“Warm Home Discount – Changes To The Scheme”

"Autumn Statement 2013"

“Autumn Statement 2013”

#AceNewsServices says following the recent “Autumn Statement” the UK Government has replied over the latest changes to ” The Warm Home Discount Scheme” set-up in 2011 for our Elderly and Vulnerable adults. Of course as with all changes they start of telling us how much they have spent, what they have done for people and also blowing their own trumpet.

As you read through the changes and click any highlighted links you will notice that at the very end it gives a list of all respondents in Annexe A and they are all energy companies, double glazing companies and businesses. It finally adds ” One private individual”  no name and no pact drill. 

Says it all: This is how it is at present just click link and PRINT

Anyway added a poll to this post with four simple answers 1. Agree 2.Disagree 3.Do Not Understand 4.My View

BACKGROUND: 

"Keep Warm This Winter"

“Keep Warm This Winter”

The Warm Home Discount began in April 2011 and provides assistance annually to around 2 million low-income and vulnerable households in Great Britain. The assistance is currently provided by the seven largest energy suppliers, each of which has over 250,000 domestic customer accounts. The main focus of the scheme is on electricity bill rebates and this winter over 1 million households have already received £135 off their bill.
The scheme has annual spending targets and the spending target for 2013/14 is £300m. If expenditure on the scheme is above or below the annual spending target, the target for the following scheme year is adjusted accordingly.

"Wrap Up Warm This Winter"

“Wrap Up Warm This Winter”

The largest element of the scheme is the Core Group, a subset of people receiving Pension Credit Guarantee Credit. Participating suppliers have to provide specified electricity bill rebates to all their Core Group customers, identified through matching energy supplier data with Government-held data. However, suppliers do not have to pay all customers eligible for other parts of the scheme – known as the non-core spending. On the basis of our estimate of how many people will qualify for the Core Group each year, we estimate how much non-core spending suppliers have to carry out in order to meet the annual spending target. This year we estimated that Core Group spending would be £200m in 2013/14. Given a total spending target of £300 million we therefore notified Ofgem in February that the non-core spending obligation should be £100m. Ofgem then informed suppliers of their individual non-core spending obligations.

Since setting the non-core spending obligation, we have established that the number of people receiving the qualifying benefit for the Core Group is much lower than the original forecast used  to estimate Core Group spending. If we did nothing, then scheme spending would likely be
£266m this year with a consequently higher spending target next scheme year (£344m rather than £310m). This would have a negative impact on fuel poverty this scheme year and  potentially create delivery and compliance problems next year. Therefore, we wanted to enable a solution which would result in higher non-core spending this year than the original obligation we set.

" Get What You Are OWED"

” Get What You Are OWED”

The Warm Home Discount began in April 2011 and provides assistance annually to around 2 million low-income and vulnerable households in Great Britain. The assistance is currently provided by the seven largest energy suppliers, each of which has over 250,000 domestic customer accounts. The main focus of the scheme is on electricity bill rebates and this winter over 1 million households have already received £135 off their bill. The scheme has annual spending targets and the spending target for 2013/14 is £300m. If expenditure on the scheme is above or below the annual spending target, the target for the following scheme year is adjusted accordingly. The largest element of the scheme is the Core Group, a subset of people receiving Pension Credit Guarantee Credit. Participating suppliers have to provide specified electricity bill rebates to all their Core Group customers, identified through matching energy supplier data with Government-held data. However, suppliers do not have to pay all customers eligible for other parts of the scheme – known as the non-core spending. On the basis of our estimate of how many people will qualify for the Core Group each year, we estimate how much non-core spending suppliers have to carry out in order to meet the annual spending target. This year we estimated that Core Group spending would be £200m in 2013/14. Given a total spending target of £300m, we therefore notified Ofgem in February that the non-core spending obligation should be £100m. Ofgem then informed suppliers of their individual non-core spending obligations. Since setting the non-core spending obligation, we have established that the number of people receiving the qualifying benefit for the Core Group is much lower than the original forecast used to estimate Core Group spending. If we did nothing, then scheme spending would likely be £266m this year with a consequently higher spending target next scheme year (£344m rather than £310m). This would have a negative impact on fuel poverty this scheme year and potentially create delivery and compliance problems next year. Therefore, we wanted to enable a solution which would result in higher non-core spending this year than the original obligation possible that they could spend more and subsequently reduce their non-core spending  obligation for 2014/15.

