Pension scams claim more victims
A rising tide of pension scams is an unwelcome consequence of the ‘pension freedoms’ introduced in 2015. Because people can now get access to their whole pension fund if they wish once they reach age 55, it is worth fraudsters’ while to try and persuade them to transfer this money to dodgy investment schemes. Such frauds, where victims have lost all the money they had in their pension fund, are reported in the Press almost every week. Mostly, they involve investment in schemes or companies that transfer your money to the fraudsters.
Anger over mounting care crisis
Almost any day some news programme or newspaper carries an item about the crisis in care. NHS chiefs complain about bed-blocking by patients who cannot be discharged because social services cannot find accommodation for them. Care homes teeter on the verge of bankruptcy because the rate local authorities pay them is barely enough and costs have risen due to the Minimum Living Wage. Local authorities’ increasingly desperate pleas for more money from the government have had no response.
Get back your child benefit
The austerity years produced many small changes to the tax and benefit system that cut people’s entitlements. One of them was the restriction of child benefit payments where either parent earns over £50,000 a year. For every £100 of earnings above that level you lose 1% of your child benefit – in fact you still get the benefit paid, but part of it is clawed back from higher income tax payments via your tax code. If you earn over £60,000 you get no child benefit at all.
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