Adviceline: 08444 111 444. 10am – 3:30pm, Monday to Friday.
Migrant Worker helpline in Latvian and Polish: 0844 847 6128.
Available 9:30am – 1pm, advice in Polish on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and in Latvian on Fridays.
South Holland Citizens Advice Bureau is based at South Holland District Council Offices in Priory Road. If you need advice, please drop in during opening hours: Mondays, Tuesdays & Wednesdays 10am – 4pm; Thursdays and Fridays 10am – 1pm; the last Saturday of every month 9:30am–12:30pm. Alternatively, ring the National Citizen Advice Help Line on 08444 111 444.
Citizens Advice Bureau-Annual General Meeting on Monday 9 July at 7.00pm in the Council Chamber, South Holland District Council Offices, Priory Road, Spalding. All are welcome to come along. The guest speaker will be Paul Cunningham, Head of Operatrions, East Gangmasters Licensing Authority. RSVP or further information from John Willoughby Manager of South Holland CAB, Council Offices, Priory Road, Spalding.
Justice for all
We believe free, independent advice and representation on legal matters is essential to achieve justice for all.
The campaign is a coalition of legal and advice agencies, politicians, trade unions, community groups and members of the public. Citizens Advice is coordinating the campaign with other members of the steering group.
To achieve Justice for all:
•We need advisers to be free to advise on any problem, where and when they are needed.
•We need adequate levels of government spending on legal aid, but spent on services not on wasteful systems.
Government proposals to cut legal aid by £350 million, combined with local authority funding for advice coming under pressure, could leave many cut off free advice about their legal problems.
To find out more, or to join the campaign, visit - http://www.justice-for-all.org.uk/
Consumer Focus is warning that thousands of England fans travelling to the 2010 FIFA World Cup could face huge mobile phone bills. Costs for calls, texts and data use could add up to over £100 on a match-day, more than the £55-£80 face value of a ticket.1
Figures compiled by the consumer champion2 show that customers could face particularly big fees for uploading photos or videos to social networking sites during the contest. Costs to use mobile internet of £1.25 to £8 per MB could leave customers paying, for example, up to £80 just to upload ten photos to Facebook. Charges to make calls range from 80p up to £1.50 per minute and texts cost from 25p to 50p.
These costs are substantially higher than those for UK travellers in the EU, where costs are capped at 37p per minute for making calls, 9p for a text and £42.50 for data roaming.3 These caps have been imposed on firms to stop excessive roaming rates for consumers travelling in Europe, but consumers travelling outside the EU can still face huge fees.
The network offering the best World Cup call rates is Vodafone. By opting into its free ‘Passport’ scheme before they leave the country UK customers pay a 75p connection fee to make or receive calls and then pay their normal UK rates. 3 UK offers the cheapest data roaming fees of £1.25 per MB and Vodafone Passport offers the best value texts at 11p each followed by Virgin Mobile at 25p per text for pay monthly customers. T-Mobile’s free ‘World Class’ scheme offers calls to the UK for 55p per minute for customers roaming on the MTN network in South Africa.
The worst rates for making calls are offered by Virgin Mobile pre-pay at £1.70 per minute, T-mobile at £1.50 and Orange at £1.45 per minute. T-mobile is also the most expensive network to receive calls on at £1.50 per minute to receive a call from the UK. The highest data charges are from Orange and Tesco, with costs for customers on both networks of up to £80 to upload ten 1MB photos, closely followed by T-mobile with a similar figure of £75.
Nick Hutton, telecommunications expert for Consumer Focus, said:
“England fans need to be on the ball to make sure they don’t get caught out by hundreds of pounds of hidden mobile phone costs at the World Cup. We want to see mobile phone firms play fair by customers travelling abroad and cut these extremely high fees. In the meantime consumers should check their network rates before they fly and look into the add-ons or bundles on offer, which could save them much needed cash.”
The watchdog is calling on mobile phone firms to cut their mobile-phone roaming costs and set prices at a similar level to those in the EU. Consumer Focus is also urging consumers to find out about charges, and look at bundles for data, calls and text costs, before they depart for South Africa to ensure they don’t get hit with a huge bill on their return.
