Universal Credit taper rate left me so broke I rely on her friend’s leftover party food to feed my seven-year-old daughter

AFTER feeding her seven-year-old daughter Bella nothing but leftover chicken drumsticks and sausage rolls for days, single mum Roxy wept.

For the now-stale food was birthday party leftovers, kindly packaged up by another mother who knew that Roxy Thobald, 26, was struggling to survive on Universal Credit.

Roxy Thobald
Roxy relies on handouts from birthday parties to feed her seven-year-old daughter, Bella
Anna Partington

Roxy, a self-employed courier driver from Long Stratton in Norfolk, works 20 hours a week but is in debt and unable to afford food.

She blames Universal Credit’s harsh taper rate – in which the government reduces benefit payments at a rate of 63p for every £1 earned over a certain amount – for putting her in this position.

The Sun has highlighted the problems with the taper rate in our Make Universal Credit Work campaign.

Roxy says she’d be better off if she was unemployed, and the government is penalising people who want to work.

“I’ve broken down many times but I’m trying to stay strong for my daughter,” she said.  “Some weeks I’ve got no cash left to pay for food and we have had to rely on handouts – it is demeaning.

“When Bella went to a kids birthday party her friend’s mum gave us the leftover snacks and we managed on chicken drumsticks and sausage rolls for a few days.

“One neighbour gave us a bag of frozen food when he was having a clear-out.”

‘I’m trying to stay strong for my daughter’

“I don’t know how we are going to manage – the pressure of juggling all the bills is getting too much for me,” said Roxy.

She won’t let her daughter go without a proper school uniform, but all her own clothes are stained and threadbare.

As as a self-employed worker, Roxy is hit by a further blow which sees even more of her benefit slashed.

After she’s paid all her bills Roxy is left with hardly any cash
Anna Partington

In a typical month she makes £760 from delivery work, but she has to cover the cost of petrol and any car repairs herself, leaving her with just £430.

However, the taper rate is applied to the full amount Roxy earns, before she pays for petrol, so £393 a month is deducted from her Universal Credit payment of £1,099.

She also has £50 a month deducted for an advance loan that she borrowed from the government, it means after she’s paid all her bills she has just £68 a month or £2.23 a day.

The Sun wants to Make Universal Credit Work

Universal Credit replaces six benefits with a single monthly payment.

One million people are already receiving it and by the time the system is fully rolled out in 2023, nearly 7 million will be on it.

But there are big problems with the flagship new system – it takes 5 weeks to get the first payment and it could leave some families worse off by thousands of pounds a year.

And while working families can claim back up to 85 per cent of their childcare costs, they must find the money to pay for childcare upfront – we’ve heard of families waiting up to 6 months for the money.

Working parents across the country told us they’ve been unable to take on more hours – or have even turned down better paid jobs or more hours because of the amount they get their benefits cut.

It’s time to Make Universal Credit work. We want the government to:

  1. Get paid faster: The government must slash the time Brits wait for their first Universal Credit payments from five to two weeks, helping stop 7 million from being pushed into debt.
  2. Keep more of what you earn: The work allowance should be increased and the taper rate should be slashed from from 63p to 50p, helping at least 4 million families.
  3. Don’t get punished for having a family: Parents should get the 85 per cent of the money they can claim for childcare upfront instead of being paid in arrears.

Together, these changes will help Make Universal Credit Work.

Join our Universal Credit Facebook group or email UniversalCredit@the-sun.co.uk to share your story.

‘My daughter knows she can’t be picky with food’

While many parents bend over backwards to cook food that their fussy children will deign to eat, little Bella is used to eating whatever is put in front of her.

“Bella has had to learn that she can’t be picky about food like most seven year-olds,” said Roxy.  “She is very grateful for what she gets and she understands that if she doesn’t eat what we’ve got then she will be going hungry.

“We got lots of sweet stuff like leftover chocolates and biscuits people donated after Christmas as well as random jars like pickled cabbage and chutney.”

Roxy makes sure that Bella has a decent school uniform and can go to swimming lessons once a week, but this has meant other sacrifices.

Roxy Thobald
Roxy’s daughter Bella knows she can’t be picky with food or she’ll go hungry
Anna Partington

Are you on Universal Credit? Tell us your story. Email: universalcredit@thesun.co.uk and join our Universal Credit Facebook group.


‘I’d be better off if I was unemployed’

“It’s so demoralising to think that I’d probably be better off if I wasn’t working at all,” Roxy adds. “But it is important to me to get out of the house and contribute to society.

“I’ve battled with depression in the past so I know that working is vital for my mental health.

“I love working and this is the only job I can get that fits around Bella’s school hours, as I don’t have family nearby who I can rely on for childcare.

“All over the Job Centre there are posters that say Universal Credit is ‘making work pay’, so why am I in this position?

“I would probably be better off if I was unemployed.”

Roxy Thobald
Roxy had to ask a relative to help her pay off £1,500 in Christmas debts
Anna Partington

‘I took out a doorstep loan as debts mounted up before Christmas’

In run-up to Christmas Roxy had to fall back on doorstep loans to cover heating bills, food and a few presents for Bella.

She said: “I ended up around £1,500 in debt and I was panicking when the agent was due to come round and collect the payments because I didn’t have the money.

“I was so terrified of the debts spiralling out of control that in the end I swallowed my pride and asked my uncle for help to pay them back.”

While the donations from food banks have been a lifeline, it can be difficult to make meals from the odds and ends she gets given.

What are Roxy's outgoings?

BELOW's how much Roxy spends each month on herself and daughter Bella.

Rent: £550

Council tax: £117

Electricity (no gas): £90

Car insurance: £93

Broadband: £20

Mobile phone: £25

TV: £25

Fridge rental: £20

Pet insurance and vet’s bills for cat: £20

Car tax: £3

Swimming lessons for Bella: £35

School uniform and trips: £20

Total = £1,018

She said: “I can’t remember the last time I bought myself anything to wear. My clothes are all holey and stained.

“Before Universal Credit I used to be able to take Bella to the soft play area or for an occasional trip to the zoo but we can’t do that anymore.”

 

“It’s completely unfair that I’m worse off because I’m self-employed than I would be if I wasn’t working at all.

“I’m going to keep fighting this for Bella’s sake – I don’t want my daughter to miss out.”

A spokesman for the DWP said: “After repayments were made for a number of debts, Ms Theobald received over £1,300 last month in Universal Credit and earnings from her business.

She has declined budgeting support but jobcentre staff are supporting her to pay off other debts.”

The spokesman confirmed that the £1,300 figure did not take into account any deduction from Roxy’s earnings for petrol expenses as a delivery driver.


We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Money team? Email us at money@the-sun.co.uk or call 0207 78 24516. Don’t forget to join the Sun Money’s Facebook group for the latest bargains and money-saving advice.


https://www.thesun.co.uk/money/8451615/universal-credit-taper-rate-left-me-so-broke-i-rely-on-leftover-party-food-to-feed-my-seven-year-old-daughter/

Coronation Street’s Bruce Jones slams Universal Credit “ridiculous” five-week wait for cash and how he ended up on benefits after blowing £1million fortune

EX-CORRIE actor Bruce Jones, who played Les Battersby, has slammed the “ridiculous” five week wait for cash on Universal Credit.

The 66-year-old retired former soap star now lives in Wales – but he once ended up living in a caravan and on benefits after blowing his £1million showbiz fortune.

Actor Bruce Jones says Universal Credit isn’t working
Philip Hatcher-Moore

Bruce, who appeared on the iconic ITV soap between 1997 and 2007, has had to claim cash from the welfare system twice in his life – once before Corrie, and once after.

“People are absolutely drowning in debt with the ridiculous waits for the cash – it is appalling incompetence that it has got to this,” said Bruce speaking to The Sun to back our Make Universal Credit Work campaign.

“There are tens of thousands of families on low incomes grossly let down by the Government’s failings.

“Nowadays we have kids going into school hungry as their families are on the Universal Credit and it’s not working.

“There are families in Wales and in Abergele, where I live, who are on their uppers with this. I gave some parents I know £20 to help them get some food in for their kids.

