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Provided by Mae Stewart, Editor UNISON Retired members Newsletter, Dundee, Perth and Angus.
Please note that this is not definitive information about benefits but will provide a signpost as to where to get up to date information. Please check the sources first. UNISON Scotland can take no responsibility for information that may be outdated or inaccurate. The member's information excerpts this month were taken from the Pensioners Forum Newsletter, and the local Dundee magazine called Retired & Living in Dundee. My apology for any misquotes.

Issue 12 April 2006

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Members Information

Scotland-wide Free Bus Travel For Older & Disabled People

Extract taken from a leaflet issued by The Scottish Executive.

From April 2006 your current free local bus travel pass will be replaced by a National Entitlement Card that will allow you to travel anywhere in Scotland on a bus for free.

Remember: Your current bus pass will serve up to the end of March 2006.

  • Your new card should arrive before the 01st April 2006, but you can only use this card from 01st April 2006.

  • If you want to travel free on buses either locally or Scotland-wide you must have applied for your new entitlement card.

  • If you are having difficulties with not receiving your card then you should approach the local authority or one of the bus travel services.

  • Information is also available on the internet at the Scottish Executive Website: www.scotland.gov.uk

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Postwatch Scotland - Pricing in Proportion

There are new price charge changes coming in on 21st August 2006 as to how you will pay for your mail.

Pricing in proportion will mean mail is priced on size and thickness, as well as weight, and not on weight alone.

When I have received more information about the details/costing on the above I'll keep you posted.


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Could You Claim Tax Back on Your Savings?

Leaflet issued by the Inland Revenue states that you could register to get tax-free savings and also claim back tax you had previously paid.

This is because your bank or building society will normally tax the interest on your savings before it is put into your account.

You could register so that you no longer have to pay this tax.

If you can register for tax-free interest you might also be able to claim back tax that you have paid for up to the past 6 years.

If you don't have to pay income tax or have an income below a certain level and pay tax at 10% you could be eligible. Please refer to table below to see if you could be entitled to more money on your savings.


Under 65


75 & over

Register Annual Taxable Income

Less than £4745

Less than 6830

Less than £6950

Claim tax back Annual Taxable Income

Less than £6765

Less than £8850

Less than £8970

If you are eligible all you have to do is fill in one simple form [R85] to register and receive tax-free interest on your savings.

To claim back any previously paid tax you should fill out a repayment form [R40].

If you would like to find out more, call the Registration helpline: 0845 980 0645

[calls charged at local rate] Taxback helpline: 0845 077 6543

Or go online at: www.claimyourtaxback.com

Alternatively you can drop by your local Inland Revenue Enquiry Centre - refer to telephone book.


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Report from meeting on the 16th March 2006

The talk and film show was given by Doctor David Walsh.

The subject was holidays to New Zealand.

The talk from Dr Walsh was slightly delayed but was more than compensated by the wonderful films and extremely detailed account of his journey covering the North and South Islands of New Zealand, which he has visited twice.

The talk commenced with colourful maps and views from aircraft of Bath Islands that are bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea.

New Zealand has a population of five million and is a 24 hours flight from the UK.

The capital is Wellington but most people live in Auckland.

Dr Walsh took us on a journey first through the North Island where he visited New Plymouth, Mount Egmont and Taranaki. The scenery is very rugged and very beautiful, and it is not surprising that the film ‘Lord of the Rings' was mainly filmed there.

The two Islands are separated by Milford Sound. The boat journey takes about 2 hours.

The South Island also has spectacular scenery. The Southern Alps, Mount Cook, Glaciers, and beautiful lakes and waterfalls. The main Hydro-electric Schemes are also there.

Dunedin is called after Edinburgh and they also have a Ben Lomand, so we Scots are well represented there, and not forgotten.

The talk and film show was spectacularly beautiful, and was a delight for us who have never visited New Zealand.

Doctor Walsh thanked us for having him, but we have to thank him for giving us his time, and his beautiful film show and talk.


Mae Stewart

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