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  1. I'm not sure if this is the correct place to put this on so Mods, please feel free to move. I lost my permanent job late in 2016. Being older (almost 60 at the time), I've found, like many others in my age group that it's almost impossible to find a job. I was asked at the Jobcentre if there was anything I could do to become self-employed. I am a good pianist and had been working towards getting my Diploma after an exam break of 40 years, thinking ahead to when I retire. I am one of the women caught in the 50s trap, no husband and a son who's still recovering from a recent kidney transplant. Life is not easy for us Anyway, I got approval from the NEA to start a teaching business. To date I have not had a lot of interest despite advertising, my website, leafleting doors and anywhere else I can push my business. Just two adult students since I launched on 3rd January 2018 and I didn't get them until October. It seems the NEA and the Jobcentre don't communicate very well. The Jobcentre has taken my start up day from the 18th November 2017. The NEA says I started trading on the 3rd January 2018 which is the date I launched the website and my business. I now get £0 in Universal Credit, the reason being they are using the Minimum Income Floor of £1092 per month which is based on best case scenario estimation. I thought, fine, I don't get a penny from them but what I didn't get told is that my rent (council) wouldn't be paid either. This MIF is a hypothetical figure. Even from when I put in the business plan I have had to drop my prices to £10 for half hour and £19 for a full hour. This week I will earn £10 as one of my students can't come for personal reasons. You can imagine my shock to find out the last payment the council received was on the 11th December 2018. I am now in serious danger of losing my home and my son and myself being thrown out into the street. I am 62 years old and my son is, as said earlier, still recovering from a kidney transplant which has not gone particularly smoothly. I am really at my wits end. Something I thought would put us on the path to a better and more stable future has turned into a nightmare and I've done nothing wrong. I was given a hard choice by the Jobcentre. Either give up my business which I've worked hard to promote and prove I've done that (how do you kill a website - I've already paid for the website and domain for a year, that doesn't end until December this year) and let down my two students, one of whom is very good and practising for her Grade 1 exam later this year or claim UC and completely kill the business. Not knowing that my rent was not going to be paid, I chose to keep on my business as I know it is the type of thing that will take time to build. A year (in my case less) is not a long time. The Jobcentre has now closed my UC claim but I have until May to reinstate it. I have gone without, don't go out or do things other people do. I have been trying to get a job, either part or full time to help things out but get turned down constantly, usually by the agencies who come up with one excuse or another not to put me forward for jobs, the latest excuse being I haven't worked in an office for a year! 45 years experience as a secretary, often working at Managing Director level doesn't count. I met last week with a representative from the NEA who didn't really seem to know why the MIF is playing such a big part in this or even why it's stopping me getting UC to top up my earnings. One can work 16 hours without losing UC or if working 30 hours, similar to the old Working Tax Credits which even applies to self-employed people. These are the people promoting this ghastly scheme and if they don't know how are the rest of us supposed to know? I spoke with the benefits office (their call centre in Scotland) on Friday. Lady there said I would have to get a Mandatory Reconsideration but that could take weeks and may not even be successful. I just tried to reinstate the UC claim - supposedly a one click operation. No, it isn't. Question upon question regarding employment if you work for a employer but absolutely nothing related to being self-employed (I have not completed these questions as they were ambiguous). The Jobcentre advisor I had (or have) is a very nice person but came across as not knowing that much about the NEA scheme (which is run by Pinnacle People). I feel I have been lied to and misled and I'm sure I'm not the only one. From what I've gathered so far, it would seem that if I had started up my piano business on my own, without the NEA scheme I could have declared it to the Jobcentre as casual earnings and they would have simply deducted what I earned from my UC payment. Why there is such a difference between this and being self-employed via the NEA Scheme just doesn't make sense. I hope someone sees this or knows of someone who has gone through this that can point me in the right direction. I'm sorry this post is so long but I really am at my wits end to the point it's making me quite ill.
  2. Can you rejoin the scheme if you come off it? Is there a time period to wait before rejoining because of circumstances?
