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Ocado says its not received court papers amid AutoStore legal battle

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ocado says its not received court papers amid autostore legal battle

Ocado is being sued by a Norwegian company amid allegations the online supermarket ‘unlawfully’ breached a patent for its warehouse technology.

The food logistics and delivery tech firm is being sued in Britain and the US by Norway-based AutoStore in a legal wrangle which could trigger financial damages running into millions of pounds being forked out if the claim is proven.

In a statement, Ocado said it had not received any court documentation in respect of the matter, adding that ‘this is the first we have heard of this new claim.’

Legal action: Ocado is being sued in Britain and the US by Norway-based AutoStore

Legal action: Ocado is being sued in Britain and the US by Norway-based AutoStore

Legal action: Ocado is being sued in Britain and the US by Norway-based AutoStore

The legal saga emerged as Ocado overtook Tesco as the country’s most valuable grocery retailer on the UK stock market for the first time this week.

Ocado, which was once described by ex-Tesco boss Terry Leahy as a ‘charity’ case owing to its hefty losses, was worth around £21.7billion against Tesco’s £21.1billion valuation at the close of play on Tuesday. The company’s share of the grocery market comes in at around 1.7 per cent at present. 

FTSE 100-listed Ocado’s share price is down over 5 per cent or 137.99p to 2,606p this afternoon. 

Karl Johan Lier, chief executive and president of AutoStore, said: ‘Since 1996, AutoStore has developed and pioneered technology that has revolutionised retail storage and order fulfilment, and is driving the growth of online retail. 

‘Our ownership of the technology at the heart of Ocado’s warehousing system is clear. 

‘We will not tolerate Ocado’s continued infringement of our intellectual property rights in its effort to boost its growth and attempt to transform itself into a global technology company.’

AutoStore claims Ocado must stop selling its technology and pay damages, according to court documents filed in the US and UK. 

In its US legal filing, AutoStore points out that Ocado’s deal with US retailer Kruger to install its robotic smart platforms across 20 warehouses, saw Ocado bank £42.6million per site.

AutoStore confirmed it was seeking an order barring Ocado and its partner Tharsus Group from manufacturing and selling ‘infringing products and importing them’ into the US.

The filing in the High Court in London is calling on the courts to block sales of Ocado’s products from Britain as well.

Ocado told This is Money in a statement: ‘Ocado Group plc (‘Ocado’) notes the press release from Autostore today. 

‘Ocado confirms it has not received any papers in relation to these claims and this is the first we have heard of this new claim. 

‘We are not aware of any infringement of any valid Autostore rights and of course we will investigate any claims once we receive further details.

‘We have multiple patents protecting the use of our systems in grocery and we are investigating whether Autostore has, or intends to infringe those patents. We will always vigorously protect our intellectual property.’

AutoStore boss Lier said that his company’s warehouse system operates with storage bins stacked vertically in a grid and stored in a cubic structure, with the bins retrieved by robots that travel on the top of the structure.

Around 500 installations and 18,000 robots across 30 countries are used by firms including UK supermarket Asda, US retailer Best Buy and German airline Lufthansa.

AutoStore added: ‘Ocado’s infringement of AutoStore’s AS/RS intellectual property – including the storage system and robots – is the foundation on which the ‘Ocado Smart Platform’ (OSP) was built and on which Ocado’s business today is based.’

Several alleged infringements also include the ‘central cavity design’ of the robots, the arrangement of the lifting mechanism and their in-wheel motors.

A court in Norway has already found that AutoStore is entitled to ownership of its patents covering the robots’ central cavity technology, it added.

Ocado’s technology has been sold around the world, with Marks and Spencer and Morrisons buying up services in Britain.

Prior to selling its tech services, Ocado struggled to turn a profit due to wafer-thin margins of only a few percent on its home delivery business.

Founder Tim Steiner insisted he would continue looking for outside investors to buy the technology, with the Kruger deal marking a turning point, eventually catapulting the firm into the FTSE 100.

The unprofitable grocery division was eventually bought by M&S and turned into a 50/50 joint venture, which offered online food delivery last month for the first time.