“I could safely say very few people want to be on Universal Credit, in my experience, I know that people would much prefer to work and have a purpose in life.

“I was a working class man and when I was first signed on I got back out to work as soon as I could.

“I’ve been following the Universal Credit disaster in The Sun and on telly and it’s obvious to anyone that it’s not been working.”

The Sun wants the five-week wait for your first payment to be slashed to two weeks.

‘Being out of work was hard to bear – it was depressing’

The first time Bruce had to sign on was in the mid-80s before his fame when he was involved in a factory accident.

At the time, he was living with his hairdresser second wife, Sandra, and the couple were looking after Bruce’s two sons, John and Stephen, from his first marriage to Sue, and Sandra’s two daughters, who were all schoolchildren at the time.

Bruce Jones (pictured above in character) starred as Les Battersby in Coronation Street from 1997 to 2007
Rex Features

“I still wanted to be the breadwinner and found being out of work hard to bear,” said Bruce.

“It was depressing; as the man of the house I felt I should be going out and bringing home the wages.”

Bruce was unable to work after a piece of metal split in the factory where he worked, cutting through his wrist.

He added: “There was blood everywhere and I was very lucky to have my thumb and two fingers saved by the NHS.

“I underwent a five hour operation and after a spell on sick pay I had to go on benefits as the injury was slow to heal.

The Sun wants to Make Universal Credit Work

UNIVERSAL Credit replaces six benefits with a single monthly payment.

One million people are already receiving it and by the time the system is fully rolled out in 2023, nearly 7 million will be on it.

But there are big problems with the flagship new system – it takes 5 weeks to get the first payment and it could leave some families worse off by thousands of pounds a year.

And while working families can claim back up to 85 per cent of their childcare costs, they must find the money to pay for childcare upfront – we’ve heard of families waiting up to 6 months for the money.

Working parents across the country told us they’ve been unable to take on more hours – or have even turned down better paid jobs or more hours because of the amount they get their benefits cut.

It’s time to Make Universal Credit work. We want the government to:

  1. Get paid faster: The Government must slash the time Brits wait for their first Universal Credit payments from five to two weeks, helping stop 7 million from being pushed into debt.
  2. Keep more of what you earn: The work allowance should be increased and the taper rate should be slashed from 63p to 50p, helping at least 4 million families.
  3. Don’t get punished for having a family: Parents should get the 85 per cent of the money they can claim for childcare upfront instead of being paid in arrears.

Together, these changes will help Make Universal Credit Work.

Join our Universal Credit Facebook group or email UniversalCredit@the-sun.co.uk to share your story.

“The kids were young then, so knew nothing of how bad I felt having to sign on for the first time in my life. I had worked every day since leaving school and it was not something I wanted to do.

“It was about six months I was on it and my wife had a good job as a hairdresser, so we got around £650 that first time round.

“But I was a working class man, being a househusband wasn’t what I was about. I got back out working as a part-time firefighter as soon as I was signed off fit for work again.”

‘Claiming benefits after Corrie was embarrassing’

The second time Bruce was on benefits was just four years ago in 2015.

He’d been axed from Corrie in 2007 after reportedly revealing secret storylines, which had sent him into a spiral of depression and alcohol abuse.

He exclusively told The Sun in 2015: “I didn’t know I had depression. I just felt bad. A friend came in because he was worried about me. I’d been in my pyjamas for four days. I never moved.

“My wife got me to the doctor who wanted to give me pills.

“But I told him, ‘I’m not taking anti-depressants. I’ll get myself out of it’. Which is easier said than done.

“It’s a hell of a comedown. I was mobbed by people coming up to ask for my autograph. I had a good job, nice car, houses, the best holidays. It all went.”

Bruce says claiming benefits was a soul-destroying feeling
Philip Hatcher-Moore

At one point, things had gotten so bad that Bruce was living in a caravan. He’d spent his £1million fortune and had his £500,000 Cheshire home, and then a bungalow in North Wales, both repossessed by the banks as he battled to pay off overwhelming debts.

Bruce said: “Being on Corrie it was much worse claiming benefits as people recognised me in the Job Centre.

“It was embarrassing and though nobody said anything to me, I knew that I was instantly recognisable and the Job Centre wasn’t really the place I wanted to be.

“I had got a National Insurance bill out of the blue and had felt I had always paid my stamp, so when I spoke with the Job Centre they told me to sign on.

“I did so for about six weeks or so and got about £200 and that cleared the National Insurance. I would never, ever sign on again after that experience.

“Once again I found it pretty soul-destroying and disheartening, but I had done it at their request to clear a National Insurance bill and it worked.”

Bruce has gone from fame on Corrie to signing on
Bruce had to sign on at the Job Centre after leaving Corrie

‘Nowadays we have kids going to school hungry as Universal Credit isn’t working’

Luckily for Bruce, he is now living in his own home and surviving off three private pensions, as well as the state pension.

But his tough upbringing means he’s able to sympathise with people forced to survive on benefits today.


Are you on Universal Credit? Tell us your story. Email: universalcredit@thesun.co.uk and join our Universal Credit Facebook group.


Bruce said: “When I first signed on decades ago, nobody wanted to do it, we were working class, but if there were no jobs, or you were injured like me with a hand problem, then you had to look after the family.

“In my experience I’d say most people want to work as opposed to being unemployed.

“The people at the dole office, knew you were not signing on for fun and they ensured you got your money inside a week, or so.

Bruce (pictured as his character Les) spiralled into debt and battled with depression and alcoholism after Coronation Street
Handout

“I don’t recall people needing pay day loans, or handouts back then from friends, or family, just to keep a roof over their heads.

“Even a couple of years ago, the benefits were nothing like this Universal Credit fiasco and the funds came through without major delay.

“I have a friend who has signed on and he tells me the delays and the hoops he has to jump through are shocking.

“It is necessity brought on by hardship that puts people in a position, where they have to claim benefit. The vast majority would want to work if only they could.”

‘I can’t believe families are made to wait five weeks before getting Universal Credit’

Bruce, who also slept on the streets for the BBC documentary, Famous, Rich and Homeless, in 2009 added: “I did a programme about a decade ago called Famous, Rich and Homeless and slept on the streets for that, so I have seen hardship first hand.

“I cannot believe that the Universal Credit system thought it was a good idea to leave it five weeks before giving a family any funds!

“No wonder we have food banks springing up all over and thank God we do as they are filling a desperate need that the Government should be doing.

“Begging is up 10 or 20 fold since they introduced Universal Credit and people are only doing that through desperation.

Bruce doesn’t believe people want to be on Universal Credit, he says people want to work
Philip Hatcher-Moore

“They say seven million families will be on Universal Credit, so that is a hell of a lot of people who need our support, not a system that puts them further on the breadline.

“I’ve had flu after Christmas and it was horrendous. I just wonder how many homeless people that bug has claimed, or even the families on the breadline not able to put the heating on, because their Universal Credit hasn’t come through.

“It makes you shudder when you think this is all happening in the fifth richest country on the planet.”

‘Very few people want to be on Universal Credit’

Bruce also believes that people don’t want to be on Universal Credit, and that they want to work.

“It is hard enough being unemployed, but putting people through the protracted Universal Credit system is almost Dickensian by nature. It needs to be speeded up to help the very poorest people in our society and they do need help.

“It’s like they are trying to take us back to the Victorian days with six to nine people sleeping in the one room for warmth, as they can’t afford the heating.”

Bruce’s Coronation Street character, Les Battersby, had his fair share of narrow escapes
ITV

A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions, said: “Universal Credit is a force for good.

“It replaces an out-of-date, complex system and more than 1.6million people are now receiving support successfully.

“We’ve listened to feedback and made important changes including 100 per cent advance payments available from day one and extra housing support at the start of someone’s claim.”

Since launching in 2013, Universal Credit has been riddled with issues, so The Sun is campaigning for change.

The wages of working families are also hit hard by the taper rate which deducts 63p from your benefits payment for every £1 you earn over the £198 work allowance – we want this dropped to 50p.

Parents trying to get back into work are entitled to claim up to 85 per cent of childcare costs but will only get the cash back in arrears – but we want the welfare state to fund these costs upfront.


