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Teen Parent Project Revels in Success

ge t W re elf a a d ch re R y f e o G ris form r t in tm h W ger a Ch e s b a e r s n w an Ne ead ca ges it d ed U tc - A ch m Y pd h G o or o a -u u v e.. u te p id er . ! s e !

Scottish Charity No: SCO24254 Issue 34 : Spring 2011

Switch & Bitch Returns!


STAFF CHANGES New staff changes yet again this issue with a long term member of staff on the move and a new face joining the team. Read on for more information.

Cheerio Gwen! Student Support Worker Just before Christmas our Student Support Worker Gwen left Fife Gingerbread to start work on her new venture - a new caravan park at Anstruther.

Gwen

Gwen was always smiling and had a mean sense of humour which will, alongside her hard working nature, make her very much missed by everyone. Gwen would like to thank everyone she worked with and wants you all to know she’ll miss you but hopes to see you sometime in the future.

Hello Jodie! Since before Christmas we’ve had a new face in the office! Jodie is our new office volunteer helping out around the office and with all things Gingerbread. Jodie is a well known face at Fife Gingerbread as she’s also a Buddy and helps out at our events so we’re delighted she’s able to join the team! Next time you’re at one of our events or just popping into the office then remember to say hello to her! We’ll get a photo of her for the next newsletter!


Welcome... I know that winter’s not officially over but I am ready for the warmth and the sunshine! That’s why the theme of our next Switch & Bitch is ‘Get Ready for the Summer!’. Get pampered and get a new wardrobe in time for the coming summer! Look out on page 7 for more details. We’ve also got our usual updates on the staff and questions and answers from both One Parent Families Scotland and the Jobcentre. As well as that look out for our feature on the Digital Switchover on page 18 & 19. The switchover starts in June and it’s something that everyone needs to know about so take a quick peek. Hope you enjoy this issue and remember to come and give us feedback on our Facebook page or via email. Happy Spring!

Jo

w: www.fifegingerbread.org.uk e: info@fifegingerbread.org.uk t: 01333 303124 Arden House Annexe, Commercial Road, Leven, Fife, KY8 4QX Printer: Levenmouth Printers

On your own? You’re not alone! Fife Gingerbread is a voluntary organisation for lone parents. Our aim is simple: to provide accessible, approachable and non-judgemental support, advice and information to lone parents across Fife. Membership is free and available to anyone who is bringing up children on their own, regardless of age, gender, ethnic origin, disability or sexual orientation.


UPDATES

4 Fife Gingerbread Issue 34 Spring 2011

There are always changes taking place at Fife Gingerbread so have a quick look at what everyone’s up to in our update!

Teen Parent Project The Teen Parent Worker is busy visiting new mums and mums-to-be on a 1:1 basis, talking about their babies and discussing any worries that they might have. Also signposting to agencies who provide general family advice. There are currently two Teen Mum groups that meet regularly at Woodlands Family Centre, sharing experiences, ideas and generally making friendships, for both themselves and their babies. A number of Teens who met as a group last year have now started college courses giving them opportunities to continue their education with the reassurance that their babies are settled and happy in the Leven Childcare Centre. The Teen Parent Worker is also meeting with workers to develop a Teen Dads Group which is frequently requested from many of the young couples who have engaged with the project. For more information contact Heather on 01333 303124. You can also contact us on Facebook, Bebo and Twitter. Visit our website www. fifegingerbread.org.uk for more information.


Fife Gingerbread Issue 34 Spring 2011 5

Buddy Project Update It’s been all go for the Buddy Project in the last wee while. As most of your know, I’m taking over Support Work while also continuing with Miche my role as the Volunteer Co-ordinator. lle Very soon there’ll be some exciting changes for the project where by the other Support Workers (Jenny and Jo) will be helping out to keep the Buddy Project moving forward. I’ll give you more details in the future but don’t worry - the Buddy Project is still a very important part of our service and I can’t wait for it to go from strength to strength. As usual, I’ve been working hard to make sure that I get around everyone and keep up to date with all the Buddies and Buddy Mentors. They are all such stars that we decided to have a lunch for them to say thank you for all their hard work for the project. The lunch was a great laugh and I really hope that everyone who attended had a good time! If you’re looking to become a Buddy then I do have training coming up but at the moment the locations and actual dates are still up in the air. If you would like to put your name down on the waiting list for the next round of training then call me on 01333 303124. It might be a wee while until I can get back to you or before we have a firm date for the training but please be patient - I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. And, as always, if there’s anything I can help with just call!

elle Mich xx


6 Fife Gingerbread Issue 34 Spring 2011

group news

Kirkcaldy Jenny is co-facilitating a short Time Out For Parents course in Kirkcaldy in partnership with Integrated Community Schools. For more information call Jenny on the number below!

