Help with Food and emergencies during Christmas 2022 and New Year 2023.

Ealing Borough NEW Northolt Community Foodbank, Viking Community Centre, Radcliffe Way, Northolt UB5 6HW every Friday 10:30-14:30. Please note that names and addresses of guests may be requested and recorded. Please bring your own carrier bags Ealing Soup Kitchen (ESK) – see first edition of the ‘The Scoup’ Community Newsletter, EU settlement scheme event & Christmas opening times […]

In debt and need to start again? A Debt Relief Order might be the answer to end the sleepless nights.

: and they have just got better! Debt relief orders are one way to deal with your debts if you owe less than £20,000, do not have much spare income and do not own your home. If you get one: your creditors cannot recover their money without the court’s permission. Nucleus advisors are accredited to help you […]

The Government has introduced two new schemes to help employers and employees.

It is no longer called the Furlough scheme.   It applies from 1st November to all employees and agency employees.  You do not have to have been on a Furlough scheme to be eligible, but you must have been on the payroll on 23rd September 2020.  Note it does not apply to the self employed.  The […]

The changing nature of housing advice in a post Covid world.

The last three months have seen the issues we are dealing with in the housing team change from three months prior to coronavirus. Three months prior to COVID the top 3 issues were: Local Authority Housing Threatened homelessness Actual homelessness During the COVID Period we have seen less clients, however the top 3 issues that […]

‘Council housing backlog ‘could take 17 years to clear’

By Alan Murdie, Chairman, Nucleus & Ealing Advice The need for proper housing advice and support to stem a worsening housing crisis is demonstrated by a new report. Rehousing individuals and families currently on the waiting list for council housing could take up to 17 years the Chartered Institute for Public Finance and Accounting (Cipfa) […]

Case example – employment

Javid, who has mental health issues and was let go from his job in January. We have been trying to help him with his employment case for several weeks. Given coronavirus had shut down a lot of places he previously visited for help, he did not have enough money on his phone to call anyone […]

Coronavirus – Know Your Rights – Claiming Benefits

If you’ve been affected by COVID-19, you may be able to claim benefits or increase your current benefits. This might be because you: can’t work as you have COVID-19 or you’re following guidance to stay home – this is called ‘self-isolating’ are earning less because you can’t go to work are self-employed and you’re earning […]

Coronavirus – Know Your Rights Bailiffs , by Alan Murdie

At the present time bailiff enforcement should stop to prevent spread of the virus. There has been an announcement that evictions of domestic dwellings are suspended, but this advice should apply to all other forms of civil enforcement. Creditors should also review enforcement and suspend their instructions to bailiffs and tell them to stop collection […]

Coronaviris – Know Your Employment Rights

Key Workers and Contracts The government have awarded ‘key worker’ status to a number of professions who are playing a significant role in the fight against coronavirus. This includes for example, those in health and social care; education and childcare; government; transport; the food industry; the justice system and security bodies, such as the police. If you are […]

Coronavirus Crisis- Know Your Employment Rights.

Self-Isolation and Sick Pay Social media is full of photographs of newly sprung home offices with #WorkingFromHome hashtags and for some, cats have quickly replaced colleagues. If you can work from home then you should receive full pay to do so. However, some of you will be facing a different reality. One thing is absolute, you must […]

Housing issues -Coping with Corona Virus issues.

This is worrying times for Landlords and tenants. Due to government measures at the moment there is a 3 month break on evictions and Landlords are being asked to be more understanding with tenants and make agreements. What does the rent break mean? The rent break does not mean you will not have to pay […]

Put a freeze on bailiff visits and wheel-clamping  during the corona virus outbreak Bailiffs and wheel-clampers pose a risk to public health

  Nucleus is warning that a freeze needs to be put on debt and parking enforcement during the corona virus outbreak. Amid concerns about increasing numbers of people going into debt, reckless enforcement poses both the threat of accidental transmission and disruption by clamping the vehicles of NHS workers and emergency staff. A moratorium needs […]

