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 poster attached.

*As usual please refer yourself to the ESK Facebook page, give it a like and check out the posts following all services and a recent post about the local warm spaces in Ealing Borough*
You can find some leaflets here

Hounslow Borough

NEW Free Hot Meals – Cost of Living Support (from 24 November 2022) Cranford Community College, High Street, Hounslow, TW5 9PD, Tuesdays 5-6pm, Thursdays 5-6pm, Sundays 1-2pm

Cranford College is working in partnership with Hounslow Council For more information on cost-of-living support please visit

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 get a DRO – it is a great way finally being able to get to grips with your debts and starting afresh. there are consequences so do get advice.

And they just got better – as of the end of June to DRO eligibility criteria will see the level of debt at which people can apply for a DRO increase from £20,000 to £30,000. people experiencing problem debt to get a fresh start.

The changes to the criteria will:

  • Increase the threshold on the value of assets that a debtor can hold and be eligible to enter into a DRO from £1,000 to £2,000.
  • Increase the value of a single motor vehicle that can be disregarded from the total value of assets from £1,000 to £2,000.
  • Increase the level of surplus income received by the debtor before payments should be made to creditors from £50 to £75 per month.
  • Increase the total debt allowable for a DRO from £20,000 to £30,000.
Keep hold of your cash !

The changes are due to come into effect on 29 June to coincide with the end of the first 60 days of the Government’s Breathing Space scheme, which began on 4 May 2021.
Ring one of our advisors or complete the contact form to get help – it will save you lots of sleepless nights.
Ring 020 3727 9300 to speak to an advisor now.

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

Job Support Scheme (JSS) extension - Care Accountancy Leeds
JSS expanded

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 schemes do not apply to fully publicly funded employment. 

There are two types of scheme:  one for places of work that are still open but which have much less business (Job Support Scheme Open), and one for places of work that have to close (Job Support Scheme Closed).

The Government will look carefully at whether an employer is eligible and the employer has to prove that there has been a reduction in turnover.  It is administered by HMRC which has set up a fraud helpline.

Your employer will also need to send you a new contract of employment in which you agree to these temporary measure which start on 1st November and will end on 30th April 2021.

Further amendments to (JSS) Job Support Scheme | Aston Bond
JSS – is it for me ?

The JSS Open

You will have to work at least 20% of your normal hours.  You will be paid for the hours that you work.  For those hours that you do not work, your employer will pay you 5% of these up to £125 per month and the Government will pay you 61% of these up to £1541 per month.  You should receive no less than 73% of your usual pay and possibly more, depending on how many hours you work.  Your employer will pay all of your national insurance and pension contributions.  You can attend training in working hours. 

The JSS Closed

Every employee will be paid 2/3rds of their normal pay up to a maximum of £2083 per month.  You can attend training while you are being paid.  As soon as the business is able to open again, this scheme will end, but your employer might claim for reduced hours under the JSS Open scheme.

The employer is still able to make redundancies during this time, and these will be lawful if the correct process is followed.  If the employer fails to consider the option of using either scheme, a claim for unfair dismissal might be possible.

Find out more at the website

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:
  1. Local Authority Housing
  2. Threatened homelessness
  3. Actual homelessness
During the COVID Period we have seen less clients, however the top 3 issues that have occurred are:
  1. Private rented sector issues
  2. Actual homelessness
  3. Threatened homelessness & access & provision to accommodation

What we think this is showing?

Private landlords have been
  • trying to end tenancies when they shouldn’t have been,
  • haven’t been following the government guidelines around coronavirus and housing
  • and their tenants have had problems paying the full rent leading to rent arrears.
Interestingly, Threatened Homelessness has not reduced in the period and one can assume it will increase during the next 3 months. Additionally, actual homeless is still a problem but there seems to be less issues with the local authority and their response. This could be linked to the government guidelines with the council and that no homelessness decisions seem to be being made at the moment.

‘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) has revealed.

The Cipfa report Housing 360  showS  there were on average more than 1.2 million households on council waiting lists nationally between 2013 and 2018.

