Articles in Category: Blog

Workplace Pensions

Posted in Blog, Debt Advice

People in multiple jobs missing out on a workplace pensions, reveals Citizens Advice

Almost 106,000 working people are not being auto-enrolled into a pension because their earnings come from more than one job and 70% of them are women, research by Citizens Advice reveals.

To qualify for auto-enrolment you need to earn over the  £10,000 a year threshold from a single job.

New analysis by the national charity finds that in total 250,000 have several jobs paying under £10,000 a year- meaning they don’t qualify for auto-enrolment.

But for 2 in 5 of these people the combined income from their jobs exceeds £10,000- but under current rules they still don’t get auto-enrolled into a pension. Women are particularly likely to be affected, with 72,000 missing out.

Auto-enrolment has already helped over 7 million people kick-start a pension and Citizens Advice says the scheme has huge potential to help more people save for a financially secure retirement.

The charity is calling for the government’s auto-enrolment review - due out this year - to look at how the scheme can be extended to those missing out. Under current rules many people who work multiple low-income jobs or who are self-employed are not able to access a workplace pension via auto-enrolment.

The Citizens Advice research also reveals that most employers don’t see pension contributions as a burden to their business, with under 1 in 5 (18%) saying this is one of their key concerns for the future. This is well below those who say they are most worried about finding good staff (44%) and retaining them (36%).

A survey of over 1,100 line managers, senior managers and HR managers in public, private and third sector employers based in England and Wales reveals over two thirds (70%) of employers say they see some benefit of paying pension contributions:

  • 37% say they believe it makes their staff feel more valued.
  • 24% report it boosts morale among their workforce.

  • 13% say they think it makes their staff more productive.

Citizens Advice finds many bosses don’t know enough about future changes. Employers currently pay 0.8% of qualifying earnings into pensions, but this is going to rise to 3% by 2019.

When employers were asked how much they were going to have to pay in 2019, the majority (55%) said they didn’t know. Only 6% know the correct answer, while 39% gave an incorrect response.

Chief executive of Citizens Advice Gillian Guy said:

“Too many people are shut out of a workplace pension - despite earning enough to qualify.

“Many people - particularly women - work several part time jobs, which helps them manage  commitments like childcare or study. But while in many cases they earn over £10,000, and pay tax on this combined income, they don’t have access to a workplace pension and miss out on the opportunity to save for their retirement.

“The government needs to seize the opportunity of this year’s auto-enrolment review and use it to pave the way for helping more people get on track with pension savings.

“Employers clearly recognise the value of contributing to workers’ pensions but are fuzzy on the detail of how this will change over coming years. As the review of auto-enrolment progresses and contribution rates increase, changes must be clearly communicated to employers in advance so they can plan for the future of their business.”

Published today the research is the latest in Citizens Advice’s work looking at income security and how employment rights need to keep up with changes to the way people work. It comes the week after Matthew Taylor goes on the first visit of his modern employment review, which looks at issues including employer pension contributions .

Rise in Guarantor Loan Problems

Posted in Blog

Citizens Advice reports rise in guarantor loan problems

The number of guarantor loan problems Citizens Advice has helped people with has risen by 40% over the last year, latest figures show.

When taking out a guarantor loan the borrower gives the name of a guarantor, normally a friend or family member, who is then pursued for payment if the borrower can’t repay.

Last year Citizens Advice helped people with over 2,000 guarantor loan issues.  Between October and December 2016, it dealt with nearly 600 problems - a 40% rise compared with the same period in 2015 (400 problems).

This included cases where people were hit with shock debts totalling thousands of pounds after guaranteeing a loan that the borrower failed to repay. In many cases guarantors were not aware of the risks they faced should the borrower get into difficulty.

Citizens Advice helped one man who was asked by his daughter to guarantee a £2,000 loan she took out online. He told his daughter that he would, but wasn’t contacted by the firm to sign any paperwork and didn’t realise he would be liable if she missed repayments. When his daughter failed to make repayments, the man - who was unemployed - couldn’t afford to pay the debt off.

A woman also contacted Citizens Advice for help after her bank pursued her for payment for a loan taken out by her son’s ex partner. When she agreed to guarantee the loan, it was not explained to her that she would be liable if she failed to pay. She struggled to make the £300 monthly repayments on top of her other household bills.

Citizens Advice wants a requirement for all lenders to provide guarantors with a letter of agreement - so they understand what they are signing up for.

Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy, said:

"Friends and relatives are unknowingly trapping themselves with enormous debts.

"Agreeing to guarantee a loan for someone else carries a big risk of being hit with an unexpected debt - but too often people are unaware of the danger they are placing themselves in.

"All potential guarantors should be given a written agreement so they know exactly what they could be expected to repay and when.

"The FCA’s measures to tackle payday loan problems have cleaned up the market significantly  - but other forms of high cost credit, such as guarantor loans, still pose a risk.

"Extending the payday loan cap on interest rates and fees across all high cost credit products would protect even more consumers."Last week Citizens Advice submitted evidence to the Financial Conduct Authority’s review into the high cost credit market - highlighting problems in the guarantor loan, doorstep lending and rent to own sectors.

Interested in Fostering?

Posted in Blog

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Foster carers provide a stable and caring home for children whose parents are unable to look after them for a number of reasons. 'Giving something back' is the main driver behind people opening their home to a youngster who needs support, but it is also possible to make a living out of fostering as well if you have the skills, full time availability and are able to care for older and more complex children.
 
Providing support, encouragement and guidance to a child or young person is a hugely rewarding experience in itself, but foster carers receive competitive allowances and fees for the work they do, alongside professional support and training.  Allowances and fees apply to full-time, part-time and respite foster carer.  If you feel fostering is not for you, you may be interested in the Lodgings Plus Scheme, where you again receive competitive allowances and fees for simply providing a spare room and around 10 hours of support per week to a vulnerable 16-24 year old, helping them for example to develop cooking skills, apply for jobs or with college applications etc. 
 
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For more information on fostering in general, please contact the Fostering Recruitment Team on 023 9283 4071 for a chat to one, visit www.foster.portsmouth.gov.uk, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Newly Revised Friday Opening Times

Posted in Blog

We have currently reviewed our opening times and we are now offering a late evening session on Mondays which is open until 7pm,  and we have therefore decided that from the 17th February we will now close at 3:00pm every Friday.

Our New Opening Hours will be:

Mondays - 9:00am - 7:00pm

Tuesdays to Thursdays - 9:00am to 4:00pm

Fridays - 9:00am - 3:00pm.

What customers say

“I was very low when I came to the CAB, with debts and problems everywhere. I am now a lot happier, as I pay one sum of money each month and get left alone by creditors”.