in 10 people fear missing rent or mortgage payments this January
rent or mortgage payers across the North West might be facing a not
so happy New Year, as new research reveals one in ten are worried
they will be unable to make payments this January.
Research from Shelter and YouGov paints a bleak picture for many
this winter, with 61% of rent or mortgage payers in the North West
revealing they are already struggling to keep up with their housing
Shelter is warning that ignoring money worries rather than seeking
advice could lead to people's home being put at risk. Worryingly,
over a quarter (27%) of people in the region said they would feel
too ashamed to ask for help if struggling with housing payments.
The charity has seen a surge in the number of people visiting its
website for advice on rent and mortgage arrears, and is urging
anyone having difficulty meeting their housing costs to get help as
early as possible.
Mother of 2, Katharine, works unpredictable shifts and lives in
constant fear she won't be able to meet her rent payments each
month. Katharine said:- "I work every hour I can to support my
family but each month I wonder if I'm going to able to make my rent,
and I'm expecting things to be especially bad Christmas, even though
we cut back on spending as much as we could. I've borrowed money
from family and even had to stop paying bills to keep the roof over
my children's heads. It's horrible to start another year not knowing
if I can afford to keep my home."
Shelter's helpline adviser Nadeem Khan said:- "Every day at
Shelter we hear from people who are feeling overwhelmed by mounting
rent or mortgage bills, as the increasing pressure of sky high
housing costs continues to take its toll. Many have spent a long
time thinking they have nowhere to turn and are often close to
breaking point by the time they come to us. If you're in this
situation, it's so important to remember you're not alone and that
help is available. I spoke to a lady recently who was sick with
worry for months because she couldn't meet her mortgage payments and
felt too ashamed to ask for help. When finally a court notice landed
on her doorstep she came to us and we were able to help the family
keep their home. We all understand how tempting it is to bury your
head in the sand, but advice from Shelter is only a click or a phone
call away; so get advice early to prevent things from spiralling out
For free and independent advice from Shelter visit:-
Shelter.Org.UK or call
the helpline on:- 0808 800 4444.
Shelter's has issued it's Top 5 Tips to avoid eviction or
► Get expert advice - know your options - If you are struggling to
pay your rent, talk to an expert adviser who can take you through
your options and advise the next best steps for you. visit:-
Shelter.Org.UK/Advice or call
Shelter's free helpline on:- 0808 800 4444.
► Make the mortgage or rent your priority - Paying your mortgage or
rent should always be your number 1 priority. If you have other
debts such as credit cards and phone bills you can take action to
deal with these separately.
► Respond to letters and phone calls - It's natural to want to keep
your head down and hope it'll sort itself out, but it's important to
read everything your mortgage lender, landlord or letting agent
sends to you. Keep records of every letter and phone call.
► Have a rainy day plan - It can take just one thing, like losing
your job or falling ill, to put your home at risk. Avoid payday
loans, as sky high interest rates could make things much worse very
quickly. There are usually much safer and cheaper alternatives.
► Turn up for court hearings - If the worst comes to the worst, make
sure you attend the possession hearing so that you can put your case
to the judge. If you don't have legal representation you can be
assigned a court duty solicitor on the day - Shelter is one
organisation that provides that service across the country. Get
advice from an organisation like Shelter as soon as you get the
hearing date to give yourself the best possible chance.
Also Shelter has told us in the media that back in November 2014,
the charity commissioned a study by YouGov. The study was to explore
how people in Great Britain are coping with their housing costs and
their knowledge and experience of housing advice and it had some
shocking results! From a sample size of 4,150 adults, 2,389 of which
pay rent or mortgage, taken over 14 November to 17 November 2014, it
► 1 in 20 people (10%) in the North West who pay rent or mortgage
are worried about being able to pay their housing costs in January
► 61% of people in the North West who pay housing costs are
currently struggling with their rent or mortgage payments.
► 27% of people in the North West either tend to agree or strongly
agree that they would feel too ashamed that they were struggling to
pay their housing costs that they wouldn't ask for help.