Unfortunately,  over the same period, the number of council-owned properties dropped by 84,000 – a reduction of almost 5% across England.

The provision of housing by the not-for-profit and charitable sectors is also suffering because income is falling off – there will be fewer suitable dwellings for referral and those remaining will face higher demand.


This gloomy prognosis very much reflects the situation which Nucleus has been finding Councils facing in London before the covid-19 outbreak; the likely expectation is that those in need of housing will increase after the lock-down is lifted, the restriction on possession and eviction proceedings being only temporary.

The biggest reduction in council housing has been in family-sized two-and three-bedroom properties. These categories also experienced the greatest growth in demand, and currently many families in priority need end up being housed far outside London.

To help avoid such outcomes it is important to:


  • Safeguard existing tenancies and licences;
  • Ensure people get as full advice as possible if facing possession or eviction proceedings;
  • promote understanding of the importance of court hearings;
  • promote understanding of how disrepair issues may set-off rent arrears;
  • Challenge official decisions listing single rooms as ‘flats’ by the Valuation Office Agency making occupiers liable to council tax which they often cannot afford;


Housing is an increasingly difficult and complex field, with new legislative provisions being added ever since  the Housing and Planning Act 2016. These include  the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017, the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018  applying to all new tenancies from  20 March 2020, and increases in council tax liabilities by way of the often random and arbitrary re-classification of certain existing Houses of Multiple Occupation as separate, multiple dwellings.

However, the considerable success in housing street homeless people in many urban districts during the pandemic shows what can be achieved when sufficient political attention is given to housing issues.

Sources: Public Finance 6 May 2020

  1. Legislation to look out for in 2020 … Renters Reform Bill: Abolition of Section 21

Details and timescales are yet to be confirmed, but the big thing that will happen when Parliamentary time allows is the Renters Reform Bill, announced in the Queen’s Speech last year and expected to begin in 2020.

At issue is the Government’s commitment to abolishing Section 21, which has intensified the debate about the need to ensure that landlords have the ability to remove tenants who are not complying with their tenancy agreement or paying their rent. We are still awaiting the outcome of last year’s government consultation on a new housing court.

Many commentators are concerned about the unintended consequences of removing Section 21, and the risk to the private rented sector a ban on no fault evictions could have as landlords exit the market. Paul Shamplina, who describes the banning of Section 21 as the biggest legislative change to the private rented sector in a generation, says: “Combined with all the other changes, some landlords will feel that the length of time to gain possession of their property is too great a risk, so may decide to sell up – we have already seen this at Landlord Action. There must be a call for evidence on the implementation of a Housing Court.”

David Cox, Chief Executive of ARLA Propertymark echoes this sentiment: “If Section 21 is scrapped, Section 8 (eviction due to the tenancy agreement being broken) must be reformed and a new specialist housing tribunal created. Without this, supply will almost certainly fall which will have the consequential effect of raising rents and will further discourage new landlords from investing in the sector.”

From industry events to major legislative changes such as the abolition of Section 21 and the UK’s future relationship with the EU, 2020 is set to be another big year for landlords across the UK. Which challenges are you, as a landlord, most concerned about? Let us know via Twitter – @TotalLandlord


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 for help and explained he had been walking around 10 miles a day just to keep his mind off things. His neighbour usually gave him some soup or some extra things  to help him , something which he said he felt ashamed about.
I called his local authority in Ealing who put me through to a service for emergency help with food/shelter. They agreed to phone my client and a delivery of food was set up for him.
We can now focus on his employment case, knowing that he has enough food and help to keep him while we try and sort out the employment issues.

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 less
  • have lost your job
If your employer has told you not to work, you might be able to keep being paid. You should check if your employer can pay 80% of your wages as part of the government job retention scheme. If you are not a UK citizen, you might still be able to claim benefits – check the rules for the benefit you want to apply for. If you need further advice contact us by phone on; 020 7373 4005 or email us;

Check if you can get Statutory Sick Pay

You might be able to claim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you have coronavirus symptoms or you’re following the government guidance to self-isolate. You are not eligible for SSP if you’re self-employed. The government guidance states you will need to have coronavirus symptoms yourself or be living with someone who does. For more information read the government guidance on GOV.UK. You are entitled to SSP from the first day you were ill, or you started to self-isolate. It will be paid in the same way as your wages.

