Help to Save scheme has been delayed Spring Statement document shows

A scheme designed to help low-paid workers start the savings habit has quietly been delayed, Treasury documents reveal.

Revealed in the Budget in March 2016 and proudly championed personally by then Prime Minister David Cameron, Help to Save was expected to be rolled out next month for the new tax year.

However, the Government revealed today it has decided to slow the pace of the rollout to provide the 'best customer experience possible.'

Help to Save: The scheme was revealed in January 2016 by then Prime Minister David Cameron

The idea of Help to Save is to enable 3.5million employees on working tax credits or universal credit to save up to £50 a month and pocket a bonus of 50 per cent, earning a maximum of £600 after two years.

Savers can carry on the scheme for an additional two years meaning those who saved the maximum £2,400 over four years would receive a £1,200 government top-up.

In March 2016, the Treasury said the scheme would be fully launched in April 2018 to encourage and support those on low incomes to save.

However, it is likely that with Mr Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne exiting, the scheme was not made a priority.

The estimated cost, mainly arising from the additional public spending associated with the Government contribution, was £70million in 2020-21, rising to around £100million in 2022-23.

This reflected a relatively low take-up assumption, given the limited scope for low-income individuals to save the sums involved.

The Treasury document from the Spring Statement today said: 'At the time of the original costing we gave this a "high" uncertainty rating, citing take-up and the time that individuals hold onto savings among the main reasons.

'The Government originally announced that "accounts will be available no later than April 2018".

'It has now decided to slow the pace of the rollout to provide the "best customer experience possible". A full rollout has been delayed to October with a pilot having started in January.

'HMRC has told us that the IT and other aspects of delivery remain on track. We now expect total 'Help to Save' spending to reach £85million in 2022-23."'

Delayed: How This is Money revealed the news more two years ago

The measures were designed as officials claimed nearly half of Britain's adults have set aside less than £500 for emergencies.

When announcing the scheme, Mr Cameron claimed he wanted to give hard-working people extra support to fulfill their potential and to transform life chances across the country.

He said at the time: 'That's what these new measures will achieve - helping someone start a savings fund to get them through difficult times, giving people on low incomes a pay rise and making sure teenagers have the experience and networks to succeed.'

Mr Osborne added: 'This Government is determined to improve the life chances of the poorest in our society and our new Help to Save scheme will mean millions of low income savers across the country could now receive a Government bonus of up to £1,200 to help them build up their savings.

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March 13, 2018

Sources: Daily Mail

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    1 June 22, 2018
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	House of Fraser to close 31 stores and slash 6,000 jobs

    House of Fraser to close 31 stores and slash 6,000 jobs

    tors to axe more than half of its store estate, resulting in up to 6,000 job losses.</p><p>The embattled department store chain will close 31 out of its 59 outlets through a Company Voluntary Arrangement, which will also allow it to secure rent reductions on its remaining sites.</p><p>The closures will affect up to 2,000 House of Fraser staff and a further 4,000 across brands and concessions.</p><p>The department store's flagship store on London's Oxford Street will be closed, as will those located in a string of other major cities including Birmingham and Edinburgh. </p><p>Closures: House of Fraser has secured backing for a radical store closure plan (Dominic Lipinski/PA)</p><p>The Chinese-owned department store managed to secure the backing of over 75 per cent of its creditors at a meeting to vote on the CVA today. </p><p>The proposals were given the green light despite anger among landlords, who have complained that they are being forced to stomach a financial hit at the same time as House of Fraser enjoys new investment.</p><p>Alongside the CVA, Hamleys owner C.banner is being lined up to buy a 51 per cent stake in the stricken department store and invest £70million into what remains of the business.</p><p>At today's meeting, furious landlords berated House of Fraser’s management and their advisers at KPMG over how the CVA was conducted.</p><p>They complained that their share of the vote had been structured unfairly in an attempt to push through the restructuring proposal.</p><p>Despite their protestations, a representative for two of House of Fraser’s landlords said there had been 'no give' from the top team.</p><p>Backed: The Chinese-owned department store managed to secure the backing of over 75 per cent of its creditors at a meeting to vote on the CVA today</p><p>House of Fraser boss Alex Williamson had warned that the store closures and job losses represented the 'last viable' option to save the retailer, with the group at risk of collapse had the CVA been rejected.</p><p>Altrincham, Aylesbury, Birkenhead, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Camberley, Cardiff, Carlisle, Chichester, Cirencester, Cwmbran, Darlington, Doncaster, Edinburgh Frasers, Epsom, Grimsby, High Wycombe, Hull, Leamington Spa, Lincoln, London Oxford Street, London King William Street, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Plymouth, Shrewsbury, Skipton, Swindon, Telford, Wolverhampton, Worcester.</p><p>Mr Williamson and chairman Frank Slevin were both in attendance at the creditor vote.</p><p>House of Fraser said the shops earmarked for closure, including its London Oxford Street store, would remain open until early 2019.</p><p>Other sites set for closure include Birmingham, Bournemouth, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Grimsby, Plymouth and Swindon. </p><p>The group also plans to relocate its Baker Street head office and the Granite House office in Glasgow to help slash costs and 'secure House of Fraser’s future.'</p><p>In January, House of Fraser reported a 2.9 per cent fall in sales in the six weeks to 23 December compared with a year earlier. Online sales fell by 7.5 per cent over the crucial Christmas period. </p><p>A raft of CVAs have been struck in recent months as retailers struggle amid surging costs, rising business rates, competition from online rivals and a slowdown in consumer spending.</p><p>Other retailers undertaking CVAs in a bid to keep trading include New Look, Mothercare and Carpetright.</p><p>Restaurant businesses have also been seeking to cut their costs with store closure programmes, with Carluccio’s, Byron and Prezzo all pushing through CVAs.</p><p>Earlier this year, high-street based retailers Toys R Us and Maplin both collapsed into the hands of administrators after struggling to drum up sales and profits against a never-ending surge in online competition.  </p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday &amp; Metro Media Group</p>

