Homelessness, PIP assessment failures, terrible landlords and questionable work agencies. Another week outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre.

Dear readers, I can’t believe that it’s Thursday again. Time goes so quickly these days.

This weeks demo was very productive and we helped lots of people but we really do need more helpers. If you’re ever in the area please come and say hello.

It rained as usual today but only for the first hour of the demo. I was actually shocked to see the sun peeping out from behind a cloud.

My apologies if I’ve been quiet this week, I wasn’t feeling 100% but I think that now we might be seeing the end of the rain for a couple of days I should be ok.

Today’s demo went really quickly and we helped so many people with differing issues ranging from giving food parcels to someone who was in need of one to giving directions. It’s going to take people a long time to get used to the new Tameside One building.

I can’t thank Gordon enough for supporting me today, his help is invaluable and is really appreciated.

I shall list my conversations as usual. I won’t divulge a persons identity either so they don’t run the risk of being targeted by the DWP. I’ve seen this happen and the fear of this happening is very real.

I had requests for food parcels before the demo started from people who were in desperate need for food and a conversation. It’s heartbreaking to see peoples life’s spin totally out of their control, and not by their own doing.

I spoke to a young woman today whom I’ve had conversations with in the past on many occasions. My heart goes out to her it really does.

When they say that bad luck comes in three’s she’s had triple this amount and more, it isn’t her oen doing either.

Various events in her life have resulted in her needing more help than can be offered locally thanks to government cuts.

I handed her a food parcel and had a long conversation with her. I really wish that I had a magic wand to help her. She’s such a lovely woman and I hate seeing her like this.

It was then that I had a conversation with a man whom I shall call Bill.

Bill has been working for a job agency grabbing working whenever her can. However the agency that he’s working for is refusing to give him a job reference for another job that he’s looking for nor have they been paying him his full wage. The agency is also refusing to give him wage slips.

Call me cynical but I can smell a rat when I hear stories like this. This job agency are exploiting Bill, making him work long hours for little or no pay and refuse to give him a wage slip because they’re most likely committing fraud in some way.

Bill is also trapped into working for them because he can’t get another job without a reference from this employer.

Stories like this make me furious and I signposted him to Greater Manchester Law Centre for help.

Being trapped on universal credit is bad enough but combine this with an agency that are refusing to give him wage slips and his full wage is really making his life hell.

More needs to be done to outlaw these awful job agencies and to abolish zero hour contracts. People are really suffering as a result of them, and he wasn’t the first person that I spoke to today that found themselves in the same position.

I hope Bill is ok, he was a lovely chap that really deserves much more than to be treated like this.

I had a quick conversation with a woman who is in the process off appealing a PIP decision. She’s doing everything that she can to appeal this decision.

I had a conversation with a young man who had recently lost his temporary accommodation so he’s now moving between various night shelters. Call me old fashioned but I believe that everyone deserves a place to call home. Criminalising homeless people just makes things much worse. The government should be on trial for treating people like this, for taking funding away from necessary services.

Meanwhile it looks like Boris Johnson is going to become our next prime minister. God help us.

I had a conversation with a young man that is newly homeless and has found a job. His problem is that he needed some bus fare to get to his new job, of course the DWP refused to help him even though he claims universal credit and the DWP are claiming that universal credit helps people into work.

What a load of rubbish, if they actually did want this they’d give this man his bus fare and ensure that every single person upon finding work is given a fully contracted job not an unstable zero hour contract job with a dodgy agency that refuses to pay them.

Who cares though? We do, my readers do but the government don’t give a toss.

It was then that I spoke to a lovely young woman. Her story was very similar to Bills.

She’s working for a job agency getting work whenever she can and she’s also looking for a secure job. She has children to care for.

She asked her agency if she could have a reference to send to a future employer. They point blank refused saying that they didn’t have to. Her wages have also been sparodic. Not ideal when shes got children to look after.

Thinking that the DWP would help her she asked them for help but was refused so I signposted her to Greater Manchester Law Centre where they can hopefully help her.

This highlighted how bad many of these agencies are. At the moment they’re running roughshod over very vulnerable people with absolutely no governmental opposition from the Tory Party. Like John Mcdonall and Jeremy Corbyn say, these agencies and zero hour contracts need to be abolished.

