Monday, 11 October 2010

Monthly Feature with Elizabeth Crampton of St Albans Citizens Advice Bureau

Elizabeth from the Citizens Advice Bureau in
St Albans (CAB) started this months advice feature by talking about redunduncies.

With cuts in government budgets looming,
we could potentially see lots of redunduncies
in the public sector. Redunduncies are a form
of dismissal and something that employees
can't do much about.

However, you need to take advice if you are made reduntant and your former employer then fills your position with someone else. This isn't redunduncy but a form of getting rid of you when you may have done nothing wrong.

Employers are also required to provide a statuary minimum of redunduncy pay which varies according to years and service and through completing at least 2 years service with your employer.

Next, Elizabeth advised on what can be done if you're struggling with mortgage repayments, particulary having been made redundant. If you have missed mortgage payments, you may be able to claim benfits to cover your mortgage interest payments. Make sure aswell you claim all other benfits you are entitled to which can help take away some of the financial pressures which can be felt through redunduncy. The CAB can advise on what you might be entitled to.

And check the terms of your mortgage. You may find that you have 'Mortage Protection Insurance' which can pay your mortgage in circumstances where you loose your job through redunduncy or illness.

The next topic was about new scams. These include being contacted by phone or email by people claiming to be from HMRC and wanting to process tax refunds. People have then been asked to supply bank details. The advice was never to give out any personal or bank related details to anyone claiming to be from HMRC. If HMRC do offer you a tax refund it will always be processed by letter through the post.

Other current scams include:

- if you're selling your car, you could be contacted by someone claiming to have found a buyer for you and wanting you to send them a 'matching up' fee. Chances you'll never hear from that person or see your money ever again.

- some overseas companies are offering bargain priced shares with great returns. Often these shares are only worth a fraction of what's paid for them and returns are not guarenteed, often very low or non existent.

- and a scam mainly targetted at students and young people concerns deposits given to private landlords to secure accomodation. It's been reported that some people posing as landlords have taken money as deposits and are then refusing tenancies due to 'poor references' with deposit money not being returned.

For more information on St Albans CAB, check out the website at or call them on 01727 855269.

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