely an option if the council doesn't come to its senses. Imp
  10. Best tasting veggies ever! First year of growing. It does work - and worth all the effort and hard work. Imp
  11. After moving from JSA into self-employment, my weekly income is just £33 New Enterprise Allowance which supports my new business and that will end in just 6 weeks' time. Until my business develops and establishes itself, it will be a while before I can draw a wage or break even. I have historic CT arrears and am almost blue in the face trying to make my former council understand that it is only possible, at the moment, to make token payments as a gesture of goodwill until such time as my financial situation improves. They are demanding monthly payments of £30.00 and have sent the "bailiffs warning letter" (not too bothered by that really -- it contains the usual "may" take action, etc. etc and I'm totally up to speed on managing bailiff visits). I have completed the income form the council sent and it is blatantly obvious that a £1/month is actually more than I can realistically afford. (I successfully managed to deal with Rossendales before for this old debt (from 2005-06), had the account returned to the council and negotiated a realistic payment plan.) I reduced my payments from an affordable £12.00/month whilst I was working, to just £1.00/month when I become unemployed over 14 months ago. (It took the council 10 months to come back to me and tell me that £1/month was unacceptable.) I have repeatedly advised my former Council that my first priority is to keep a roof over my head, pay my current CT liability and my fuel bills as best as I can -- and eat! Despite suffering financial hardship, I have continued to pay £1.00 every month as I am a "can't pay, not a won't pay". I know these are priority arrears but my main focus is to survive now. I would welcome any input/advice to keep the council off my back for the next 3-6 months! (Really the same goes for energy companies and water company too.) I'm trying to avoid claiming any more benefits, as I'm perfectly capable of working full time and earning my own living -- I just need some consideration and a little more time. Exasperated Impecunious!
  12. During my ten months signing on at the Job Centre, I saw people in jeans, t-shirts, "holiday clothes", low cut dresses, bulging fatty bits trying to escape from far too tight clothes, scruffy beards, "designer" stubble, high heels, tight skirts, flashy jewellery, old leggings, thigh length boots, short skirts, badly fitting suits and un-ironed shirts, smelling of the previous night's curry, alcohol and cigarettes, bleached/dyed hair and wearing visible tattoos and piercings .................. and they was just Job Centre staff!!! At the end of the day, let's be honest, just HOW many job seekers are actually offered interviews or jobs directly from Job Centre?? I'd love to see actual figures. On my JSAg, it was agreed that I would be available for interview with 24-48 hours notice ..... more than time enough to smarten up, research the company in question and formulate relevant and interesting questions to ask your interviewer. When I first signed on, I wore smart office clothes .... then down-graded to jeans and t-shirts, cos I stood out like a sore thumb. Regardless of attire, I still wasn't offered an interview in 10 months, so created my own job. Three months in now and my gorgeous hand-made gift shop just outside Chester is going from strength to strength. I usually wear smart "office" clothes to work but try to occasionally have a "dress-down Friday" just for a change. As long as you know how to dress appropriately when required to .... nothing else matters as long as you don't scare the horses or the children! Imp
  13. Wouldn't that be fabulous! We've just founded a new business association with the aim of raising awareness, mutual support for local business - including bulk buying power, making sure that the area is safe and clean and doing our very best to regenerate the area and oppose the setting up of anymore charity shops or takeaways - or hairdressers come to think of it!!! We have enough!! We want to be a vibrant "high street" alternative to out of town shopping or mega supermarkets. Imp
  14. As many of you will know, after spending 10 months on JSA, I eventually founded my own small business and swopped JSA for NEA .... My MP visited my business last week (as part of Small Business Saturday national initiative) and graciously gave nearly one and half hours of his time listening intently to the trials and tribulations of being unemployed, having to endure the Knob Centre, the inadequacies of government appointed business advisers and the incessant red tape and bureaucracy involving continued benefits such as HB, CT, Working Tax Credits, etc. I was hugely disappointed that absolutely nothing was mentioned in the newspaper article, highlighting his visit, about the hardship and difficulties of moving from JSA to NEA. It made the front page but its main focus was using yours truly as an example of: "the entrepreneurial determination that is turning our economy around. It's been great to come by today to meet her, hear all about her business and see the fantastic products that she is selling. I'd like to wish Impecunious the best of luck with this business and hope other people across (deleted) take her lead and found their own business." I have been now been trading for over two and a half months and, to date, have not been able to draw any wages and I have no idea when that will change ... I work 7 days a week, literally working every waking hour and it saddens me to say that I would have been financially better off staying on JSA. Then, I knew I would have some kind of income, could buy food, contribute towards bills - if not paying them fully - and having time to think. Although I admit to being dead on my feet and having no personal life, I have no choice -- it's either this or the Knob Centre and ultimately the Work Programme. Before the Govt changes, I would have been looking at retiring this month and my state pension. It's all very well and good offering NEA of £65 for 12 weeks, followed by another 12 weeks at £33 but it really is a drop in the ocean when you're trying to set up a new business after being unemployed and having no savings or capital to rely on. On the plus side, I do have fantastic customers, there is a real buzz being constantly challenged and running your own business. Before anyone decides to become self-employed, please make sure that you know exactly what you're letting yourself in for. Unfortunately, a business cashflow forecast is just that --- A FORECAST - it's just figures plucked out of the air until you actually start trading. In my case, the fantasy and the reality bear no resemblance to each other. Don't just rely on your business advisor and their business planning workshops - in my experience, their advice is pretty lazy and generic .... you really do need to pin them down and interrogate them in depth about the reality of setting up on your own and exactly what it entails. Or, better still, talk to someone who's already done it -- I hated being unemployed but where's the incentive to work when you give body and soul and you still don't earn a wage? Let's hope that the New Year brings new prosperity and opportunities. Imp
