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EQ weekly roundup

This week’s roundup includes news that research has found the national living wage is leaving families short, concerns over bailiffs have raised calls for more regulation and over 600 jobs at House of Fraser warehouses are at risk.  

Living wage not enough for families, charity finds 

Low-earning parents working full-time are still unable to earn enough to provide their family with a basic, no-frills lifestyle, research suggests. 

A single parent on the National Living Wage is £74 a week short of the minimum income needed, according to the Child Poverty Action Group. 

A couple with two children would be £49 a week short of the income needed, the charity said. But,this was better than last year when couples were £59 a week short. 

The National Living Wage is £7.83 an hour for those aged over 25. 

A Government spokesperson said fewer families were living in absolute poverty: The employment rate is at a near-record high and the National Living Wage has delivered the highest pay increase for the lowest paid in 20 years, worth £2,000 extra per year for a full-time worker. 

However, the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) said gains from modest increases in wages had been clawed back through the freezing of tax credits. In addition, it said rising prices and changes to various benefit schemes had also hit family budgets hard. 

Tougher regulation of bailiffs urged 

A charity has called for tougher regulation of bailiffs, as it calculated that households have fallen behind on essential bills by £18.9bn. 

Arrears on these bills, such as council tax, have risen by 40% from the £13.5bn owed in 2011-12, Citizens Advice said. 

Over the same period, the proportion of calls for help regarding bailiffs had risen significantly, it said. Bailiffs are typically used by creditors, on the authority of the courts, to seize property if people with debts fail to pay what they owe. 

Calling for a bailiffs regulator, Citizens Advice said it was getting a call from someone needing help owing to bailiffs every three minutes. 

It points to a case of an elderly couple who owed £700 in council tax who are now afraid to open their front door after bailiffs used aggressive tactics and threatened to call in the police. 

New laws were introduced in 2014 aimed at protecting people with debts from unfair tactics, but the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has revealed lingering concerns about the behaviour of a minority of bailiffs. 

The MoJ will soon launch a call for evidence on bailiffs and has promised to take action if necessary. 

House of Fraser warehouse jobs at risk, says union 

More than 600 jobs are under threat at two House of Fraser warehouses, a union has warned. 

The GMB said 627 staff at the two warehouses were told on Friday that they are at risk of redundancy. 

Last week, XPO Logistics - which operates the sites in Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire - stopped processing orders due to a payment dispute, forcing the retailer to cancel and refund all online orders. 

XPO Logistics was owed £30.4m by House of Fraser when the department store chain collapsed into administration earlier this month, according to administrator EY. 

Mike Ashley's Sports Direct bought the chain just hours after it went into administration earlier this month. 

This means it is not legally obliged to pay suppliers money owed before its £90m buyout, as their debts were part of the administration. 

XPO Logistics is one of a number of suppliers owed money due to the chain's collapse. In total, EY has estimated suppliers are owed £484m. 

US threatens more sanctions on Turkey 

The US has threatened to impose more economic sanctions on Turkey if it does not free a detained American pastor. 

Andrew Brunson has been held in Turkey for nearly two years over alleged links to outlawed political groups. 

The dispute over his release has seen the two Nato allies impose tariffs on one another's goods. 

This has worsened a crisis for Turkey's currency, the lira, which has lost about a third of its value against the dollar since January. 

The crisis has prompted widespread selling in other emerging markets, sparking fears of a global crisis. 

On Friday, US President Donald Trump tweeted that Turkey had taken advantage of the United States for many years and that he was cutting back on Turkey. 

Last week, the US doubled its tariffs on metal imports from Turkey, which has vowed it would not succumb to threats.