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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 05 February 2007

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25% OF ADULTS SPONGING OFF PARENTS TO KEEP ON TOP OF DEBT

25% of the over 50s provide their adultchildrenwith regular financial support according to a National survey carried out on behalf of the UK Housing Alliance.  According to the Office of National Statistics there are 20 million people over 50 years old in the UK.

Whilst most (75%) payments are up to £150 a month, 1 in 5 parents are shelling out between £1800 and £6000 each year, and 4% of parents are providing over £6000 a year to their children.  More than half the parents questioned worry about the financial burdens their offspring are accumulating, with high mortgage payments seen as the main reason why debt is on the increase among the younger adult population.

In the North West, the survey revealed that 35% of parents are worried about the level of debt that their children are accumulating because of mortgage repayments. In some cases this concern is so serious that parents are contributing over £2000 per month to help their offspring manage these financial problems.  When asked how, assuming they could have an active role in the passing on of an inheritance, parents would want to exercise control over such a gift, 52% of north west parents said they would prefer to clear some of their children’s debt.

Nationally, 1 in 20 parents (1 million over 50s) went on to say that they didn’t believe their children could be trusted with their inheritance.  This led half of respondents to state that they would like to be able to take an active role in how their children spend their inheritance, by making investments on their children’s behalf while they are still fit and healthy.  Almost half of these said they would like to pass on a living inheritance and would invest in property for their adult children. More than 30% said they would like to free up their capital to pay off children’s debts, with only 12% saying they would use any money they were able to pass down to buy a substantial gift, such as a car or holiday.

Steve Rogers a founder of UK Housing Alliance which helps homeowners release the capital tied up in their property says;- “Here at the UK Housing Alliance we have the professional expertise and skills to resolve parents concerns about their children’s financial difficulties and provide ‘living inheritance’ solutions.  By purchasing their home and letting them rent it back we are able to provide parents with the living inheritance capital to allow them to fulfil dreams and financially assist their children whilst they are alive.

They can do this simply, and without having to move from their cherished homes, by first telephoning us on 0845 434 8873 or visiting our  website.”

GRANTS FOR OLDER PEOPLE’S CARE HOMES

GOVERNMENT grants totalling around £11.4 million to help nursing and residential care homes in the north west make minor improvements to their facilities that will benefit patients have been welcomed by the Registered Nursing Home Association (RNHA).  But the association is challenging the wisdom of channelling all the funds through local authorities and has expressed serious concern at government guidance which says that the grants should not unreasonably favour homes owned by councils themselves.  This, the RNHA believes, offers cash-strapped local authorities a ‘get out’ clause that will enable them to divert the much-needed new funds away from independent and voluntary sector care homes.

Commented RNHA chief executive Frank Ursell:- “When the minister for care services first announced the grant scheme last November, we welcomed the fact that he was injecting additional resources into the care of older people. We did not anticipate that the scheme would be skewed in favour of councils spending the cash on their own facilities, especially since they operate many fewer care homes than the independent and voluntary sectors.

We shall be encouraging care homes in the north west to make early contact with their local authority in order to find out how much of the government grant will be made available to the independent and voluntary sectors and how much is being siphoned off by the authority itself. Wherever we suspect that the resources are being distributed unfairly, we shall complain to the minister and support a local campaign to get something done about it.”

The one-off capital grants being offered by the Department of Health are intended for improvements such as upgrading dining rooms and bathrooms, redecorating bedrooms, enhancing privacy and providing information technology that enables care home residents to access the internet.  A total of £11.4 million is being allocated to 22 local authorities in the north west. Each authority will receive a sum that represents its proportion of the number of people aged 65 and over who, across the whole of the country, receive council funding support for their care.   All councils have until 28 March 2007 to submit proposals to the Department of Health on how they intend to spend the money.

Whilst advice issued by the Department of Health is that the money should be used to benefit the maximum number of care home residents, the RNHA fears that many councils may be tempted to take advantage of the open invitation they have had to favour their own care homes.

Said Mr Ursell:- “We hope that this will not prove to be a scheme that sounded like a very good idea at the outset and proves to be rather different in practice from what was originally expected. We are also concerned about the timetable proposed. Three months is not long enough for councils to consult properly, notify all care homes, receive well thought through applications and make decisions on their relative merits.”

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