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Southport and  Mersey Reporter -  Your free online newspaper service covering the Merseyside region - (Greater Liverpool).
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Issue:- 14 June  2012

A nation of money worriers, but money's still a dirty word

A recent survey for money saving website MyFamilyClub has revealed that nearly three quarters of UK families currently worry or worry a lot about money (71%). However, despite their concerns, only 11% discuss the family finances more than once a month.  59% of those families questioned said they never or rarely talk about the family finances and 28% said they talk about money once a month.  Out of those parents surveyed, most gave lack of time as the reason for not discussing finances more regularly.

Gemma Johnson, founder of the money saving website MyFamilyClub, said:- "These figures suggest that money is still a topic people would rather avoid even though it has a major impact on so many aspects of our lives. Money worries are a huge personal burden, which can play havoc with your physical and mental health, they are also given as one of the major reasons in divorce cases."

She advised:- "I would urge families to block out some time each week to look over the household accounts so they are aware of what they have going out and what they have coming in. Spending a small amount of time planning your budget and prioritising spending for the weeks and months ahead will pay dividends to the bank balance as well as reducing the amount of time parents will spend worrying about it."

Johnson concluded:- "MyFamilyClub has some helpful resources to support families around budgeting and saving which makes the job quick and easy. Once you get started, you'll be amazed at how much money you can actually save."

Suzi Rudd, mum to two girls and one boy from Cheshire, said:- "I gave up work to have my children so we suddenly became a one income family. Unfortunately we didn't sit down and plan our finances based on our new situation and eventually we ended up out of control with spending, which put a lot of pressure on us all. We just don't have much spare time to talk about money and it seems such a dull thing to do, but eventually we had to anyway. We got all our bills out and sat down with myfamilyclub's budget planner and spending calculator and looked at essential and non essential spending. It was quite scary to see how much money we wasted on silly things like posh coffees and wine but it made it clear for us what we needed to do to balance the books."

The message is backed by Liz Dunscombe, Director of Project & Partnership Development at Credit Action, a money education charity. She said:- "Planning the family finances could be one of the most valuable investments parents ever make. If the budget is impossible to balance, then contact a source of free, independent money advice such as the Consumer Credit Counselling Service. Surviving by taking out ever increasing amounts of credit is a recipe for trouble."

The poll was commissioned by family money saving website MyFamilyClub and conducted by family research consultancy mumpanel. 6,000 parents were questioned about cutbacks to the family budget and their concerns about money.

A Liverpool fraudster's web of lies

A Liverpool mum who lied about her income, her partner and her childcare costs to fraudulently claim almost £84,000 in tax credits has been jailed.

Mum of three Leeann Powe, 30, of Speke moved in with her partner in 2006 but continued to use her mother's address to claim as a single parent. She also told HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) that she was working up to 30 hours and incurring childcare costs of £299 per week. In reality Powe worked intermittently and often for fewer hours than stated, and never paid a penny to the childcare providers she claimed to use.

Mike O'Grady, Assistant Director for HM Revenue & Customs said:- "Leeann Powe initially claimed tax credits in 2003 as a single parent. But in 2006 she began living with a partner and failed to notify HMRC knowing full well that this would result in her receiving money she was not entitled to. From then on Powe's lies snowballed to include work she never undertook and childcare she didn't use or pay for.  Only a small minority of tax credits claimants deliberately commit fraud; the vast majority are completely honest and claim only what is rightfully theirs. Those who persist in making false claims for their own gain do so at the risk of investigation and prosecution."

Leeann Powe contacted the tax credits helpline in 2007, saying that she had started working 30 hours a week at a fast food restaurant. In fact she was only contracted to work five or six hours a week and left her job in May 2008 without telling HMRC. She also claimed to be paying £299 a week in childcare costs, but investigations later revealed that none of her three children had ever attended a childcare facility.

In August 2010, Powe contacted HMRC to say that she had changed her job earlier that year and was now working 24 hours a week at an off licence. But this was a short-lived post which she had already left by the time of her call. Her payments continued and her fraud totalled £83,876 at the time of her arrest in March 2011.

Powe was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court to 46 weeks custodial. She had admitted fraudulently obtaining over £83,000 in tax credits.

Woodvale Rally 2012 Date & Location Change Reminder

THIS is a quick reminder, last week we reported the sad news that the Woodvale Rally would no longer be held at RAF Woodvale for the foreseeable future and that as a result the date and location had to be changed for this years show.  To find out why, click here.  If you want to go this year, make a note that the new dates are Saturday, 28 July and Sunday, 29 July 2012, at Victoria Park, Southport.   Tickets are back on sale on the Woodvale Rally website and again they are being activate on our Mersey Reporter Shop.  Plus you can puck up tickets at the Southport TIC on Lord Street, Southport Town Centre.

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