New deal: M&S food is now on sale via Ocado after a tie-up with Waitrose ended

New deal: M&S food is now on sale via Ocado after a tie-up with Waitrose ended

New deal: M&S food is now on sale via Ocado after a tie-up with Waitrose ended

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House prices pushed to record high but local lockdowns loom

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house prices pushed to record high but local lockdowns loom

The average cost of buying a home in Britain reached an all-time high of £239,000 in August, with people making the most of the Chancellor’s stamp duty holiday, official figures show.

In the year to August, property prices increased by an average of 2.5 per cent, or £6,000 compared to a year ago, the Office for National Statistics and Land Registry said.

But with the stamp duty window closing in March and a possible jobs crisis looming, some experts think the sharp upturn in house prices has ‘unstable foundations.’

Local lockdowns are also triggering uncertainty and from 6pm this Friday, all high-street estate agents in Wales have to close their doors, with in-person property viewings banned until 9 November. 

On the up: The average cost of buying a home in Britain reached an all-time high of £239,000 in August

On the up: The average cost of buying a home in Britain reached an all-time high of £239,000 in August

On the up: The average cost of buying a home in Britain reached an all-time high of £239,000 in August

Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said he thinks ‘as things stand, it remains likely that most of the increase in prices since the housing market reopened in May will be reversed over the course of the next 12 months.’

HM Revenue and Customs figures also today revealed that 98,010 completed house sales occurred across the country in September, which is broadly in line with the same month a year earlier. 

House sales in September jumped by more than a fifth, or 21.3 per cent, compared to August. That is a far healthier picture than many property professionals had envisaged during the first lockdown.

Anna Clare Harper at asset manager SPI Capital said that HMRC’s figures ‘represent a more complete picture than comparable indices’.

‘What’s interesting about the September 2020 data is that transaction volumes are on a par with transactions in September 2019,’ she added.

‘This suggests that the temporary changes to stamp duty designed to boost confidence in the housing market have worked well to achieve this goal. There are very few sectors where buyers and sellers feel as confident as they did in September 2019.’

Andrew Southern of property developer Southern Grove said: ‘Homes are flying off the shelf and this trend still looks like it has further to run. If true, it will have taken a pandemic to shift transactions up a gear and the irony won’t be lost on the industry.’ 

Variations: Prices in Northern Ireland have jumped, but England remains the most expensive

Variations: Prices in Northern Ireland have jumped, but England remains the most expensive

Variations: Prices in Northern Ireland have jumped, but England remains the most expensive

HMRC said the month-on-month jump in completed transactions is likely due to ‘the continued release of pent-up demand within the property market since March 2020 and early impacts from the temporarily increased nil rate band of SDLT.’  

John Phillips, national operations director at Just Mortgages and Spicerhaart said: ‘We saw record numbers of applications and exchanges in September. Numbers are higher than any of us expected to see and volume is consistently high across the country, surprisingly the South East and London are slightly quieter.

‘The one downside has been the lack of lenders offering high LTV mortgages. There are still thousands of clients with 10% deposits who are safe investments and they are currently being blocked from owning a home.’ 

Big boost to prices in Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, the average cost of a home increased by 3 per cent to £141,000, the ONS figures show.

Meanwhile, in England, average property values rose by 2.8 per cent to £256,000, and in Wales and Scotland they increased by 2.7 per cent to £173,000 and 0.6 per cent to £155,000 respectively.   

Within England, the East Midlands had the highest annual growth in average house prices at 3.6 per cent, while the North East had the lowest, seeing growth of 0.2 per cent.

Transactions: HMRC completed property transaction figures for 2005 to 2020

Transactions: HMRC completed property transaction figures for 2005 to 2020

Transactions: HMRC completed property transaction figures for 2005 to 2020

London remains the most expensive area in the country to buy a home, with properties coming with a price tag of around the £489,000 mark. 

This is a joint record high for London, with this price last seen in July 2017. 

At the other end of the spectrum, the North East continued to have the lowest average house price, at £132,000, and is the only English region yet to surpass its pre-economic downturn peak of July 2007, according to the ONS.

