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06 April 2004

New LRD guide helps members to claim their entitlements
The introduction of tax credits for parents, workers without children, disabled employees and now for pensioners means that more people are entitled to financial support from the government. This makes it all the more important that union reps understand the new system and can answer members' questions to help ensure that they and their families claim what they are entitled to.

The Pension Credit, introduced last October, provides guaranteed minimum levels of income for those over 60 of ?105.45 a week for a single person and ?160.95 for a couple. Greater numbers of pensioners will now benefit, as there are also payments available for those over 65 who have some savings and who would not qualify for the guaranteed minimum rates.

The Child Tax Credit, introduced last April, is being extended this year to non-working parents who are claiming benefits, so providing a single system of support for children. Almost six million families are receiving the tax credits, or equivalent support through benefits, and 200,000 families without children are claiming Working Tax Credit.

The LRD guide, State Benefits & Tax Credits 2004, gives the new rates for the tax credits, explains who is eligible and how to apply. It also describes the complete range of state benefits - universal, contribution-based and means-tested, giving the new rates effective from 12 April 2004.

LRD's popular annual guide to state benefits and tax credits is widely used by workplace union reps to inform and advise members about the benefits to which they may be entitled, for example if they are sick, suffer an industrial injury or disease, have a disability or lose their job. It explains the support available to those on low incomes, as well as the benefits available to new mothers, fathers and adoptive parents. And it gives advice on what workers might expect to receive when they retire.

State Benefits & Tax Credits 2004 aims to provide concise, accessible and up-to-date information for both claimants and their lay advisers on this increasingly complex area. With more help available to people in work, union reps and officials need this invaluable resource.

Notes to editors

1. State Benefits & Tax Credits 2004 is published by the Labour Research Department, 78 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8HF, price ?5.50 or ?10.95 for employers or commercial organisations. LRD booklets are also available on subscription at an annual cost of ?30.95 (?76.95 for employers/ commercial organisations). LRD publishes 10-11 booklets each year.

2. The Labour Research Department is an independent trade union and labour movement organisation founded 90 years ago. Around 1,800 trade union organisations, including 55 national unions, representing 99% of total TUC membership, are affiliated.

3. For press enquiries on this booklet contact Tessa Wright on 020 7902 9817. To order copies of the booklet telephone 020 7928 3649.

4. Full information about all of LRD's services and publications is available on the LRD website at www.lrd.org.uk.

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