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About Pierre70

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  1. There are no recent cases as these store to credit card cases never reach the court. First Credit could issue a claim, hoping that you don't defend. Once the defence goes in, they are likely to discontinue. Ms Mayhew recently beat another creditor (MKDP) in court so mentioning her name works magic!
  2. I know someone who is in the same boat ie his alleged M&S store to credit card debt (over £10k) was sold First Credit. Apparently, they sent a couple of letters so he told them about his dispute - which has been going on for a few years now - and made a CCJ request. He hasn't heard from First Credit since March this year. The last letter simply stated that they were still waiting for information from their client. He also mentioned the Santander vs Mayhew case in his letters. That seemed to have put First Credit off!
  3. I can only assume that DWP would average out the settlement over the claim period. Universal Credit, however, seems to work on a monthly basis but my guess is they would still take the monthly average, resulting a massive overpayment. I think it might be worth getting off benefits a few weeks before the settlement. Take some temp work or something. Then again, how would DWP react to that is anyone's guess.
  4. I had my first UC meeting today. So is it any different from starting your JSA claim? Yes and no. Yes in a sense that IDS has decided that anyone daring to claim it should be treated like a criminal. Not so different as you are still dealing with your local job centre which should really be re branded as 'The Social'. My claim consisted of about a dozen printed pages. I had to sign every single page separately and also write down my national insurance number on each page. Then I was asked to wait for my 'work coach' to arrive. The coach arrived but she seemed to be still waking up. In fact, most staff at the Social seemed to be doing very little or nothing. There were lots of staff but just a few customers as they call the claimants nowadays. After waiting for 20 minutes or so, my work coach finally saw me. The interview started by her asking me what I knew about Universal Credit. I think I said something like it combined six benefits. Once again (third time by now if you include the Capita employee who rang me last week) my claim was discussed point by point, followed by drafting a claimant's commitment. Yes, you must agree to work for a national minimum wage (regardless of your previous job or pay) for up to 48 hours per week and commute up to 90 minutes each way. You have to be prepared to spend 35 hours per week on searching for jobs and preparing for your next job. I'm not sure what this means practically. Apparently recording your job search activities on Universal Jobmatch is fine, or you can use a separate spreadsheet. My next appointment was scheduled for next week. Now the plus point. I was assured that taking short-term or ad hoc temp work would be much easier under Universal Credit! I got mixed feelings about all this. Anyone who knows me is aware of the fact that I'd much rather work than claim Universal Credit or any benefits. I believe most claimants are the same. If anyone thinks that the UK benefits are generous I challenge them to try and live on them without turning to the Bank of Mum and Dad, family or payday (social day) lenders. This is the case at least if you are single. You will always come across a few people who quite like life on the Social and IDS is right to do something about it. However, these changes should have been made during the boom years. Whatever Tory minded papers like Daily Mail claim, employment just isn't booming. Oh, I forgot that people on zero hour contracts and part-timers count as fully employed...
  5. I just looked at how they do this in Finland. Like in other Nordic countries, taxes are higher and benefits more generous than here. The Finnish equivalent of JSA is around 705 euros per month. Like here, housing benefit is separate, but not necessarily any more generous. Council tax is collected via PAYE system and not linked to the property you live in, hence irrelevant. In Finland, you are allowed to earn 300 per month (or 279 euros per a four week period) before you lose anything, then you lose 50c per euro. Sounds like the UK benefits aren't that generous after all! I for one would love to get a full time job and not having to claim any benefits.
  6. I have been unfortunate enough having to sign on due to lack of work in my industry (niche IT-related). Most work I have been offered recently tends to be ad hoc, short-term temp bookings. I have taken most of these bookings because I'm keen to keep my skills up to date. Also, sometimes short-term bookings may lead to something longer-term, though not quite as often as in the past. Unfortunately, the JobcentrePlus (or the Social as it's still sometimes referred to) seems to be doing everything to discourage this. They now have those Universal Credit posters, saying "making work pay". Certainly the JSA (which I'm on) doesn't. Say, you have a few hours of ad hoc work paying £70. You wouldn't pay any tax or employee's national insurance on that one, so far so good. However, your weekly JSA is £73.10. Now you go to work for a few hours and earn £70. The first five pounds is disregarded so you end up earning just a couple of quid more. Moreover, unless you are working from home you'd have some travel expenses. In a nutshell you are instantly worse off. As I said before, I'd still be happy to take even a couple of hours booking in the hope it could result in more, longer-term booking. Now, the main reason why this is almost impossible to do is how the current system works. If you work less than 16 hours per week you can still keep your claim open. You simply declare your hours and show your payslip and that should be it. The main problem is that the system assumes that you will be earning the same amount from thereon every week, hence your claim will be affected even when you are no longer working because your booking was just for a few hours in the first place. Once you try to deal with this, most Jobcentre staff don't seem to know what to do. You are then asked to provide more payslips. However, most agencies don't issue you with a zero payslip when they don't have any work for you. Ironically, my current one actually does but we'll see if that is going to make a difference. Once you know that your claim has been stuffed up you are likely to call the call centre. You'll be none the wiser in most cases. After more calls and some statements your benefits are finally reinstated. Universal Credit is said to be designed to deal with these issues. But is it? To start with, you can now earn £700 per annum before losing your full benefit. After that they deduct 65p in every pound you earn until your benefit stops altogether. From a financial point of view, this is hardly an improvement. £700 per annum equals to less than £15 per week. Of course, if this is calculated on an annual basis it will certainly make a huge difference to those who are lucky enough to find a job quickly and only do a couple of temp bookings. We'll have to wait and see whether the Universal Credit implementation is going to make a real difference and cut bureaucracy. Idea of Universal Credit is good but I feel that it's not going to make that much difference. If the Government really wants to make work pay, there should not be any deductions until you earn £40-50 a week, and deductions should be gentle to start with. They should also upgrade the system so that the Jobcentre staff, their computers and DWP management understand that people's circumstances may vary from one week to another. At the moment, for the reasons above, work doesn't pay for many claimants. My biggest frustration is the fact that short-term (less than 16 hours) temp bookings just mess up your claim!
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