I then had a conversation with a woman who has been battling a dodgy landlord for years. She told me about her substandard accommodation, leaking roofs, damp riddled walls etc.

It’s awful that she’s having to go through this. It’s had a detrimental effect on both her physical and mental health.

It’s much like the days of old from before Ken Loach made Cathy Come Home and Shirley Baker took a set of photographs that spurred the organisation Shelter to be formed.

It’s like stepping back in time, in my eyes right back to the mid 19th century onwards.

Whilst there’s a Tory government there’s suffering, the two go hand in hand and now we’ve most likely got Boris as our future prime minister.

Things aren’t going to get better until we vote them out and I can’t wait for that day.

A special mention goes out to members of DPAC that have collected thousands of copies of the Metro newspaper and gave them back to the Metro and the DWP.

The governments propaganda campaign has failed miserably through this campaign

Also the thousands upon thousands of people that have been forced onto universal credit that know the reality of this awful system.

Making work pay, don’t make me laugh. It’s the opposite and they know it.

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog. It’s really important that we get information like this out there for the world to see.

We will be back next week to help people.

There’s also a donate button at the top and side of this blog for anyone interested in donating. I’m a skint single parent struggling like everyone else is. Every penny does help.

A massive thanks to everyone that does already support my blog. Thank you ❤️.

The bedroom tax strikes again. Yet more tales from the Jobcentre.

Dear readers, as expected the weather was rotten, raining and windy. The temperature more like what we usually expect in winter. As a result we stayed for a hour and still helped lots of people. Also I was feeling pretty rubbish. My apologies again.

Because the weather was bad, we didn’t expect there to be as much demand for our food parcels. Sometimes people like to stay indoors so not to get wet, but I was wrong. There was a queue for the food parcels and we didn’t have enough to give to everyone, but we muddled through and everyone was ok.

It’s very hard to gauge what to expect, not one week is the same. People are continuing to suffer at the hands of the government and their persecutor of the poor the DWP.

I spotted a woman walking towards us, she was a new face and in need of our help.

As I handed her a food parcel and a copy of our survival guide I asked her if I could help her in any way. She replied saying that she was sick and tired of the bedroom tax,. She has to pay the bedroom tax for two spare bedrooms, and before anyone says that she should just move out, she can’t. As a result of the bedroom tax she has accrued debts with her landlord and just about everyone that she knows.

So she’s now dependent upon food banks and local support networks. She told me of how she likes to help others even though they may not thank her for it, saying ‘We’re all in the same boat so we should look out for each other’

That’s not easy when you have nothing though, and you don’t see any Tory MP offering to help anyone do you.

I helped her to the best of my abilities and I hope that shes ok.

It was then when I started a conversation with a young man, a new face that had come to see us on the advice of his friends. His story is this;

He is newly unemployed and is street homeless,.

He has just made an application for universal credit.

He wants to work but can’t find a job that would cover the expense of staying in supported housing or a hostel. The rent payable per person in these places are very high, therefore most people can only find work when they eventually find permanent accommodation.

Basically at the moment his priority is getting a bed for the night, but he will still have to fulfil his obligations with the DWP.

I signposted him to all relevant local organisations that can help him.

I then handed a leaflet to a young man and I asked him if he needed any help. His answer was that he’ll be struggling for the next two weeks until he hopefully receives his first universal credit payment.

I then spoke to an older man nearing pensionable age. He’s really suffered because of the horrendous DWP system that one minute tells him that he’s entitled to payments, and the next minute tells him that he isn’t entitled to anything.

I asked him how he’s been coping, he told me that he’s survived by doing odd jobs for people every now and then.

He told me that he was concerned about his data being shared by the DWP. This is a relevant worry because they do pass our information on to their ‘pals’.

As we continued with our conversation he told me that he had received a letter saying that he can apply for his pension early. I encouraged him to do this because it’s the only way out of this awful situation.

Things aren’t improving folks, its getting much worse. People aren’t able to afford to buy food etc because of the bedroom tax, the council tax supplement and debts. More and more people are dependent upon food banks and friends for help.