  3. From May 20th 2018 - TL and GN started running a new timetable which was much publicised. However for 2 months they had severe operating issues which fell below the usual standards of service that is expected. A statement can be found below; Millions of people will have been affected by this - Whether you are a tourist or a regular season ticket holder then you will have had to endure persistent overcrowding due to cancelled trains / revised trains, lack of rolling stock / trained drivers, etc. Thameslink and Great Northern are offering up at a maximum of 1 months season ticket financial compensation for the poor service. More info can be found below; If you have been affected the the scheme will run in 3 phases... This is correct as of the 24th September 2018. A further scheme for Northern will open soon and people should keep an eye out for that. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Would appreciate to hear anybody else's experiences.
  4. Justice Secretary announces victim compensation scheme review, scraps unfair rule READ MORE HERE: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/justice-secretary-announces-victim-compensation-scheme-review-scraps-unfair-rule
  5. Is housing and council tax benefit available for properties under the lift scheme shared ownership with part owned by the government?
  6. Hi, I have today received a Claim Form from BW legal. The Particulars of Claim read as follows: 1.The Claimant's Claim is for the sum of £100.00 being monies due from the Defendant to the Claimant in respect of a Parking Charge Notice (PCN) issued on 01/04/2016 (Issue Date) at 13:38:43 at Smyth Street - Wakefield Anpr Vcs Scheme Std (60-100). 2.The PCN relates to xxx under registration xxx. The terms of the PCN allowed the Defendant 28 days from the Issue Date to pay the PCN, but the defendant failed to do so. Despite demand being made the Defendant has failed to settle their outstanding liability. 3.The Claim also includes Statutory Interest pursuant to section 69 of the County Courts act 1984 at a rate of 8% per annum a daily rate of 0.02 from 01/04/2016 to 06/01/2018 being an amount of £12.92. 4The Claimant also claims £60.00 contractual costs pursuant to PCN Terms and Conditions. The total amount of the claim is for £100 PCN + £60.00 legal costs + £12.92 interest plus £25.00 court fee plus £50.00 Legal representative's cost giving a total of £247.92. For a bit of history, I first received a PCN shortly after the above issue date, looked into it, and opted to ignore it. I have received several more since and opted to ignore them all. I have now, today, received this Claim Form. I have yet to take any action. What should my first course of action be? Should I respond to the claim online (as stated on the form, at moneyclaim.gov.uk?). What should I then do upon doing this? Please advise as soon as possible. Thank you in advance, Card_Owner.
  7. Windrush compensation scheme consultation launched READ MORE HERE: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/windrush-compensation-scheme-consultation-launched
  8. Hi, all and thanks for any advice in advance. Mum signed up to have wall insulation done in her dormer house, room in roof. the initial surveyor said that the walls under the windows would be insulated from within the roof space(behind the walls) and the cheeks, sloping roof section, would be insulated with over-boarding to the floor and would it be ok for the skirting boards be removed and we fix them after. also part of the roof to be over-boarded too. we agreed to this. it was then passed to a different company to do the install. no other survey was done. or contact made till the install date.when insulation was fitted they only came down half the walls with over-boarding and completely missed other walls. when I complained they hadn't done job to what we where told, reply was basically "tough we have done enough to comply and it's been passed off by an inspector". few other minor issues where found which they did agree to fix ie. rockwall falling off back of walls and not enough put in to cover wall. contacted CAB. and they say that because no money has changed hands, it's not a proper contract etc, so can't claim breach of contract. this is still in the process of the installers to come back and fix the work they said they would. other issues, a light fitting left hanging from ceiling with exposed terminals, and my mother also has alzheimers, and no impact assessment was done. who do I complain to, and do we have any other recourse, as to make the rooms into what was promised will now cost us hundreds if not more of pounds. so really what is meant to save people on a low income money is actually costing them hundreds of pounds. Rant over.
  9. Home Secretary launches Windrush compensation scheme call for evidence READ MORE HERE: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/home-secretary-launches-windrush-compensation-scheme-call-for-evidence
  10. I purchased a phone case from the company Spigen through their eBay store on 6 November 2017. Over a month ago, I discovered there were cracks on the back of the case. Neither the phone or case have had any form of impact since purchase. I contacted Spigen and asked if they are able to help. They refused because I was outside of their three-month warranty, and offered me a 'slight discount' from any new purchase. I explained that I am covered under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, but they continued to reiterate that they cannot help. The company has also refused to use an ADR scheme. They also said that when I purchase an item with them, I automatically agree to their terms and conditions which entails THEIR returns/refunds process. What are my options????