To get SSP, you need to:

  • be an employee
  • earn more than £118 a week
  • meet the other rules to get SSP; seek further advice by phoning Nucleus on 020 7373 4005 or complete the online enquiry form.
  • If you’re an employee, you should also check your contract of employment (COE) as your contract may have a more generous sick pay scheme than SSP employer might pay you.
  • If you’re self-isolating and can’t work from home, you should still claim SSP or check your COE for sick pay entitlement or contact your employer.
If you’re on a zero hours contract and you’ve already been offered work with an employer, you might still be able to get SSP. You’ll need to meet all the normal eligibility rules too. You’ll only get SSP for the work you’ve already been offered. You can also check your rights to sick pay if you are affected by COVID-19 on the ACAS website. ACAS gives free information to employees and employers.

If you’re self-employed or can’t get SSP 

You might be able to claim contribution-based or new-style Employment Support Allowance (ESA) if you have COVID-19 symptoms or you’re self-isolating. You’ll need to have paid enough National Insurance contributions for 2 tax years – in 2020 the tax years are 2017-18 and 2018-19. If you are entitled to new style ESA, you’ll be paid from the first day you were sick or self-isolating. You may also be able to get ESA if you’re caring for a child who has coronavirus or who’s been told to self-isolate. If you’re struggling to pay your bills, you might be able to get extra help from your local authority by applying to the council tax hardship fund. Visit the COVID-19 HUB website for further information on additional schemes for those particularly vulnerable due to age and/or health conditions, including the Local Support Payment scheme. RBKC Local Support Payments telephone number is 020 7745 6464. For further information check RBKC website or telephone Nucleus on 020 7373 4005.

If you’ve not claimed benefits before 

You may be entitled to claim Universal Credit as well as SSP. You may still be entitled to Universal Credit (UC) if you’re self-employed. You can claim Universal Credit online or by telephone; the telephone number to claim Universal Credit is 0800 328 5644. You may experience delays in making a claim for UC due to the unprecedented number of people now claiming. If your UC claim is delayed as a result of problems with the UC website, you may request your claim to be backdated explaining your reasons for the delay.  Many people have reported problems uploading ID validation documents that would normally be taken to your local JCP to upload. If you are experiencing difficulties you can write a note in your UC journal, or phone DWP helpline. There should also be a button to click on if you are having problems uploading your id validation documents and DWP should respond to assist you. If you are entitled to UC, your claim will be awarded from the first day of your claim, but it will take 5 weeks to receive your first payment. You may request an advance payment, but this must be repaid and is usually deducted from your ongoing UC award. UC is generally paid monthly. UC is an income-based benefit therefore other income and capital is taken into account when assessing your claim. However, from 6/04/20 there has been an increase in the standard UC element for a single claimant aged 25 or over to £409.89 a month and for a couple/joint claim for those 25 and over is £594.04. Your housing costs are included in your claim for UC.

Remember that you need to claim Council Tax Support from your local authority if you need help to pay your Council Tax. You can also apply to RBKC Hardship Fund.

For further advice please phone us on 03000125464.

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 activity.

You should

  • Keep the door closed in the unlikely event the bailiff calls in person;

And this time you should also complain to the Creditor if threatened or receiving a visit;

  • If  receiving a letter from the bailiffs you should contact the Creditor and complain that enforcement activity is threatened and point out the objection on health grounds.
This is particularly so if  you fall into one of the following categories  below: * the elderly;  *people with a disability;  * the seriously ill;  * the recently bereaved;  * single parent families;  * pregnant women;  * unemployed people; and,  * those who have obvious difficulty in understanding, speaking or reading English.

Bailiffs should withdraw and contact the creditor

The National Guidance for enforcement agents provides for creditors to take back the debt in one of these cases; bailiffs are also supposed to use discretion

Should a debtor be identified as vulnerable, creditors should be prepared to take control of the case, at any time, if necessary, and call off the bailiffs.