To be in any of the situations above is scary. Most of the people that I’ve spoken to throughout the years had never thought that they’d be in this situation and once there it’s devastated them.

We honestly can’t allow this to continue, far too many people are dying. We all need to challenge the government more in any way that you’re able.

The thought of Boris Johnson as the next prime minister is indeed a worrying thought. But if he does become our next prime minister we must constantly challenge him. We’ll certainly be the laughing stock of the rest of the world.

Thankfully Esther Mcvey has been ruled out of the equation. Her being prime minister would be absolutely horrific.

We’ll be returning next week and hopefully the weather will be better.

Many thanks to Gordon for helping me today.

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog.

A massive thank you to everyone that reads and supports my blog.

I’m a skint single parent struggling like everyone else and I speak from experience as well as having conversations with others.

For anyone wishing to donate there is a paypal link at the top of the blog and at the side. Thank you!!

Surviving on £30 a week with children. Universal Credit strikes again.

Dear readers, my apologies once again for this weeks blog being late. I woke with a migraine and I’m struggling through it. Anyway enough about me, I hope that your ok.

Thankfully it wasn’t raining today which made a pleasant surprise because rain was forecast. The rain clouds are looming so it’ll be here soon.

Today was quiet, most likely because of the school holidays, but regardless we managed to help lots of people which is the main thing.

As usual there was a queue for the food parcels and I had a long chat with the young woman that I mentioned in last weeks blog. She’s surviving and was able to smile this week. She’s also been able to eat some good meals. She’s also staying at a friends home and they’re taking good care of her.

All the food parcels went as soon as they arrived which says a lot about this awful benefits system that isn’t really a benefit for many if anyone. Having to fight for every penny that you’re entitled to is no fun at all.

After talking to the people that took the food parcels, we then had a conversation with a woman that we’ve spoken to before. Her story is this. She’s received a letter telling her that her PIP assessment is next week and at her home. I asked her if she had anyone to be with her whilst the PIP examination was taking place. She told me that she didn’t so I volunteered to do this.

It’s important to get help with these assessments if that’s possible. This woman is really confused about the whole system, indeed she thought that it was an examination that she had to pass as do so many people.

We advised her and I promised her that I would be there for her, hopefully we managed to reassure her.

It was then that we had a long conversation with a confused and anxious man outside the Jobcentre. I walked over, handed him a copy of our survival guide and asked him if we could help.

This is his story. He went to the cash machine to collect his payment and saw that it wasn’t there, his payment was supposed to have been paid today but it wasn’, and this is why he was at the Jobcentre to try to find out why.

Some might say ‘Why didn’t he phone the DWP to resolve this?’ He couldn’t because he doesn’t have any credit on his mobile phone. I really wish that people would realise that many of of us can’t afford to buy phone credit.

I advised him to ask his advisor when he went in for his appointment and he did just that. Upon leaving the Jobcentre he told me that they said that they don’t guarantee that a payment will arrive on a specific day or date because ‘It depends on the month’.

So they accept that not all months have the same amount of weeks etc but they still don’t recognise the fact that a person claiming universal credit and working can receive two wages in one month. They stop their payments because apparently they’ve earnt ‘too much’ and aren’t entitled to their universal credit.

It’s one rule for them and one for us as usual.

Hopefully he will receive his payment tomorrow as promised but I wouldn’t hold my breath would you?

Roy then spoke to a man that’s claiming the sickness element of universal credit. The DWP have told him that he now has to look for work for 20 hours a week despite his disability. Of course he shouldn’t have to do this. But the DWP do exactly what they want and get away with it.

I then walked over to a young woman that was attending the Jobcentre with her children. I asked her how she was and if she needed any help. To say that she’s stressed was an understatement. I’ll name her Jill.

Jill is a single parent with children, she has no close family members to ask for help. So far Jill has been waiting 5 weeks for her first universal credit payment.

Jill and her children are trying to survive on £30 child benefit, loans from the DWP that she’ll have to repay and food parcels from local food banks and organisations.

The DWP have told Jill that she might get a payment next week, and apparently that makes it all ok. Eerrmm no it doesn’t.

