Council promotes welfare, benefits and money advice
11th June 2015
On Wednesday 10th June 2015 The Highland Council held a facebook chat giving lots of information and advice on what people can do to ensure they are receiving the correct benefits and tax credits, as well as giving handy tips on how to manage budgets and avoid getting into debt.
Staff from the Council's Income Maximisation and Money Advice teams spent two hours on facebook answering questions on benefits, welfare, money advice and personal budgeting.
Last year, the Benefit Maximisation team increased people's income by just under £4million and during the same period 1,330 people with a total of nearly £6 million of debt were helped by the council's Money Advice team.
As well as using the facebook chat to highlight cases that showed how customers had been helped and had received increases in benefits and allowances, useful information given out during the session included:
· Anyone claiming Universal Credit for personal allowances and housing benefit, needs to be aware that they have to make a separate claim for council tax reduction as this is not included in Universal Credit;
· If you are on Universal Credit and finding it hard to make ends meet because your payments are monthly, you can contact these teams to access some personal budget support;
· If you are receiving Universal Credit and have claimed the housing element, you need to remember to pay your landlord the rent that is due to avoid falling into rent arrears;
· Make sure you are getting all the benefits and tax credits you are due. If you've had a benefit application turned down before and your situation has changed, or you haven't applied for a while, it is worth trying again.
Speaking after the Facebook event Sheila McKandie, the Council's Benefits and Welfare Manager said: "It was the first time our staff have used a facebook chat to promote the work we do and although they were not able to go into details of individual cases, lots of information and advice was given out. It is definitely something we’ll be keen to do again. I’d like to thank everyone who took part during the session as well as those who used our free and confidential phone line to contact us."
The council offers free benefits checks as well as money advice so anyone wishing to get in touch should telephone 0800 0901004 or e-mailing either income.maximisation[AT]highland.gov.uk or money.advice[AT]highland.gov.uk
Recent outcomes of Redesign work were noted by Members at yesterday's Highland Council meeting. In the first year of the programme, 8 redesign projects were undertaken using a "Lean" approach and 36 staff have been trained as facilitators.
Motorists are being advised that The Highland Council is currently preparing to carry out resurfacing works at the following locations: • B862 Fort Augustus - Whitebridge - Torness - Dores – Inverness Road; specifically at Errogie Village (North Gateway), Errogie Village (South Gateway), and Compass Farm; and • B851 Errogie – Strathnairn – Daviot Bridge – Culloden Moor Road; specifically at Aberarder House. Advanced works notification signage will be provided at various locations from Thursday 15 March 2018.
The Highland Council has agreed a capital programme of £482m over the next 5 years. The Highland Council serves the largest geographical area in Scotland (over 30%) and has just under £2bn of assets on its balance sheet comprising, amongst other things, 203 operational schools, over 6,700km of roads and over 2,000 properties.
The Highland Council's Enforcement Officers have stepped up patrols in Caithness in a move to tackle the problem of littering, fly tipping and dog fouling. A number of fixed penalty notices have been issued recently including an £80 fine for dog fouling in the Stafford Lane and Back Bridge area of Wick, a £200 fine for fly-tipping on Ackergill Street and another £80 fine for dog fouling in Lybster.
Speaking ahead of today's Council meeting to agree the Council's Capital Programme for 2018/19 to 2022/23, Cllr Margaret Davidson, Leader of the Highland Council said:- "This programme delivers significant investment in a range of key projects across the Highlands. We are investing in schools, roads, bridges, harbours and flood prevention schemes that will benefit our communities.
Highland Council is to make a special case for extra capital investment in the road infrastructure after a winter period which has seen the Highlands battered by some 57 days of severe weather. Highland Council area is particularly subject to severe winter weather, which has a significant impact on the roads and other infrastructure.
Maps of the Council's gritting routes by priority and policy are available online at www.highland.gov.uk/gritting. The information provided is a summary of reports from operational staff and is intended to give a general indication of typical conditions in each area at a point in time.
The £48.5m Wick Community Campus built by Morrison Construction has been announced as a finalist at the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Awards for Planning Excellence 2018. The project is entered in the category for "Excellence in Planning for a Successful Economy" against eight other finalists from across the UK with the winner to be announced during a ceremony at Milton Court Concert Hall on 24 May 2018.
A Partnership for Procurement event was held in Inverness today (Thursday 6 March) to raise awareness and the capability of the third sector to successfully bid, supply and deliver services for the public sector. Partnership for Procurement (P4P) is a new initiative funded through the Scottish Government's 10 Year Social Enterprise Strategy; supporting social enterprises and third sector organisations to better access public contracts and build partnerships.
Across the Northern Alliance local authorities an exciting project has been rolled out to raise attainment in literacy, language and communication. The programme is being delivered in around 50% of primary schools across the Northern Alliance and is aimed at supporting practitioners to take a developmental approach to supporting early literacy development.
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