We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Money team? Email us at money@the-sun.co.uk or call 0207 78 24516. Don’t forget to join the Sun Money’s Facebook group for the latest bargains and money-saving advice.


https://www.thesun.co.uk/money/8377099/coronation-streets-bruce-jones-universal-credit/

We treat music fan and Sun Saver Paul to gig tickets and swap tips — plus win two free tickets to Chessington World Of Adventures worth over £95

BEING in tune with our army of Sun Savers is important to me.

That’s why I wanted to visit music lover and Sun Saver Paul Bailey, 50, from Portsmouth.

Giselle surprised Sun Saver Paul Bailey, 50, from Portsmouth, with tickets to see The Streets
Giselle surprised Sun Saver Paul Bailey, 50, from Portsmouth, with tickets to a music gig

Paul has had a tough few years after a throat cancer diagnosis.

He says: “I have good days and bad days. I’m in remission but I can’t work, so things are tight. I wish I could work. I miss it.”

Focusing on his recovery has meant missing seeing his favourite bands live.

Paul says: “’I’m an indie kid — I love it. I feel 18. I like to be at the front but since I’ve been ill, I’ve not had a chance to go.” I decided to surprise Paul with tickets to see The Streets — one of his favourite artists. We swapped money-saving tips too.

Music lover Paul got to see one of his favourite bands – The Streets, pictured – and shared money saving tips
Rex Features
  1. POSTER BOY: Paul has covered his walls with posters of bands, including Kasabian, Levellers and The Streets. He got them at bargain prices from charity shops. Try oxfam.org.uk for music memorabilia and records, starting at £2.99.
  2. TRAINING DAY: Paul collects Adidas Stan Smith trainers but doesn’t pay full price. Paul says: “I buy them on eBay. You can find brand-new styles for loads less. I’ve got at least ten pairs now. I search for listings with spelling errors to find bargains.” If listings contain spelling errors, fewer potential buyers will find them — meaning fewer bidders to drive up the price. Type in what you are after on fatfingers.com and it will find them for you.
  3. SCANNER TIME: Paul is a recent convert to Sun Savers but an avid one. He says: “I love The Sun and read it cover to cover. At home, there’s only so much Cash In The Attic you can watch! I only recently became a Sun Saver and I wish I’d started long ago.” As a Sun Saver, bag a fiver every 28 days.
  4. PAWS FOR THOUGHT: Paul’s pooch Bailey decided to get involved in our photoshoot. Paul says: “I’ve had Bailey since he was a puppy. I love taking him out for walks. He’s a great dog.” Sign up for trials in which companies give you free samples. Try paws.com, which will give you a 1.5kg bag of food for £3.49. You can watch me surprise Paul at facebook.com/thesunsavers.

Deal of the day

Buy one, get one free on Nanu pillows, saving £35

REST easy and buy one, get one free on Nanu pillows, usually £35 each, until the end of February from nanusleep.co.uk.

SAVE: £35

Top swap

Asda’s new low-cal Birthday Cake ice cream is £2.50
Asda
This Halo Top tub will cost you twice as much

SCOOP up Asda’s new low-cal Birthday Cake ice cream, instead of this Halo Top tub.

SAVE: £2.50

Reader’s saving tip

PAM SIMPSON from Alfreton, Derbys, says: “Everyone loves smooth skin but shop-bought exfoliating products are expensive. Try baby oil mixed with sugar for an affordable alternative.”

  • Send your hints to sunsavers.co.uk/tips and you’ll get 28 codes worth £5 if yours is published. Please include your name and town.

Cheap treat

Cadbury Mini Rolls pack of ten is now cheaper at Morrisons

ROLL up for Cadbury Mini Rolls, £1.50 for a pack of ten at Morrisons, down from £2. Deal ends tomorrow.

SAVE: 50p

My Sun Savers fiver

SHARON BARSBY, from Grangemouth near Falkirk, says: “I’m saving my Savers fivers to make up party bags for my daughter’s birthday party.”

  • Send your Savers fiver stories to sunsavers.co.uk/fivers and you’ll get 28 codes worth £5 if yours is published. Please include your name and town.

Win two FREE tickets to Chessington World of Adventures Resort worth over £95

DON’T miss our first Sun Superdays giveaway of the year – two FREE tickets to Chessington World of Adventures Resort, worth more than £95!

Get an early peek at the brand-new Room on the Broom: Magical Journey experience.

Don’t miss our first Sun Superdays giveaway of the year – two FREE tickets to Chessington World of Adventures Resort

Launching next month, it brings to life another of author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler’s much-loved children’s books, following the resort’s Gruffalo River Ride Adventure.

Take a trip on the wild side and visit all the animals at their zoo and SEA LIFE aquarium. And for thrill-seekers, why not brave Dragon’s Fury and guest favourite The Vampire Ride? To check out what more is on offer, check Page 26 in today’s paper.

Just download the Sun Savers app or sign up at sunsavers.co.uk. Then click “Start Collecting” on the “Superdays – Chessington” page in the “Offers” section.

Next, collect and enter NINE Sun Savers codes from those printed daily in the paper until Tuesday, February 26. Today’s Sun Savers code is on Page 20.

Once you have entered NINE codes on Sun Savers you will unlock booking.

Exclusively for Sun Savers, you can pick the date you go, so no one has to miss out. You will also get access to the best dates.

This year with Sun Superdays, bag two free tickets to loads of the nation’s favourite attractions.

These include Alton Towers Resort, Thorpe Park Resort and LEGOLAND Windsor Resort.

Not yet a Sun Savers member? Download the free app or sign up at sunsavers.co.uk. It only takes a minute to register and you can get FREE cash just for picking up the paper.

For every 28 Sun Savers codes you collect, we will give you a free fiver to spend however you like. Sun Savers codes are printed in the paper every day. Find your Sun Savers code then enter it on Sun Savers. Once you have entered 28 we’ll stick £5 in your wallet.

You can also get big discounts on holidays, cinema tickets and family goodies. Plus you get access to huge competitions with prizes such as caravans and cold, hard cash. What are you waiting for? Join Sun Savers today and start pocketing from your paper!

  • Subject to availability. Code collect. Sun Savers £2 booking fee applies. T&Cs apply. For full T&Cs see sun.co.uk/superdays.

See it first, see it free with 6,000 free cinema tickets up for grabs

CRITICS are raving about it – and now you can see brand new film Fighting With My Family, before anyone else.

We’re giving 3,000 Sun Savers members the chance to claim a pair of free tickets to a preview screening for the brand new comedy, which stars Dwayne Johnson.

3,000 lucky Sun Savers can claim a pair of free tickets to a preview screening for a brand new comedy starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson

Based on a true story and written and directed by Stephen Merchant, it follows reformed gangster Ricky, wife Julia, daughter Paige and son Zak as they make a living wrestling together in tiny venues.

When Paige and Zak get the opportunity to try out for WWE, the family grabs a once-in-a-lifetime chance to turn their wildest dreams into a dazzling future. However, brother and sister quickly discover that to become superstars, both their talent and their relationship will be put to the test.

Other cast members include Florence Pugh, Lena Headey, Nick Frost, Jack Lowden and Vince Vaughn.

Choose from 20 preview screenings across the UK, including London, Cardiff, Glasgow and Birmingham. The screenings take place on Monday, February 25 at 6:30pm.

To claim your free tickets, simply download the Sun Savers app or sign up at sunsavers.co.uk. Then, head to the “Sun Savers Screening” page found in the “Offers” section and click “Start Collecting”.

Next, collect and enter FIVE consecutive Sun Savers codes from those printed daily inside the paper between today and Wednesday, February 20. After you have done this, head back to “Sun Savers Screening” page and click “Redeem” as soon as possible.

You will be taken to a booking website where you can claim your free tickets. But don’t wait around – tickets are first come, first served!

If you miss out on a preview screening ticket, you can still head to the cinema on Wednesday, February 27, to catch the release of the film.

  • 18+ UK residents only (excludes Isle of Man & Channel Islands). Code collect 16/02/19 – 20/02/19. 3,000 pairs of tickets to be claimed. Subject to availability. T&Cs apply.
  • © 2019 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer pictures inc. WWE Studios Finance Corp and Film 4 Division of Channel Four Television Corporation. All rights reserved.