Can you imagine how difficult and soul destroying this is for Jill? Having to literally beg for food and help whilst trying to be positive for her children. It’s horrific and certainly shouldn’t be happening.

We then noted an official from the ‘Job Gym” walking into the Jobcentre. The very name of this organisation is ridiculous isn’t it. There isn’t enough work out there for people and no amount of ‘working out’ at this ‘Job Gym’ can fix this.

By the way I despise these organisations that work on behalf of the DWP, and I find the names of these organisations to often be ridiculous. There isn’t enough decent work out there, not work that can sustain a family. The only work available is usually zero hour contract work for agencies.

I then spoke to a young man that had been sanctioned for not attending an DWP appointment because he was in prison on the day of the appointment. He then had to make a new claim, but the DWP told him that his sanction had been carried over to this new claim and he wouldn’t be able to access any money for a while.

Luckily he managed to overturn the sanction, so now he has to wait at least 5 weeks for his universal credit claim to be processed.

The whole 5 week wait for a universal credit claim to be processed is ridiculous, and it could be made much shorter if the government wanted to.

The government doesn’t want to help working class people though, they just want to continue to punish them for being alive and breathing. There’s an endless pot of money available to further their campaign of hatred towards the working class isn’t there. It’s despicable and cruel. We’ll never, ever forget this nor will our children.

This all happened within two hours outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre this morning, can you imagine how awful it is for everyone attending every Jobcentre throughout the country?

Many thanks to Gordon and Roy for helping today, they’re amazing people.

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog, also subscribe to my blog so that you’ll receive notifications every time that I update the blog.

Many thanks to everyone that supports my blog. Thank you so, so much.

For anyone wanting to donate there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog post. Every penny does count. I’m a skint single parent just trying my best to help people and to campaign against this terrible system and government. I also help people outside of this blog and the demo, and every penny does count. Thank you xx.

Surviving on £30 a week with children. Universal Credit strikes again.

Dear readers, my apologies once again for this weeks blog being late. I woke with a migraine and I’m struggling through it. Anyway enough about me, I hope that your ok.

Thankfully it wasn’t raining today which made a pleasant surprise because rain was forecast. The rain clouds are looming so it’ll be here soon.

Today was quiet, most likely because of the school holidays, but regardless we managed to help lots of people which is the main thing.

As usual there was a queue for the food parcels and I had a long chat with the young woman that I mentioned in last weeks blog. She’s surviving and was able to smile this week. She’s also been able to eat some good meals. She’s also staying at a friends home and they’re taking good care of her.

All the food parcels went as soon as they arrived which says a lot about this awful benefits system that isn’t really a benefit for many if anyone. Having to fight for every penny that you’re entitled to is no fun at all.

After talking to the people that took the food parcels, we then had a conversation with a woman that we’ve spoken to before. Her story is this. She’s received a letter telling her that her PIP assessment is next week and at her home. I asked her if she had anyone to be with her whilst the PIP examination was taking place. She told me that she didn’t so I volunteered to do this.

It’s important to get help with these assessments if that’s possible. This woman is really confused about the whole system, indeed she thought that it was an examination that she had to pass as do so many people.

We advised her and I promised her that I would be there for her, hopefully we managed to reassure her.

It was then that we had a long conversation with a confused and anxious man outside the Jobcentre. I walked over, handed him a copy of our survival guide and asked him if we could help.

This is his story. He went to the cash machine to collect his payment and saw that it wasn’t there, his payment was supposed to have been paid today but it wasn’, and this is why he was at the Jobcentre to try to find out why.

Some might say ‘Why didn’t he phone the DWP to resolve this?’ He couldn’t because he doesn’t have any credit on his mobile phone. I really wish that people would realise that many of of us can’t afford to buy phone credit.

I advised him to ask his advisor when he went in for his appointment and he did just that. Upon leaving the Jobcentre he told me that they said that they don’t guarantee that a payment will arrive on a specific day or date because ‘It depends on the month’.

So they accept that not all months have the same amount of weeks etc but they still don’t recognise the fact that a person claiming universal credit and working can receive two wages in one month. They stop their payments because apparently they’ve earnt ‘too much’ and aren’t entitled to their universal credit.

