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News Report Page 6 of 15
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News reports located on this page = 3.

Couples urged to:- "say yes" to Marriage Allowance proposal

AT the height of the wedding season, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is reminding married couples and people in civil partnerships to put extra cash at the top of their gift list and sign up for Marriage Allowance.

Marriage Allowance allows married couples or people in civil partnerships, including those who have been together for many years, to share their personal tax allowances if one partner earns below the Personal Allowance threshold of £12,570, and the other is a basic rate taxpayer.

Eligible couples can transfer 10% of their tax free allowance to their partner, which is:- £1,260, in 2022/23. It means couples can reduce the tax they pay by up to:- £252 a year. They can apply any time and, if eligible, could backdate their claims for up to 4 previous tax years to receive a payment of up to:- £1,242.

Marriage Allowance is free to apply for, and customers are reminded to claim directly via HMRC's online portal to ensure they receive 100% of the tax relief they are eligible for. Visit GOV.UK to find out how to apply for Marriage Allowance.

Marriage Allowance is 1 of a number of benefits and reliefs available to boost family finances at a time when many are concerned with the rising cost of living.

Angela MacDonald, HMRC's Deputy Chief Executive and Second Permanent Secretary, said:- "We want to ensure people are receiving vital financial support at a time when they need it most. Married couples or those in a civil partnership could potentially receive tax relief worth up to:- £1,242, meaning extra cash in their pockets. To find out if you are eligible and how to apply search:- 'Marriage Allowance' on:- Gov.UK."

More than 2 million couples currently benefit from Marriage Allowance, but there could be thousands more who are eligible to claim.

Even if couples don't qualify for Marriage Allowance when they 1st get married, a change in circumstances years later could mean they become newly eligible. These include:-

   1 partner retiring and the other remaining in work.

   A change in employment.

   A reduction in working hours which means their earnings fall below their Personal Allowance.

   Maternity, paternity, or shared parental leave.

   Unpaid leave or a career break.

   1 partner studying or in education and not earning above their Personal Allowance.

   If a spouse or civil partner has died since 5 April 2018, the surviving person can still claim by contacting the Income Tax helpline.

   Marriage Allowance claims are automatically renewed every year. However, couples should notify HMRC if their circumstances change.

For more information, please visit:- Gov.UK.

Let's bring back rewards for recycling - Spend day litter picking, get free money

WASTE collection company Divert.Co.UK is proposing a low cost scheme where people can collect litter, and get paid the going rate for recyclables they turn in. Divert.Co.UK Spokesperson, Mark Hall has told us:- "There are people all over the country who could use that little extra cash,. Offering them organised rewards will help them out, boost recycling rates, and make the places where we live so much better. Local Authorities should reward people who pick up litter and bring back plastics, glass and metals for recycling. With grass verges and hedgerows all over the country bursting at their seams with litter, Councils should seek to reward people who'd like to make a difference, says one waste and recycling company."

So what's the big idea? It's Council organised litter picks, with corporate sponsorship. Divert's Mark Hall said:- "We've been shocked while out and about this spring at the level of casual littering in both Town and countryside, and there just doesn't seem to be much motivation from anybody to do something about it."

Divert.Co.UK has seen whole Village hedgerows stuffed with empty energy drink cans, flung there by local teenagers and other ne'er-do-wells. "That's becoming a monster problem, and I fully intended that pun. There are also empty bottles, both plastic and glass, which are fully recyclable, but currently being eyesores that are also a risk to local ecology. We want to see local Authorities stepping up, and asking people to go out there and bring back recyclables, and if civic pride isn't reason enough to help out, there should be the offer of cold, hard cash too. And if hard up Councils can't afford this, there's a huge opportunity for a big name company to be associated with the programme through sponsorship. Everybody wins." explains Mark.