Across the country, prices increased by 2.5 per cent in the year to August, up from 2.1 per cent in the year to July. Month-on-month prices increased by 0.7 per cent.

The ONS said: ‘Over the past three years, there has been a general slowdown in UK house price growth, driven mainly by a slowdown in the south and east of England. 

‘The beginning of 2020 saw a pick up in annual growth in the housing market before the coronavirus restrictions were put in place at the end of March 2020.’

The average UK house price was £239,000 in August this year, which is £6,000 higher than in August 2019, and out of reach for many first-time buyers.

Mounting uncertainty amid local lockdowns

While the property sector appears to have been buoyant in parts of the country during the pandemic, a growing number of experts thinks turbulent times are ahead.

From 6pm this Friday all high-street estate agents in Wales have to close their doors and in-person property viewings will be banned until 9 November.

House moves in Wales can still go ahead if they cannot be delayed until after this date.

But, with other parts of the country expected to be switched to the highest tier of lockdown in a matter of days, it remains to be seen whether the housing market will stay as active as it has been over the last few months.

New rules: From 6pm this Friday all high-street estate agents in Wales have to close their doors

New rules: From 6pm this Friday all high-street estate agents in Wales have to close their doors

New rules: From 6pm this Friday all high-street estate agents in Wales have to close their doors

Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said: ‘The current surge in prices has unstable foundations.

‘It partly reflects well-off buyers seeking to buy bigger homes in response to the pandemic, using some of the savings from commuting less and consuming fewer services. This wave of demand likely will be sated soon.’

He added: ‘It remains likely that most of the increase in prices since the housing market reopened in May will be reversed over the course of the next 12 months.’

Meanwhile, Jamie Durham, an economist at PwC said fresh lockdown restrictions may introduce uncertainty both locally and nationally.

He said: ‘Uncertainty may cause people to delay major financial decisions such as moving home and lead to weaker house price growth over the coming months.’

He added: ‘Assuming there is a relatively limited second peak in Covid-19 cases, with no nationwide lockdown, house prices could grow nationally by around 1% in 2021. If further measures are introduced to control the spread of the virus, house prices could fall in 2021.’

The EY Item Club thinks the current upside for the housing market will prove ‘unsustainable’ due to ‘challenging fundamentals’ for consumers.

It said: ‘The EY Item Club expects the housing market to come under increasing pressure over the final months of 2020 and start of 2021 when there is likely to be a significant rise in unemployment. 

‘There is also likely to be a fading of pent-up demand. Renewed restrictions relating to increased COVID-19 cases may also have some dampening impact on housing market activity.’

While buyers and investors with deeper pockets have been able to make the most of the Chancellor’s stamp duty holiday in the last few month, many prospective first-time buyers remain locked out of the market, with a string of lenders axing higher loan-to-value mortgage deals. 

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Fresnillo cuts gold production forecasts as Covid-19 impacts Mexican mines

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fresnillo cuts gold production forecasts as covid 19 impacts mexican mines

Anglo-Mexican mining firm Fresnillo has said the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its mines in Mexico has forced it to cut gold production guidance again this year.

The FTSE 100 group expects to extract between 745,000 and 775,00 ounces of gold, about 40,000 down from its late July forecast, and below its 815,000 to 900,000 ounces estimate given in its first-quarter results in April.

It blamed the reduction in workers at its Herradura mine as well as ‘lower than expected’ ore grades for its curtailed projections. 

Shares fell 5.3 per cent to £12.62 soon after midday.

The FTSE 100 firm expects to extract between 745,000 and 775,00 ounces of gold this year

The FTSE 100 firm expects to extract between 745,000 and 775,00 ounces of gold this year

The FTSE 100 firm expects to extract between 745,000 and 775,00 ounces of gold this year

Gold extraction declined by 6.3 per cent to 172,700 ounces in the three months to the end of September compared to the previous quarter.

Chief executive Octavio Alvídrez said the firm had experienced ‘some impact as a result of the additional working restrictions in place at the open-pit mines and this has affected our gold production.’

