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Economy

Carers Will Continue To Miss Out On State Pensions Unless Governments Act

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pensions by ajehals via flickr

The government must do more to ensure that carers don’t miss out on National Insurance credits that may increase their state pension.

Official figures show that 95% of carers are missing out on state pension Carer’s Credits and Sarah Pennells, founder of money website SavvyWoman.co.uk, has launched a petition to highlight this: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/176067.

Carer’s Credits are available to those who care for someone for at least 20 hours a week, if the person they are caring for gets certain benefits. However, only 5% of carers who are eligible currently claim these credits.

Sarah Pennells, founder of SavvyWoman, says: “I was shocked when I realised that only 5% of carers claim these National Insurance credits that could increase the state pension they receive. These carers don’t qualify for the Carer’s Allowance benefit, which would automatically protect their state pension entitlement. They are currently falling through the net and many don’t find out about Carer’s Credits for several years.”

Sarah continues: “The government should care about carers more. They are aware that only 5% of carers who could claim these credits do so and I believe they should either spend money making sure the message gets to carers, so they don’t miss out, or change the system so it’s easier to get these credits. How can it be right that people – often women in their 40s and 50s – lose out on their state pension when they’re already giving up so much to care for someone in their family?”

Carers’ organisations do a great job of supporting carers and telling them about their rights. But not all carers are aware of the help that is available.

Under the Care Act 2014, health and social care professionals in England have a responsibility to identify carers and provide them with access to information, advice and support. In theory this signposting or referral may include information on financial matters or when they access information (usually from a local carers service) this would be discussed. The problem is that the Care Act is still not being implemented thoroughly and so many carers are still missing out on this information and advice.

Sarah Mitchell, Chief Executive of Carers Network, says: “Missing out on carer credits can mean a carer’s income is squeezed when they reach pension age – and it needn’t be. Many people caring for someone for twenty hours a week or more do not know that they can receive support with caring, many do not even see themselves as carers.’”

Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK, says: “Carers tell us that it can take years for them to fully understand the support they are entitled to. Every day we hear from people, particularly women, who have left work or reduced hours to care and are left in financial hardship as their savings dwindle. Women aged 45-54 are more than twice as likely as men to have given up work to care and over 4 times more likely to have reduced working hours to care. It is vital that carers are able to protect their State Pension entitlement. It’s essential that carers are able to access good quality, timely advice on what support is available to them.”

To apply for Carer’s Credit, you have to download an application form, or call 0345 608 4321 to get a form sent to you.

For more information, see: https://www.savvywoman.co.uk/840/getting-national-insurance-credits-for-your-state-pension-if-youre-a-carer

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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