Consumer Focus’s top five mobile phone tips for England fans:
· Check your rates before you go, as these will be much higher in South Africa than in the UK and Europe, and ask what add-ons or bundles your mobile phone company offers on calls, texts and data as this could make you considerable savings
· Remember that while abroad you won’t be able to use your inclusive minutes, texts and data allowance (except inclusive minutes under Vodafone’s passport service) and will pay to receive as well as to make calls which could add up
· Photos and videos can be expensive to upload on mobiles while abroad so consider other options such as uploading using a computer at an internet cafe or hotel instead
· You could consider getting a local SIM card for use in South Africa if you will be making calls to numbers within the country
· If your phone is lost or stolen while abroad report it to your mobile provider as soon as possible as you will be liable for any calls made. Make a note of the emergency contact number for your network and keep this separate from your mobile.
Note – 3 UK also offers its mobile customers free Skype to Skype calls, so these customers could look into using this as an alternative way to contact friends or family, but will need to enable this facility on their phone.
Is there money with your name on it?
Nationally, at least £6 billion goes unclaimed every year in benefits – are you claiming all the benefits to which you are entitled? “As the recession continues to hit people in the pocket they will be finding it hard to make ends meet, but there are many who are still missing out on benefits”, says Diane Clay, Manager of South Holland CAB.
Most of us, at some point in our lives, will have times when we are not able to earn our own living, perhaps because we are ill, or cannot get a job, or are simply too old to work any more, and people with young families often struggle to make ends meet. If any of the following apply to you:
* you're on a low income (employed or looking for work)
* you have dependent children
* you're ill or disabled
* you're caring for someone
* you're aged 60 or over
* you have been bereaved
* you're pregnant or have recently had a baby
then there may well be benefits to which you are entitled, but perhaps the complexity of the benefit system is putting you off making a claim.
Struggling on a tight budget can leave a family at its wit’s end, but securing social security entitlements is not always easy. Advice is vital in finding a way through the benefits maze and helping get household budgets onto a sustainable footing. Money is especially tight for families living with disabilities and a successful claim for disability benefits can be vital in giving greater independence. Sometimes being entitled to one benefit enables you to claim others, but you need to know what is available. You can find out more about welfare benefits from the government website www.direct.gov.uk and from the CAB website www.adviceguide.org.uk
Your local Citizens Advice Bureau also has specialist welfare benefit caseworkers who can:
* work out whether you are entitled to benefits;
* advise on the benefits to which you are entitled;
* help with claim forms – many benefit claim forms can be long and off-putting, and the purpose of the questions is not always clear. For some benefits, filling in the form correctly can make the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful claim;
* help with problems over claims, for example when a benefit has been suspended or stopped or claims are lost or delayed.
CAB advice in South Holland generates thousands of pounds in extra benefit for low income households and to help with specific needs – since April 2009, 189 South Holland CAB clients have been assisted to claim £607,600 in benefits.
Citizens Advice Bureaux give free, confidential, impartial and independent advice to help you solve your problems.
You are not alone
Since October 2008, over 330,000 homeowners, nationally, have received help and advice with paying their mortgage. Facing the prospect of repossession can be frightening, but it’s important to remember that you are not alone. There is a lot of help available from national and local government, from lenders and from advice agencies.
Help is available
If you are behind with your payments repossession is never inevitable, there is help available to you.
The government, South Holland District Council and South Holland Citizens Advice Bureau are working together to help people through the difficulties they are facing at this time.
Visit www.direct.gov.uk/mortgagehelp to find out more information on your options and create your own personalised Action Plan.