Other Jenny also wants everyone to know that we’ve all been busy beavers in the Gingerbread team, developing our ideas for future group work across Fife. So if you’ve been part of a group before, or would like to join one in the future let us know your thoughts! All fabulous ideas most welcome!

Oakley The Oakley group started another run at the end of February and will continue to the end of March. They will be doing a mixed programme including personal safety. Teen Parents As part of the Levenmouth Teen Parent Project there’s a Teen Parent Group taking place at Woodlands. If you are a teenager from Levenmouth, either pregnant or already have a baby and would like to meet people in the same situation then give Heather a call at the number below. Woodlands We are currently running a new parents support group in partnership with Woodlands Family Centre in Methil. The group meet up weekly and are enjoying getting to know each other. We still have a few spaces at this group so if you’re interested give Jenny a call.

Information: • A free creche is provided at each group. • Please phone for more information on how to join a group. -------------------------------Telephone: 01333 303124 Email: info@fifegingerbread.org.uk


Fife Gingerbread Issue 34 Spring 2011 7

Switch & Bitch

“The Ultimate Girls Night Out”

5 £ s t Ticke helping local charities

Thursday 31st March Dean Park Hotel, Kirkcaldy 7pm (prompt) to 10pm Doors open @ 6.30pm

Get ready for the summer! Shopping

Entertainment

Pampering Prizes

Bar

To buy tickets call Fife Gingerbread on 01333 303124,


Did you know you could be losing more than 50% of your home’s heat through the roof and walls?

Find out how you can stay warm and save money this winter.

Call the Home Energy Scotland Hotline free* on

or visit homeenergyscotland.org.uk

*Calls from landlines are free. From a mobile call 0300 456 2655 to be charged at local network rates.


Can a toddler have an eating Anyone with a child knows that there will be times disorder? where mealtimes are a nightmare. Over the last few A recent article in the BBC prompted debate about whether toddlers could have eating disorders and how we should handle the minefield of mealtimes.

years the amount of parents claiming their kids have an eating disorder has risen. But is it easier to say that your darling child has an eating disorder rather than simply being badly behaved? According to Dr Su Laurent, a peadiatrician, there are three typical examples of behaviour that can lead parents to think their children have an eating disorder. These are that they think their child can’t swallow solids, that their children don’t eat enough or that their child will only eat chicken nuggets, crisps and chocolate. All three situations, says Dr Laurent, are examples of how powerful a weapon food is and how quickly children can gain the upper hand over their parents. The difficulty is that once you’re convinced your child has an eating disorder it’s difficult to realise that perhaps your child is very powerful and is getting away with eating exactly what they want. In some cases it was reported that the children were overweight but the parents were terrfied that their children would only eat MacDonalds so that’s what they were given, whenever they wanted it. Dr Laurent’s advice is simple: don’t give in! Make eating fun and eat with your child whenever possible. Don’t forcefeed them but reward them for trying something new and don’t punish them if they don’t. And try to resist the temptation to give them a snack when they cry or get grumpy between meals. Although sound advice it’s probably easier said than done. Have you got any tips on surviving mealtimes? Email us on info@fifegingerbread.or.uk or leave a comment on our Facebook page.


10 Fife Gingerbread Issue 34 Spring 2011

jobcentreplus Q&A In each issue of our newsletter, Jobcentre Plus are on hand to answer any burning questions that you may have. Whether it’s a question about benefits, about the facilities in each Jobcentre or something else entirely, if you’ve got a question you need answered then the friendly folk at the Jobcentre are here to answer them for you. Q1. I’ve heard I will lose my lone parent advisor when I move to JSA – is this right? A1. Before you move to JSA your Lone Parent Adviser will explain the process to you. They will discuss with you what happens with your claim and how moving to JSA will affect you. They will also explain that you will be seeing main stream advisers in future, but may also see your Lone Parent Adviser at any time, so long as you remain a lone parent. You will, of course, need to book an appointment with the Lone Parent Adviser as you did previously, but when ever possible this appointment will be on your signing day.

