Highland Council encourages people to claim benefits they're entitled to
29th September 2017
Highland Council is supporting the Scottish Government's campaign to raise awareness of how people can find out if they are eligible for benefits and to apply for them.
A week-long series of radio and press adverts are running to highlight the range of support available from social security, such as the Sure Start Maternity Grant, Carers Allowance and the Funeral Expenses Payment.
It is estimated that more than 500,000 cases of individuals or families in Scotland may not be claiming benefits they are entitled to.
Highland Council Leader Cllr Margaret Davidson who is Chair of the Council's Poverty and Inequalities Working Group says the social security system exists to help those in need and on low incomes and when their personal circumstances change, and that people should not be worried about claiming what they are entitled to. One of the key messages of the benefits campaign is that ‘It’s yours claim it.’
Cllr Davidson said:"Claiming the benefits that people are entitled to will help maximise family incomes and can reduce poverty levels. For example, around a third of pensioners are entitled to Pension Credit but do not claim it. We want to help people to know what financial support is available that could make a difference to their lives.
"We also know that personal circumstances can change very quickly - whether it’s losing a job, a family bereavement, becoming a carer for a family member, or having a child. But often we don’t realise that changes in our lives can mean we are entitled to additional support and that there is a range of benefits all of us are entitled to know about.
“Many of us will need that financial support at some point in our lives, whether we’re in work or not. So we all have stake in ensuring everyone is looked after properly and the social security system exists to help and support those who need it, when they need it."
The Scottish Government is working with the Citizens Advice service in Scotland, who is providing a dedicated web page with all available information on benefits and tax credits, eligibility and how to access them at:
...as well as a freephone benefits helpline (0800 085 7145).
The campaign features Colette, who is registered blind and also cares for her son. She says there are several benefits available that people don’t realise they can receive, and urges people to contact Citizens Advice or their local council.
Colette said: “This support gives you the independent living that everybody is entitled to in the first place. For example, it can help you get the equipment you need that makes your life easier."
It is estimated that in 2014/15, for tax credits and the main income-related benefits, there could more over 500,000 cases of individuals and families not claiming the benefits they were entitled to.
The Scottish Government is taking over responsibility for 11 benefits under new devolved powers. It is creating a new social security agency, with its headquarters in Dundee and local offices throughout Scotland.
The Highland Child Protection Committee has launched a Toolkit to assist individuals, volunteers and community groups working with children and young people understand their roles and responsibilities in relation to child protection. Over 60 people providing activities for children, young people and families in a paid and voluntary capacity came along to the launch event in Inverness yesterday.
Bill Alexander, Director of Care and Learning, has announced his intention to retire from The Highland Council. Bill commenced with the Council in 2000, in a joint post with NHS Highland as Head of Children's Services.
Beware of calls from scammers pretending to be the Telephone Preference Service warns Highland Council Trading Standards. Highland Council Trading Standards wish to warn consumers not to fall for a new telephone call scam in which fraudsters pretend to be calling from the Telephone Preference Service (or TPS).
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.
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