  15. If you're self-employed and working for less than 16 hours a week, you can still claim JSA. However, you can't earn more than £5 without it affecting your benefits - and you must be actively looking for work for the rest of the week (according to your JSAg). Not much help really but ........ if needs must. Imp
  16. OMG!! Blue Orchid????? My current experience suggests that the grass isn't greener on the other side ..................... think TWICE, no THREE times if you're considering going self- employed .... and make sure that Blue Orchid gives you specific NOT generic advice. Personally, I wouldn't recommend them. Imp
  17. True Charlotte I have a degree and my Masters but I didn't expect any special favours - I just spouted big words at the Knob Centre and totally confused them I think they were glad to see the back of me when I become self-employed. Imp
  18. My JSAg was to job search for 35 hours a week ........ It's crazy! I wasn't knocking people who are genuinely looking for work --- God, I know - I've been doing it every week for the last 10 months! My comments were directed at the Poster who believes that having a degree should give them special privileges and that they shouldn't be subjected to the same job search activities that everyone else have to do to qualify them to receive their JSA payments. I think the moderators should close this post now ................. Imp
  19. I totally agree with you .... I've "created" my own job -- I currently work for about 80 hours/week and I have to pay myself a weekly wage equivalent to my old JSA payment to make my business work ... but I'd rather be working than having to jump through hoops at the Job Centre. I'm 60 in December - no-one would even give me an interview .... we all have to do what we have to do. Imp
  20. If you read my post carefully, you'll see that it's not abuse ... it's about people who think that just because they have a degree they think they can get special treatment .... My degree wasn't a passport to a job, I still had to jump through all the hoops that everyone else looking for a job had to. In the end, I had to create my own job. Imp
  21. Exactly Mr. P If some people were to spend as much time actively searching for a job, instead of wasting time bleating about it - they wouldn't need to claim JSA Imp
  22. I don't have a clue where to post this one! But here goes ... I rent retail-space in a local Post Office. The Post Mistress insists that the front door is kept permanently open in ALL weathers .... This morning was bitterly cold in the shop, with Arctic gales blowing ... it gave me a headache and I could barely feel my feet and my hands wouldn't work properly ...... Meanwhile, at the rear of the building, where the Post Office counters are, the staff are sweltering in the office behind glass windows because there is inadequate ventilation and no windows. I have been told if I use any "extra electricity" that my rent will be increased ............. I assume by that she means if I brought in my own electric heater. I can't see that there would be too much point putting on heaters when the front door is kept wide open. I have a worktable in my retail space and make crafts - it's impossible to work wearing heavy layers of clothing ..... I've looked at HSE recommendations but none seem to cover this kind of situation. The Post Mistress isn't exactly approachable. I'm obviously not an employee and it isn't practical to refuse to work because it's too cold .... if I left the shop (which isn't self-contained), all my stock would go missing. Any thoughts anyone?? Thanks Imp
  23. Thank God I'm self-employed full-time now running my own business but three weeks ago when I attended the Job Centre before sign off, my JSAg was amended to undertaking 35 hours per week on job search activity ......... God Bless IDS and David Cameron ..... I have a honours degree and my Masters ..... fully qualified, credential and a proven work history spanning 43 yrs -- I was given NO special treatment. If you've been on JSA for more than six months, you are obliged to apply and accept any job you are capable of doing, regardless of whether you want it or not, regardless of whether it's minimum wage or not, and the fact that it may be boring or menial and not what you aspire to - is neither here nor there. Benefits aren't there to "support" you whilst you strive to attain your dream job in your chosen field...... tough eh? But true. And, as for your outstanding student loan ...... it's only payable once your salary exceeds a certain amount, so that's irrelevant for now. When you're unemployed and claiming benefits, you're nothing special just because you have a degree .... you're in exactly the same boat as those people who are unemployable, illiterate - those suffering from mental illness, learning difficulties, physical difficulties who have been deemed "fit to work" and who clearly aren't, those who have worked most of their adult life but find themselves temporarily out of work .... In fact, if you have a degree, you should possess the transferable skills needed to find yourself a job - any job - in order to escape the indignity of claiming JSA. I learned very early on that being precious just because you have a degree is just a waste of valuable time. The JobCentre isn't set up to deal with graduate recruitment ..... you either have to do it yourself or just toe the line! Bleating to all and sundry won't help! Rant over! I have work to do ..... Imp
  24. FINALLY!!!! Business plan has been approved by Blue Orchid - almost a week after I actually started up my own business and I'm no longer unemployed WOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! I've signed a lease on a shop unit for an initial period of 3 months ........ and I'm selling my own hand-made crafts and those of other independent designer-makers on a commission basis. My new shop is called Kitsch Krafts @ the Post Office and it's just outside Chester. Oh Happy Days!!! To all of those who feel they have the skills and are willing to take a risk, go for it!!!! My initial outlay for the shop has been £2.50 for a sheet of card to make a temporary sign, a ream of tissue wrapping paper and a week's rent in advance ............ it's all fallen beautifully into place So much better being my own boss again! Imp
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