Q2. What do I do if I don’t agree with what my advisor says or want a second opinion? A2. All our advisers are there to help you, if you don’t agree with what the adviser tells you then you should tell them you don’t agree. If you do not feel confident to do this then ask the adviser if you can discuss the issue with another adviser, your adviser will understand you would feel better getting a second opinion. Alternatively if you would feel more confident bringing a friend or relative to any interviews to help support you, then please feel free to do so. Q3. I don’t currently claim benefits but have just lost my job – do I just turn up at the Jobcentre and will get benefits?

Glenrothes JobCentre


Fife Gingerbread Issue 34 Spring 2011 11

Christmas Catch-Up It seems like such a long time ago but despite the snow we managed to get quite a lot of Christmas presents out to those in the most need around Fife just before the end of the year. We were very fortunate to get donations from many individuals and companies who all made it possible to ensure Fife’s kids had something to open on Christmas morning. Among others we’d like to extend our thanks to: Asda, Jon Bolton, Elle @ Toys in Scotland, Bank of Scotland, Brian Ward, Claire Baker MSP, Innerleven East Church, Forth One, Lazy Daisy, Salvation Army, Caledonian Printers, and everyone else who donated presents and their time! It is much appreciated by both us and our lone parent families. continued... A3. No, you do not go to the Jobcentre in the first instance. You will need to arrange an appointment first. Speak to our Contact Centre on 0800 055 66 88 to make one for your local centre.

If you have a question that you would like answered in the next newsletter then please let us know by emailing info@fifegingerbread.org.uk, phoning us on 01333 303124 or by letting your Support Worker know your question the next time you see them. p


12 Fife Gingerbread Issue 34 Spring 2011

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED...

(in association with One Parent Families Scotland) Q. My mum usually looks after my daughter while I’m at work but she’s going on holiday for two weeks in March. I know a childminder who can look after my daughter at this time but is there any help with paying for it?

Q.My 17 year old son has just started work in our local supermarket. He only works a few hours a week as he is still at school but sometimes earns as much as £50 per week. Will this affect my Jobseekers Allowance or Child Tax Credit?

A. As long as you use Registered Childcare you may be entitled to help with childcare costs as part of Working Tax Credit. Most childminders are registered but you should ask and make sure. Any help you get will be based on your income. If you are getting Working Tax Credit already you will get 80% of your childcare costs paid up to a maximum amount of £145 per week. Even if you are only getting Child Tax Credit or no Tax Credits at all you may still be entitled to something.

A. If a parent is receiving Child Tax Credit for a dependant child any income or capital (savings) that child has, however much, is not taken into account for Tax Credits or Welfare Benefits so you don’t need to worry.

Childcare costs through WTC for a short, limited period of time can be claimed a week in advance. You need to know the start date, end date and cost. You will receive the money as soon as the claim is processed which may take a few weeks. If you are already getting tax credits you may receive the money quicker than if you are making a new or first claim but in all likelihood the money will be received after the childcare has started.

If a parent is getting Income Support for the child (i.e. Income Support dependant’s allowance) rather than Child Tax Credit, then any earnings the child has will be disregarded but the child’s savings or capital could reduce the parent’s benefit. This could be overcome by the parent stopping her claim for IS for the child and claiming CTC instead. Q. I have been asked to fill out a review form for my Income Support (IS). My circumstances have not changed but I am worried about answering the question on income. I am a lone parent with a 4 year old and every now and then I sell clothes on ebay that he has outgrown. I don’t make a lot of money from this


Fife Gingerbread Issue 34 Spring 2011 13

How to:

– should I mention it on the form? A. This is a bit of a grey area. Strictly speaking the money you get from selling your son’s clothes is “income” but the issue is more about the frequency of your selling and the amount of money you make. Jobcentre Plus might think of this money as “a job” and although you can earn £20 a week before any money would be taken off your Income Support, any money you earn over this amount would reduce your benefit. The best thing is to be honest on the form, giving details of how often and how much money you make and hopefully it will not be counted but if you don’t give this information and they check your bank statements, payments from ebay into your account might arouse suspicion.