Play now to win £15,000 on the Sun Savers Raffle

JOIN thousands of readers taking part in the new Sun Savers Raffle.

Every Sun Savers code you enter will earn you a ticket for our £15k monthly Raffle. And for every ten tickets you collect in a calendar month, you get a GOLDEN TICKET for our £80k Raffle, which takes place every three months, with the first one at the end of June.Join thousands of readers taking part in the new Sun Savers Raffle

Join thousands of readers taking part in the new Sun Savers Raffle

There is no limit to how many tickets you can collect. So the more you enter, the better your chances.

To take part go to sunsavers.co.uk or open the Sun Savers app. Then opt in to each month’s Raffle by clicking “Yes!” when prompted and start collecting the Sun Savers codes printed daily in the paper.

Every time you scan or enter a code into Sun Savers, you get a Raffle ticket in the £15k Raffle.

Not yet a Sun Savers member? Just go to sunsavers.co.uk or find “Sun Savers” in the app store to get started.

Fancy a free fiver?

YOU can get FREE cash with super Sun Savers just for buying your favourite paper.

Our brilliant new rewards club will pay back our most loyal readers.

Just pick up the paper each day to collect your Sun Savers codes and we will GIVE YOU £5 when you have ­collected 28.

This isn’t a one-off and there is no limit to how much cash you can save.

For every 28 codes you enter, we will give you a fiver. So over the course of a year, that could add up to £65.

We are keeping it super-simple. You don’t have to enter codes from consecutive days, so don’t worry if you forget a day or two.

Download our easy Sun Savers app and quickly scan your code using your smartphone. Or go online and enter your code at sunsavers.co.uk.

To get you on your way, join today and we will put a bonus £1 in your Sun Savers wallet tomorrow. And the good news doesn’t stop with free cash.

With Sun Savers, we give you the best hacks, deals and tips to save money every single day.

TO JOIN: Don’t worry, folks — joining takes just 30 seconds, in three steps.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/money/8439682/sun-savers-money-saving-tips-gig-tickets/

Barclays app and website down leaving customers unable to log in

BARCLAYS customers are reporting problems logging into their online banking and app this morning.

Website DownDetector has received 431 reports of problems in the last hour with the issue largely seeming to affect those in London, Birmingham and the surrounding areas.

Barclays users report problems logging into the ban’s app and online banking this morning
Alamy

As of 7.30am, Barclays’ own system monitor lists “trouble logging in” to online banking and mobile banking and states that it’s experiencing “technical difficulties” with its telephone banking service.

The bank’s website adds that “we’re working to fix this”.

Barclaycard has also replied to one customer on social media to confirm that the Barclays app is “having some issues”.

The bank tweeted: “The Barclays app is having some issues at the moment. It may be best to call 0333 200 1014 to speak to the help desk.”

The problems mainly seem to be around London and Birmingham
Down Detector
There are 431 reports of problems with Barclays on Down Detector this morning
Down Detector

Customers are tweeting their frustration with the outage on social media.

One user called Peter wrote: “Barclays are your web and app services down this morning?”

Another called Andy said: “Barclays – having trouble logging into mobile app – any known issues this morning?”

Meanwhile, Sarah wrote: “Don’t understand why I have the #barclaysbankapp when it’s constantly down all the time. All I want is to transfer my money to get food without having too call them constantly.”

Another customer reports problems with the bank’s telephone service saying: “Hey Barclays, the mobile app is stuffed and telephone banking isn’t working. Can we please have an update please?”.

Barclays customers are frustrated at not being able to login to their online banking this morning

The Sun has contacted Barclays to find out what’s going on and we’ll update this story as soon as we get a response.

Barclays last went down in November leaving hundreds of customers locked out of their accounts.

But it’s not the only bank to experience problems. Only this week, Lloyds Bank’s internet banking service went down for a day.

Meanwhile a Visa card meltdown last summer left Brits raging as they couldn’t pay for anything from trains tickets to McDonald’s meals.

Your rights when your banking goes down

IF your banking services go down, here's what you need to know:

Will your expenses be covered? If you suffer knock-on costs you should make a note of dates, keep receipts and a log of how much you’ve been left out of pocket. The bank may reimburse you.

What are the alternatives? Visit a branch or try telephone banking if you urgently need to access cash.

How to complain about your bank? Firstly, complain to Lloyds Bank. If the problem is not resolved to your satisfaction after eight weeks then you can complain to the free Financial Ombudsman Service.


We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Money team? Email us at money@the-sun.co.uk or call 0207 78 24516. Don’t forget to join the Sun Money’s Facebook group for the latest bargains and money-saving advice.


https://www.thesun.co.uk/money/8424319/barclays-app-down-online-banking/

I lost £15,000 life savings to dating scammer who pretended to be an old friend

DAVE Hazel thought he’d found the one when he reconnected with what seemed to be an old friend on a dating website.

But he was left devastated when it turned out the woman he thought he was romancing was actually a scammer who stole Dave’s £15,000 life savings from him – and forced him into debt.

Dave Hazel
Dave Hazel lost £15,000 in a dating scam back in 2013
Dave Hazel

“It took my life away,” said Dave, 59, from Kings Lynn in Norfolk. “After it all happened I was on my way to work, and I thought, no, I can’t do this.

“I turned the car round and kept driving until I ran out of petrol. I hoped no-one would find me. It made me really ill.”

According to the latest figures from trade body UK Finance, a whopping £5.3million was lost to dating fraud in the first half of 2018 – and only £300,000 of this was returned to victims.

Dave, who works in a wood yard, met the scammer on a dating website back in 2013 after thinking the profile picture looked like someone he had met while working in London – and the scammer seemed to confirm this story.

How to spot the signs of a dating scam

HERE's what you should watch out for, according to Action Fraud:

  • You’ve struck up a relationship with someone online; they’re asking a lot of personal questions about you, but they’re not interested in telling you much about themselves.
  • They invent a reason to ask for your help, using the emotional attachment you’ve built with them. Your relationship with them may often depend on you sending money.
  • Their pictures are too perfect – they may have been stolen from an actor or model. Reverse image search can find photos that have been taken from somewhere else.

“She said she could remember meeting me in London, so I thought it must be genuine. Then we swapped email addresses and phone numbers, and we got on really well.”

But then the fraudster revealed she was actually in Ghana, not London, and begged Dave for the cash to buy a plane ticket to come and visit him.

“I didn’t even know she was in Ghana, but I sent her some money, and she sent me a picture of her plane ticket, and I was so happy and excited.

“I took the week off work when she was due to come and visit, but that night I was in bed and the phone rang, and apparently it was immigration saying that she’s been arrested because she had money on her that she couldn’t prove was hers.

“So I asked to speak to her to find out what’s going on and thinking back on it now, she put a good show on as it sounded like she was really crying and upset.

“She said that she was bringing over some gold but didn’t have the right paperwork for it, and kept on asking me if I could help with money to get the right paperwork.”

Dave hopes that by sharing his story he’ll help others from being tricked by cruel fraudsters
Dave Hazel

Dave initially said no, but the fraudster continued to plead with him for the cash, so he asked to speak to who he thought was her solicitor.

The so-called solicitor told Dave that if he put up half the cash for the immigration documents, which were emailed to him to check, the fraudster’s family would pay the rest.

Despite not really being able to afford it, Dave agreed.

It was only when Dave seemed upset in his local bank branch, that staff – who knew Dave – suspected something might be wrong.

They asked to see the immigration papers Dave had been sent and immediately suspected it was a scam when they noticed an error on the paperwork.

Sadly for Dave, both the police and his bank have said it was impossible to trace the £15,000 cash he had sent the scammer.

Fake immigration document
Dave was sent what he thought was an immigration document asking for money
Dave Hazel

“It’s left me really struggling even though it happened a long while ago,” said Dave.

“I’m on my own and it’s a lot of money. I was looking to buy a house but now I’m renting and it’s a case of not knowing what’s going to happen.

“Am I going to have to move every six months or every year?

“It also put me in debt as I used credit cards, my overdraft and a personal loan to pay some of the cash the scammer asked for.

