41. How do people apply for council accommodation? What is a shared ownership scheme? What is a tenancy agreement?
To apply you must put your name on the council register or list with the housing department in the local authority. You are then assessed according to your needs using a system of points. You get more points if you have priority needs (are homeless and have children or chronic ill health).
Housing associations run shared ownership schemes where you can buy a part of a house or flat is you cannot afford to buy all at once.
Tenancy agreement – explains the conditions and rules you must follow while renting a property. It also lists all furniture or fittings in the rented property (called an inventory). You sign the agreement when you rent a flat or a house.
42. Which organisations offer help to homeless people?
- The housing department of a local authority.
- The Citizens Advice Bureau
- Shelter charity.
- The Social Fund run by the Dept. for Work and Pensions.
43. Where can people find information on how to pay for water, gas, electricity and telephone services? What are the different ways to pay these bills?
Information on how to pay your bills is on the back of each bill. You can pay by standing order or direct debit from you bank account.
44. How and where is refuse (rubbish) collected?
The local authority collects rubbish regularly, usually on the same day of each week. Waste must be put outside in plastic bags or bins.
45. What does local government spend council tax on? What does the amount of council tax charged depend on? Which groups of people can receive council tax reductions or benefits?
Council tax contributes to spending on education, police, roads, waste collection and libraries.
Council tax depends on the size and value of your house (flat) and how many people live in it. Disabled people and people on income support can receive council tax benefit (reduction).
46. What is buildings and household insurance?
When you buy a home with a mortgage you must insure the building against fire, theft and accidental damage.
47. What are the values of the UK bank notes? Where can people get or change foreign currency?
£5, £10, £20 and £50
People can get / change foreign currency at banks, building societies, large post offices and exchange shops or bureaux de change.
48. How can people open a bank or building society account?
To open an account, you need to show documents to prove your identity, such as passport, immigration document or driving licence. You also need to show something with your address on it like a tenancy agreement or household bill.
49. What is a cash card or debit card? What is a credit card or store card?
Cash cards allow you to withdraw money from your account at a cash machine (ATM, bankomat). A debit card allows you to pay for things without using cash.
Credit cards and store cards do not draw money from your bank account – they give you credit from the bank and you will have to pay interest on your purchases. A store card is like a credit card, but can only be used in a specific store (rare nowadays).
50. What is a credit union?
Credit unions are financial co-operatives owned and controlled by their members. The members pool their savings and then make loans from this pool. Interest rates in credit unions are usually lower thank banks and building societies.
51. What types of insurance do people buy?
52. What is social security and who receives it?
Social security pays welfare benefits to people who do not have enough money to live on. Benefits are usually available for the sick and disabled, older people, the unemployed and those on low income.
53. How can people get information about benefits?
Guides to benefits are available from Jobcentre Plus offices, local libraries, post offices and the Citizen Advice Bureau.
54. What is the NHS?
National Health Service provides all residents with healthcare and treatment (allegedly free…).
55. What is the role of a general practitioner (GP)? How can people find their local GP?
A GP (general practitioner) is responsible for organising health treatment people receive. If you need to see a specialist, you must first see your GP who will then refer you to a specialist in a hospital. You can get a list of local GPs from libraries, post offices, the tourist information, the Citizens Advice Bureau, the local Health Authority and from the Internet.
56. How do people receive medicines from a GP? Which groups of people receive free prescriptions?
If a GP decides you need to take medication you will be given a prescription. This needs to be taken to a Pharmacy (Chemist) and paid for unless you are:
- under 16 years of age (25 in Wales)
- under 19 and in full-time education
- 60 and over
- pregnant or with a baby under 12 months old
- suffering from a specified medical condition
- on Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Working Families benefit or Disability Tax Credit.
57. What is NHS direct, and NHS direct online?
NHS Direct is a 24-hour telephone service which provides info on particular health conditions. NHS Direct Online is a website providing info about health services and several medical conditions and treatments. http://www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk
58. How can people find a dentist? Which groups of people receive free dental treatment?
You can get the name of a dentist by asking at the local library, at the Citizens Advice Bureau and through NHS Direct.
Free dental treatment is available to:
- under 18s (Wales under 25 and over 60)
- pregnant women and women with babies under 12 months old
- people on income support, Jobseeker’s Allowance or Pension Credit Guarantee
59. What services are available to pregnant women? Which organisations offer information on maternity and ante-natal services?
Pregnant women receive regular ante-natal care, support from a GP and a midwife as well as a birth in a hospital.
The FPA Family Planning Association, the National Childbirth Trust plus local authority and GP offer info on maternity and ante-natal services.
60. How can people register births?
You must register a birth with the Registrar of Births, Marriages ad Deaths at the Register Office.