Lead production sliding by a slightly greater percentage to 15,100 tonnes; however total output in the first nine months of the year remains 11.1 per cent larger, which Fresnillo attributes to a higher ore grade at its Saucito location. 

The group’s full-year silver production guidance remains unchanged at 51 million to 56 million ounces though, ‘despite the disruption of this pandemic,’ remarked Alvidrez, which has led to massive cuts in output at its Fresnillo plant.

‘As we set out at our half-year results, we have seen some impact as a result of the additional working restrictions in place at the open-pit mines, and this has affected our gold production, so we have marginally reduced our full-year guidance for gold.’

Gold and silver prices have soared this year as investors seek to put their money in traditionally safe havens during a time of tremendous economic uncertainty.

Silver demand has grown as renewable energy technologies like solar panels has taken off

Silver demand has grown as renewable energy technologies like solar panels has taken off

Silver demand has grown as renewable energy technologies like solar panels has taken off 

Ultra-low interest rates have also lessened returns on government bonds, thereby making these chemical elements more attractive. Silver has received an extra boost from the growing demand for renewable energy technologies like solar panels.

An ounce of gold is worth over a third higher this year at £1,470.35, while silver’s value has increased by around 40 per cent. Consequently, Fresnillo has seen its share price almost double this year to £12.76.

In the last six months, only B&Q owner Kingfisher’ share price has outperformed it among FTSE 100 companies. Among the FTSE 350 meanwhile, it is in the top 20, just ahead of Baillie Gifford US Trust and industrial equipment giant Ashtead Group.

Among FTSE 100 firms, only B&Q owner Kingfisher has seen its share price outperform Fresnillo in the last six months, with over 133 per cent growth against the miner's 76.4 per cent

Among FTSE 100 firms, only B&Q owner Kingfisher has seen its share price outperform Fresnillo in the last six months, with over 133 per cent growth against the miner's 76.4 per cent

Among FTSE 100 firms, only B&Q owner Kingfisher has seen its share price outperform Fresnillo in the last six months, with over 133 per cent growth against the miner’s 76.4 per cent

At ninth place is Hochschild Mining, another business with a strong presence in the Americas. Its shares have risen 104.8 per cent in 2020. Other metals producers such as Evraz and Kaz Minerals have grown 58.5 and 51 per cent, respectively. 

Egyptian gold miner Centamin has been an exception to this growth, however. 

Its shares plummeted by a fifth this morning after it revealed that it had slashed its gold production guidance both for this year and next.

Stocks fell in spite of third-quarter results showing revenues shot up 43 per cent in the last quarter against the same period in 2019 and gold production soaring 30 per cent to 128,240 ounces.    

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Financial support for cancer sufferers: We talk to three people who found help

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financial support for cancer sufferers we talk to three people who found help

Being diagnosed with cancer has hit people up and down the country with a ‘financial wrecking-ball’ and it’s been worse amid the pandemic, Macmillan Cancer Support has told This is Money.  

Bill McGregor, 71, from Dundee, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in January last year. He had surgery to remove his prostate, but the cancer has now spread to lymph nodes in his pelvis. 

Speaking to This is Money, Mr McGregor said he was meant to have chemotherapy earlier this year, but this was cancelled due to Covid-19. He is now receiving hormone injections every three months as an alternative treatment.

As well as dealing with the physical and mental toll of cancer, Mr McGregor said the financial fallout triggered by his illness made him ‘really stressed out’ and he ended up losing his job.

Bill McGregor, 71, from Dundee, pictured at his beloved allotment, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in January last year

Bill McGregor, 71, from Dundee, pictured at his beloved allotment, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in January last year

Bill McGregor, 71, from Dundee, pictured at his beloved allotment, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in January last year

‘When I was told I had cancer I was frightened, I didn’t know what to do or who to turn to. I felt so alone,’ Mr McGregor said.

He had been working as a lollipop man on around £70 a week, but had to give up his job after his diagnosis and was eventually made redundant around a year after he was first told he had cancer.

Before working as a lollipop man, Mr McGregor worked as an engineer in hospitals for over 28 years, and once worked at the Ninewells Hospital, where he has been treated for his cancer.  

