Connect with us
Advertisement
Advertisement

News

Millions of low-income households to get new Cost of Living Payments from Spring 2023

Published

on

MILLIONS of the lowest-income households across the UK will get up to £1,350 from the Government in 2023/4 to help with the cost of living.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has today announced more detail on the payment schedule for the next round of cost of living support unveiled in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement,
building on payments made to over eight million people in 2022.

The new £900 cash boost for over eight million eligible means-tested benefits claimants, including those on Universal Credit, Pension Credit and tax credits, starts in Spring and will go direct to bank accounts in three payments over the course of the financial year.

There will also be a separate £150 for over six million disabled people and £300 for over eight million pensioners on top of their Winter Fuel Payments.

Exact payment windows will be announced closer to the time, but are spread across a longer period to ensure a consistent support offering throughout the year. They will be broadly as follows:

  • £301 – First Cost of Living Payment –
    during Spring 2023
  • £150 – Disability Payment –
    during Summer 2023
  • £300 – Second Cost of Living Payment –
    during Autumn 2023
  • £300 – Pensioner Payment –
    during Winter 2023/4
  • £299 – Third Cost of Living Payment –
    during Spring 2024

Work and Pensions Secretary, Mel Stride said: “We are sticking by our promise to protect the most vulnerable and these payments, worth hundreds of pounds, will provide vital support next year for those on the lowest incomes.

“The government’s wider support package has already helped more than eight million families as we continue to deal with the global consequences of Putin’s illegal war and the aftershocks
of the pandemic.”  

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt added: “I know these are tough times for families across the UK who are struggling to meet rising food and energy costs, driven by the aftershocks of Covid and Putin’s war in Ukraine.

“That’s why we’re putting a further £900 into the pockets of over 8 million low income households next year. These payments are on top of above inflation increases to working-age benefits
and the Energy Price Guarantee, which is insulating millions from even higher global gas prices. 

“Tackling inflation is this government’s number one priority and is the only way to ease the strain of high prices, drive long term economic growth and improve living standards for everyone.”

Secretary of State for Wales David TC Davies said: “The UK Government remains committed to helping people across Wales with the cost of living. In 2022 more than 400,000 households in Wales received £650 to ease family finances, over 600,000 Welsh pensioners received £300 and 400,000 people received a £150 disability cost of living payment. All of this assistance will continue with the new payments announced for the coming year.

“These payments are part of a wider financial package the UK Government is providing as we continue to support people across Wales through the challenges we all continue to face.”

If individuals are eligible they will be paid automatically, and there will be no need to apply. Claimants who are eligible for any of the Cost of Living Payments and receive tax credits,
and no other means-tested benefits, will receive payment from HMRC shortly after DWP payments are issued.

These payments build on the Government’s extensive support package to help households tackle the globally rising cost of living stemming from the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

The Government’s Energy Price Guarantee continues to cap energy costs, saving the average household around £900 this winter and a further £500 in 2023/24. Benefits, including working age
benefits and the State Pension, will also rise in line with inflation from April 2023, ensuring they increase by over 10%. April will also see the biggest ever cash rise to the National Living Wage, bringing it to £10.42 an hour, and a further year-long extension
of the Household Support Fund in England and associated devolved nation funding worth £1 billion in total.

This comes on top of the 2022 support package, which included:

  • A £650 Cost of Living payment for means-tested benefit claimants, split into two payments, each of which supported over eight million households
  • Further £300 and £150 payments, which reached over eight million pensioners and over six million disabled people respectively
  • A £150 Council Tax rebate for all households in Council Tax bands A-D
  • A £400 energy bill discount for all households, which will continue to run through March
Continue Reading

Community

Pembrokeshire embraces future with new e-bike scheme

Published

on

PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL, under the chairmanship of Thomas Baden Tudor, has announced an exciting new initiative aimed at boosting sustainable transportation across the region. The council has introduced a “pay as you go” electric bike (E-Bike) service, now available in Haverfordwest, Fishguard, Goodwick, and Tenby as part of a 12-month trial that commenced on 8th April 2024.

The scheme, managed by Zeus Mobility, features the Zip bikes—electrically powered bicycles designed to make cycling less strenuous and more accessible to a broader demographic. Each location will start with 10 E-Bikes, with plans to increase the fleet to 50 by summer. The service will include three main charging stations and numerous satellite bays for convenient access and returns.

