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Support towards funeral expenses to rise from 8 April 2020

From Wednesday 8th April, financial support helping families meet the costs of funeral expenses such as coffins and funeral directors’ fees will increase from £700 to £1,000.

Coronavirus: London Northwestern Railway season ticket refunds

London Northwestern Railway is encouraging customers unable to travel due to the ongoing coronavirus restrictions to claim their season ticket refunds online.

Singing your heart out to raise money for Heart Research UK

A long term supporter of national charity Heart Research UK, Ric Cipriani, from Cheltenham, is hosting a live Facebook concert to raise funds for the charity.

will be grabbing his guitar and singing his heart out from 19:00 – 20:00 on Wednesday the 8th April, live on Facebook.

Ric first became involved with Heart Research UK six years ago, after his grandfather sadly passed away due to heart disease.

Since then, he has raised over £15,000 for the charity, running marathons, dressing us as Santa, and playing charity gigs.

Furloughed workers miss out on National Living Wage increase

The National Living Wage (NLW) increased on 1 April 2020 to £8.72, giving a pay rise to thousands of workers. The NLW is the statutory minimum wage for workers aged 25 and over.

The age threshold for the NLW will be reduced from 25 to 23 in 2021, and then further to 21 by 2024.

However, furloughed workers on NLW will not see this increase.

COVID-19: Witnessing wills over the garden fence

The current coronavirus lockdown is restricting the way people normally meet to organise their affairs.

Under the 1837 Wills Act, wills need to be in writing, and be signed by the person making the will in the presence of two independent witnesses. The witnesses must be present at the same time.

Bedford Borough Council: Beware of coronavirus scams

Bedford Borough Council’s Trading Standards team is warning people to remain vigilant. This follows reports of coronavirus-related scams as criminals try to exploit people’s fears.

In Bedfordshire, the sale of counterfeit goods such as hand sanitiser and fake coronavirus tests has been reported. Currently, there are no legitimate coronavirus tests for sale.

Look out for people selling other counterfeit goods such as sanitisers, face masks, or coronavirus swabbing kits online or door-to-door.

Trading Standards says that these products are likely to be ineffective and could be unsafe to use.

Voucher scheme launches for schools providing free school meals

Children eligible for free school meals will benefit from a national voucher scheme allowing them to continue to access meals whilst they stay at home.

Schools can now provide every eligible child with a weekly shopping voucher worth £15 to spend at supermarkets while schools are closed due to coronavirus.

COVID-19: Temporary changes to right to rent and right to work checks

Effective immediately, the temporary changes will mean the Home Office will not require landlords and employers to see original documents and will allow checks to be undertaken over video calls.

These temporary changes will mean that during the coronavirus outbreak prospective renters and workers are now able to submit scanned documents, rather than originals, to show they have a right to rent or right to work.

COVID-19: Government agrees measures with telecoms companies to support vulnerable consumers

Following discussions with the Digital Secretary and Ofcom, the UK’s major telecommunications providers have agreed a set of important commitments to support and protect vulnerable consumers and those who may become vulnerable due to circumstances arising from COVID-19.

Bedford Borough: Council Tax support during Coronavirus

Bedford Borough Council is working to offer local residents help with their Council Tax, for those who are struggling financially because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Council has a 100% Council Tax Reduction Scheme in place; this means that those with the lowest incomes already do not pay any Council Tax.

Following the Government’s announcement of a COVID-19 Council Tax Hardship Fund, the Council is extending this.

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