Finding it difficult to concentrate, sleep or relax and constantly worried about his health, the impact of his illness on his wife and his finances, Mr McGregor turned to Macmillan Cancer Support for help. With their guidance, Mr Gregor now has a blue badge for parking and receives £320 a month in the form of Personal Independence Payments.

A member of the Macmillan team went to Mr McGregor’s house and helped him fill in the myriad of forms needed for the PIP application and a blue badge. 

Mr McGregor, who before the pandemic was also receiving reflexology support at Maggie’s hospice in Dundee, said he now ‘feels a bit better’ about his financial situation and was ‘really glad’ he had Macmillan by his side.  

He also remains passionate about his allotment, and while admitting it is becoming a ‘struggle’ to tend to it as frequently as he would like, he still works on it as often as he can and gains great pleasure from it.

‘I’m a single mum and had no savings left’

Speaking to This is Money, Catherine, who has opted not to reveal her surname, is suffering from primary brain tumours.

Catherine, 48, who lives in Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire and has an eight-year-old daughter called Michelle, has been treated at Nottingham City hospital. 

She spent six months in hospital receiving intensive treatment for her cancer and went on half pay at her teaching job after six months, but she still had bills to pay and had ‘no savings left’.

Macmillan financial guidance was a life saver  and having regular visits from Alison Hall at hospital was also morally a true relief. 
Catherine, Lincolnshire 

‘I became unable to repay my loan and my bank agreed for me to make a minimum monthly repayment for three months, but it still affected my credit rating. 

‘My work place has been great and although I went back phased return to work, they put me back on full-time pay salary which they didn’t have to do by law,’ Catherine told This is Money.

But, another major financial sticking point emerged as Catherine’s landlady sold her home while she was receiving her cancer treatment.

She was left unable to pay the costs involved in moving to a new property, and her tumours had rendered her unable to drive. She sought help from Macmillan to get her back on track. 

‘I was financially unable to pay for the moving cost, and had much appreciated help from Alison Hall (Macmillan Nottingham City) to apply to teaching charities and the council. I received financial help from them to pay the removal company, a cooker and carpet our council house for me and my daughter, I was also given a cheque by Macmillan.’ 

She added: ‘Macmillan financial guidance was a life saver in itself, and having regular visits from Alison Hall at hospital was also morally a true relief. I can’t word my appreciation to Macmillan and Nottingham City Hospital.’           

Five tips from Macmillan to help get your finances back on track

Here are five tips from Macmillan’s Richard Manson aimed at helping cancer patients and anyone with a serious illness start getting their finances in order:  

1. Complete a budget

This is a way of comparing money coming in, for example, from a salary, pensions or benefits, and the payments going out, such as rent or mortgage, insurance, general living expenses and other spending. This can help you stay in control of your finances. 

If your spending is higher than your income, you may need to think about making some changes. This can also be useful if you need to contact your bank because they will want to know as much information as possible about your financial situation before seeing what support they can offer.

2. Check your insurance

Some insurance policies, such as critical illness, will make a payment for a cancer diagnosis and a life insurance policy will often include terminal illness benefits, which may allow an early claim if your doctor expects a prognosis of less than 12 months. 

Even if you’re unable to claim, some policies will include additional benefits that can be accessed after a diagnosis, such as waiver of premium which will pay the insurance premium if you cannot work because of illness or disability. 

Your insurance company will be able to tell you exactly what you are covered for and what additional benefits the policy includes.

3. Contact your bank

While the support you may be offered can vary between banks depending on your personal situation and their policies, it is helpful to contact them and find out what they can do for you. 

For some, this could include a mortgage payment holiday, waived account charges and fees or guidance on budgeting and planning. Some banks may offer specialist services – for example, Macmillan has trained dedicated staff in specialist Cancer Support Teams at Lloyds Banking group and Nationwide.

4. Ensure you have an up to date will 

Macmillan believes that everyone should have a will regardless of their age or health. 

A valid will ensures that the right people inherit and that your loved ones don’t suffer unnecessary hardship. A will can also be used to arrange affairs tax efficiently and to appoint people to sort out an estate following a death.