    1 June 22, 2018
  • Take your dog to work Friday? These &apos;employees&apos; wag their tails

    Take your dog to work Friday? These &apos;employees&apos; wag their tails

    head of security at the Hifalutin Chic furniture store.</p><p>He has earned such a following here that regular customers stop by to see him even when they’re not shopping for vintage decor.</p><p>The 11-year-old Shorkie – a Silky Yorkie and Shih Tzu mix – is among the furry “employees” nationwide that businesses are finding to be a bonus when it comes to making human workers happier on the job.</p><p>On Friday, more pups across the country will join their masters at the office, gym and other businesses for the 20th annual Take Your Dog to Work Day.</p><p>Pet Sitters International started the day in 1999 as a way to promote pet adoptions and has seen it grow in popularity, event spokeswoman Beth Stultz said.</p><p>“Take Your Dog to Work Day is an amazing annual event that gives us an opportunity to spend a little extra time with our furry family members during the work week," said Chanda Leary-Coutu, director of consumer experience for Wellness Natural Pet Food. "But we’re starting to see more and more offices implement pet-friendly policies year-round."</p><p>Only one in five people surveyed by the Tewksbury, Massachusetts-based pet food company work for a business that celebrates Take Your Dog to Work Day.</p><p>Yet 37 percent of Americans would sacrifice benefits – including vacation time, working from home or a pay raise – to be able to bring their dog to work. Forty-four percent would consider a career move for a pet-friendly workplace, the company found.</p><p>"Not only are there proven benefits to having pets at work, like lowered blood pressure, lessened anxiety and increased physical activity, but it also helps attract and retain employees, especially among millennial workers," Leary-Coutu said.</p><p>The Society for Human Resource Management also has been tracking businesses’ pet-friendly policies, said Edward Yost, manager of employee relations and development.</p><p>The data shows 9 percent of employers allow pets at work in 2018, up from 4 percent in 2014.</p><p>Yost points to influential employers including Amazon that have pet-friendly policies as helping to move the issue forward. More than 6,000 dogs go to work each day at the retail giant's Seattle-based headquarters.</p><p>Lara Hirschfield is Amazon’s Woof Pack manager and oversees the dog program. Her duties include registering the pooches and making sure reception desks are stocked with doggie snacks and that the dog parks are well-maintained.</p><p>“Having dogs in our offices is an amazing treat," Hirschfield said. "We are proud this is such a uniquely Amazonian tradition. It’s truly ingrained in our company culture."</p><p>Being pet friendly also gives employees flexibility, said Alison Sullivan, spokeswoman for Glassdoor in Mill Valley, California, named one of America's most pet-friendly businesses.</p><p>“Having a dog-friendly space is a way Glassdoor encourages its employees to bring their whole selves to work and allows them more flexibility in balancing work and their furry family members,” Sullivan said.</p><p>GFA International, a Florida engineering firm, allows dogs to come to work once a month, said Tania Valcourt, an administrative assistant at the Port St. Lucie office. </p><p>“We look forward to it so much,” said Valcourt, who brings her 12-year-old Jack Russell mix, Dixie, to work with her. “It makes everyone happy, and happy employees are just more productive.”</p><p>Some of the challenges for businesses trying to develop pet-friendly policies are allergies, property damage and animal phobias, Yost said.</p><p>A big question is how to determine which animals, besides dogs, are acceptable.</p><p>“Do you draw the line at guinea pigs, potbelly pigs?" said Yost, who considers himself an animal advocate as a pet parent to three dogs. "You want to be inclusive, but some people have pet snakes. Some people have pet tarantulas, those kind of non-traditional pets.”</p><p>Mars Petcare has created a toolkit to help businesses draft policies, said Katie Evans, a spokeswoman at the pet food maker, whose brands include Whiskas, Pedigree, Sheba, Iams and Royal Canin.</p><p>“We’d love to see all offices develop policies,” Evans said. "We know the interest is there."</p><p>Allowing dogs in the workplace isn't only good for employees. It can be good for business.</p><p>Vero Beach Athletic Club owner Bob Del Vecchio started bringing Maxima, a 4-year-old Staffordshire terrier, to work with him when she was a puppy.</p><p>On the rare day where she stays home, members at the Florida club ask where she is, Del Vecchio said.</p><p>“She’s harmless and sweet,” he said. “Everyone loves petting her.”</p><p>Stuart resident Kitt Tufts, owner of the Hifalutin Chic décor store, often finds customers crouched down petting Leonardo.</p><p>“Most people are dog people, and they come in for a dog fix,” she said. “They enjoy having him here, and I don’t have to worry about him being home alone.”</p><p>Here are tips for a successful office visit from Beth Stultz, spokeswoman for Take Your Dog to Work Day, which was started by Pet Sitters International:</p>