“My mum was going to lend me some of the cash to repay the bank but luckily the debts were written off.

“I’m still struggling to get my credit rating up and trying to live my life again.”

Despite giving online dating another go last year, Dave has now sworn off the websites
Dave Hazel

After slowly building back his trust in dating websites, Dave decided to give online dating another try last year.

He can’t remember the first site he joined but after a friend has success on another dating website recently, he decided to sign up.

But again, he was approached by a scammer first asking for cash, and later asking Dave if he’d be willing to receive what they said was an inheritance into his bank account.

“One of my mates split up from his partner and he recently found somebody online, and I thought I’d give it another go.

“But I’ve cancelled my subscription to that now because I can’t trust them, and I don’t want what happened to come back and haunt me.”

Dave hopes his story will help warn others to be careful when using dating websites.

“People can get photographs and alter them and do whatever they like to them now. So you need to be cautious and careful and don’t give out any info about your personal life.

“Please be careful and don’t part with any money. It’s not worth it. And if people have sent money, stop, contact the police and get it sorted and don’t be ashamed because no-one knows these days with modern technology what’s happening.”

How to protect yourself from dating scams

HERE'S how to protect yourself from dating scams, according to Action Fraud:

  • Avoid giving away too many personal details when dating online. Revealing your full name, date of birth and home address may lead to your identity being stolen.
  • Never send or receive money or give away your bank details to someone you’ve only met online, no matter how much you trust them or believe their story.
  • Pick a reputable dating website and use the site’s messaging service. Fraudsters want to quickly switch to social media or texting so there’s no evidence of them asking you for money.
  • If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, contact ActionFraud (0300 123 2040) and report any stolen cash to your bank or card provider immediately.

Iana Fawcett, chief officer at charity Victim Support said: “Dating fraud can have a devastating impact on victims both emotionally and financially.

“Victims should never feel ashamed or embarrassed by what’s happened to them and we would encourage them to seek support.

“It’s important that they know they are not alone and that there is help available to them, whether or not they have reported to the police.”

If you’ve been a victim of a scam you can contact Victim Support for free on 0808 16 89 111 or via the Victim Support website.

Dave says victims shouldn’t be embarrassed and should contact charity Victim Support if they need advice
Dave Hazel

Another victim of a dating website scam reveals how an online friendship took a sinister turn after he was exploited for cash.

Meanwhile, fraudsters posed as Hollywood actor Chris Hemsworth and tricked a lonely woman out of £11,500.

And we meet the online vigilantes who expose dating fraudsters conning thousands of pounds out of those searching for love.


We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Money team? Email us at money@the-sun.co.uk or call 0207 78 24516. Don’t forget to join the Sun Money’s Facebook group for the latest bargains and money-saving advice.


 

https://www.thesun.co.uk/money/8326482/i-lost-15000-life-savings-to-dating-scammer-who-pretended-to-be-an-old-friend/

How to get the best deals and cash offers when you switch your current account

BANKS are in a battle of cash bribes to lure customers into switching current accounts.

RBS is the latest to enter the fray, with an offer of £150 — the joint-highest up-front cash incentive alongside HSBC and NatWest.

Banks are using cash bribes to encourage customers to switch their current account

Others include up to £220 in M&S vouchers and a total of £200 with First Direct — £100 if you join and then another £100 if you leave because you do not like it.

The big banks are not just competing with each other. They are wary of the rise of new online-only banks such as Monzo and Revolut, which have popular perks such as no fees when cards are used abroad.

The RBS offer is available to new and existing customers who switch their main bank account to a Select, Reward, Reward Silver or Reward Platinum account before March 8.

As well as the £150, those who choose the Reward accounts receive two per cent cashback on bills paid by direct debit.

Alamy

Banks are offering up to £220 worth of M&S vouchers[/caption]

This means the average customer could receive £83 each year if they have monthly bills of £345, according to RBS.

But the Reward accounts come with monthly fees from £2 to £20, so families need to make sure their bills are high enough to make the fees worth it.

The RBS Select account comes with no fees — but no cashback either.

The accounts with fees — £2 a month for the Reward account, £10 a month for Reward Silver, £20 a month for Reward Platinum and £31 a month for Reward Black — have extra incentives.

Alamy

Switch to the Halifax Reward account and you’ll get £50[/caption]

For example, there are no charges when using your card abroad and up to 40 per cent off cinema tickets, while Silver and Black account holders also get car breakdown cover.

As is the case with all the offers, customers have to meet certain criteria to qualify.

You will need to do a full switch, which means your old current account is shut down. Your salary must be paid into your new account and direct debits and standing orders have to be moved over.

You must also register for online or mobile banking by April 12. The switching bonus will be paid by May 10.

Switchers also need to have £1,500 paid into the account each month — around an annual salary of £21,500.

Existing customers get £150 if they do not already have their main bank account with RBS.

Alamy

Natwest is offering £150 and cashback[/caption]

These are some of the other best switching deals right now.

NatWest Select – £150 and cashback: New customers need to switch by February 15 and pay in £1,500 by March 22 to get a £150 bonus.

Just like RBS Reward accounts, there is a £2 monthly fee but also two per cent cashback on bills paid by direct debit, such as council tax, energy, water and phones.

HSBC Advance – £150: New customers signing up to HSBC Advance get £150 in cash, on par with RBS and NatWest.

You’ll also be eligible to get HSBC’s five per cent regular savings account.

But you’ll need to pay in £1,750 per month – or £10,500 every six months – so consider whether you’ll be able to meet this criteria before switching.

If you have less to pay in, HSBC’s Bank Account offers £75 to switch and has a lower £500 monthly pay-in.

Alamy

New customers signing up to HSBC Advance get £150 in cash[/caption]

First Direct – £100 plus another £100 if you don’t like the bank: The online-only bank gives new customers a bonus of £100, but you can also get an extra £25 if you sign up via consumer website MoneySavingExpert.

You’ll also get a £250 zero per cent overdraft, and can open a linked five per cent regular saver.

But you need to pay in a minimum of £1,000 to avoid a monthly £10 fee.

If you don’t like the bank and decide to leave within six months, you’ll get £100 in compensation.

Halifax Reward – £135 plus £2 a month: Switch to the Halifax Reward account and you’ll get £50 paid before your switch completes, and another £85 after six months if you pay in £1,500 per month, use your debit card at least once and opt for online banking.

You can also get ongoing rewards of £2 a month if you pay in at least £750 each month, remain in credit, and pay out at least two direct debits.

M&S Bank current account – £220 in gift cards: This one is a bit complicated, and you have to be an existing M&S credit card holder.

Get a £100 M&S gift card with no minimum pay-in, but you need to have four direct debits.

Get a second £120 gift card after a year, having paid in £1,250 a month, kept the direct debits going, registered for online banking soon after opening the account and switching to online-only statements.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/money/8394095/best-deals-cash-offers-bank-account/

Mum went from living on the streets and begging for food to running an £100k office space start-up

AT the age of 16 most teenagers are worrying about their GCSE’S, not whether they’ll have a roof over their head. 

When Jem Henderson, now 33, was kicked out of home by her abusive mother and she had to beg for food, she couldn’t have even imagined 17 years later she’d be running a successful business with a projected turnover of £100,000.

�Andrew McCaren

Jem went from being homeless at 16 to launching her own company, which is now aiming for a £100,000 turnover.[/caption]

But at the age of 16, things looked very different for the young business owner, who has set up a shared working space in Harrogate.

Her abusive single-mum, who suffered from a personality disorder and severe mental issues, threw her out on to the streets.

She had to beg for food and cash, surviving on handouts of an average of £40 a week.

‘I would sleep on the streets or in a squat’

“I would sleep on the streets or in a squat then I couch-surfed for a while. I eventually moved into a family hostel, for which I had to pay £90 a month for. It seemed like a fortune,” Jem, who is now mum to Rufus, three, told The Sun.

“It was a brutal time. I remember a heroin addict once knocked at my door, when I was living in the hostel. She blamed me for stealing something from her. It was a pretty scary environment to live in, but I was fine most days.”