If you are a lone parent and need free, confidential information call the Lone Parent Helpline on 0808 801 0323 or visit www.opfs.org.uk.

Decorate Easter Eggs! You’ll need: Uncooked eggs Paints Paint brushes Glue Decorations such as glitter, feathers etc Instructions: 1. Pierce a tiny hole in the top of an egg. 2. Pierce a slightly larger hole in the bottom of the egg. * If you have a small child be sure to do these stages for them.

3. Position the egg over an empty bowl and gently blow into the top hole until the raw egg comes out. 4. Carefully place the egg under the tap to rinse any remaining egg from the shell. 5. Wipe the eggshells and put them into the microwave for 15 seconds. 6. Once the shells are dry, decorate with paints, glue and any decorations. 7. Leave to dry then place in a bowl or hide around the garden for the Easter Bunny!


14 Fife Gingerbread Issue 34 Spring 2011

That’s a Fact!

separation, money tips, parental responsibilities, child maintenance, adoption, education, emotional health and so much more.

Having a look at Gingerbread’s range of factsheets.

Gingerbread England have an extensive range of factsheets available to single parents covering a variety of issues. The factsheets are informative, in depth and can really help if you find yourself in certain situations. Topics of the factsheets include benefits, making the most of holidays, getting legal help, preparation for

Being an English charity some of the factsheets may be aimed at an English audience or for the English legal system but many are generic and very useful. To have a read and download the factsheets visit www. gingerbread.org.uk.

We are looking for members who are interested in joining an advisory group to feed into the work of Fife Gingerbread. You would meet up with other members of the group 4 times a year and discuss how you would want Fife Gingerbread to develop. You would feed into our Board of Directors and help make Fife Gingerbread a real organisation driven by the members. To apply or for more information send an email to info@fifegingerbread.org.uk or phone 01333 303124 with your details. Expenses will be paid in accordance with Fife Gingerbread’s policy.


Fife Gingerbread Issue 34 Spring 2011 15

Credit Unions Beat The Credit Crunch Fife’s Credit Unions are helping the people of Fife to weather the current financial storms by providing savings and loans options which are both excellent value and highly ethical. At a time of global recession, Fifers are proving themselves canny enough to beat the credit crunch. Credit Unions are ethical, community-based, financial co-operatives which are strictly regulated by the Financial Services Authority ensuring your finances are well looked after. They are also part of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme guaranteeing your money is completely safe. In 2009 Fifers who borrowed from credit unions instead of doorstep lenders saved themselves a total of approximately £400,000. That’s money which has been kept out of the coffers of high-interest lenders and payday loan companies and has stayed instead in the pockets of local people. Kingdom Credit Union even offers introductory loans to anyone on a low income or receiving benefits (see table below). Credit Union savers get a great deal: as a member you own your credit union and get a share of the profits in the form of a dividend every year, usually between 2% and 4% (though most have a commitment to pay a little extra to junior savers). Compare this with the 0.2% offered by high street banks for a similar type of instant access savings account. Borrowers, too, get very favourable rates: a standard loan for an existing member will attract an interest rate of 12.68% APR. Compare this to the high rates charged by doorstep lenders or rates running into the thousands for a payday loan. Loan

Weekly Payment

No. of Weeks

Total Payable

% APR

Total Interest

Credit Union Savings-based Loan for regular savers

£250

£10

26

£259.03

12.68%

£9.03

Kingdom Credit Union Introductory Unsecured Loan for anyone receiving benefits

£250

£11

25

£267.30

26.8%

£17.30

Provident Personal Credit

£250

£12.50

31

£387.50

365.1%

£137.50

Greenwood Personal Credit

£250

£12.50

33

£412.50

433.4%

£162.50

For more information on joining your local Credit Union: Fife Council’s Credit Union Development Team - 0800 085 5803 Visit the website - www.fifecreditunions.co.uk FIFE’S CREDIT UNIONS NOT FOR PROFIT - NOT FOR CHARITY - JUST FOR YOU


NEWS IN BRIEF Membership Update

We will soon be undertaking a huge project to update our membership. This is to ensure that everyone who is receiving the newsletter still wants it to be sent to them. We’ll also be collecting email addresses and mobile numbers and updating any details we hold on file. When you receive your form, please be sure to return it to us in the stamped, addressed envelope to ensure you still stay a member. And look out for a lot more benefits of being a member of Fife Gingerbread coming soon.

