Advice Column – Legislation changes in April 2017
I have read about changes to the law coming in April 2017. What are they and how can I find out more?
A good starting point is always www.citizensadvice.org.uk. This is an up-to-date website where the information is from reliable sources.
April usually sees a raft of changes to law and this year is no different.
Legislative changes from the Westminster Parliament mean that:
From 1 April 2017:
- the National Living Wage for those aged 25 and over went up from £7.20 per hour to £7.50 per hour
- the National Minimum Wage went up for apprentices and those aged 16 to 24, and the maximum daily accommodation allowance went up from £6.00 to £6.40
- in England, Scotland and Wales, veterans’ payments from war pensions are no longer included when calculating their contributions for social care
- in England, the small business rate relief went up from £6,000 to £12,000
- in England, new figures are now in use for council tax reduction schemes, and there are changes to absence rules to bring them into line with housing benefit rules
- there is a new Benefit Cap earnings exception threshold for universal credit claimants which is linked to the National Living Wage
- child benefits and tax credits can no longer be paid by cheque and must be paid directly into clients’ bank accounts
From 2 April 2017:
- maternity, paternity and adoption pay rates went up
From 3 April 2017:
- the Limited Capability for Work Element will no longer be awarded for new Universal Credit claims
- the work-related activity component will no longer be awarded for new ESA claims, and there have been changes to hardship payments and the permitted work rules
from 6 April 2017:
- some benefit rates have changed, including DLA, PIP, guardian’s allowance, housing benefit, income support and JSA
- the child element in Universal Credit and the Child Tax Credit has been limited to 2 children
- the new Bereavement Support Payment replaces Bereavement Payment, Widowed Parent’s Allowance and Bereavement Allowance for people who are bereaved on after 6 April 2017
- the Carer’s Allowance earning limit went up to £116 per week
- statutory sick pay went up to £89.35 per week
- the secondary (employer) threshold has been aligned with the primary (employee) threshold for National Insurance contributions (NICs)
- in England, Wales and Scotland compensation limits for employment tribunal claims have gone up
- in England, Wales and Northern Ireland the personal tax-free allowance went up to £11,500 per year and the higher rate of tax threshold went up to £45,000
- in Scotland the personal tax-free allowance went up to £11,500 per year but the higher rate of tax threshold stayed the same at £43,000
- there are 2 new tax free allowances of £1,000 available for those getting income from their property or from occasional jobs
- any adult under 40 can now open a new Lifetime ISA
- in England, Wales and Scotland taxi drivers can be fined for not taking disabled passengers
Whilst some people will benefit from these changes there will also be those who lose out.
If you are struggling with paying your bills or keeping to a budget, or you will be affected by any of the changes, you can get in touch with us at Citizens Advice Carlisle & Eden via a range of ways.
As well as visiting our offices (check www.ca-ce.org.uk for details) or by telephone (03300 563037 for debt advice or 03444 111 444 for all other matters) you can contact us by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), through Facebook (www.facebook.com/CarlisleEdenCA) and Twitter (@CarlisleEdenCA). Please don’t given personal information via social media, but if you’re not sure if or how we can help, tweet us and ask!
We can help you with a range of different matters – and have specialist workers to help:
- with finding and keeping accommodation
- with energy issues (including finding better tariffs and helping to switch)
- with benefit issues for people affected by cancer
- with all personal debt matters
- anyone affected by the storms of December 2015
- anyone with mental health issues to deal with their debts
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