5. Review your private or occupational pension

If you need to retire or leave work due to ill health, thinking about your pension options is useful for many different reasons. 

If you haven’t already, you may be able to access your pension because of your age or health circumstances. It’s also important to make sure that you have filled out an expression of wish form. 

This tells the trustees of the scheme where any death benefits should be paid if the worst happens. Pension scheme rules vary and the decisions you make will affect your family’s financial future so it’s important to get financial advice before you make any decisions.

Source: Macmillan for This is Money 

‘Substantial’ rise in calls for help amid pandemic

Speaking to This is Money, Richard Manson, a financial guidance specialist on Macmillan’s support line, said Macmillan had seen a ‘substantial’ rise in the number of calls from cancer patients worried about their finances since Covid-19 started.

‘Many have been left reeling from the financial sting of the coronavirus pandemic on top of a cancer diagnosis, in a cruel “double whammy”.

Richard Manson, a financial guidance specialist on Macmillan's support line, said Macmillan had seen a 'substantial' rise in the number of calls from cancer patients worried about their finances since Covid-19 started

Richard Manson, a financial guidance specialist on Macmillan's support line, said Macmillan had seen a 'substantial' rise in the number of calls from cancer patients worried about their finances since Covid-19 started

Richard Manson, a financial guidance specialist on Macmillan’s support line, said Macmillan had seen a ‘substantial’ rise in the number of calls from cancer patients worried about their finances since Covid-19 started

‘Further to the calls we are already receiving, we expect to see a significant increase in demand for our services over the coming months as government schemes are withdrawn or changed. 

‘Additionally, the considerable backlog in cancer services created by the pandemic means that many may be diagnosed late or have experienced delays to their treatment. As these people receive their diagnoses or their treatment resumes, we know that finances can become peoples’ biggest worry – sometimes more so than their diagnosis itself.’

The boss of Macmillan is equally all too aware of the financial toll a cancer diagnosis can trigger. 

Lynda Thomas, chief executive at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: ‘At Macmillan, we hear from people living with cancer every day who are desperately worried about their finances – from worrying about paying their mortgage or putting food on the table, to holding off on switching the heating on when they need it and sitting at home chilled to their bones.

‘It’s no exaggeration to say that receiving the life-changing news that you have cancer, for some people, is nothing short of a financial wrecking-ball.’

What financial help is available to cancer patients?

Tackling cancer, treatment side effects and financial worries can be a bewildering, frightening and isolating experience.

But, on the financial front, there are a number of channels people can access to help them deal with the monetary fallout triggered by a cancer diagnosis.

For many people, relying on the state or contacting a charity for help will seem alien and this in itself may even prevent some people from claiming valuable financial help. 

But, money woes do not go away on their own, so taking that first step of seeking help is vital and not something to be afraid of.

his is Money and Macmillan have outlined some of the main benefits and support channels people with cancer of other serious illnesses may wish to consider applying for. Other channels of support ma be available to you, but in all cases, eligibility criteria are likely to apply:

Benefits and other support

Statutory Sick Pay: SSP pays for 28 weeks off work at a rate of £95.85 per week. This kicks in if you have been off sick for more than four days and is paid to you by your employer.

Personal Independence Payment: This benefit replaces the old style Disability Living Allowance for adults (this is still in place for those under the age of 16) and is worth between £23.60 and £151.40 per week. Couples may receive a higher amount.

It is set up to cover those have difficulty with daily tasks such as managing medicines or preparing meals. It covers both physical and mental capabilities.

PIP is tax-free and you could qualify for this whether you are working through treatment or are unable to, as long as you are between 16-64.

It is divided into the Daily Living and Mobility components and the amount you receive will depend on whether you qualify for the standard or enhanced rates. 

Anyone who has a terminal or non-curable diagnosis will automatically qualify for the enhanced rate. People who are terminally ill can also get a PIP more quickly than others. Claims cannot be backdated, so it is important to claim as soon as possible if you think you are eligible.

Employment and Support Allowance: You can apply for ESA if you have a disability or health condition that affects how much you can work.

