Hylton-Potts Law Blog

Legal Issues and Opinions affecting people from across the UK


Prison for man who pretended to be his dead brother

We have all heard the various stories circulating in the media about identity theft. It is one of the biggest growth areas for criminals, as we share more and more of our personal information online. However, a man in Devon has taken the concept to a new extreme, stealing the identity of his deceased brother in order to defraud the benefits system to the tune of £100,000.
The man with multiple identities
Robert Lewis is a 61 year old from Honiton in Devon, and is no stranger to the court system. Under his previous name of Norman Hill, he had a long

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Couple convicted of fraud for living together after lengthy surveillance operation

A few weeks ago, I shared some tips on the importance of making sure your benefits claim is accurate. Specifically, we went over HMRC rules regarding what constitutes a single person and when they consider you to be a couple, as this is a fundamental aspect when it comes to benefit entitlements.
A recent incident on the Isle of Man serves as a cautionary tale and highlights the potential consequences of supplying false information. It also gives an intriguing glimpse of the lengths to which the authorities will go to catch you out if they suspect your claim is not

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“Skin crawling” comments crank up the tension over controversial “rape clause.”

Who would be a politician? You can set out with the best of intentions, only to have your words twisted and be represented as some sort of callous monster across the front pages of the tabloid press.
Of course, some politicians really don’t do themselves any favours. You would think one of the things they would be taught is to put brain in gear before engaging mouth, but that’s a tip that Work and Pensions Secretary, Esther McVey, has yet to fully master. Speaking at the Scottish Parliament’s social security committee, she jumped in feet first, describing the government’s controversial “rape

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Thousands of vulnerable people left short on benefits after DWP bungle

At Hylton Potts, we like to present a balanced view of the benefits system and those who manage it, highlighting the good as well as the bad. Unfortunately, as the DWP lurches from one disaster to another, it can sometimes be difficult to present any good news stories.
Perhaps the most alarming part of all is that when yet another shocking tale of incompetence emerges, it is always because it has been discovered by some external enquiry rather than through the DWP’s own internal audit channels.
This time, we have the National Audit Office to thank for bringing to light the fact

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Claiming tax credits? HMRC is watching closely

Over the past year, HMRC has launched a high-profile series of investigations into those claiming tax credits. In particular, they have been stirring the murky waters that differentiate couples and single people.
If you are claiming tax credits, now could be a good time for you to make certain that your claim has been made correctly. There are plenty of ambiguities in the rules, and if anything is not right, it is far better that you find out for yourself before the investigators come knocking at your door.
Single or couple?
This is the most fundamental question, but in today’s world, it is

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62-year-old woman narrowly avoids prison after benefits mix-up

A grandmother from Teesside has recently been told that she will not face a custodial sentence, as a court case that has been hanging over her for years finally came to a close on 14 March.
Gillian Edwards is 62-year-old mother of three, who had been claiming a widowed mother’s allowance since her husband passed away. All seemed in order, and she continued to receive the benefit till 2014, when she dutifully informed the DWP that she and her new partner were buying a house together, and as they were entering into a formal relationship with one another, she wished to

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Families still facing real problems with Universal Credit

Veteran Labour MP Frank Field has been the latest in a seemingly unending procession of names calling for something to be done to stop the Universal Credit steamroller. The 75 year old MP for Birkenhead chairs the Work and Pensions Select Committee and provided government ministers with some “real world” insights from his constituency.
Living on 7p a day
What do you suppose is your average cost of living per day? Just add up the monthly rent or mortgage, household bills and basic grocery shopping, divide by 30 and you probably come to something around the £40 mark. Of course, that assumes

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Do you need a prenup? The answer might surprise you…

Mention the word prenup, and there is still the general perception that it is something for the super rich. A way for aging businessmen and rock stars to protect their wealth from gold diggers who are only marrying them for their money.
Aside from being somewhat sexist – after all, successful business people, rock stars and indeed gold diggers can definitely be both male and female – it is also completely missing the point of what a prenup is really all about. The truth is, a prenup can be of benefit to everyday people, and those who go into a marriage

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Government announces changes to Universal Credit

Despite numerous flaws in the system and thousands of families struggling to make ends meet, the transition to the Universal Credit system continues unabated. If you are a regular visitor to these pages, you will know that the dissenting voices have grown steadily louder with every passing month – to the point where some have even been coming from within the Government itself.
At last, there are signs that the decision makers are willing to do something, with news that the waiting time for receiving the first payment under the new system is reducing.
A brief recep
The biggest problem with Universal Credits

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Grounds for divorce – is there any way around the blame game?

The legal system is steeped in history and tradition – and the wheels turn very slowly. It’s hardly surprising that when you step through the doors of a court house that you feel you need to wind your watch back 70 years or so.
In a world that is changing faster than ever, that becomes a growing problem. Technology is changing the way we communicate and conduct financial transactions, but in a UK court, you will still see a traditional stenographer and plenty of notes being taken in longhand.
Of course, it is not just technology that has changed. Today’s

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