  11. Hi everyone. I'm a new member on here. I came across the site when researching tenancy deposit schemes and I've read through several threads but can't seem to find and guidance in relation to my particular problem. Briefly, in September of last year I agreed to rent a property with a private landlord. I had a few concerns about the property but the landlord assured me they would be dealt with once I moved in. But I needed somewhere to live quickly and my mother paid the deposit. The rent was to be paid by housing benefit. There was mould throughout the property, there was a leak from the soil stack or a blockage causing it to seep out from where the two pipes join, a couple of electrical sockets that were loose from the wall etc. I paid the deposit in cash and received a receipt. After several weeks the landlord had not repaired any of the above despite my texting and phoning him. At the same time he began to phone and text me demanding the rent but there was a delay at the housing benefit and the payment had not yet come through. He threatened in the text messages to come round to the property on specific dates and turf me out and take the keys back. I felt intimidated by him and told him by recorded delivery letter that I was going to give him 28 days notice to leave because he hadn't fixed any of the things he had promised. He had no problem with this and texted the sooner the better and that he still hadn't had the rent. I left the property and asked him for the deposit back and he said he was keeping it because he was still owed money. I then found out online that the deposit should have been protected. I asked him about this so that it could go to a resolution but he would not give me the details but kept on saying that he had protected it. He then came back to me and said that I owed him four months rent for leaving early, fees that he had paid to an electrician to fix a pendant - which was one of the jobs I had asked him to fix - fees for a skip to empty the property even though it was empty when I left etc. I realise I'm rambling on. What I'm trying to determine is whether the tenancy was valid when he didn't protect the deposit? Has he a right to claim back four months rent from me when he didn't protect the deposit in the first place? Did the agreement lose any legitimacy when he failed to do that? I ask because despite my continued asking him he will not return the deposit and I'm thinking about taking it to court. All I want is my deposit back. Nothing else. He has since had the back payments up until the time I left the property. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks
  12. Hello I'm hoping I can get some help/advice please. Two days ago I received a PCN from Kingston Council stating that I had committed a moving traffic offence for contravention 52 - failing to comply with a prohibition on certain types of vehicle. The alleged offence happened on 17/11/16 and the PCN was dated 25/11/16. They have supplied 4 CCTV pictures which show my car in colour in 3 pictures but you cannot read the registration. The fourth picture is blacked out and clearly shows just my registration number. The road traffic signs are in the pictures but they are not very clear. I'm looking to see if I can appeal the PCN as albeit I did drive through a restricted area it was a genuine mistake and there are some other circumstances I feel should be taken into consideration. In October this year Kingston Council decided to trial a new scheme along part of the road I drove through (Surbiton Crescent KT6 prior to this there were no restrictions for any vehicles). at one end there a small section where they have now restricted all motor vehicles (the sign displayed) except buses, cycles and taxis and for access. They apparently allowed some sort of bedding in period and have by their own admission on the website issued over 5500 warnings to motorists who have missed the signs . The new route along this road is to turn left onto any one of 2 roads rather than going through the restricted area. There is only one other sign along this road pointing out the changes but nothing significant to advise motorists that have used that road regularly that they have introduced this major change. PCN from CCTV footage commenced 14/11/2016. I believe that they have not put up enough signs to motorists who use this road on a fairly regular basis (myself included) to make them aware of the changes. When I returned to view the road signs yesterday, people were still driving through the signs which have been placed on temporary bollards along the actual road and others were also there after receiving PCN's for the same offence. Can anyone offer any advice? Thanks.
  13. http://www.itv.com/news/border/2017-04-12/thousands-lose-cars-due-to-change-in-disability-benefits/ However, many of these people will have received Lifetime awards on the old DLA system !! It makes no sense at all.
  14. READ MORE HERE: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/war-pension-scheme-payments-increases-from-april-2017
  15. Apologies in advance if this is a dumb question. I worked for a company from approximately May/June 1990 to around March 1992, during which time I had contributions into their pension scheme deducted from my pay. I've just reached 65 and am now receiving my state pension and idly wondered what happened to those contributions, whether it would be possible to get those back, or if I could now legitimately claim a pension (however tiny) from that company? Or is it the case that I've effectively kissed that money goodbye? Any assistance or pointers in the right direction would be gratefully received.
