DWP: Touchbase – Fri 3 Dec


Roundup of recent DWP announcements 

Universal Credit changes – animated explainer

Last week, the changes to the Universal Credit taper rate and Work Allowances came into effect.

Work allowances, the amount a claimant can earn before their Universal Credit is reduced, will increase by £500 per year meaning many families will be able to earn over £500 per month before their benefits are tapered off. Simultaneously, the taper rate, the amount that a person’s Universal Credit is reduced by when their earnings are more than their work allowance, will drop from 63% to 55%.

Taken together, the changes mean almost two million families will be better off by £1,000 a year, on average.

To communicate these changes, we have created an animated explainer on what these are, and what the changes mean. The 45 second video can be downloaded and used across all channels – we recommend using the HD 720p to ensure it will upload properly.

To watch the video you will need to enter the password: monR8w_22

Action taken to help stop pension scams

New regulations to help prevent pension savers being subject to scams, came into force on 30 November.

There have been cases of fraudsters trying to trick those of pension age into moving their pension pots into fake accounts. The new red and amber flag system allows transfers to be stopped or paused when there are tell-tale signs of fraud, like “too good to be true” incentives such as free pension reviews, early access to pension cash, or other time-limited offers.

To mark the new regulations two videos have been produced, one featuring the Minister for Pensions, which help explain to people what the changes mean for pension savers and how the regulations will work.

As this is an important message, we would be grateful if you could help us get the news out there, such as sharing the posts on your social media channels.

More details of the new regulations can be found on GOV.UK.

Tax liability of coronavirus support schemes

HMRC are reminding people that grants and payments from schemes to support businesses and self-employed individuals during coronavirus (COVID-19) are taxable. They should be declared as taxable income on company tax returns in line with the relevant accounting standards. 

To find out more visit Reporting coronavirus (COVID-19) grants and support payments on GOV.UK.   

COVID-19 update and toolkit

The Cabinet Office has shared a new COVID-19 communications toolkit, focussed on the new measures to slow the spread of the new variant, Omicron. The key messages are: 

  • We must all wear a face mask in shops and on public transport, unless exempt.
  • Travel rules have changed for those coming into the UK.
  • You must self-isolate if you are in contact with someone who has the new variant. 

Find out more about the new rules in response to Omicron variant.

Access social media assets for use on your own channels

Keeping Communities Safe During Winter webinar

On Wednesday 15 December at 11.00 am the Cabinet Office and UK Health Security Agency will be hosting the final webinar of the year in the series of Keeping Communities Safe During Winter webinars on Zoom to support community and faith leaders, voluntary and community groups with their ongoing engagement and communications.

As well as providing an overview of the recent Government guidance, the webinar will feature presentations on the continuing importance of being ‘Boosted’ with vaccinations against COVID-19 and flu this winter and community engagement lessons to be learned from dealing with the pandemic so far. The webinar will include high profile speakers from UKHSA, Cabinet Office and the British Society of Immunologists. The latter will discuss their recent community engagement project in partnership with a London Borough to train ‘vaccine champions’ within local community groups. There will also be ample opportunity for you to ask your questions, share ideas for more effective engagement and to inform the Government about challenges and barriers faced by your local communities.

To submit a question in advance or if you have any questions about the webinar, contact Obaayaa Asantewaa or Pascoe Sawyers at community.resources@dhsc.gov.uk.

Click here to register  

The webinar will carry auto-sub titles, however, if you require British Sign Language (BSL) interpretation, please email community.resources@dhsc.gov.uk by Friday 10 December so that this can be provided.