Priced competitively, the E-Bikes can be hired for £3.00 for the first hour, with subsequent time billed at 5p per minute. Daily and weekly rates are also available, offering users more flexibility for longer trips. The bikes are aimed at reducing reliance on motor vehicles, promoting healthier living, and contributing to national decarbonisation targets.

Councillor Tudor tested the new bikes himself, describing the experience as “brilliant fun for the whole family” and encouraging all residents and visitors to give them a try. The initiative is part of a broader effort by the council to offer eco-friendly travel options that align with environmental objectives.

To use the E-Bikes, riders need to download the Zipp Mobility app, which allows for bike unlocking, ride tracking, and payment. The app also provides information on bike locations, parking bays, and cycling routes within the county.

Funded by a £150,000 grant from the Swansea Bay and South West Wales Metro, the project focuses solely on this E-Bike trial, aiming to make Pembrokeshire a leader in sustainable travel. For further details on hiring and operating the E-Bikes, residents can visit the Cycle Pembrokeshire webpage or contact the team directly via email at [email protected].

Continue Reading

News

20mph U-turn: Some roads will return to 30mph following public outcry

Published

on

IN a recent shift in policy, Transport Secretary Ken Skates announced that some roads in Wales will revert to a 30mph speed limit following significant public opposition to the Welsh Government’s £34 million initiative to impose a default 20mph limit. This move addresses the concerns consistently raised by many citizens.

The controversial policy, initially rolled out across Wales under former First Minister Mark Drakeford and his transport minister, Lee Waters, aimed at enhancing road safety. However, it has since faced backlash, illustrated by nearly half a million signatures on a Senedd petition opposing the change.

“We’ve put our hands up to say the guidance has to be corrected,” Skates stated, acknowledging the widespread dissatisfaction with the policy’s implementation. He emphasised the need for targeted 20mph zones, particularly in sensitive areas such as near schools, hospitals, and densely populated housing estates. Yet, he admitted that certain routes should not have been included under the stricter speed limit.

Swansea Council Leader Rob Stewart welcomed the revised approach but highlighted the financial burden of changing road signage, urging the Welsh Government to assist with the expenses. Stewart praised Skates’ “pragmatic approach” and stressed that the government should not impose the financial strain on local councils, which are already facing tough budgetary decisions.

The policy has had its proponents, particularly among cycling groups and safety advocates who argue that the lower speed limits contribute to safer community spaces. Despite this, many have called for a more nuanced application of the speed limits rather than a blanket reduction.

In response to the backlash, Skates is set to present the planned adjustments in a forthcoming statement to the Senedd. The changes will allow local councils the autonomy to restore the 30mph limit where deemed appropriate, potentially affecting up to 10 roads in Swansea alone.

Leaders from other councils, including Huw Thomas of Cardiff, expressed relief over the change. Cardiff, where the majority of roads were already under a 20mph limit, saw a favourable reception of the policy. Nonetheless, the decision to empower local governments has been largely welcomed.

The Welsh Conservatives, through their transport spokesperson Natasha Asghar, have voiced strong opposition to the original policy, criticising its expansive application. Meanwhile, Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth called for a more carefully considered implementation, supporting the principle of 20mph zones but criticising their inconsistent enforcement.

Responding to comments made by Ken Skates, Labour’s Cabinet Secretary for Transport on potential changes to the 20mph guidance, Natasha Asghar MS, Welsh Conservative Shadow Transport Minister said: “The people of Wales have rightfully taken significant issue with Labour’s 20mph policy and ‘correcting guidance’ will not be enough to ease concerns.

“The Welsh Conservatives are the only the party to have consistently voted against the ridiculous 20mph policy involving 97% of previously 30mph roads and a £9 billion hit to the Welsh economy.

“The Welsh Conservatives want to see this policy scrapped and have given the Labour Government a number of opportunities to vote to do so. A more targeted approach is needed with the support of the Welsh people.”

Continue Reading

Community

Miracle pup finds her forever home after heart-wrenching journey

Published

on

AERIAL, a remarkable six-legged spaniel, has captured hearts worldwide, culminating in her adoption this week. Found abandoned in a Pembrokeshire car park and famously nicknamed after Disney’s Little Mermaid due to her unique condition, Ariel’s journey from despair to joy is nothing short of miraculous.