You can’t get ESA if you are claiming SSP and/or Jobseeker’s Allowance at the same time.

For the first 13 weeks during an assessment period anyone under 25 gets up to £58.90 a week, everyone else gets up to £74.35. 

Next there is a Work Capability Assessment to sort you into one of two groups – the Work-Related Activity Group or the Support Group.

Those who are unwell or disabled typically qualify for the Support category, which pays a slightly higher rate at up to £113.55 a week and won’t require you to attend any meetings to get you back into work.

Universal Credit: This is a payment to help with your living costs. It’s paid monthly – or twice a month for some people in Scotland.

You may be able to get it if you’re on a low income, out of work or you cannot work. It is available to people over 18 but under the state pension age.

Universal credit is replacing a number of benefits, including income-related ESA, Housing Benefit and Tax Credits. Use the online checker to find out if the switch over to Universal Credit will affect you.

The basic level amount is £342.72 for a single person over 25 or £409.89 for a single person over 25 per month. You may get more money on top of your standard allowance if you’re eligible.

Attendance Allowance: If you aged over the state pension age the alternative to PIP is Attendance Allowance. It is worth either £59.70 or £89.15 per week.

To be eligible you must have a physical disability or illness which requires extra help to look after yourself.

Pension credit: This is paid to those over state pension age dependent on your income, and is divided into two halves.

The Guarantee Credit part is a basic rate to top up your income to a minimum threshold of £173.75 for single people and £265.20 for couples. 

Savings Credit is paid to those who have saved towards their retirement, if they or their partner reached state pension age before April 6 2016. It is worth an extra £13.97 per week for single people and £15.62 for a couple.

Anyone with a severe disability, certain housing costs or who is a carer may be eligible for a higher rate. 

–  Income tax refund: You may be able to get a tax refund if your incomes falls or you have to give up work because of a serious illness. 

Your employer may be able to organise this. You can also apply for a tax refund online or contact HMRC on 0300 200 3000. 

Help with council tax or rates mortgage interest and bills   

According to Macmillan, there are other benefits, loans and grants available to help with the costs of housing.

Local council tax reduction schemes can help towards the cost of your council tax if you are on a low income. If you live in Northern Ireland, you may be able to apply for help to pay your rates bill.

If you own your home, you may be able to apply for a loan from the government to help pay your mortgage interest payments.

You may also be able to get help if you need to adapt, repair or improve your home. The help available depends on where you live in the UK.

Macmillan has a handy page online which outlines all the help available to cancer patients struggling with mortgage repayments, rental costs or bill troubles. 

Healthcare help, travel costs and grants

People with cancer may be eligible to get help with prescription costs, wigs, fabric supports, dental treatment and eye treatments, Macmillan says. 

In England, prescriptions are free for people with cancer. If you need prescriptions for anything related to cancer or its effects, you can apply for a medical exemption certificate. You need to collect an FP92A form from your GP surgery. This lasts for five years and can be renewed if you are still eligible. 

If you need special equipment or aids to help you live at home, you may be able to get what you need for free. If you pay for your own nursing home charges, you may also be entitled to financial help.

Travelling to and from hospital can be expensive. You may be able to get help with the cost of going to hospital for treatment. 

As well as potentially getting help with prescription, travel and other health-related costs, Macmillan also offers grants, which are ‘small, discretionary payments to help people with the extra costs that cancer can cause.’ They are usually a one-off payment. They are for people who have a low level of income and savings. Other grants and loans may also be available. 

BENEFITS YOU COULD BE ELIGIBLE FOR 
Means tested  Income independent Over pension age 
Personal Independence Payment  Income-related Employment Support Allowance Attendance Allowance 
Disability Living Allowance (under 16) Tax Credits  Pension Credit 
Contribution based Employment Support Allowance  Housing Benefit   
  Council Tax Reduction   
  Support for Mortgage Interest   
  Statutory Sick Pay   
  Income Support   

Anyone with cancer in need of extra financial support can contact the Macmillan Support Line on  0808 808 00 00. It is open seven days a week from 8am to 8pm.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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