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AGE CONCERN Unwanted Presents or Sale Purchases? “After the festive season, many people will be contemplating how they will get rid of unwanted presents or dispose of household furniture in order to accommodate new purchases made in the sales. Age Concern is the answer!” says Tony Donovan of the local Age Concern. The credit crunch is affecting stocks of clothes, books and furniture in Age Concern Leicester Shire & Rutland’s 26 shops upon which the charity so heavily relies. Tony Donovan, the charity’s executive director, added: “It’s a Catch 22! On the one hand, more people are saving money in these difficult times by buying the high quality goods which we sell, whilst on the other, traditional donors are apparently more inclined to ‘make do and mend’ rather than donate to our charity’s shops. If the situation continues, this could directly affect the level of services which we are able to provide in the future.” Items can be delivered to any of the charity’s shops – for convenient locations, ring 0116 2992233 – whilst large quantities or large items such as furniture can be collected from homes by calling 0116 2781208. Benefit Overpayments : Court of Appeal Decision The Court of Appeal has ruled that the DWP cannot recover overpayments of social security benefits through the courts where the claimant is not at fault. The case was brought by the child Poverty Action Group in response to letters sent to claimants telling them they could be taken to court under common law if they did not pay back overpayments even though payments were not recoverable under social security law. The Government is considering the decision. Cold Weather Payments to remain at £25 for Winter 2009/10 The Government has announced that this winter Cold Weather Payments will again be paid at £25 for each qualifying week of very cold weather. These payments are made to certain groups of people receiving income-related benefits including older people claiming Pension Credit. DWP Consultation on Data Sharing with





Energy Suppliers : Age Concern and Help the Aged response Age Concern and Help the Aged has responded to proposals for Pension Credit data to be shared with energy companies in order to enable companies to provide an automatic payment to help with fuel bills. It is proposed that the payment will be around £80 to £100 and to people receiving Pension Credit guarantee alone. The scheme will act as a pilot for a wider proposed scheme from 2011 onwards. Pension Credit Payment Pilot : DWP Discussion Paper This paper summarises the Department for Work and Pensions’ plans for a pilot scheme to use data already held to make payments of Pension Credit without people claiming. During 2010, it is planned that 2000 people who are thought to be entitled to Pension Credit will be paid their estimated entitlement for 13 weeks. To continue to receive payment they will need to make a claim in the normal way. The scheme is designed to test out attitudes to automatic payments, evaluate ways to use existing data to increase take-up and to consider if long-term changes to benefit rules would make delivery easier. Consultation on Ending Age Discrimination in Services and Public Functions : Age Concern and Help the Aged Response In our response to a Government Equalities Office consultation, we call for the Equality Bill’s prohibition on age discrimination in services and public functions to be implemented promptly and robustly. Key points are: • the proposed exemption for financial services firms goes too far in allowing them to justify discriminatory treatment on commercial grounds and to continue imposing age limits. Age limits should be prohibited, and greater transparency is needed. • tackling discrimination in health and social care should be implemented in 2012. • public sector age-based concessions or benefits should be capable of being objectively justified. • the retention of the default retirement age in the Equality Bill is misguided and

unnecessary • failing to ban age discrimination in housing goes against the spirit and intent of the Bill. Annuities : Age Concern and Help the Aged Policy Briefing Age Concern and Help the Aged have put forward proposals for improving the pension annuity market. The paper calls for more attention to be paid to the needs of people with small and modest pension funds, including reform to the process of ‘trivial commutation’ which allows small pension funds to be drawn in cash. Vulnerable Adults : New Vetting and Barring Scheme A new vetting and barring scheme for people who work with children and vulnerable adults was introduced on October 12. the new scheme, established under the 2008 Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act, replaces the current Protection of Vulnerable Adults (POVA) list. The planned timetable for implementation is: • 12 October 2009 – it is unlawful to employ a barred person. There is a legal duty to refer a person to the new Independent Safeguarding List (ISA) if they have harmed or demonstrated the potential to harm a child or vulnerable adult; • July 2010 – registration with the ISA begins for new employees and people moving jobs (including volunteers); • November 2010 – new employees and volunteers must be registered with the ISA; and • April 2011 – registration of existing employees begins. Independent Living and Older People Information Resource The Office for Disability Issues, along with the Centre for Policy on Ageing and the National Development Team for Inclusion, have set up a new website aimed at people who are working to develop independent living strategies for older people. It contains links to a range of publications and other resources, examples of older people’s stories, and an explanation of how independent living fits in with local and national performance targets and to other government strategies.

NHS Continuing Care : New Directions The Department of Health has issued new directions on the responsibilities of the NHS for continuing healthcare. It has also produced a leaflet for the public giving information about NHS continuing health care and NHS funded nursing care. Market Survey of the Care of Older People: Laing and Buisson Laing and Buisson have published their latest annual market survey of the care of older people. It confirms the decline in the demand for care home places has ended. The number of private payers has risen to 41% and third party top ups are more prevalent with 28% of council funded residents being in receipt of top-ups. Occupancy of homes has dropped to an average of 89.8%. Fee inflation has slowed down to an average of 1.9% for nursing homes and 3.2% for residential homes. The average cost of private home for older people in the UK is £684 per week for nursing care and £482 for residential care. Some 26,000 residents are funded by the NHS. Future of cheques


In response to the Payment Council’s decision to set a target date of 2018 to close the cheque clearing system‚ Andrew Harrop‚ Head of Public Policy for Age Concern and Help the Aged‚ said: “This move by the Payments Council will leave millions of older people worrying about how they will manage their finances without cheques. “2018 is the date set for the withdrawal of cheques‚ but we are concerned that this will give the green light to banks and retailers to start phasing them out even sooner. Chip and pin is problematic for many older and housebound people and we know 6.4 million over 65’s have never used the internet. Without cheques‚ we are very concerned people will be forced to keep large amounts of cash in their home‚ leaving them vulnerable to theft and financial abuse. “The Payments Council needs to urgently come up with some practical alternatives to replace cheques or it will be condemning thousands of older people to extra worry‚ cost and financial insecurity.” From Jex Woods

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Birstall Post Jan 2010 (318)  

Birstall Post Jan 2010

Birstall Post Jan 2010 (318)  

Birstall Post Jan 2010