Hotels and B & Bs expelling the homeless could face legal action

Injunctions may provide one remedy – and compensation may be another Travelodge and other hotels and provides of bed-and-breakfast who close their doors and evict homeless occupiers could be opening themselves up to legal claims. A report published by The Guardian on-line on 25 March 2020 ‘Homeless Travelodge Residents turned out on the Street’ states […]


Ealing Council Staff have confirmed that will continue to help people who are at risk of homelessness, as the law requires.  Click here to go to their site. However, in the interests of customer and staff safety, the service will now be by telephone. People who already have a homelessness application should e-mail or call […]

New rules for benefits : following Covid 19 breakout

Child poverty action have just released  info on benefit changes to help claimants For people already claiming support Special arrangements will be in place for people in receipt of benefits who cannot attend reassessments or jobcentre appointments because they are required to stay at home or are infected by coronavirus. The arrangements are: disabled and […]

Temporary closure of Drop ins from 18th March 2020

To protect the safety of our clients and staff we have taken  the decision to stop face to face advice  appointments and drop in for the next few weeks. You can ring us  for advice as usual and we will try and help with the usual problems. Stay safe … and share any good fortune […]

Body-worn cameras to curb aggressive bailiffs

A welcome announcement has come from the Ministry of Justice. People in debt will be given greater protection from rogue bailiffs as the government on 22nd July 2019 announced the introduction of compulsory body-worn cameras. This will be helpful in all cases of complaint and  wrongful enforcement. See: Missing footage  Obviously, it will not […]

Do you have a younger Partner ? Protect your Right to Pension Credit.

From 15/5/2019, mixed-age couples will be excluded from entitlement to Pension Credit. At present, and until that date, mixed aged couples can claim the more generous Pension Credit as long as the member of the couple above retirement age makes the claim. They can also claim Housing Benefit(without the Benefit Cap or the bedroom tax) […]

Have you been paid the right amount?

You are thrilled. You have a new job and everything is going well until pay day. You see the money hit your bank account, but you have no idea how it was calculated. If you are an employee (more later), your employer has to give you a pay slip either on the day you are […]

The importance of treating housing costs as priority debts. Effective debt advice prevents homelessness.

By Alan Murdie It is over 10 years since Nucleus took the decision to specialise in debt advice, ahead of financial crisis of 2008 (then known as the ‘credit crunch’). Traditionally, housing was one of the key areas of the work for Nucleus, and over this last decade we have seen it evolve into an […]

Economy Energy, an energy supplier with about 235,000 domestic customers, has ceased to trade.

Ofgem’s advice to Economy Energy’s customers in the meantime is: Do not switch to another energy supplier. Take a meter reading ready for when your new supplier contacts you. For more info go to the Ofgem website

I’m pregnant and my employer has dismissed me for misconduct. What can I do?

An employer can fairly dismiss a pregnant employee for gross misconduct, e.g. theft or violence, but they must show there is reasonable evidence of guilt, dismissal is a reasonable sanction for the misconduct in question and the procedure is fair. However, if you can show that the decision to dismiss you was significantly influenced by […]

How to tackle Fuel Poverty.

We see more people than ever being in a situation where they are unable to pay their fuel bills as in the case below show. Fuel now takes up quite a high proportion of household expences – its nearly 12 % of all households.  For private tenants is a lot higher : 19% of households. […]

Universal Credit is coming…..

Universal Credit (UC) is gradually being rolled out nationally and will be in full service soon. This means that all new claimants will have to claim UC rather than the legacy benefits of ESA, JSA and housing benefit. If a claimant is living in supported housing or in temporary housing (effective from April 2018) housing […]

New Regulations To Help Tackling Overcrowding (…but for HMOs only!)

vercrowding  in England Levels of overcrowding in London are more than twice as high as the rest of England for every tenure ( but it’s worst for tenants). In England:  1% of owner occupier households are over crowded, 3 % of private tenants are living in overcrowded  housing and in Social housing 4% are living […]