Fortunately, Jem’s grandparents, who moved away to Hartlepool three months after she was thrown out from home, came back to Harrogate and took her in when she was 19.

�Andrew McCaren

Indieworx Collective is a co-working space in Harrogate, which offers permanent desk space and hotdesking for freelancers in the area[/caption]

�Andrew McCaren

Indieworx members pay £18 a day or £220 a month – which includes unlimited free tea and coffee.[/caption]

�Andrew McCaren

Jem suffered from PTSD for several years after living on the streets but her drive to learn and succeed helped her to power through difficult times[/caption]

But despite having a roof over her head, Jem didn’t really know what to do with her life.

She went from a spell as a hairdresser to being an apprentice painter and decorator before being signed off sick with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – an anxiety disorder caused by stressful, frightening or distressing events – that she developed from living on the streets.

During this time she lived on disability benefits and also had some support from her grandparents.

�Andrew McCaren

Jem started her new venture with a £25,000 loan repayable over five years from the Government-backed Start-Up Loans Company[/caption]

©Andrew McCaren

The firm offers up to 25 formal desks on a flexible basis as well as a meeting room to seat eight people[/caption]

Jem's tip for budding entrepreneurs

JEM went from being homeless at 16 to running two businesses. Here are her tips:

  • Do not give up: There will be setbacks but there’s always a light at the end of tunnel. Whether you’re struggling with money, or you’re stressed about how slow things are going, just remember – things do get better.
  • Keep learning: This is not the time to rest on the laurels of the qualifications you have already gained. Think of how you can improve your business and the new skills you can learn.
  • Make good use of your contacts: Good communication is an important part of any business. Speak to people around you. Fantastic relationships within the industry will help your business grow.
  • Commit: I used social media to announce that I was starting Indieworx. This meant I felt an obligation to actually achieve it; I didn’t want to let anyone down.
    Committing and talking about it with your family is a good technique to stick to your deadlines.

She said: “I don’t suffer from PTSD today but at the time I had severe anxiety which made it tough to hold a job but I didn’t want to waste my time.

“I always loved books, learning and writing so from the age of 19 to 25, I took out a student loan and did three degrees – a foundation degree in Visual Arts at Harrogate College, a BA in English Literature and an MA in Creative Writing at York St John University.”

Jem then got a job as a tech copywriter, which she did for two years, before setting up her own copywriting business – Weasel Words in 2013.

‘In London co-working spaces are booming – I want the same for Harrogate’

The mum-of-one was inspired to launch Indieworx Collective – one of the city’s first co-working spaces – after reading Harrogate council’s economic growth strategy plan.

It aims to support small start-ups and create a sense of community for lonely freelancers who would otherwise be working from home or out of coffee shops.

She said: “I was born in Harrogate and I love this city so I was always interested in knowing about the new projects in town.

“The document highlighted a lot of positive things about Harrogate. For example, that we have a lot of start-ups and an educated population but equally that these people work elsewhere because there’s a lack of opportunity.

©Andrew McCaren

The building also has a 50″ screen for presentations or workshops and high speed WiFi.[/caption]

©Andrew McCaren

With Indieworx, Jem is hoping to create a sense of community and also address the issue of isolation for people who work for themselves at home.[/caption]

“I wanted to change that. I could see there was a gap for a project like Indieworx Collective and I thought ‘let’s do it’.”

While setting up her new company Jem continued running her copywriting business which only convinced her that places like Indieworx are needed.

She said: “I worked from home for six years and I was getting fed up with only talking to the goldfish. I wanted to help other freelancers like me by creating a sense of community and also address the issue of isolation for people who work for themselves at home.”

Jem started her new venture with a £25,000 loan repayable over five years from the government-backed Start-Up Loans Company, which offers a 6 per cent fixed rate on borrowing up to £25,000, and now business is picking up.

After just three months in business, Indieworx is becoming part of the Harrogate landscape with the company predicted to turn over £100,000 this financial year.

How to get a start-up business loan

IF you need financial support in setting up your business, you can get loans of up to £25,000 to help along the way.

  • Virgin StartUP offers government-backed loans from £500 to £25,000 to help entrepreneurs launching or growing a business that’s under two-years-old in England or Scotland. It has a rate of 6 per cent interest.
  • The Start-Up Loans Company, which lends government subsidised loans up to £25,000 at a rate of 6 per cent.
  • The Princes Trust also offers loans, up to £5,000, at a rate of 6.2 per cent.

The firm offers up to 25 formal desks on a flexible basis as well as a meeting room to seat eight people, a kitchen area and a cluster of comfy sofas, in offices created from a former carpet showroom.

Jem did some research and took out a three year lease on the building just outside Harrogate town centre and pays £42,000 in rent a year – although this was reduced by £10,000 in the first year.

Indieworx members pay £18 a day or £220 a month – which includes unlimited free tea and coffee.
The building also has a 50″ screen for presentations or workshops and high speed WiFi.

Jem said: “In London, co-working spaces like Indieworx are booming. But in Harrogate we see roads packed with professionals heading out of of the city to go somewhere else. I want them to stay here by offering them a cheap and cheerful environment where they can work, meet other people and share their knowledge.”

�Andrew McCaren

These days, Indieworx has 40 regular members and one full-time employee[/caption]

©Andrew McCaren

Jem said the most difficult part about being a business owner is to never be able to switch off[/caption]

These days, Indieworx has 41 regular members and one full-time employee paid £13,200 a year, who helps Jem with running day-to-day operations and offers business advice.

For now, the mum-of-one doesn’t take any money out of the business herself to make sure as much cash as possible is kept in the company.

In addition to providing a co-working space, Indieworx also has a programme of regular workshops and events aimed at freelancers and start-ups to allow people to meet, chat, share problems and find solutions to their common struggles as young business owners.

These are usually run in collaboration with local organisations and universities

Jem said: “We’ve got a great mix of people from children’s book authors to garden designers and young entrepreneurs. The last thing I wanted was to create a sales environment for established businesses. We want people to help each other and grow together.”

As a parent, running her own business has also given Jem the flexibility to look after her son at the same time. She said “Running my own business also gives me a lot of flexibility particularly as a parent and I feel very grateful for it.

“But the most difficult day-to-day part is to never be able to switch off. That’s something I am still working on.”

�Andrew McCaren

The mum-of-one is particularly excited about transforming Indieworx into an education hub this year[/caption]

My first proposal was turned down by the council but I didn’t let it stop me

Of course, setting up a business also has other drawbacks. Jem confessed: “There have been so many challenges to get the business to open open. From the council turning down our original proposal for the offices to the planning process taking three months instead of six weeks, costing us three months in rent and bills needlessly.”

Jem also lost an anticipated grant funding of £12,500 in September through the Ad:Venture programme – which provides business support to young companies with an ambition to grow.

She said: “It was devastating. The grant money we’ve lost was my working capital to get us to the point where the members of the space paid for the cost of the rent and bills. We’ve downsized the plans and thankfully had a number of donations of furniture and art which meant we were ready to open on time.

“The day I was told we wouldn’t get the funding I also got four enquiries from businesses to hire out the space. So it felt a bit like a Hollywood movie – when everything goes horribly wrong before being great again:”


EASY MONEY How to make money from home – earn up to £1,000 without leaving your sofa


‘Going from homeless at the age of 16 to running two successful businesses at 33 is my proudest achievement’

Looking to the future, Jem is particularly excited about transforming Indieworx into an education hub this year. She is working on implementing a teaching programme about business for start-ups, coding clubs for teenagers and back-to-work coaching for young mums. But she has no immediate plans to open a new venue.

She said: “Let’s see how this one goes first! I’d love to do similar projects across the region but each one will take someone like me to make it be a success – someone that loves their town and wants it to be a better place.“

And she feels that even in its infancy the business is still a huge achievement given where she started from. “Going from homeless at the age of 16 to running two successful businesses at 33 is my proudest achievement and I know there are more good ones to come.”

Last week, The Sun chatted with a 26-year-old entrepreneur who grew up on a council estate but now runs a ticket company worth £22million.

Earlier this month we revealed how this mum-of-two turned painful bunions into a £250,000 shoe business after getting laid off while pregnant.