It’s one rule for them and one for us as usual.

Hopefully he will receive his payment tomorrow as promised but I wouldn’t hold my breath would you?

Roy then spoke to a man that’s claiming the sickness element of universal credit. The DWP have told him that he now has to look for work for 20 hours a week despite his disability. Of course he shouldn’t have to do this. But the DWP do exactly what they want and get away with it.

I then walked over to a young woman that was attending the Jobcentre with her children. I asked her how she was and if she needed any help. To say that she’s stressed was an understatement. I’ll name her Jill.

Jill is a single parent with children, she has no close family members to ask for help. So far Jill has been waiting 5 weeks for her first universal credit payment.

Jill and her children are trying to survive on £30 child benefit, loans from the DWP that she’ll have to repay and food parcels from local food banks and organisations.

The DWP have told Jill that she might get a payment next week, and apparently that makes it all ok. Eerrmm no it doesn’t.

Can you imagine how difficult and soul destroying this is for Jill? Having to literally beg for food and help whilst trying to be positive for her children. It’s horrific and certainly shouldn’t be happening.

We then noted an official from the ‘Job Gym” walking into the Jobcentre. The very name of this organisation is ridiculous isn’t it. There isn’t enough work out there for people and no amount of ‘working out’ at this ‘Job Gym’ can fix this.

By the way I despise these organisations that work on behalf of the DWP, and I find the names of these organisations to often be ridiculous. There isn’t enough decent work out there, not work that can sustain a family. The only work available is usually zero hour contract work for agencies.

I then spoke to a young man that had been sanctioned for not attending an DWP appointment because he was in prison on the day of the appointment. He then had to make a new claim, but the DWP told him that his sanction had been carried over to this new claim and he wouldn’t be able to access any money for a while.

Luckily he managed to overturn the sanction, so now he has to wait at least 5 weeks for his universal credit claim to be processed.

The whole 5 week wait for a universal credit claim to be processed is ridiculous, and it could be made much shorter if the government wanted to.

The government doesn’t want to help working class people though, they just want to continue to punish them for being alive and breathing. There’s an endless pot of money available to further their campaign of hatred towards the working class isn’t there. It’s despicable and cruel. We’ll never, ever forget this nor will our children.

This all happened within two hours outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre this morning, can you imagine how awful it is for everyone attending every Jobcentre throughout the country?

Many thanks to Gordon and Roy for helping today, they’re amazing people.

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog, also subscribe to my blog so that you’ll receive notifications every time that I update the blog.

Many thanks to everyone that supports my blog. Thank you so, so much.

For anyone wanting to donate there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog post. Every penny does count. I’m a skint single parent just trying my best to help people and to campaign against this terrible system and government. I also help people outside of this blog and the demo, and every penny does count. Thank you xx.

Aged 65 and hounded to find work. Universal Credit cares nothing about age or ability to work.

Dear readers, it’s Thursday again and here’s my latest blog update. Thankfully the weather was good today, indeed very warm for a change. We spoke to lots of people and helped lots also.

We do vital work, helping people when they’re upset, stressed and dealt with unfairly by the DWP. Claiming universal credit is a difficult and arduous process, hard for many, impossible for some as they don’t know how to or don’t have a computer.

For those saying that they should go to a library thats easier said than done. Many libraries have shut and some libraries reduced to a small mobile library that visits occasionally and don’t have computer or internet access.

For those that say that they can do their job searching on a phone, a lot of people don’t have smart phones, many have pawned them for money for food or bills and many don’t know how to use them. Life isn’t as simple as some make it out to be. Most of you already realise this of course.

Universal credit is a complicated system that’s designed to make people fail. It doesn’t benefit those that are working and claiming universal credit either. If you are seen to earn ‘too much’ then they’ll automatically end your claim. This happens all the time to people that have received two wages in one month because of the number of days in the month or if you’ve managed to get some overtime.

This week is the start of Amber Rudds universal credit publicity campaign in the Metro newspaper. The facts that she’s stating in these ads are untrue and based upon old data. They’ll be running this advertisement campaign for nine weeks, so there’s plenty of time to bin these newspapers when you see them.