Justice week

Nucleus was pleased to  support the first ever Bar Justice week at the beginning of November. Highlights of the week were 25 events inside and outside of Parliament, the issue of eight specialist reports (‘The Justice Papers’) a petition to extend legal aid and the release of a short film. All made the case for […]

London Legal Walk 2018

A big thanks to all of the fantastic walkers,  trustees, staff and volunteers  who joined  13,000  other walkers from  over 750 teams to help raise funds for legal advice centres across the south east. Left to right : Zee, Roy, Jose, Jan, Pat,Iliyana, Abu  and Baljit ( behind the camera). To sponsor  any of them  […]


William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar (1599): [Cas.] Upon what meat doth this our Caesar feed, That he is grown so great? (Act 1.2.149-50) [Caesar] Let me have men about me who are fat (Act 1.2.194-95) Ealing Council’s  use of bailiff  to enforce debts has increased over the last 2 years.     It is a deservedly […]


In 1698 it took six weeks for Sir Christopher Wren to undertake a full damage survey on a stately home (amounting to £162, the equivalent of £19, 430 today) and for it to be processed and paid in full by the Treasury to the claimant writer John Evelyn in compensation. In 2017, 321 years later […]

Refund for employment tribunal fees

Until recently all employment applications had to be accompanied by fee (or a wave). We have just found out that  the government has finally issue details for  a scheme for clients to reclaim fees at the next paid. The scheme is due to be launched in the next four weeks, however the government has committed […]

Housing disrepair case study

Landlord disrepair Case Note: Jan and Rik (Pseudonyms) were successfully re-housed in a property owned by a housing association. Unfortunately, their second baby was born with a serious condition and had to spend months in hospital after birth. Their baby was in need of sterile and clean conditions. However, the problem was the bathroom in […]

Fees for Employment Tribunal claims – now ruled unlawful

The system of fees for bringing employment tribunal claims was ruled unlawful by the Supreme Court on 26th July 2017. Fees are not payable for claims brought now, and fees paid in the past should be repaid. Nucleus has argued that the fees deter people from exercising their rights. There is also an argument that […]


A new Protocol for creditors bringing debt claims will operate from 1 October 2017, issued by the Master of the Rolls under  the Rules of Court. Prior to this date there is no specific Pre-Action Protocol for debt claims, although parties are expected to comply with the existing Practice Direction for Pre-Action Conduct. WHEN THE […]

Key benefit cahnges April 2017

The Government is currently bringing in a number of changes to benefits, some of the key changes are listed below. Full details can be found here. * The minimum wage has gone up. The main wage is now £7.50, and all of the rates can be found here. * The rate for the ESA work-related activity group […]

The Big Issue …Wipe out: The tax debt scandal forcing people from their homes. A special report by Nucleus Chair Alan Murdie

Council tax arrears are now the single biggest issue clogging up British courts, as fees and fines cause the original debt to spiral. The result is often homelessness. In a special Big Issue report, barrister Alan Murdie describes a chaotic and faceless system.


On  6th February 2017  the Government announced plans to sell the collection  of 12 billion pounds of outstanding student loans to private debt collectors. These are debts which have arisen from the failure to repay student loans taken out before 2006, which otherwise were normally recovered when a certain threshold in earnings was reached direct […]

Social Tariffs are being phased out – what to do…

Home energy bills are one of the biggest expenses faced by many households. But if 10% or more of your income goes on paying for your gas and electricity, the government classes you as being in “fuel poverty”. And this means that you can qualify for grants and cheaper tariffs – called social tariffs – […]


Nucleus has long experience with advising on energy bills and debts. With the £23 000 benefit cap looming many people in receipt of benefits are facing a squeeze on income. More people will be entering fuel poverty as a result this winter. Under the old definition fuel poverty was where 10% or more of your […]

National Minumum Wage and National Living Wage

From 1 April 2016 the National Minimum Wage rises from £6.70   to £7.20 for people aged 25 or over and will be known as the  National Living Wage. The NMW will continue to apply for those aged 21 to 24, with the premium added on top for those aged 25 and over, taking the total […]