The results above had be obtained via an online survey, conducted
via YouGov Plc. with the figures being weighted and are
representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
1,773 happy returns at Christmas
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
received 1,773 Online Tax Returns on Christmas Day; a 13% increase
on last year's total of
1,566. HMRC's Christmas data logs reveal the busiest time for
Online Returns, on 25 December, was between midday and 1pm, when 148
Yuletide returns were delivered electronically. Christmas Eve,
traditionally a much busier day for festive filing than the big day
itself, saw 17,644 Online Returns successfully submitted. This was
up 4% on the 17,000 received on 24 December 2013. Another 4,811
Online Returns ticked all the boxes on Boxing Day; a 7% increase on
the 4,493 received last year. In total, 24,228 Online Returns
were received over the 3 day festive period; up 5% on the 2013 total
HMRC Director General of Personal Tax, Ruth Owen, said:- "You
can file your Online Return at any time of day or night; even
Christmas Day, if it suits you. But don't leave it too late. Give
yourself plenty of time to resolve any problems and if you need to
call us, do it now, as our phone lines get much busier as the 31
January 2015, deadline approaches."
The deadline for sending 2013/14 Tax Returns to HMRC, and paying any
Tax owed, is 31 January 2015, 2015. All outstanding 2013/14 Tax
returns must now be submitted online, as the 31 October 2014, paper
filing deadline has passed. To send an Online Tax Return, you must
be registered for HMRC Online Services. This involves HMRC sending
you an Activation Code in the post, and you need to allow 10 days
for it to arrive.
Simple, straightforward advice on Self Assessment can be found at
HMRC's new Facebook
Page. Help and advice on
filing your return; including how to register for online filing; is
also available from the GOV.UK
website or the Self
Assessment helpline on:- 0300 200 3310 (open 8am to 8pm, Monday to
Friday, and 8am to 4pm on Saturday).
Did you know that:-
1. Around 11.2 million people are expected to fill out a Tax return
for the 2013/14 Tax year.
2. The penalties for late Tax returns are:-
► An initial £100 fixed penalty, which applies even if there is no
Tax to pay, or if the Tax due is paid on time.
► After 3 months, additional daily penalties of £10 per day, up to a
maximum of £900.
► After 6 months, a further penalty of 5% of the Tax due or £300,
whichever is greater.
► After 12 months, another 5% or £300 charge, whichever is greater.
3. There are also additional penalties for paying late of 5% of the
Tax unpaid at 30 days, 6 months and 12 months.
4. Follow the HMRC Press Office on Twitter @HMRCpressoffice.
The Isle of Man Steam
Packet Company vessel Ben-my-Chree has resumed scheduled services
THE Isle of Man Steam Packet
Company vessel Ben-my-Chree has resume scheduled services since the
31 December 2014 following the successful completion of repairs to
the ship's steering gear over Christmas. The Steam Packet Company
brought in specialist engineers from Rolls Royce to assist with
repairs to a fault which had meant, on safety grounds, the vessel
was unable to sail. The technical issue led to the cancellation of
the Birkenhead and Dublin services. The lead to MV Arrow takening
over Ben-my-Chree's freight role. Manannan over Christmas had to be
in a dry dock, in Liverpool, and also as a result she underwent her
annual winter overhaul at the same time. Sailings between Douglas
and Heysham continued on a revised schedule until Ben-my-Chree was
repaired. Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said:-
"It was extremely regrettable for Ben-my-Chree to suffer a
mechanical failure at such a busy time and I would like to apologise
once again to all our passengers inconvenienced by the disruption to
services. We have carried out the repairs as quickly as we could and
made every effort to ensure freight transport was not impacted and
that passenger services were maintained. I'd like to thank everyone
involved in making the vessels available so quickly and at such
short notice, which allowed us to ensure continuity of service. I
would also like to thank the call centre staff and the many
volunteers from other parts of the business who worked into the
evening on Saturday and from 6am on Sunday to try and help
passengers make alternative travel arrangements. We appreciate some
passengers experienced difficulties getting through to our
reservations agents, and understand their frustrations. However,
more than 2,500 passengers were affected by the weekend
cancellations and our operators worked flat out to try and cope with
the volume of calls while staff also assisted people who had
attended the Sea Terminal. Ensuring every passenger is looked after
takes time, and with so many people to help, including many more who
had to be informed about changes to the sailing schedules for Monday
and Tuesday, I think my colleagues did the best that could be done
with limited resources and in difficult circumstances." Let
us know if this affected you by mailing us to:-