Cookwell Livewell

Fife Community Food Project start new workshops in Leven.

Informal cooking sessions offering practical support, demonstrations and food hygiene are starting in Leven. Session topics include family meals, breakfast, snacks, homemade takeaways and so much more. For more information and to book yourself on this free course email iain.anderson@fife.gov.uk A recent report by Reid Howie Associates highlighted the good work that the project does in Levenmouth. Here are some of the positive feedback noted about the project.

Scotland’s Census

The next census will be held on 27th March, 2011. This will help to paint a picture of life in Scotland and helps plan and provide our future services like housing, hospitals and schools. All your information is safe and protected and you are required by law to fill it in. Be ready for it and have fun!

Families Research

St Andrews University are doing a study on families and need your help. You need to have a child or grandchild who is 11-15 years old and both be available to fill in a questionnaire and take part in a wee interview. Each family that takes part gets a £50 Asda voucher or family portrait. To take part or for more info call 07872 418 219 or email hp55@st-andrews.ac.uk.

The mums like would “ “ Heather help out with loads Heather and that’s really important. of stuff. Kids. Any Agency worker ” problems. ” A Teen Mum You get a lot of help “ kids don’t feel and support on what “These you want. When you they are just being left and just ignored. Somebody is fighting for them to have a future. Project Stakeholder

go to do something, your mum and dad are ‘oh, that’s stupid’, and none of my friends have kids, but this is about you. A Teen Mum


Abused Men in Scotland A new service opens its doors in Fife

A brand new service has opened its doors in Fife offering support to men who are, or have been victims of domestic abuse. The numbers of domestic abuse cases against men is on the rise however it largely remains a hidden problem with police only finding out about 8% of incidents of abuse against men compared with 35% for women. Like domestic abuse in women, any man can experience domestic abuse. He may be a professional, an office worker, a manual worker, a businessman, policeman, a lawyer or unemployed. It happens regardless of age, build, strength or fitness. All sorts of men are victims. It could be your dad, brother, uncle, nephew, son, friend, workmate, neighbour. Or you. Abused Men in Scotland (AMIS) is a charity providing individual or group support, information, signposting and a confidential helpline among others. Men have exactly the same right to live without abuse as women. For more information or for help call AMIS on 01383 62 44 11 or visit their website www.abusedmeninscotland.org.

Fife Gingerbread Issue 34 Spring 2011 17

Website Watch

Direct Gov This issue our focus on a helpful website turns to Direct Gov, the Government’s website for public services. Website name: DirectGov URL: www.directgov.gov.uk Description: The information and services available on the Directgov website are provided by a variety of UK government departments and agencies. What’s available? There is so much that you can do on the DirectGov website from finding information about jobs, benefits, council tax etc. to seeing the latest crime maps and showing the price of tickets for the Olympics. There’s a complete mixture of general information about services on top of practical advice on driving, elections, parenting, health, going abroad and so much more. If you’ve got a question it’s worth a visit to see if they can help.


18 Fife Gingerbread Issue 34 Spring 2011

The Digital Switchover will start on June the 1st 2011 and will affect everyone. Read on for our handy guide on what the switch means, how it will affect you and what you need to do to keep watching the TV. TV is going digital. The existing analogue channels will be switched off in Fife in June and replaced by a new, stronger digital TV signal. It will mean that almost everyone will be able to receive digital TV through an aerial (Freeview). To keep your TV service, you will need to convert your TVs to digital before the switchover date. To convert you will need to ensure that you have a TV that can receive digital. This doesn’t mean you have to buy a new TV.

Almost every TV can be converted with a digital box, even a black and white one. Just make sure that you have a spare scart socket to plug the digital box into the television. There are a number of ways you can go digital. You can choose a service that is professionally installed for you such as Sky or Virgin Media or you can install services like Freeview or Top Up TV yourself. If you decide to get Freeview, BT Vision or Top Up TV you should check your aerial. If you have a good picture now , you probably won’t


Fife Gingerbread Issue 34 Spring 2011 19

HERE TO HELP:

There are plenty of places you can go if you need help switching. If you meet certain criteria (such as being over 75, partially sighted or get DLA) then you can get someone to come out and install the equipment for you as well. For more information visit:

www.digitaluk.co.uk or call 08456 50 50 50 www.thehelpscheme.co.uk www.cvsfife.org/switchover/6monthsleaflet.pdf need a new aerial after the switchover. When you head out to your retailer remember the following questions: • How many television sets do I have that are analogue? • Do they have SCART sockets? • What recording equipment do I have and what do I require? • Are there any other things I need to consider such as sight or hearing problems? Remember to look for the digital tick when buying new equipment to make sure it’s digital ready and speak to instore advisors to find out what’s the best product for your needs.


