New benefit extended throughout UK

A new disability benefit being extended across the country from Monday will "update" thinking on mental health conditions, the Government has said.

The Personal Independence Payment (PIP), which was trialled in the North of England in April, replaces Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for working-age claimants, which was introduced over 20 years ago.%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%

Ministers said the new benefit is designed to support disabled people to live independent lives and includes a new face-to-face assessment and regular reviews.

Esther McVey, Minister for Disabled People, said: "Disability Living Allowance is an outdated benefit introduced over 20 years ago and was very much a product of its time.

"The Personal Independence Payment has been designed to better reflect today's understanding of disability, particularly to update our thinking on mental health and fluctuating conditions.

"We are introducing a new face-to-face assessment and regular reviews - something missing in the current system. This will ensure the billions we spend on the benefit give more targeted support to those who need it most."

The new assessment includes an individual's ability to carry out a broad range of activities such as washing, dressing, cooking and getting around as well as reading and communicating.

PIP will now be rolled out across England, Wales and Scotland, although some existing working age claimants will start to be re-assessed from October.

When DLA was introduced in 1992, it covered 1.1 million people, at a cost of around £3 billion, which has risen to more than £12 billion a year now. In the past decade, the number of people claiming DLA has risen by almost a third from 2.4 million to 3.3 million.

Some welfare campaigners have warned that a number of people who would qualify for the existing DLA will not meet the criteria for the PIP.

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10 wealthiest small towns in the UK
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New benefit extended throughout UK

Windsor is top of the tables for the UK's wealthiest towns and villages, according to research published by WealthInsight. The Berkshire town is home to 850 dollar millionaires (people with assets of more than US$1m, or £653,424)

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Weybridge is second in England with a population of 19,500 and 800 to 850 millionaires.

Sevenoaks has a population of 18,500 and between 800 to 850 millionaires.

Andrew Amolis, analyst at WealthInsight said Beaconsfield's position, at number four, was "unsurprising." "It has the highest average house price outside of London (over US$750,000 per home). It also has the highest average income per household of US$110,000."

Henley-on-Thames, at number five on the list, is the town where numbers of millionaires is growing fastest, the research suggests. The number of so-called high net worth individuals increased by 25% between 2007 and 2012. "This compares very well with general UK millionaire numbers which declined by 9% over that period," said Andrew Amolis, analyst at WealthInsight.

Marlow just missed out on a top five rank with 14,000 inhabitants and between 350 and 400 millionaires in residence.

Hale is the highest-rated town closest to Manchester with a population of 15,300 and between 300 and 350 millionaires.

"Alderley Edge is considered to be the most affluent town in the North West, particularly Whitebarn Road which is one of the most expensive streets in the UK," said Andrew Amolis, analyst at WealthInsight.

Bray is number nine on the list and is home to Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck restaurant. Bray has a population of 4,600 and counts more than 300 millionaires among its residents.

Ascot finishes tenth in the list with a population of 11,600 and between 250 to 300 millionaires.

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