Mark Hall also commented:- "Imagine a fully organised local event on a Saturday where families get out and clear up the place where they live, work and play. It's community spirit, and ideal for a corporate sponsor to help with the funding. Wherever there's an attempt to reward people for doing a good deed, people will always try to game the system to the advantage. This is why, as a rule, we are not allow to have nice things. Back when Tesco was offering Green Club Card points for every item recycled, some customers cut cans and plastic bottles in half so they'd count double. As a result, Tesco halved the reward, and once again we weren't allowed to have nice things. So what if people turned up with bags of empty cans and bottles they've already collected? And we've thought about it and say this:- 'Who cares? It's still litter off the streets and waste going to recycling, no matter where it has come from. Just don't go stealing recycling out of other people's bins or bottle banks because that's still actual theft in the eyes of the law.' We've also thought about whether any scheme should pay scrap value for the thousands of empty laughing gas canisters lying around parks, the result of youthful misadventure with inhaling Nitrous Oxide for kicks. And the answer is, of course, a big 'no.'"

Mark Hall continued:- "We do need people to clear this mess up, but to offer money for them would be to encourage their use. It's a fine line between reward and lawlessness. But it's an idea whose time has come, says Mark from Divert. "Some of our older colleagues remember the 5p back on the empty bottle of pop, and we ought to try it again. It's all about pride in our local area, and doing the right thing and this is doing the right thing."

What are your thoughts on this? Please do email us your views to:- News24@SouthportReporter.Com.

Covid19 - Have you had it?

WE have had problems over the last few weeks, due to Covid19, hence our late releases of our editions. We have run throughout the Pandemic without issue, but sadly, our staff have been hit with it. Luckily we have all been vaccinated and the effects have not been as bad as they could have been. Catching it has made us question what precautions are justified and to what level. With so many around us no longer taking percussions, should others also continue to take percussions, not only against Covid19 but all colds? It seems you are dammed if you do and dammed if you don't. And this goes between countries as well. Some have very strict guidelines, not just on Covid19, but with all illnesses, others are more relaxed. Infection with Covid19 seems to continue what ever.

According to latest Office of National Statistics (ONS) statistics:- "the most common reason for sickness absence in 2021 was "other" conditions, including:- accidents, poisonings, diabetes and Coronavirus (Covid19)." and that the:- "The sickness absence rate in the UK in 2021 rose to 2.2%, from a record low of 1.8% in 2020; this is the highest it has been since 2010, when it was also 2.2%."

Lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 have highlighted the issues we all face, from people saying:- "Its only a cold." Now we are seeing a rapid rise in colds, and also a worrying return of Covid19. And the Influenza Season will probably be back in the Autumn.

UK Government restrictions requiring people to observe social distancing and self-isolate, may have led to less exposure to germs and minimised some of the usual sickness absences in 2020, but it opened up new ways of working, that if used correctly, could improve everyone's way of life and workplace productivity. Businesses who used working from home systems over the Covid19, should seriously look at keeping these forms or safeguards in place.

We feel that if businesses could allow home working, when an employee felt unwell; this might stop an infections that might otherwise travel to a workplace. It also means should that employee feel well enough to work from home, this could help reduce e sickness absence rates and improve productivity.

Covid19 has also exposed a major issue over sick pay, that is now even more of a problem, now we face cost of living rises. As we discovered recently, it only takes 1 client to have Covid19 or any infections, and it can hit all your workforce.. The effects of any illness on a workforce can be devastating. Infections can quickly spread within the work environment, leading to workplaces losing productivity, increasing errors and mistakes, that can be very costly, and in extreme cases loss of life.

We are all under extreme financial pressures, but letting your staff stay off sick, helps keep your workforce and your clients safer.

During the World War 2, they even ran signs, saying don't mix if you have colds. So should we look at following the Japanese and some other nations, who use masks as standard practice, not because you are ill, but to prevent others getting infected if you are unaware you are ill? Also should businesses support workers more, who find them selves sick with things like the common cold or Covid19? Are we now seeing the return of the strange working culture:- "its only a sniffle. I can still work..." returning to our daily lives. What are your thoughts? Please email us to:- News24@SouthportReporter.Com and let us know?


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