20 Fife Gingerbread Issue 34 Spring 2011

Teen Parent Project Revels in Success

Levenmouth’s Teen Parent Project is revelling in success as a recent study highlighted the essential work they do within the community. The study entitled Engaging Teen Parents was undertaken by Reid Howie Associates, specialists in all forms of public and social policy research and evaluation, and highlights all aspects of the project and the key results it has produced amongst its target group. The project, currently being piloted in the Levenmouth area, is now into its third year and has seen the success of the project increase hugely year by year. The project came about due to a Health & Wellbeing Alliance priority highlighting the high number of teen parents in the Levenmouth area, many of whom weren’t engaging with support services. Throughout the term of the project its worker, Heather Gilmour, has engaged with over 60 teen parents and through one to one support, group support, advocacy and information and advice she has helped the teens become confident parents and individuals as well as helping them to achieve their potential. Many have gone on to return to education, begin volunteering opportunities and some have managed to secure employment. “Teen parents tend to get a bad press,” says Teen Parent Worker, Heather Gilmour, “but all of them want what’s best for their family and deserve the chance to make the most of their potential. We have really been overwhelmed by the success of the project showing that there is very much a need to have such a service available to teen parents not just in Levenmouth but all over the area.” And despite the challenges, Heather remains optimistic about the positive outcomes of the project. “Working with the teens is very satisfying and watching them grow is a wonderfully rewarding experience.” With the success and achievements of the project as a whole, it is hoped that the project can be rolled out to other areas of Fife where there is a need of the service. To view the study please visit the FifeGingerbread website at www.fifegingerbread. org.uk.


L

Fife Gingerbread Issue 34 Spring 2011 21

ee Agnew Driving School

A new initiative has started up in Dunfermline that aims to help parents get back in the driving seat by offering a service to learn to drive without the burden of finding childcare. Here, Lee Agnew, owner of Agnew Driving School, tells us about his company and what he can offer. Agnew Driving School (ADS) is a new company founded in Dunfermline. From talking to local nurseries, child minders and lone parents a gap in the market was discovered – how can someone learn to drive when they had children and no provision to look after them when out on lessons? This discovery led to an exciting opportunity that is currently not being offered within the driver tuition industry. We believe we have developed what we believe to be the future of driver tuition for parents who struggle for childcare needs. Your children come along on the lesson. We provide all the safety and entertainment needs for the passenger whether they are 2 months or 2 years we can cater for all ages, if you have your own travel seat and want to use it - not a problem - we can accommodate that. As soon as parents pass their test they’re going to go straight into a car with children – why not learn to cope with that during your lessons? ADS strive to be the best and that is why we are committed to continual professional development and the DSA code of conduct so that we stay up to date with new training procedures and can offer our clients the very best in driver tuition within Fife. For more information contact Lee by email on leeagnewadi@ hotmail.co.uk or call on 07545 631 289


22 Fife Gingerbread Issue 34 Spring 2011

Welfare Reform Changes

There are lots of changes coming up over the next few years in relation to benefits as a result of the welfare reform. Sometimes this can feel quite overwhelming so we wanted to bring you a handy, easy to read timetable of changes and how they affect you. If you have any worries in relation to any of the changes be sure to speak to your Support Worker, an advisor at the JobCentre or call us on 01333 303124. Date

Benefit

Change/Cut

25th October 2010

Income Support - New claims can only be made by parents with at least one child under 7. - Existing parents with children over 7 will be moved over to JSA and must actively look for work and take up any suitable job offers or have their benefits cut.

January 2011

Health in Pregnancy Grant

- The £190 benefit for all pregnant women is abolished.