The Consultation:

We received 12 responses to the consultation and the respondents are listed at Annex A. We had discussed the issue and the proposal with participating suppliers and Ofgem prior to publishing the consultation.

What respondents said: 

We asked two questions in the consultation: 

Q1. Do you agree with the proposal to change the Warm Home Discount Regulations to allow suppliers to spend up to 34% more this year on the non-core elements of the scheme, thereby reducing next year’s obligation by a corresponding amount? All 12 respondents supported the proposal to allow suppliers to spend up to 34% more this year on the non-core elements of the scheme thereby reducing their obligation for next scheme year by a corresponding amount. However, several responses to this question went beyond the proposal in the consultation. In particular, the main focus of responses from suppliers was on the potential delivery problems they may face in 2014/15 as a result of a significantly higher Broader Group spending requirement.

Department of Work and Pensions Some suppliers highlighted that increasing the scale of spending on the Broader Group would add considerable cost to their administration and verification processes, and thus impact consumer bills. One supplier was concerned about the impact of delays and on-going changes to Universal Credit on suppliers’ ability to find and verify Broader Group customers. In view of these concerns, several suppliers asked Government to consider further changes to the scheme. There were three changes proposed, each of which would require further amendment to the policy: raising the spending cap on industry initiatives; increasing the value of the rebate and increasing the size of the Core Group.

  1. Raising the spending cap on industry initiatives Several respondents felt that the current spending cap of £30m on industry initiatives should be raised. They argued that industry initiatives provide a scalable approach to addressing the underspend which would be more cost-effective to deliver than identifying additional Broader Group customers. Their view was that this would ensure vulnerable customers will receive financial assistance sooner, rather than later.
  2. Raising the value of the rebate Some respondents felt that raising the value of the rebate offered to Core Group and Broader Group customers should be considered to offset the Core Group underspend and to make delivery easier in 2014/15.
  3. Increasing the size of the Core Group.

A proposal from several respondents was to broaden Core Group eligibility criteria. Again, the key aim would be to increase Core Group spending in year 4 of the scheme and thereby reduce the non-core spending obligation. One respondent asked that Government consider ways of increasing the uptake of Pension Credit, for example funding an awareness campaign. A significant proportion of people believed to be eligible for Pension Credit do not claim it, thereby also missing out on a Core Group rebate. Other issues, less focused on short-term changes to the scheme Regulations, were also raised in responses. A key concern for some suppliers was the impact of finding and verifying more Broader Group customers. One supplier raised a concern on impact of the ongoing changes and delayed introduction of Universal Credit on Suppliers’ ability to find and verify Broader Group eligibility. Some respondents suggested that wider data-sharing powers to identify and verify eligible
Broader Group customers would reduce costs and speed up verification and eligibility processes. One respondent also included a suggestion that Government consider ways to use communications about the scheme to attract more Broader Group customers.

Finally, several energy suppliers requested that Government improved its forecasting of Core Group spending in order that an issue of this magnitude does not arise again.

Q2. If you are a participating energy supplier, please indicate how much extra spending above your current non-core obligation you expect to carry out this scheme year? Please indicate if you would like this information to be confidential. Whilst some suppliers have indicated their intent to extra spending above their current non-core obligation, they were not able to provide a forecast. Two suppliers, British Gas and Eon, have indicated spending above their current non-core obligation. British Gas estimates overspending by 10% while Eon estimates an additional
15,000 Broader Group rebates above their obligation.

A proposal from several respondents was to broaden Core Group eligibility criteria. Again, the key aim would be to increase Core Group spending in year 4 of the scheme and thereby reduce the non-core spending obligation. One respondent asked that Government consider ways of increasing the uptake of Pension Credit, for example funding an awareness campaign. A significant proportion of people believed to be eligible for Pension Credit do not claim it, thereby also missing out on a Core Group rebate. Other issues, less focused on short-term changes to the scheme Regulations, were also raised in responses. A key concern for some suppliers was the impact of finding and verifying more Broader Group customers. One supplier raised a concern on impact of the ongoing changes and delayed introduction of Universal Credit on Suppliers’ ability to find and verify Broader Group eligibility. Some respondents suggested that wider data-sharing powers to identify and verify eligible
Broader Group customers would reduce costs and speed up verification and eligibility processes. One respondent also included a suggestion that Government consider ways to use communications about the scheme to attract more Broader Group customers. Finally, several energy suppliers requested that Government improved its forecasting of Core Group spending in order that an issue of this magnitude does not arise again.

