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Council workers work for free to save money

To cut costs without losing jobs needlessly workers from Blackburn with Darwen Council are taking their first of 12 unpaid leave days, spread over three years.

Workers are taking the leave on Tuesday as part of a £1m savings plan.

Both Blackburn and Darwen Town Halls will be closed along with children’s centres and all libraries.

The council apologised for the closures but said leisure centres, markets, cemeteries, bin collections and community transport will work normally.

Councillors agreed in March to allow workers to take unpaid leave, a move union officials say has saved 50 to 100 jobs.

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HR jobs need people who can come up with clever strategies to make the most of hard times in the economy.

Jobcentre closure plans rile union

Unions have reacted angrily to plans to close a number of Jobcentre Plus offices, affecting some 2,400 staff.

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union said five contact centres and 17 benefit-processing sites were being shut.

The PCS said it was a “deeply flawed and dangerous” decision at a time of rising unemployment.

But a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spokesperson insisted front-line services were not affected.

He said: “We can’t afford to carry on paying for buildings which aren’t fully used.

“Front-line Jobcentre Plus services aren’t impacted by this and we’ve made sure that all the staff affected have the option of moving elsewhere in the organisation.

“In tough financial times we have to operate as efficiently as possible.”

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Pensioners need educating on available benefits

The Telegraph has reported that pensioners are missing out on as much as £2,400 a year, because they do not understand the state benefits that are available to them.

Research suggests one in five pensioners have never claimed the benefits they are entitled to, including council tax discounts and pension credits.

One in five pensioners have never claimed benefits they are entitled to while one in four is not claiming additional state benefits that are available.

The study by Just Retirement found that pensioners not claiming any pensions may be entitled to £788 a year on average.

The figure for those not claiming additional benefits was £675 a year on average but could be as high as £2,400.

Stephen Lowe, of Just Retirement, said: “Since the beginning of the recession, pensioners have been hit financially by higher taxes, spending cuts and inflationary pressures. It is disturbing that pensioners are not taking the state benefits that they are entitled to.”

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