  16. READ MORE HERE & DOWNLOAD GUIDE: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mod-referral-scheme-a-guide
  17. Eaga plc that runs Warm Front is giving me a rough ride. They are denying me, heating improvements under the Govt scheme. The boiler is a floor standing Potterton Kingfisher RS50 installed when the flat was built in 1963. The Assessor took a glance at the boiler and told me that it is too old and promised me that the boiler will be replaced. He gave me a glossy brochure about the steps they will take to make improvements such as replacement boiler. The Assessor asked me to sign a Client Declaration. I trusted him and made the mistake of signing it without reading. He told me that I will receive a copy of the letter that they send to my landlord. But the landlord or I heard nothing. Then I noticed that on the back of the form that I was asked to sign, the only ‘assessor recommended improvement’ is compact fluorescent light bulbs. After number of phone calls to Warm Front and long waits, I was told that my landlord is responsible for heating, eventhough no one at Warm Front (including the assessor) has read the tenancy agreement. Their ‘landlord is responsible’ stance is based on the mis-interpretation of something I said. They are also disregarding the fact that I have been paying for annual check-ups and maintenance of the boiler for the last eight years. I was asked for past receipts; though I no longer have them. I offered to send them the tenancy agreement. But was told that it will not be valid any longer, because the landlord and I might now change it to suit. I was also told on the phone that the boiler will be replaced only if does not work and can’t get spares to repair it. Where can I get a copy of the rules and regulations that from the basis of their decisions? Is there an appeal procedure independent of Eaga plc who will hear my case? Any other course of action? Many thanks.
  18. Hi guys, I'm currently self employed, and applied for a property form midland heart on the intermediate rent scheme as im trying to save for a mortgage. I went through all the process, providing a guarantor etc and was meant to move saturday just gone, may 14th 2016. Midland Heart came back to me and said, they cant do the move because they dont allow guarantor on this scheme yet, I was told I needed one and paid for the referencing via homelet. This is the day before I was due to move. Homelet sent back my income as 0, as ive been unemployed for under 12months. Homelet say they only accepts tax returns as proof of income. It just seems ive being penalised for being self employed. Is there anything i can do because Im basically homeless right now. I have no where to go, midland heart just left me in the dark. I was due to move, stuff packed, new furniture ordered to the new address even had a date for a sky installation. Thanks
  19. I have been in my current flat for 9 years and currently I get all my rent covered by housing benefit. However this year the landlord decided to make things difficult and my terms are changing. Extra £20 a week rent. New guarantor required even tho I dont have arrears or ever had arrears. Without this 3 months rent paid in advance. Early termination fee payable in advance So to renew I need this amount of money. £1245+£495 up front and extra £20 month rent. Council and charities have confirmed housing benefit will not cover extra rent, in fact I actually already get more than the allowance which I think has only been allowed as I was getting it anyway before the rates got revised. My only income is ESA SG. Given the situation I have put in a claim for PIP although I think I will only be rewarded lower rate mobility. It seems most councils will allow people to get on their choice schemes for needing more affordable housing, but my council seems very strict, unable to afford rent is not a valid reason and they wont let me register. They told me I can only register when I am actually homeless and only then if not intentional homelessness. Shelter have advised me I am in a very tough situation, I can be deemed intentional homeless if I refuse to sign the new tenancy terms, but also likewise if I sign knowing I cannot fulfill the terms. My landlord has said if I dont sign I will get a section 21. My council just kept refusing to acknowledge the private rental market is completely out of touch with local housing allowance rates and refusing me access to the housing association property market. Bedsits in my area cost more than the 1 bed flat LHA rates, thats how much of a difference there is. I found one housing association property on housefinder thats the same rent as LHA rates but sadly they already got a tenant, they said they got 200 available on choice website, but just this one available outside of it. It does seem a bit of a [problem] to be honest, one has to be homeless to get access to affordable housing. My sister's council choice scheme doesnt have such requirements, one can register simply for 'affordability' reasons. But I do require a 'local connection', my sister however has only lived there 2 years (didnt tell them this), and they want 5 years as a minimum term for a relation. Is there any advice on how to get housing association properties outside of choice schemes? or low priced benefit friendly places? I did wonder why these places never seem advertised and now I know why, they all seem locked away by the councils. I have registered on all the housing associations on my councils website, none of them have any properties available, but have been told I have to do this and keep checking them or I risk been deemed intentionally homeless. I dread to think what happens then, do they literally chuck me on the street? What a society. Since I have mobility issues and where I live now I currently cannot have a scooter, I am going to ask my GP this week if i get on the scheme for medical reasons, but I dont know if she will support me on that.