Get free, confidential and independent debt advice from:
* Citizens Advice Bureau
The Citizens Advice Bureau helps you to deal with any legal, money, welfare benefit issues or other problems. To speak to someone face-to-face visit your nearest citizens advice bureau (details at www.citizensadvice.org.uk)
* National Debt Line
National Debt Line is an independent charity that helps you to deal with debt problems. Phone 0808 808 4000 or visit www.nationaldebtline.co.uk
Shelter is a charity that offers you help with housing, mortgage debt or problems with welfare benefits. Phone the free mortgage helpline on 0300 3300515 from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday (incl Bank Holidays) and 8am to 5pm on Saturdays to Sundays (some mobile phone networks may charge for calls to this number). Or, you can visit www.shelter.org.uk/adviceonline
Payplan gives you free and confidential advice on how to manage your debts. Phone 0800 917 7823 or visit www.payplan.com
* Consumer Credit Counselling Service
The CCCS is a registered charity offering free, confidential advice and support to anyone worried about debt. Phone 0800 138 1111 or visit www.cccs.co.uk
If you're feeling overwhelmed and stressed because of your mortgage, debt or financial problems, the NHS has launched a Credit Crunch stressline on 0300 123 2000 where you can discuss with an expert the issues that are affecting you and your family.
Talk to your lender
It’s never too late to contact your lender. Most lenders are committed to helping homeowners who are struggling to make payments. Thanks to a new pre-action protocol in the courts, lenders know they have to make repossession proceedings a last resort.
Ask about government schemes
You may be eligible for help through a targeted government scheme. You can find out if you may be eligible by completing an Action Plan at www.direct.gov.uk/mortgagehelp, or ask when you are speaking to your lender or a free and independent adviser.
And remember, it's never too late to get help and advice - you can get help even if your case goes to court. Everyone is eligible for support from a free court desk adviser and access to the service is available across the country.
You should always go to a repossession court hearing.
IT’S YOUR HOME, LET’S KEEP IT THAT WAY.
As part of their campaign to help people manage their debts and stay in their homes in 2010, South Holland Citizens Advice Bureau is publishing the following top tips to help you manage your finances in the New Year:
* Don’t panic and don’t ignore the bills.
* Avoid borrowing further to try and pay off existing debt – this is likely to lead to more problems in the long run.
* Sit down and work out how much you owe and how much you need to pay your priority debts, like mortgage, rent, gas and electricity bills, and your council tax, and then work out how much you need for food, travel to work and other everyday expense.
* Pay your priority debts first every month. Don’t fall into the trap of paying whoever shouts loudest first.
* Then work out how much you can pay to non-priority creditors like credit and store cards.
* Talk to your creditors - don’t just stop payments without explaining why. They can sometimes be more understanding than you’d expect.
* If what you have left doesn’t cover what your non-priority creditors are asking for each month, speak to them and come to an arrangement about how much you can afford to pay them.
* Only offer to pay off debts at a rate you can keep up – it is easy to be panicked into offering more than you can afford.
* If you need help to do that or they won’t listen, make an appointment to see a money adviser at your local Citizens Advice Bureau.
* Don’t pay for debt advice which you can get for free from your local CAB, National debtline or the Consumer Credit Counselling Service.
Diane Clay manager at South Holland Cab said: “January is often a stressful time of year for families, who have to cope with the demands of paying for Christmas and increased fuel bills. This is a good time to think about how to manage your debts and talk to your lenders. The key thing is not to bury your head in the sand and don’t be embarrassed to seek help."
South Holland Citizens Advice Bureau is open at:
24 The Crescent, Spalding PE11 1AF
Mondays, Tuesdays & Wednesdays 10am – 4pm; Thursdays and Fridays 10am – 1pm; the last Saturday of every month 9.30am–12.30pm
Parish Offices, Hall St, Crowland
Last Wednesday of every month 1 - 4pm
Ruby Hunt Centre, Church St, Donington
2nd Tuesday of every month 1 - 4pm
Drop in during opening hours or call 01775 717444 for an appointment (not an advice line).
For advice by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lincolnshire telephone advice line: 08444 99 41 99
Polish advice line: 0844 847 6128
The bureau is also open at the following, by appointment only (ring 01775 717444):
Parish Offices, 11 West End, Holbeach: Wednesday & Fridays 10am – 1pm;
Market House, Market St, Long Sutton: Mondays (drop-in for 15 minute interviews)
& Thursdays 10am – 1pm (appointments only).
Free, confidential advice on a wide range of subject