Q2 If you are a participating energy supplier, please indicate how much extra spending above your current non-core obligation you expect to carry out this scheme year? Please indicate if you would like this information to be confidential. Whilst some suppliers have indicated their intent to extra spending above their current non-core obligation, they were not able to provide a forecast.  
Two suppliers, British Gas and Eon, have indicated spending above their current non-core obligation. British Gas estimates overspending by 10% while Eon estimates an additional 15,000 Broader Group rebates above their obligation.

Annex A.  

List of respondents to the consultation

Energy suppliers

British Gas
EDF
EON
RWE Npower
Scottish Power
Scottish and Southern Energy

Other

Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem)
Energy Action Scotland
Energy UK
Islington Council
Glass and Glazing Federation
One private individual

#acenewsservices, #autumn-statement, #carbon-emission-reduction-target, #core-group, #customer, #fuel-poverty, #great-britain, #office-of-gas-and-electricity-markets, #ofgem, #poverty, #streaming-simd-extensions, #universal-credit, #warm-home-discount

Osborne Changes Rules From Vehicle Excise Licence to Road Fund Taxation to Benefit Them not Us – All With a Swipe of His Pen”

#AceNewsServices says the government is changing the law in 2014 to reduce tax administration costs and burdens associated with vehicle tax sounds good does it not, but of course that was the whole idea. But shall we take a look deeper at the history of the ” Road Fund Licence” because as the words reflect it, as it was and still is until today, a “Road Fund Licence”  meaning the right to travel on the UK roads and licensed to do so ,providing you pay for a Tax Disc. Well there is the change from licence to tax and this has been so for many a year. But of course it was really called a “Vehicle Excise Licence” not as so many people believe “Road Tax” as extract below confirms.

Vehicle Excise Licence or Road Tax:   

The term “road tax“, which appears in the Oxford English Dictionary, is commonly used when referring to “Vehicle Excise Duty“. This use is controversial though as technically there is no such thing as road tax, despite its common usage. Peter Walker, a journalist at The Guardian gives this opinion of it “I’ve always felt the road tax argument supports a more general feeling of entitlement among too many drivers. Those who trot it out often seem to genuinely treat cyclists like we’re interlopers who should be pushed aside”. The BBC echoed this argument in 2013, reporting how the term “road tax” is used by some drivers as a badge of entitlement to hog the road and drive badly, even intentionally hitting cyclists to argue their point. The Cyclists’ Touring Club argue ‘most adult cyclists do pay for the roads, even though they impose minimal wear and tear on them’.The Cambridge Cycle Campaign suggested that “Arguing that cyclists therefore have less right to use the roads is like arguing that smokers should take precedence for medical treatment, because non-smokers don’t buy cigarettes and therefore ‘don’t pay hospital tax.

Osborne’s Autumn Statement:

Today (Thursday 5 December 2013), the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that the government will change the law in 2014 to reduce tax administration costs and burdens associated with vehicle tax.

The Department for Transport (DfT) made clear in its recent Motoring Services Strategy consultation that the government is committed to offering high quality and cost-effective services to the public and businessesDfT and DVLA have listened to the views of both businesses and the public to remove unnecessary burden and provide modern and efficient services to meet their needs. This includes getting rid of unnecessary paper where possible and making it easier for people and businesses to use government services.

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

DVLA will offer motorists the ability to spread their vehicle tax payments should they wish to do so. From 1 October 2014 motorists will be able to pay vehicle tax by direct debit annually, biannual or monthly. There will be no additional handling fees for annual payments but to limit the impact on the public finances there will be a small surcharge of 5% of vehicle tax for biannual and monthly payments. This is half of the 10% surcharge that is currently applied to 6 monthly tax discs and which has been in existence for a number of decades.

