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  1. “The tax take for this group of people has fallen by £1 billion since HMRC set up its dedicated unit. At the same time, income tax paid by everyone else has risen by £23 billion. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/fatcats-pay-1billion-less-tax-9700294 http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2017/01/27/public-accounts-committee-says-hmrcs-lack-of-transparency-has-eroded-public-trust-in-a-fair-tax-system/ http://www.rossmartin.co.uk/sme-tax-news/809-mps-initiate-key-changes-in-hmrc https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/public-accounts-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/high-net-worth-individuals-hmrc-16-17/
  2. Had a good job, career, home, money, etc. Then had a prolonged period of inactivity, debts piled up, not opening letters, spiral of anxiety and stress. blah, blah. Now, for past year or so, been earning, and getting back on feet. Looking to start paying back, and deal with all my debts. Have done as much due diligence as I can, and need some pointers. I have a number of creditors, with debts totalling around 45K. Have been paying token payments of £1 to most, some more. Looking to get StepChange advice and help. But also need some idea of full and final offers to really motor down the debts. So, as a starter, here are some of my most pressing questions: 1: I am having difficulty filling in my Income and Expenditure, as my income fluctuates. (I am working freelance, as am probably too old to be employed by a company.) I am wary of entering payment schedule and failing. Prefer to keep paying token amounts, then offer surplus every 6 months or so. Would creditors go for this? 2: I understand the first step may be to get CCAs from my creditors. Are there any downsides to asking for CCAs? Would creditors sense that I am trying to wriggle out, and go for asking for more, or get heavy-handed? 3: Are CCAs only for debt companies, or even the Originating creditor? (some of my debts have been off-loaded to debt-companies.) 4: What is the purpose of SARs? How does that help me? I understand they might be for finding penalty fees, etc? I know I accrued a lot when I couldn't pay any amounts when I started my downhill slide. 5: When offering Full and Finals, do I go for the biggest first? 6: I have been sold from one debt-company to another on some debts, I dont know what I am paying for on some of the payments!! Can I just phone them up and ask where the original debt comes from? (I have signed up with noddle, and got my list of creditors and credit file, so I have a starting point. I have been reading this forum for a few days, and have built up some knowledge, and seen how helpful this site can be. I would like to ask for some help in taking the first steps for an eventual bright future. PS: would it be ok to list my debts (with some fudging to protect myself) as a starting point?
  3. *** NEWS RELEASE ** NEW RESEARCH REVEALS LACK OF AWARENESS OF SUPPORT FOR FUEL COSTS AMONGST THOSE ON LOW INCOMES A new survey commissioned by Turn2us, part of national charity Elizabeth Finn Care, has found that people on low incomes are unaware of the potential support available to help with their fuel bills. This is despite the fact that nearly two-thirds (64%) of those surveyed are uncertain if they can meet these costs this winter without experiencing financial hardship. Over a third (37%) of people living in low income households* have never checked their eligibility for welfare benefits and tax credits, and over two-fifths (45%) are currently not claiming benefits that they may be entitled to. Claiming benefits entitlements can not only boost income to help pay fuel bills but can also act as a trigger for eligibility from various fuel poverty programmes. The research also found that over two-thirds (70%) are unaware that energy suppliers have to offer cheaper ‘social tariffs’ to their most vulnerable customers and over two-fifths (43%) are not aware of the government’s Warm Front scheme which provides funding for insulation and heating improvements – despite the fact that they are on a low income and could be eligible for assistance from these schemes. Furthermore, over one in three (36%) have never or can not remember when they last checked they were on the cheapest energy tariff available to them. These results are particularly worrying in light of the findings that the costs of last winter’s fuel bills caused over two-fifths (44%) to feel stressed, nearly one in seven (14%) to suffer illness or physical pain as a result of cold conditions and over one in eight (13%) to fall behind on their bill payments. Shockingly, over half (55%) said that if they were struggling to meet their fuel costs, they would resort to switching off their heating altogether or only heating one room at a time and two-fifths (41%) would cut back on other essentials including food, yet only 6% would consider approaching a charity to see if they were eligible for a grant. The official definition of fuel poverty is where a household has to spend more than 10% of its income on fuel to maintain an adequate level of warmth. There are currently an estimated 4.75 million households in fuel poverty in the UK, around three-quarters of which are on a low income**. Turn2us is running its second annual Acting on Fuel Poverty campaign throughout the winter to highlight the support available to those struggling with their fuel costs, and has launched a dedicated campaign microsite at www.fuelpovertymap.org.uk. The microsite directs users to sources of help including the Turn2us Benefits Calculator to work out which welfare benefits and tax credits they might be entitled to, the Turn2us Grants Search database which provides access to over 3,000 charitable funds, information pages on increasing energy efficiency and energy efficiency grants, and a link to the Which? Switch energy tariff comparison tool for users to check they are on the best tariff available to them. The microsite also includes an interactive fuel poverty map for users to find out, according to the official definition, if they are in fuel poverty and compare different areas across the UK. Alison Taylor, Director of Turn2us said: “Our latest research findings show that there is a need for individuals and families to have access to clear information and independent guidance to help them find support with rising energy costs. Our fuel poverty microsite brings together a number of tools which are free to use – all in one place, which can help households identify whether they can maximise their income and reduce their energy costs ahead of the arrival of their winter bills.” Helen*** worked as a nurse for many years before she had to leave work due to ill health, and on a limited income, she found herself struggling with her household bills. Her house was damp and living in a rural village, Helen would travel to the nearest town library once a week to keep warm for a few hours. It was here that searching on the internet, she came across Turn2us. Helen identified through Turn2us that she was eligible for a charitable grant which paid for the damp in her home to be fixed and gave her some extra money to put towards her bills. Helen said: “The money I received has been a lifesaver and has had a huge impact on my quality of life. I now live in a warm home and the extra money for bills has really taken some of the pressure off.” Turn2us is working in partnership with a number of charities and organisations across the UK for the Acting on Fuel Poverty campaign, who will help to increase awareness of the help available for those in fuel poverty and how they can access it. For more information about the campaign, please visit www.fuelpovertymap.org.ukand www.turn2us.org.uk.
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