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This information is from the DWP’s Touchbase newsletter.
Change to Jobcentre opening hours
From Monday 18th January, jobcentre opening hours will be 10am to 2pm. This temporary change means we can continue providing safe, essential services for those who need to come into the jobcentre and who are unable to interact with us on the phone or digitally. The opening hours of our phone lines remain as they were. In addition, the Relay UK service and the Video relay service are both still available.
If we need to make an appointment with someone, this will be by the phone. We will leave a message in your journal before we call you.
You will be required to wear a face covering when entering a jobcentre, unless you are in an exempt category.
Extra support for rough sleepers and renters
All councils in England are being asked to redouble their efforts to help accommodate all those currently sleeping rough and ensure they are swiftly registered with a GP, where they are not already.
This will ensure they can be protected from the virus and contacted to receive vaccinations in line with the priority groups.
Councils will also be asked to reach out again to those who have previously refused help, given rising infection rates and the colder winter months.
Renters will continue to be supported during the new national restrictions, with an extension to the ban on bailiff evictions.
New Disability and Access Ambassadors to support rights of disabled consumers
The Cabinet Office, on behalf of the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, is seeking fourteen new Disability and Access Ambassadors to help to ensure businesses are doing all they can to support their disabled customers.
They will join existing Ambassadors who have been helping industry and the Government in their management of the COVID-19 crisis, and supporting work to develop the National Strategy for Disabled People.
The closing date is 31 January 2021.
Brexit: new rules for UK Benefits and the EU
There are new rules from 1 January 2021. Advice and information is available on GOV.UK.
UK nationals planning to move to the EU – there are new rules on benefits for those who now move to the EU. People should check which benefits they can get abroad before moving.
UK state pension recipients retiring to the EU will carry on receiving their UK State Pension, which will be increased each year in the EU in line with the rate paid in the UK.
EU citizens living in the UK – EU citizens, and their families, who were living in the UK by 31 December 2020, should apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living, working, studying and accessing benefits in the UK after 30 June 2021.
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An Hour to Skill campaign
The Department for Education has launched ‘An Hour to Skill’ campaign which aims to encourage employers and the nation to set aside just one hour a week for online learning by taking a free course from The Skills Toolkit.
These high-quality, online courses aim to enhance individuals’ job prospects, giving them easy access to skills that could unlock job opportunities in a competitive market, or help them get ahead in their current role. The Skills Toolkit features more than 70 courses designed by some of the nation’s leading businesses and educational institutions including Amazon Web Services, Cisco, FutureLearn, Lloyds Bank, LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft, The Open University and many more.
The courses form part of the government’s Plan for Jobs, which aims to help boost the UK economy as it recovers from the impact of COVID-19.