In September 2023, the then 11-week-old puppy was discovered outside a B&M store in a neglected state. Suffering from severe physical anomalies including two extra hind limbs and an additional vulva, Ariel faced daunting challenges. A subsequent medical examination revealed a more complicated internal scenario: a missing kidney and a malformed pelvis that jeopardised her mobility.

Despite the grim prognosis, Ariel’s plight touched many, leading to a worldwide fundraising campaign that raised approximately £15,000. These funds enabled her to undergo critical surgeries at Langford Vets Small Animal Referral Hospital, Somerset, where surgeons successfully removed the surplus limbs and preserved her four functional ones.

“Both procedures went well, and remarkably, Ariel was walking and eating by the next day,” explained Mikey Lawlor, founder of Greenacres Rescue, where Ariel was rehabilitated. “It was crucial that we avoided any post-operative infections, but she’s been in the best hands,” he added, reflecting on the complexities of her care.

Ariel’s recovery was supported by numerous vet visits, specialised surgeries, and extensive physiotherapy. Her resilience and endearing character garnered media attention globally, from radio and television appearances to newspaper features, highlighting her inspirational battle for a normal life.

“We are absolutely thrilled to announce that Ariel has been officially adopted,” announced a recent post by Greenacres Rescue. “Her journey of transformation from a discarded pup to a beloved family pet has been extraordinary.”

The post also extended a heartfelt thank you to June, Ariel’s dedicated foster mother, whose relentless support was pivotal during the rehabilitation process. “June’s care and energy have been instrumental in Ariel’s recovery,” the rescue centre noted.

Surgeon Aaron Lutchman, who led Ariel’s medical team, remarked on her progress, “She’s bounced back and is a happy little dog. We hope she goes on to lead a fabulous life.”

As Ariel embarks on this new chapter with her adoptive family, her story remains a profound testament to the power of community support and the unwavering spirit of animals overcoming adversity. Greenacres Rescue encapsulates this sentiment in their message, “Ariel is symbolic of everything we stand for—love, hope, and the chance for a new beginning.”

For further updates on Ariel and other rescue stories, follow Greenacres Rescue on their social media platforms.

Continue Reading

News27 mins ago

20mph U-turn: Some roads will return to 30mph following public outcry

IN a recent shift in policy, Transport Secretary Ken Skates announced that some roads in Wales will revert to a...

News1 day ago

Police issue update on the search for Luke, missing from Pembroke Dock

POLICE have made the difficult decision to end the search for Luke, following a joint decision by all the agencies...

Entertainment2 days ago

NoFit State Circus set to thrill Pembrokeshire this summer

NoFit State Circus is set to captivate Pembrokeshire once again this summer, as they bring back their thrilling big top...

News3 days ago

Search for missing teenager Luke continues at Pembroke Dock

THE SEARCH for the missing 19-year-old, Luke, continues unabated into its fourth day, with efforts increasingly centred around the waterways...

Crime4 days ago

Estate agents admit health and safety failings following fatal market incident

WEST WALES estate agents J J Morris have appeared before Pembrokeshire law courts charged with failing to discharge general health,...

Crime4 days ago

Pembroke man sent ‘grossly offensive and disgusting’ message to sister

A DISTRICT Judge has described how a Pembroke man sent a ‘disgusting, appalling and grossly offensive’ message to his sister...

News5 days ago

Dragon LNG ‘monitoring’ scrap car blaze in Waterston

A BLAZE has broken out at the Waterston Car Dismantler’s business in Waterston, Milford Haven. Dragon LNG which is situated...

News1 week ago

Major search in the area of The Cleddau Bridge and Hobbs Point

A MULTI-AGENCY rescue response was initiated first thing on Saturday following reports of a person in difficulty in the area...

News1 week ago

Newgale pub fire: Cause undetermined, but ruled accidental

THE MID and West Fire and Rescue Service (MAWWFRS) has recently concluded its investigation into the fire that devastated the...

Sport1 week ago

Jasmine, Lleucu, Carys & Courtney: The Pride of Pembrokeshire

Four rugby players from Pembrokeshire are gearing up to take on Ireland in the Women’s Six Nations this weekend. Jasmine...

Popular This Week