There is a test of ‘appropriateness ‘

The time and situation we are in nationally is clear an occasion where ‘appropriateness’  applies – it is wholly inappropriate to use enforcement against goods at this time. Indeed, not merely inappropriate but wholly unreasonable but could even be potentially unlawful not to suspend action. Creditors remain jointly and severally liable for the actions of their enforcement agents with regard to wrongful instructions and failure to use discretion.

In summary  you

  •  Consider making formal complaints, if clients are able;
  • Contact the creditor and inform them of what is being done on their behalf  (it is possible some may not know)
  • The creditor should be challenged as to why you are using bailiffs at this time and warned that door-to-door collection methods pose a threat to public health;
  • Keep a note and list those creditors who proves difficult and do not commit to stopping enforcement activity at this time.
This is also an opportunity to deal with cases by way of full and final settlement, offering a lesser sum based on the what  you can afford at this point. This should be offered to the creditor, not the bailiff. These standards put particular emphasis on there being proper safeguards and protection for the vulnerable groups which overlap with at-risk groups for infection.

The role of creditors and authorities using bailiffs

Should a debtor be identified as vulnerable, creditors should be prepared to take control of the case, at any time, if necessary  and call off the bailiffs.

Paragraph of the National Standards state 14 states:

Creditors must consider the appropriateness of referring debtors in potentially vulnerable situations to enforcement agents and, if you choose to proceed, must alert the enforcement agent to this situation.

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 a key worker but need to self-isolate then you should still do so.
There may be a lot of pressure on you to attend work and carry on but be assertive and remember that to attend would be counterproductive to the aim you are trying to achieve. You should self-isolate and follow the advice set out above.


More demands on Key Workers
Given the pressure on all industries, you may find that you are being asked to work somewhere else or to carry out some duties you would not ordinarily be asked to do. If you are not happy with this then take a look at your contract and see if you have agreed to the possibility of having the terms of your contract varied.
For example, if you are a policeman based in Croydon and your contract contains a clause allowing your employer to transfer you to a different location ‘where reasonable to do so’, it might be reasonable for them to transfer you to a hospital in a different borough to provide security there.

You want to help – but need to stay safe.
If your contract does contain a variation clause and your employers request is reasonable then to refuse would be in breach and could potentially warrant disciplinary action.

If the reason for your refusal is because you have not received enough training or you do not feel safe (including because you have not been provided with enough PPE safety equipment) then you should state this to your employer in writing and contact us for further advice. If you have a union representative then you should also contact them to see what support can be offered.


Can Key workers work form Home?

For all employees, if you are requesting to work from home in line with government guidance on coronavirus, which states that you must only leave home to go to work where this ‘absolutely cannot be done from home’, then make this explicitly clear to your employer.
You should request this regardless of the amount of time you have been employed. If your job requires you to attend your place of work then there may be other adjustments that you can request such as an empty office room or a parking space to enable you to drive into work rather than using public transport.
Duty of Care to Kkey Workers
Although your employer is not under a legal obligation to allow you to work from home, you still have to maintain social distancing of 2 meters, where possible, even at work.


Your employer has a general duty of care towards you which will include putting certain measures in place to keep you safe. This is particularly relevant if you have been identified as vulnerable to coronavirus.


However, if you still don’t feel comfortable attending work because you are afraid of catching coronavirus, speak with your employer and see what more can be done to support you. You might want to take annual leave or unpaid leave until you feel the threat has been reduced.


Whatever you do, do not point blank refuse to go to work without firstly effectively communicating with your employer and trying to reach a resolution. Behaving in this way is silly because it could lead to disciplinary action being taken against you and could result in you being dismissed without notice pay.


On the other hand, if it’s your employer who handles the situation badly then their actions could potentially give rise to a claim for breach of their duty of care towards you. In addition, there could also be a breach in the implied term of mutual trust and confidence in your employment contract.