In December, we spoke to a young lad about how he started a million-pound video business with just £50 after his parents lost £150,000 in the Northern Rock crisis.


We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Money team? Email us at money@the-sun.co.uk or call 0207 78 24516. Don’t forget to join the Sun Money’s Facebook group for the latest bargains and money-saving advice.


https://www.thesun.co.uk/money/8345147/how-this-mum-of-one-went-from-being-homeless-at-16-to-running-her-own-100k-business/

February 2019 Premium Bonds winning numbers – did you win the £1million cash prize?

TWO lucky Premium Bonds holders have scooped the top prize in the February 2019 draw.

Here’s everything we know so far.

Two people have started February quids in with a million pound prize from their Premium Bonds investments
Alamy

Who are the February 2019 Premium Bonds big winners?

A man from Humberside was revealed as the first million-pound winner for this month.

He scooped the windfall with the winning bonds number 196XA565201.

The unnamed man apparently bought £30,000 in Premium Bonds as an investment back in September 2012.

He is the third ever jackpot winner from the Humberside region.

The second winner for February 2019 is a man from Devon.

He bought his winning bond in July 2014 and won with bond number 227WY22783.

The two men are the 403rd and 404th winners of the £1million jackpot.

Premium Bonds
You could also be a winner and not know it yet – make sure to check your bonds numbers for past wins

How many prizes were awarded overall this month?

In the February 2019 draw, around 3,223,731 prizes worth a staggering £92,144,925 were awarded.

The individual prizes range from £25 to £100,000.

NS&I’s retail director Jill Waters said: “February is the month known for St Valentines, and savers continue to show their love for Premium Bonds, resulting in a record pay out of prizes this month.

“Over three million prizes have been drawn by ERNIE who is responsible for spreading love all over the country, but his generosity will be most felt by the two lucky Premium Bonds holders in Humberside and Devon who received a special visit from Agent Million to hand deliver the £1 million windfall.”

NS&I

You can check if you are a Premium Bond prize winner on the free app[/caption]

How can I check if I’ve missed a Premium Bonds prize?

Customers can check whether they have any unclaimed Premium Bonds prizes by visiting the NS&I website at www.nsandi.com.

You can also check by downloading the prize checker app for free at the Apple App Store or on Google Play.

Another way to check is by writing to NS&I, Glasgow, G58 1SB asking for their prize history (remember to include your name, address and NS&I number or Premium Bonds holder’s number).

In Humberside, there are over 13,000 unclaimed prizes worth more than £500,000.

A £5,000 prize won back in June 2016 is still waiting to be claimed by a man in the region, who holds just £53 in Premium Bonds.

The winning Bond number is 1PS165413.

The oldest unclaimed prize in Humberside is worth £25, and was drawn in February 1968.

In Devon, there are over 25,000 unclaimed prizes worth more than £950,000.

A £25,000 prize from May 2014 is still awaiting its rightful owner (winning Bond number 5EP562961); a man holding just £20 in Premium Bonds.

Older unclaimed prizes date back to February 1965.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/money/8328726/february-2019-premium-bonds-winning-numbers/

Can you miss work if it’s snowing and do you get paid for snow days?

HEAVY snowfall has caused major travel disruptions this week, and more cold weather is on the horizon.

But if you’re looking forward to a snow day, be warned, depending on your contract you could lose a day’s pay. We explain everything you need to know.

If you can’t get into work due to the snow, it’s important to know your rights
Jeff Moore

Where is it snowing in the UK?

Snow hit South England, including London, and yellow warnings were issued in the North of Scotland, the East coast of England, and parts of Northern Ireland and Wales.

The Met Office predicted last week that temperatures will be as low as -16C in the coming days.

Drivers in Scotland have already faced delays with several schools closing for the day.

Police are asking motorists to drive carefully and plan ahead.

As well as delays on the roads, the snow and ice may also cause disruption to rail and air travel, authorities warned.

Can I take the day off work if it snows?

Your boss can’t force you to travel if it’s dangerous, but they usually don’t have to pay you either.

If it’s possible to work from home, you will probably have to, and if not you could be asked to take unpaid leave, annual leave or to make up the hours another time.

You could even be asked to travel into another office that is less adversely affected by the weather.

Different companies have different rules, so make sure you check your office handbook and contract carefully to see what the extreme weather policy is.

If you genuinely can’t get in then let your boss know as early as possible.

 

Britain is in the midst of a big freeze, with conditions causing chaos
Reuters

If my office is closed due to the snow, do I have to take a holiday day?

If your office decides to shut but you were ready and able to go in, the company can’t dock your pay.

They shouldn’t be able to make you take holiday either, as employers normally have to give you at least two days’ notice before they can force you to take annual leave.

You should also get paid in full if your employer reduces your hours due to weather, and if the staff who provide access to your building are unable to get in.

In a nutshell – if you’re ready, willing and available to work, but can’t because of a problem that’s caused by your employer, they usually have to pay you in full.

Check your contract carefully though, as some workplaces may have different policies.

A car is left stranded by the roadside after getting stuck in snow in Cumbria
North News and Pictures

Can you take a day off work if it dips below a certain temperature?

Generally speaking, you can’t take time off just because it’s cold.

But employers do have a legal requirement to provide a reasonable level of comfort without the need for special clothing.

The law doesn’t define what the minimum and maximum working temperatures should be, but Health and Safety Executive guidelines say offices should be at least 16 degrees or a minimum of 13C if the work “involves rigorous physical effort”.

So if your office is dropping below those temperatures, you have a case for working from home.

But ultimately, it’s down to your employer.

ACAS says employers should consider relaxing dress codes to allow warmer clothing, allow extra breaks to make hot drinks and consider alternative heating sources such as portable radiators.

It’s also up to your boss to do everything they possibly can to restrict exposure and reduce draughts.

Advice given to employers also includes considering the possibility of flexible working hours or rotas to help reduce the effects of a cold snap.

What should I do if my children’s school has closed due to the snow and I have to miss work to look after them?

Legally, you’re allowed to take time off work to look after dependents, in emergency situations.

These could include:

  • if school is closed and a worker cannot leave their child
  • when caring arrangements for a disabled relative are cancelled
  • if a partner is seriously injured as a result of bad weather.

This time will be unpaid unless your contract or office policy says otherwise.

You need to let your employer know as soon as possible.

Make sure that you explain you are taking the time to look after a dependent and explain what the issue is and how long the absence is likely to be.

Anyone with worker status rather than employee status will need to come to an arrangement with their employer.

Thousands of households now eligible for cold weather payments as freezing temperatures and snow hits the UK.

What are your rights if your delivery is delayed or doesn’t arrive due to snow?

If your train or flight is delayed or cancelled due to snow or UK weather can you claim back compensation?


We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Money team? Email us at money@the-sun.co.uk or call 0207 78 24516. Don’t forget to join the Sun Money’s Facebook group for the latest bargains and money-saving advice.


https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2605058/uk-weather-snow-miss-work-pay-school-closures/

Coupon queen Holly Smith reveals her top tips for finding the best bargains — play now to win £15,000 on the Sun Savers Raffle

JANUARY is over – but the seasonal sales are definitely not.  So, with the first pay cheque of the year finally in hand, you don’t need to blow it all to pick up a great deal.

We roped in our expert, coupon queen and vlogger Holly Smith — @hollyvlogs — to walk us round the best of the final bargains, store by store.

These are the shops you should be heading to if you want to grab the best deals available.

Boots: While its huge sale kicked off yesterday, today is the day to get down to the biggest Boots store near you. The best deals are on big make-up sets and Disney-themed products and it also has some great deals on men’s grooming kits. Get the kids’ Disney Ariel Dinglehopper hairbrush set for just £2.55, down from £8.50, in-store only.

SAVING: £5.95

Home Bargains: This week I’ve found lots of LOL Surprise! toys in store, perfect to stash away as birthday presents, and costing from £3.99. There are also plenty of Fisher-Price toys on sale, such as the Go Jetters Talking Ubercorn toy for £4.99, when the recommended retail price is £21.99.