  20. READ MORE HERE: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/enhanced-learning-credits-further-and-higher-education-scheme-changes More information on the Enhanced Learning Credits Scheme is here: http://www.enhancedlearningcredits.com/
  21. Hi Bakatcha, The reason why I am contacting you is connected with my own dilemma with INGEUS!! I have been out of work for sometime & it's tough. The job centre has placed me on a mandatory work program with INGEUS & sadly it's lasted longer than expected. My advisor is using unorthodox ways to find work for me and somewhat intrusive. My advisor thinks it's a good idea if he watches me use the computer when I search/apply for jobs and he also wants me to possibly visit INGEUS on a daily basis. He also thinks it's a good idea if he applies for vacancies without me performing this task and I strongly disagree with that! He even suggested that I sit down with him & log onto my email account so he can check all the jobs I apply for each week, unacceptable in my opinion and I wondered what you make of this.
  22. Hi, I moved into a one-bedroom rented flat at the end of December and got my first electricity bill toward the end of January, totaled at approx £180. I knew I had used the heating a bit excessively over the past month as January was cold, however I was still surprised to see that I am charged £140 for heating only (at around 10p per kilowatt). The other thing was that I am charged with two standing charges - 25p/day for electricity and 75p/day for "Band 5", which I found goes to the developer of the building and is based on the size of the property. This means that I have to pay £30 a month in standing charges even if I don't use any electricity or heating at all. I switched everything off immediately and had an engineer coming over to check the meter, which he tested and found it is working okay. The meter readings are transmitted electronically to the supplier so when I got the bill I compared it with the current instant reading and it was about right. However, I only have the first reading at the start of the tenancy for the electricity only and not the one for the heating, which were provided to me by the agency, so I wonder if there is a way to check if the one for the heating is also correct? I watched the meter for a while and noticed that with thermostat set to 18-19 degrees and heaters open at max, it rolls 1 kilowatt per about 10 minutes. Some quick calculations later and I found that if I use the heating for 2.5h per day it will cost me around £40 without the standing charges, which will nearly double my bill. I have spoken with an advisor at another supplying company and checked with them if there is any way to switch, however they couldn't help much. I understand that if I switch suppliers, the whole building will have to switch too as part of the scheme. I also understand that I have little control over leaving the scheme (if this is even possible), as I am only a tenant and not the owner of the property. Is there anything I can do to reduce this bill or fight this before it takes me to bankrupt? My tenancy is on a 12-month basis and leaving the flat earlier is hardly an option. Thanks in advance, L
  23. Hi, I have received a letter today from Npower. "Your Payment scheme hasnt been set up correctly. We've tried to call you to explain an issue with your account setup. Unfortunately, due to a system issue, we were unable to set up your payment scheme correctly, so you've only been paying for usage on one fuel." I phoned the customer number, on hold for 30mins. She has said I have not payed for gas from 01/01/2014 - 25/01/16. I'm afraid I wasn't brilliant on the phone and wasn't sure what to ask. I am on a Price Protector December 2017 dual fuel setup which is paid via DD. They are currently going to increase my DD by £54 over the next 16 months? My bill has effectively trebled as now ill be paying the correct dual bill and the increase. Is there anything I can do? I'm assuming I have to pay for all the used gas? Many Thanks
  24. MOD Referral Scheme to help service leavers get accommodation. Information about the scheme to assist eligible service leavers to get accommodation via housing associations. The MOD Referral Scheme is coordinated by JSHAO to assist some service leavers to get accommodation via housing associations. to be eligible their is a criteria. Read More Here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mod-referral-scheme-a-guide
  25. The UK Government has taken action to ensure remote homes and businesses can access its promised basic 2Mbps broadband service In a bid to deliver on previous guarantees it has made about affordable broadband access, the government will offer subsidised satellite dishes to some of the most remote areas. The scheme will be administered by local authorities. Homeowners and businesses within eligible areas will receive a voucher code to provide them with a free satellite dish and in some cases installation, as well as reduced 12 monthly subscription costs from partnering satellite broadband providers. Use the postcode checker here to find information about what is available in your area: http://gosuperfastchecker.culture.gov.uk/basicbroadbandchecker/index.php
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