Nucleus at Toynbee Hall and Capitalise Debt Conference

Debt and the future of debt advice were themes explored at the Capitalise Debt conference held in London on 26 February 2016, organised by Toynbee Hall and the  Capitalise Debt partnership. The partnership is funded by the Money Advice Service (MAS) and attracted money and legal advice workers from across the capital. Alan Murdie, chairman of Nucleus […]

Expanding Access to Immigration Advice for local residents

Do you know your rights about staying in the UK, whether you are allowed to work or bring your loved ones into the UK?  Do you want to apply to become a British Citizen? Kezia Daley, Associate Solicitor at Darlingtons, is the latest volunteer solicitor to join our pro bono project. She can give advice […]

Nucleus Urges engagement with consultations on local authority finding : Two important local Government consultations

Nucleus Legal Advice is urging people to respond to two important Government consultations on the future of local government funding. Local Government settlement 2016-2017 and Council Tax Support Review were launched in December but there are concerns many people have missed them. Nucleus is responding to both of these consultations as we deal with many […]

Tax aid helps Nucleus client (finally) write of his tax debt.

ver the last few years we have noticed an increase with clients falling foul of bad decisions by HMRC. The most recent example of the atrocious service HMRC are providing  involved a client who was sent  a bill for nearly £7,000 for an underpayment of tax. Over the last year we have worked with Tax […]

New protection for assured tenants

This months we have seen some much need ( small but welcome) improvements for short hold assured tenants:   If there is serious disrepair which w you have reported you landlord may not be able to evict you for 6 months – as long as you have followed the correct procedure and involved the local authority who […]

Major new Consumer Rights Act 2105

Consumer law changed on 1 October 2015, as the Consumer Rights Act came into force. What are the key changes? The most important reform under the new Act is the right to a refund within 30 days if you buy something that’s faulty, whether you shopped online, in a high-street store, or at any other […]


Enquiries concerning welfare changes, housing issues and personal debt were the top three areas for advice enquiries at the Ealing Advice over this summer. The rise in welfare enquiries has occurred not only as a result of the Chancellor’s Summer Budget but from the roll out of Universal Credit for single adult claimants formerly on […]

Empoyment Advice Service

As of today our new employment team have dealt with their 200th employment case. Over the last year we have seen the importance of keeping your job or if need must to leave with your reputation in tact with a good reference.  Without either one you can face difficulties getting  a new well paid job […]


In the last few months considerable interest has been stimulated by the apparent endorsement of sending legal notices of proceedings by Facebook, the social media service.Several County Court judgeshave purported to approve such a process, and a recent memo issued in June by the Citizens Advice Bureau has encouraged this view,certainly onewhich some lawyers working […]

Supreme Court overturns key test on homeless people and vulnerability

The Supreme Court has today issued a landmark ruling in three linked appeals over when homeless people are to be considered ‘vulnerable’ under the Housing Act 1996 and therefore in priority need.   Summary Judgement Full judgment   A key effect of the judgment is said to be that the test set out in the […]


By Alan Murdie, chair  of Nucleus and Ealing Advice service  and editor of the Council Tax Handbook (CPAG) An important judicial review hearing on the amount of costs which can be charged when making any application for a liability order for unpaid council tax reaches the High Court on Thursday, April 30th. Last October the […]


By Alan Murdie, chair  of Nucleus and editor of the Council Tax Handbook (CPAG) An important judicial review hearing on the amount of costs which can be charged when making any application for a liability order for unpaid council tax reaches the High Court on Thursday, April 30th. Last October the High Court (Green, J) […]

Benefit recipients could save half on water bills

Benefit recipients could save half on water bills Thames Water has a new discount scheme to cut water bills in half for people on low incomes. WaterSure Plus is a new scheme which is available to many more people than previous discount schemes offered by Thames Water. This new scheme is available to anyone who meets two […]

The DWP has confirmed that that Universal Credit will start its ‘roll-out’ in Ealing from 13th July 2015.

niversal Credit intends to  bring together a collection of working-age benefits into a single streamlined payment. It intends to help claimants and their families become more independent and, in the process, simplify the benefits system. As of January 2015, there were 26,940 claimants on Universal Credit: most of whom have simple claims ie single people […]