SAVING: £17

Asda: When you’re doing the big shop, swing by the store’s home department for the best sales savings. I found Paw Patrol duvet sets for kids, down to £4.50.
And in this cold weather, nab Asda’s Slumberdown Luxury duvets, down to £13 from £30, in-store only.

SAVING: £17

B&M: The discount store is clearing all its Christmas stock, so the prices are super-low. I love the Trolls Poppy bath supplies gift set for only £2. Make sure you download the B&M app, as it has a barcode price checker, and you might find things that come up cheaper than priced in-store.

I found a Little Miss mug and shower gel gift set, reduced to £2 from £3.99, but via the app I can see it’s actually £1. But for a really brilliant saving, grab the Splatter Face game, which has an RRP of £14.99, but is now just £3.

SAVING: £11.99

Deal of the day

Get your loved one a bunch of roses so they know how much they mean to you

SAVE 20 per cent off Valentine’s Day bouquets at blossominggifts.com with code SUNVD20. You can get 12 Hand-Tied Red Roses. Was £29.99, now £23.99.

SAVE: £6

Cheap treat

Gin drinkers will absolutely love this

TREAT your loved one to Extra Special Raspberry & Rose Gin Liqueur from Asda. Was £12, now £10

SAVE: £2

15 cruises to be won

FIFTEEN lucky Sun Savers will win a 12-night cruise for two, worth over £2,700. To enter, collect TEN Sun Savers codes from today until Tuesday, February 19. See Pages 30-31.

Top swap

Why spend £22 on this eyeliner…
when you can buy this one for only £3.99

PERFECT your cat eyes with the Rimmel Wonder Wing Eyeliner Black from Superdrug, a cheaper alternative to the Va VaVoom Stamp.

SAVE: £18.01

Reader’s saving tip

ANNE McCANN from Paisley, Renfrewshire, says: “Use plastic clothes pegs to keep packets that are opened, such as family-sized crisps bags and dried fruit, fresh and still ready to eat.”

  • Send your tips to sunsavers.co.uk/tips and you’ll get 28 codes worth £5 if your tip is used. Please include your name and town.

Shop & save

Save £3 off the cost of this tube of toothpaste

POLISH those pearly whites with Colgate Dare To Love Toothpaste on offer at Superdrug. Was £5.99, now £2.98.

SAVE: £3.01

Hot right now

You can go wrong with a tube of Pringles for under 50p
Alamy

GET a tube of Pringles from B&M for just 49p. Usually £1.25.

Play now to win £15,000 on the Sun Savers Raffle

Join thousands of readers taking part in the new Sun Savers Raffle.

Every Sun Savers code you enter will earn you a ticket for our £15k monthly Raffle. And for every ten tickets you collect in a calendar month, you get a GOLDEN TICKET for our £80k Raffle, which takes place every three months.

Join thousands of readers taking part in the new Sun Savers Raffle
Join thousands of readers taking part in the new Sun Savers Raffle

There is no limit to how many tickets you can collect. So the more you enter, the better your chances.

To take part go to sunsavers.co.uk or open the Sun Savers app. Then opt in to each month’s Raffle by clicking “Yes!” when prompted and start collecting the Sun Savers codes printed daily in the paper.

Every time you scan or enter a code into Sun Savers, you get a Raffle ticket in the £15k Raffle.

Not yet a Sun Savers member? Just go to sunsavers.co.uk or find “Sun Savers” in the app store to get started.

Sun Super Days – A whole new world of FREE attractions

GET ready because readers’ favourite Sun Superdays is about to return!

The Sun offer that gives every reader the chance to get their hands on two FREE tickets to top UK attractions will be back inside your paper in just a week’s time.

Chessington’s Gruffalo ride
Mikael Buck / Chessington World of Adventures

First off this year is the fantastic Chessington World of Adventures Resort, where you will be able to get your hands on two FREE tickets worth over £95! This will launch in the paper on Saturday, ­February 9, so make sure you’re ready.

This will be followed by Alton Towers Resort in March, LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort in April and THORPE PARK Resort in May.

Later in the year you will also get the chance to grab free tickets to attractions such as The London Dungeon, Shrek’s Adventure! London, The Bear Grylls Adventure, SEA LIFE National Aquariums, Warwick Castle and more.

Getting your free tickets could not be easier.

Simply collect NINE Sun Savers codes from the 18 printed in the paper daily from the launch of the promotion.

This will be Saturday, February 9 for Chessington World of Adventures Resort.

Sun Savers is the best way to collect for your Superdays tickets, as you will need one less than those who collect via the printed tokens, meaning with Sun Savers you’ll get to book an entire day early!

You will also get the chance to pick the date you visit, making sure that none of your friends and family miss out on a great day. The perks don’t stop there — with Sun Savers you’ll get the best availability, including peak periods.

With an offer this good you’d be crazy not to get involved, so make sure you pick up The Sun on Saturday, February 9 to start collecting for your first free tickets.

Your favourite rides and more to enjoy: 2019 highlights

THIS year’s Superdays is going to be bigger and better than ever before, with loads of new rides at the attractions, plus your old favourites.

Collect for your Sun Superdays tickets to Chessington World of Adventures Resort and you will be some of the first guests to visit the brand new Room on the Broom – A Magical Journey.

The experience, which launches in early March, brings to life yet another of author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler’s much-loved children’s books, following in the ­footsteps of the Resort’s Gruffalo River Ride Adventure.

Visit the enchanted library and embark on a spellbinding ­adventure.

Search high and low in trees, fields and reeds helping Dog, Bird and Frog on your way to find the Witch’s lost belongings.

You will also get the chance to visit all the animals at their zoo and SEA LIFE aquarium, plus visitor favourite The Vampire Ride.

This year at LEGOLAND Windsor Resort, you will be invited by Lord Vampyre to the brand new Haunted House Monster Party.

Get set for LEGOLAND’s most spook-tacular ride ever, where the whole house will be turned upside down. Opening this spring, the ride is packed with fun for the whole family.

Plus, don’t forget to visit LEGOLAND’s famous Miniland, above, where you can step into the world of LEGO and go sightseeing around the entire world.

If you’ve not yet experienced The Wickerman, then make sure to collect for your tickets to Alton Towers Resort in March.

Launched in 2018, the adrenaline-fuelled rollercoaster brings together cutting-edge special effects with classic wooden coaster technology for the first time.

If you have little ones, check out ­CBeebies Land. Children can meet all their favourite characters, plus enjoy 14 rides and attractions including the Furchester Hotel Live Show and the Go Jetters Vroomster Zoom Ride.

For those feeling brave, collect for THORPE PARK Resort. Home to more than 30 thrilling rides, attractions and live events, it’s the ultimate destination for thrillseekers featuring some of the UK’s most popular roller coasters.

Reach new heights with Stealth, the UK’s fastest rollercoaster, launching riders to 205ft at 80mph in just 2.5 seconds.

Take flight on THE SWARM, the UK’s only winged coaster, or face one of Jigsaw’s most twisted traps with SAW – The Ride, the world’s first horror-themed rollercoaster, featuring a 100ft “beyond-vertical” drop.

Plus, there’s loads of new rides and experiences in store for 2019 at the other attractions, so stay tuned this year to find out more.

Fancy a free fiver?

YOU can get FREE cash with super Sun Savers just for buying your favourite paper.

Our brilliant new rewards club will pay back our most loyal readers.

Just pick up the paper each day to collect your Sun Savers codes and we will GIVE YOU £5 when you have ­collected 28.

This isn’t a one-off and there is no limit to how much cash you can save.

For every 28 codes you enter, we will give you a fiver. So over the course of a year, that could add up to £65.

We are keeping it super-simple. You don’t have to enter codes from consecutive days, so don’t worry if you forget a day or two.

Download our easy Sun Savers app and quickly scan your code using your smartphone. Or go online and enter your code at sunsavers.co.uk.

To get you on your way, join today and we will put a bonus £1 in your Sun Savers wallet tomorrow. And the good news doesn’t stop with free cash.

With Sun Savers, we give you the best hacks, deals and tips to save money every single day.

TO JOIN: Don’t worry, folks — joining takes just 30 seconds, in three steps.

 

https://www.thesun.co.uk/money/8335865/holly-smith-best-seasonal-bargains/