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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 UNISON Scotland can take no responsibility for information that may be outdated or inaccurate.

Issue 26 May 2009

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TV Switchover cash ‘Not Taken Up’

Television licence-holders are paying £603 million that may not be necessary to help the switch to digital television, since far fewer pensioners than expected have requested help with the change.

The money is raised as part of the £139.50 licence fee and ring-fenced for the purpose.

It is administered by the BBC via its DSHS subsidiary.

However, Digital UK, the body charged with gradually converting the country from analogue to digital television by 2012, and which uses the Digit A1 ‘robot’ to help spread the message, says fewer than ten per cent of those eligible to claim the money for help in switching, which includes the cost of the equipment and upgrading their aerial have done so.

To claim householders must be over 75, or disabled, and it was estimated that about seven million households would be eligible.

A report from the National Audit Office last year warned the Government had massively overestimated the number of people requiring financial help, and claimed £250 million could be left over.

However, since the switchover has begun in earnest, with Border television region being converted after Whitehaven, Cumbria, led the way as a test area in 2007, and a clearer picture of how many people are asking for help has emerged.

The West Country will start to be converted next week.

There is a dispute over what would happen to any unclaimed money, which could be returned to licence-fee payers, or used to support public service broadcasting.

A decision is expected towards the end of the switchover process.

[Article supplied by Ruth Wordill –Chair]

  • After I read this article submitted by Ruth I went on the internet and found a site with contact information for those of you who think you may qualify for assistance;

  • Telephone: 0845 6 505050

On this site they provide the answers to most questions, and have contacts for all bodies who will be involved with the switchover.

Mae Stewart

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State Pensions

Those receiving the state pension can breathe easy. The full basic state pension will rise this month in line with last Septembers’ RPI figure of 5.2% boosting it from £90.70 to £95.25 per week for a single person to £145.05 to £152.30 for a couple.

But even if RPI is negative this September when the following years increases are calculated, the Government has pledged to boost the state pension by at least 2.5% in 2010.

Those receiving the full pension will see their guaranteed minimum income increase from £124.05 to £130.00 next month.

Pension Credit is linked to earnings and the Government has yet to announce what will happen to it – but a cut would be unthinkable.

  • Just a snippet of information: Total inflation since 1960 has been 1,503%, £1 in 1960 would be worth £16.03 today,

The above information was supplied by Ruth Wardill from newspaper article

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Age Concern and Help the Aged join forces - 1 April 2009

Age Concern England and Help the Aged have joined together to create a new charity dedicated to improving the lives of older people.

We all speak with one voice on behalf of all older people.

Our vision is of a world where older people flourish, and we are listening to what older people want as we improve our services and activities so that we can achieve this vision.

We do not just work on behalf of older people‚ we engage with them in all that we do: listening to what they say‚ campaigning for the change that they want‚ providing services where others are not and selling products where the markets have failed.

Last year‚ between us‚ we reached over 5 million older people with our services‚ information and products.

We work with partners to ensure that together we can improve the lives of older people. Our key partners are the four national charities in Scotland,

Wales and Northern Ireland‚ all of whom share a name and vision; and the many Age Concerns across the UK‚ who provide services for older people in their area.

Causewayside House, 160 Causewayside, Edinburgh EH9 1PR

Phone: 0845 833 0200

Email: enquiries@ageconcernandhelptheagedscotland.org.uk

Apologies for any misquotes Mae Stewart



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