February 2011

Employment and Support Allowance

- No new claimants through old Incapacity Support route. All old cases moved to ESA by April 2013. - Claimants to go through an individual Work Capability Assessment to determine if they can claim ESA. - If “yes”, will be paid at old rates, frozen until ESA rate catches up. If “no” then 50% will be able to “sign on” as unemployed but 50% will lose benefits.

April 2011

Working Tax Credit

- Basic and 30 hour elements of WTC frozen for 3 years. - Childcare element of WTC reduced from 80% to 70% of actual childcare costs up to a capped maximum.

Child Tax Credit

- Taper on income tax credits moved from 39 to 41%. This means that after you reach the threshold of income earned you will lose 41p for every pound above the threshold rather than 39p. - Baby element of Child Tax Credit scrapped - Fall from £25,000 to £10,000 in “disregarded increases in income during the current tax year”

Child Benefit

- Frozen for 3 years

Maternity Grant - The £500 grant restricted to first child only. Housing Benefit - Local housing allowance rates for 1,2,3 and 4 bedroom houses capped and rates for 5 bedroom homes scrapped. - Non-dependant deductions increases (means for every nondependant person living within the house the amount of housing benefit received will decrease). Pension Credit

- Savings credit maximum amount frozen for next 3 years. Will affect those who currently get a bonus for saving for their retirement.

All “working age” benefits

- Increases will now be set by the Consumer Price Index rather than the Retail Price Index. This means that there will be lower increases in benefits over time.


Fife Gingerbread Issue 34 Spring 2011 23

Child Tax Credit October 2011

- A one off increase of £180 a year above normal increase.

Housing Benefit - Local Housing Allowance Rates will be set at the 30th percentile of local private rent prices, not the 50th. Means that only 1/3 (instead of 1/2) of private rented houses will be available to Housing Benefit claimants.

November Cold Weather 2011 Payments

- Increased to £25 a week. Paid if weather (at specific sites) remains below 0o for 7 days in a row.

April 2012

Working Tax Credit

- Couples with children must work at least 24 hours combined (rather than 16) to qualify. One partner must work at least 16 hours. - 50 plus element scrapped meaning those over 50 moving from unemployment to work will lose their WTC.

Child Tax Credit

- Income threshold for family element of CTC abolished.

All Tax Credits

- New rule of disregarding an income drop of £2,500. This means if your income drops less than £2,500 your tax credits will not increase to help. - Time limit for notifying changes of circumstances reduces from 3 months to 1 month.

Housing Benefits

- LHA single room rent restriction for people under 25 extended to people under 35.

Council Tax Benefit

- Responsibility for CTB scheme handed to council with a 10% reduced budget.

January 2013

Child Benefit

- Withdrawn from families with a higher-rate taxpayer.

April 2013

All Tax Credits

- Disregarded increases in income during the current tax year falls from £10,000 to £5,000.

Housing Benefit - Families will be restricted to the number of rooms they “need” in social housing (already happens in private rented housing). This means if a family is in a larger home than they need then their benefits will be reduced. - HB to be mechanism for cap limiting the total benefits income. Means if you receive a lot of benefits then HB will be the first to be capped at a certain rate. - Local Housing Allowance rates up-rates in line with the consumer price index meaning HB will no longer be based on what rent actually costs. 2013

October 2013

Contributory ESA

- Limited to 1 year for people in the “work related activity” group.

Disability Living Allowance

- Proposals on Personal Independence Payment including medical assessments on all claims, longer 6 month qualifying period and 20% budget cut with focus now placed on most disabled.

Universal Credit - Proposal to merge all means tested benefits into a single Universal Credit. More details will emerge in the coming months.


Fun & Games Have a go at this easy ABC Path puzzle.

S N ê í ç L

A

ç O

P è

ç H

X è

ç R

G

H

F

I

K

J

D E L

B

S Q P O

A

N

M

Your task is to place the letters A to Y into the grid. Each letter touches the previous one either horizontally, vertically or diagonally. The clues around the edge tell you which row, column or diagonal each letter is in. If you get stuck have a wee look at a the solution. Good luck!

T

é B

R

é C

C

é G

ç T é ë J Q U

V è ì é D Y

V

E è

M ê

W

U ê

Y

W ê

X

I î ê K è F

Solution:

Fife Gingerbread is funded by:

Fife Gingerbread Newsletter (Spring 2011)  

Fife Gingerbread's Quarterly newsletter for lone parent families and partners in the Kingdom of Fife.

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