Under these circumstances, you may be in a position to bring a claim against your employer. Please contact us for advice on whether this applies to you. Ultimately, if you decide that you have to self-isolate rather than go to work, you could communicate this to your employer and try to claim SSP as outlined in the article headed ‘Self-Isolation and Sick Pay’ or Furlough Leave which is discussed in detail in our article headed ‘The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough Leave)’.


You can find updated guidance on the use of Personal Protective Equipment for healthcare workers here:


You can find updated guidance from the Health and Safety Executive, who regulate and enforce health and safety here:


You can find updated guidance from ACAS, an independent government body who deal with employment disputes, here:

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 not attend your place of work if you have symptoms of coronavirus, regardless of how mild your symptoms are or what your employer urges you to do. Instead, the government has ordered that you must stay at home and that you must not leave your house for 7 days counting from the first day when your symptoms started. This has been commonly termed ‘self-isolation’.

Similarly, if someone who you live with is self-isolating because they have symptoms, you must not attend your place of work

Instead, you must also self-isolate for 14 days. For example, if your housemate started self-isolating on 1st March then you should self-isolate until 15th March. In both scenarios, it is vital that you inform your employer at the first opportunity that you cannot attend work and that any sickness absence procedure is followed. For example, if you would normally have to fill in a sickness absence form and return it to HR, then follow this procedure for self-isolation as well. In addition, provide as much supporting evidence as possible. For example, you can get an ‘isolation note’ for your employer by visiting If you cannot access this, call 111 and keep a record of your call and note down any advice. The waiting time maybe a couple of hours to speak with 111 so you may choose to ask your employer whether they will accept some other form of evidence instead.

If you may have been advised by your doctor to self-isolate.

Alternatively, you may have been advised by your doctor to self-isolate because you are particularly vulnerable. Again, you should evidence this to your employer and follow any sickness absence procedures accordingly.

Check your contract for a sickness guidance

In terms of your entitlement to sick pay, in the first instance, you should always check your contract for a sickness policy and carefully read any sick pay provisions. If you do not have a copy of your contract then request one. Your contractual sick pay might only be paid to you where you are actually sick (i.e. suffering from coronavirus symptoms which prevent you from attending work) rather than simply self-isolating because someone else in your household is exhibiting symptoms.

If your employer is the one who has insisted you self-isolate

However, if it is neither of these and your employer is the one who has insisted you self-isolate, for example, because you recently returned from Italy or China,  then you are entitled to receive your full pay. If you do not have a contract which affords you sick pay or if your contract merely states that you will be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (‘SSP’), then that is what you will have to claim. It is worth mentioning that you cannot claim both. For example, if you usually get £500, per week and your contract states that you will receive full pay whilst off sick, you cannot then claim SSP on top of this.

SSP is available from the first day for every employee who has to self-isolate, for the reasons set out above, providing the following criteria are satisfied:

1.       You are self-isolating; 2.       You are an ‘employee’ or ‘agency worker’ and have done some work for your employer; 3.       You earn an average of at least £118, per week; 4.       You tell your employer you’re sick before their deadline (within 7 days if they don’t have one); 5.       You have not already received the maximum amount of SSP (28 weeks); and 6.       You are not receiving Statutory Maternity Pay.

Statutory Sick pay

If you are eligible for SSP then you will receive £94.25 a week from the first day that you self-isolate (providing it’s on or after 13th March). You will be paid in the way you are normally paid (e.g. monthly) subject to tax and N.I deductions.

If your employer tries to force you to work

If you have to self-isolate but your employer tries to force you to work then you should refuse and state your reasons for doing so in the form of a written record. For example,  email or text them from your personal email or phone. You should explain that you are following the government advice set out by Public Health England to self-isolate.

If you are threatened with or actually dismissed because you have had to self-isolate and your health and safety concerns have been ignored by your employer, then you could potentially bring a claim for automatic unfair dismissal under the whistleblowing provisions and/or unfair dismissal including constructive dismissal. Contact us for further advice if it happens to you.

If you would like further information on Sick Pay then you can visit the ACAS website here ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) is an independent government body which was put in place to advise the public on their employment rights’.

If your employer is refusing to pay you sick pay, you should visit ACAS’ website or contact them on 0300 123 1100 for further guidance.