    1 June 22, 2018
  • Financial troubles: Most Americans know what it&apos;s like to be broke, new survey claims

    Financial troubles: Most Americans know what it&apos;s like to be broke, new survey claims

    upon the stage of life you're in. A college kid who views themselves broke may have no money, but still have access to food and a roof over their head. To an adult, broke may mean that the cash available to them won't cover their core bills, or will do so with no cushion.</p><p>Regardless of your exact definition, being broke is something the vast majority of Americans say they've experienced, according to a new survey of 1,050 adults conducted by CreditLoan.com. In the study, 86% of respondents said they'd been broke at some time in the past -- or consider themselves broke right now.</p><p>That sobering number shows that money problems are nearly universal. On the positive side, if you're in the subset of the 86 percent who are running on fiscal fumes today, that figure shows you're not alone, and suggests there's hope.</p><p>Based on the study, most people don't require someone to have literally no money to their name to be viewed as broke.</p><p>"Our survey revealed, on average, people considered having $878 available to them in cash or a bank account to be 'broke,'" wrote CreditLoan.com Founder Daniel Wesley in a blog post on the survey. "Close to $900 in the bank might seem far from destitute, but considering it's 71.3 percent of the average national rent, that little nest egg can evaporate quickly, especially if you're living on your own."</p><p>The top three reasons millennials (born 1981-1997) gave were "spent my money on food" (28 percent), "spent money on unnecessary items" (25 percent), and "quit my job" (17 percent). Generation Xers (born 1965 to 1980) had the same two top answers, albeit at 21 percent and 19 percent respectively, but followed those with "spent my money helping someone else" (15 percent) and "had to wait on significant other or roommate to get paid" (14 percent).</p><p>Baby boomers (born 1946 to 1964) had spending money on others as their top answer at 21 percent. That was followed by "spent money on unnecessary items (13 percent), with "spent my money on food" and "fired from my job" in a tie for third place at 11 percent.</p><p>The best first step anyone can take to stay away from the financial edge is to make a budget. It's hard to avoid overspending if you don't know how much you have, or where your money is going. Once you have a handle on your income versus your expenses, consider where you can trim that later category so you can start setting more aside. Task No. 1 in that vein is building up an emergency fund sufficient to cover at least six months of your household expenses -- assuming you don't have one already.</p><p>Saving that much cash likely won't happen quickly, and may require you to make more changes to your life than simply spending less. You might need to start volunteering for more overtime (if you can), take on another job, or develop a side hustle. But it's hard to beat the peace of mind provided by having a robust cushion between you and being broke.</p>