Council taxpayers are entitled to apply for discretionary reductions in any amount owed in council tax, regardless of when the liability may have arisen. That was the decision of the Valuation Tribunal for England on February 25th 2015 following a test case involving a disabled pensioner Jenny Morgan  in an appeal backed by Nucleus which has […]

Job seekers allowance sanctions; an increasing problem

When you claim Job Seekers Allowance  you are obliged to agree to  and follow a certain set of rules in return for receiving your benefit e.g. apply for a certain number of jobs every week. It is important  to keep records / proof of all your efforts. If you break any of these rules, the […]

Wills and Probate

Planning is essential when planning yout will. It ensures that  your wishes will be met after you die, it ensures that  close relatives,friends or causes you want to get your money will get it.  It  helps your excutors administate your estate quickly and effectively saving time, money and hopefully any disputes. Other reasons why it’s […]

Watch out for the courier scam

We have been wanted about a “new” scam  by the local police. People  are  being phoned up at home by someone pretending to be from their bank or credit card provider claiming they have seen fraudulent transactions on their card and advising them to move their savings to a new, secure account. To give the […]

Food banks – a feeding Britain : a new report on the gaping gaps in the welfare support system

We have been working with the local food banks for over 2 years. We can refer clients who have no money for food but only if we have provide advice and the clients is taking steps to  resolve their issues. Most of the referrals we have made are for 1. people appealing against a refusal […]

New Debt advice service for Ealing

. Most poepl fall into debt after a major life event – redundancy , sickness or the death of a close family member. Debt caused worry and anxiety and is the major cause of relationship breakdown. We are delighted to announce that Nucleus , a  Capitalise partners, has launched a new debt advice and counselling service in […]

Money Lives – research by Money Advice Service

Money Advice Service – which helps fund some of our debt advice work has published a great new report: Money Lives. The reports build on the needs for skills and knowledge on money matter to include the need for financial capability: the art of making end meet and the take real control. In our financially capability […]

Payday loans: 10 things you should know before you take one

The media  and MPs seem  finally to catch up with the  problems with pay day loans… By Alison TerryConsultant, Positive Numbers Elizabeth Matthews took four different payday loans Continue reading the main story Related Stories Payday loan interest calculator Q&A: Payday loans Payday lenders face tougher rules If you’re under pressure to pay your bills, […]


COUNCIL TAX BENEFIT IS BEING ABOLISHED – AND 90% OF PEOPLE STILL DO NOT KNOW. BENEFIT CLAIMANTS WILL HAVE TO APPLY FOR LOCAL REDUCTIONS – IF THEY EXIST IN YOUR AREA Council tax has undergone major changes, the biggest since the tax was created in 1992. Council tax benefit is being abolished but 90% of […]

Ministry of Justice – proposals for reform – MOJ consultation – answers due in by 24th January

The consultation was launched on the 13th December taking into account the Christmas and new year break it leaves little time for consideration of such a very serious issue. It can be seen at.   They propose reducing the three months within which an application must be made to 30 days for procurement […]


CHANGE YOUR BANKACCOUNTTO A BUILDING SOCIETY ACCOUNT BEFORE APRIL 1ST 2013 IF YOU ARE ON BENEFITS Big changes are ahead with the benefit system. Don’t be caught with the wrong account! Do not use a bank account to receive your benefit money, use a building society or credit union account instead. To protect yourself make […]

Rising rents push more into debt

Rising rents have prompted a record 12,000 tenants who are struggling with arrears to contact a debt advice charity this year. The Money Advice Trust (MAT) says the number of calls it dealt with about rental arrears between January and August was the biggest in the 26-year history of its National Debtline and around double […]

Universal Credit Pathfinder and national rollout

Universal Credit will go live in the Greater Manchester and Cheshire region in April 2013, six months before the national rollout, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has announced. The way in which Universal Credit will be introduced from October 2013 has also been confirmed. It will begin in seven locations across the country […]