Also from 1 October 2014, the paper tax disc, first issued on 1 January 1921, will no longer be issued and required to be displayed on a vehicle windscreen. Vehicle tax will still need to be paid but with DVLA having a digital record of who has and has not paid, a paper tax disc is no longer necessary as proof that vehicle tax is paid. The majority of motorists pay their vehicle tax with latest figures confirming that over 99% of motorists’ tax their vehicles on time… Most on-road enforcement action is now based on using Automatic Number Plate Readers. These cameras use the number plate rather than a visual inspection of the tax disc. The police also have access to DVLA records via the police national computer. There are significant savings for fleet operators and other businesses from not having to handle the administration of tax discs.

Editor’s Conclusion:

Well a simple way to raise extra money for the UK Treasury and at the same time get everyone paying monthly, with the added bonus of “Police Enforcement Measures” all under the auspices of ” Saving Money and Austerity Measures” and many people will look and think he is doing us a favour. The Tories never did anyone any favours, unless it provided a benefit to their coffer’s.

So readers what is your opinion leave a comment and add #AceConsumerViews and l will publish all of them that are related to the article. 

Thank you Editor               

 

#aceconsumernews, #autumn-statement, #department-for-transport, #driver-and-vehicle-licensing-agency, #dvla, #hm-treasury, #post-office, #road-tax, #vehicle-excise-duty, #vehicle-licence

“George Osborne to Cap Business Rates – Is it Not time To Cap Council Tax As Well”

George Osborne’s plan to cap business rates, will once again help those that have more, and leave those that have less out in the cold. The total unfairness of any system that takes care of the businesses, and in the meantime leaves other people still paying council tax, is a typical “Tory” move.
Why help those who have less, when by supporting businesses under the banner of helping the hard-pressed economy is a better action #AutumnStatement

#acenewsservices, #autumn-statement, #business-rates, #council-tax, #george-osborne

“Osborne to Get Young People Working Until They Are 70 – Allowing Pension Companies Time To Better Their Investments”

A proposal from George Osborne to get young people to work until they are 70 years of age, could assist our pension companies greatly, in that there funds were hit hard for a number of years, especially during the 2008 financial crisis.
As most people may know a period of at least thirty years is required for any pension pot to reach its full potential, allowing for the bonuses not added until completion.
This move could herald another way of keeping his cronies happy, whilst in the meantime allowing pension companies time to accrue more interest, on their massive investment funds. This is a simple sell-out of the people and a bonus for investment companies #AutumnStatement

#acenewsservices, #autumn-statement, #george-osborne, #torys

George Osborne to replace tax disc with electronic version after 93 years

According to the BBC there is a possibility that the UK tax disc to show motorists have paid vehicle excise duty is to be replaced with an electronic system, Chancellor George Osborne is to announce in his Autumn Statement. The disc was introduced in 1921 but officials say it is no longer needed.

#acenewsservices, #autumn-statement, #bbc, #george-osborne, #tax-disc

New Council Bands Not For The Rich Says Osborne

English: A Western Australia impressed duty st...

English: A Western Australia impressed duty stamp for eleven shillings and three pence. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Government has dismissed speculation that new council tax bands will be introduced to recoup more revenue from the wealthiest homeowners. It follows reports the government was considering additional bands for homes valued over £1,1.2,and £2 million. Most papers report that George Osborne is now expected to raise stamp duty in next month’s Autumn Statement to compensate. 

So finally George Osborne gets off the fence the opposition party put him on, and hoists his colours to the main party-line!  Well that took a while but was it worth waiting for? Not really! Same old, same old rhetoric, of protect the wealthy! As one day they may vote us back in as the only party, no coalition this time! And as a way to sweeten the pot, no stamp duty for the rich this time around!

So what do we get instead, oh yes a hidden agenda of raising stamp duty, but for who and at what cost to people’s housing aspirations, not really clear on this either, and l quote! An increase in either stamp duty or capital gains tax are other possibilities if the council tax option is ruled out. Seems pretty certain then we all know what he is going to do in next months budget!

Either way someone will pay, and l would not take bets if, if l were a betting man, it will not be the beleaguered tax payer, ever willing to shoulders this governments, ineptitude!

#autumn-statement, #capital-gains-tax, #council-tax, #council-tax-bands, #david-cameron, #duty-stamp, #george-osborne, #government, #liberal-democrat, #opposition-party, #politics, #secretary-of-state-for-business-innovation-and-skills, #tax-option, #vince-cable