    1 June 22, 2018
  •  Report: Uber driver streaming "The Voice" just before crash

    Report: Uber driver streaming "The Voice" just before crash

    reaming the television show "The Voice" just before the vehicle struck and killed an Arizona pedestrian in March, according to a published report.</p><p> The Arizona Republic reported that the driver was streaming the musical talent show on Hulu in the moments before the crash on a darkened street in the Phoenix suburb of Tempe.</p><p> Police obtained records from Hulu with a search warrant showing that the streaming to one of the driver's cell phones ended at 9:59 p.m. on March 18, while the crash occurred about 10 p.m.</p><p> The newspaper received the more than 300-page report from Tempe police late Thursday.</p><p> Elaine Herzberg, 49, was struck as she crossed a darkened road in the middle of a block. It was the first fatal crash involving a self-driving vehicle.</p><p> Prosecutors are considering charges against the driver, 44-year-old Rafaela Vasquez.</p><p> A previously released video of the crash showed Vasquez looking down just before the crash. She had a startled look on her face about the time of the impact.</p><p> The National Transportation Safety Board, in a preliminary report issued last month, said the autonomous driving system on Uber's Volvo XC-90 SUV spotted Herzberg about six seconds before hitting her, but did not stop because the system used to automatically apply brakes in potentially dangerous situations had been disabled.</p><p> The system was disabled while Uber's cars are under computer control, "to reduce the potential for erratic vehicle behavior," the NTSB report said. Instead of the system, Uber relies on the human backup driver to intervene, the report stated. But the system is not designed to alert the driver.</p><p> Tempe police also released blurred video from the responding police officers' body cameras, and one caught a conversation with Vasquez while she was seated behind the wheel, according to the newspaper.</p><p> "The car was in auto-drive," she said to the officer. "All of a sudden ... the car didn't see it, I couldn't see it," she says. "I know I hit her."</p><p> The report says police initially determined that Vasquez was not impaired after giving her a field test.</p><p> Several days after the crash, they got search warrants for her two cell phones and served them on three companies, Hulu, Netflix and Google, which owns YouTube. Hulu provided records showing that Vasquez was watching "The Voice" just before the crash, the newspaper reported.</p><p> In the lengthy report, Tempe police wrote that Vasquez "appears to be looking down at the area near her right knee at various points in the video." Sometimes her face "appears to react and show a smirk or laugh at various points during the times that she is looking down. Her hands are not visible in the frame of the video during these times."</p><p> A detailed analysis of video from inside the Uber SUV shows during 11.8 miles traveled before the crash, Vasquez looked down 204 times toward her right knee, according to the report. Of the nearly 22 minutes that elapsed during that distance, Vasquez was looking down for 6 minutes and 47 seconds, the newspaper reported.</p><p> "This crash would not have occurred if Vasquez would have been monitoring the vehicle and roadway conditions and was not distracted," the report says.</p><p> A crash report also indicated that the self-driving vehicle was traveling too fast for the road conditions.</p><p> The police report concluded that even though Herzberg was outside of a crosswalk when hit, Vasquez was inattentive and failed to take control of the vehicle to avoid the crash. Her "disregard for assigned job function to intervene in a hazardous situation'" contributed to the crash, the newspaper reported.</p><p> An Uber spokeswoman said in a prepared statement Friday morning that any use of a mobile device by a backup driver while a vehicle is moving is a fireable offense. "This is emphasized during training and on an ongoing basis," the statement said.</p><p> After the crash, the ride-hailing company said it did a top-to-bottom safety evaluation, reviewing internal processes and safety culture. Uber also said it brought in former transportation safety board chairman Christopher Hart to advise the company on safety.</p>

    1 June 22, 2018
  • 
	Would you pay more tax to save the NHS? Listen to the This is Money podcast

    Would you pay more tax to save the NHS? Listen to the This is Money podcast

    most of us are proud of the British institution, leaning on it in our times of need.</p><p>However, we're living longer with more complex problems and the service keeps crying out that it needs more money.</p><p>Where does it come from? Do we make cost-cuttings or plough lots of money in, do we increase income tax, make the rich pay, or introduce a new special ring-fenced tax?</p><p>Theresa May announced plans for £20.5billion-a-year cash boost – but was a little short on the detail. She hinted at tax rises and mentioned a 'Brexit dividend'.</p><p>This is Money editor Simon Lambert, along with consumer affairs editor Lee Boyce and presenter Georgie Frost look at ways to fix the NHS in the latest podcast.</p><p>National Health Shortage: Should we pay more tax for the NHS - or is something else needed?</p><p>Elsewhere on the show, we take a look at the second lifetime Isa to finally be available to savers and where in the country buy-to-let returns now appear to be strongest.</p><p>And finally, we discuss the news that Birmingham and Leeds are set for Clean Air zones while we run the rule over new app, Sn-ap, which aims to match up hard-pressed travellers with luxury coach travel. </p><p>We publish our podcast every Friday to the player on This is Money, above, and on Apple Podcasts (iTunes) and on the podcast platforms Audioboom and Acast, both of which allow you to listen on desktop, mobile, or download an app. We also now publish to Spotify.</p><p>To download the Apple Podcasts app if you do not already have it, go to the App store. Or go to either the Apple App store or the Google Play store on Android to download the Acast, AudioBoom or Spotify app. </p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday &amp; Metro Media Group</p>

    1 June 22, 2018

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