This is why it’s very important to share my blog and other blogs like mine. We need to get the truth out there to the public. Whilst we can’t afford to pay 250 thousand to do this like the Tory party have, we do have social media and word of mouth. We are much more effective than they are using these methods because the Tories haven’t got a clue how to relate to real life people.

Everyone that we spoke to today were signposted for help, given advice immediately and given a food parcel if needed. The food parcels went as soon as we arrived with them, there’s a huge need for them because many people are surviving by visiting various foodbanks during the week and accessing any free cooked food facilities.

It shouldn’t be like this, but it is and we will be there to help them as long as there is a need.

I spoke to a man as I was handing him a food parcel, he told me that he’s been told that he’s missed two PIP appointments even though he didn’t receive any letters regarding this. He collects his post from the local post office so he definitely hasn’t received them.

As a result he’s now having to survive by using foodbanks and our food parcels.

I had a quick chat with a woman who was carrying her seven week old baby. Call me old fashioned but I don’t believe that anyone with such a young baby should be hounded by the DWP. Children benefit hugely from being with their parents, and if the government allowed this then they’d save millions of pounds. But it’s not about saving money is it, it’s about making people suffer, and that includes children.

I had a conversation with a young woman who is claiming universal credit and is working. She told me that because she had done some overtime the previous month, the universal credit system and automatically stopped her claim because it decided that she had earnt ‘too much’.

This has left her not knowing how she will survive, pay her rent and other bills. Despite Amber Rudds claims no one benefits from claiming universal credit especially working people.

Sadly this woman will never be able to satisfy the universal credit system, nor will anyone that I’ve spoken to today and over the years. It’s an abusive, gaslighting system that wears a person down until they’ve had enough.

It wasn’t long after that I had a conversation with a very vulnerable man and his carer. I’ve seen him having to go into the Jobcentre every week. A government with an ounce of compassion wouldn’t make him or anyone like him sign on. He should be able to enjoy his life instead of worrying all the time.

I then had a conversation with an older man.He quite rightly pointed out that nobody would employ him at his age, and he doesn’t like being harassed by the DWP to find work. He told me that she’s worked since leaving school and has never seen a system like it.

His situation doesn’t end there though, because he’s claiming universal credit he still has to pay the bedroom tax and the council tax supplement. To say that he’s struggling is an understatement, he doesn’t know how much more that he can take.

Roy briefly spoke to a young woman. Her situation is this, her private landlord is selling the house that she’s renting and she’s being forced to move home. When she moves home this will trigger a change of circumstances and she’ll be moved onto universal credit. To say that she’s scared of this happening is an understatement.

Luckily Roy provided some reassuring words and advice. I really hope that she’ll be ok.

I then spoke to an older lady, she told me that she was 65 and had worked for 50 years. She missed out on getting her pension and she’s not entitled to it until March.

During this conversation she told me that she didn’t receive any notification that this would happen to her and she certainly didn’t receive any letters telling her this. She’s doing her best to survive and is a member of the Back To 60 campaign, an important campaign which is overshadowed by the WASPI campaign. Please folks support them both.

Being harassed at 65 years of age by the DWP to find work is not only insulting it’s downright wrong. No one will employ her, it’s hard enough being a young person and finding work how on earth can they expect her to magic up employment that will satisfy the DWP. It’s scandalous and needs to be reported more often.

It was then that we all had a conversation with a chap who’s just returned from living in a different area of the country. He was already claiming universal credit and thought that it would be simple for the DWP to transfer his claim to his present address.

Sadly the DWP don’t believe in doing anything simply though, the system is rigged to make people suffer. He described how he’s now living a ‘nightmare’ and he’s sick of waiting for his commitment appointment with a DWP worker.

Universal credit shouldn’t be complicated after all it was advertised as being simple and easy to use. The reality is that its the most complicated system that many have seen and at times impossible to deal with. Don’t believe the DWP lies and spin.

It was then that I spoke to a young man thats going through a complete nightmare. His situation is this.

He was born in a different country because his mother had gone on holiday and had her baby unexpectedly there. His mother is a British citizen and was born in the Uk as were her parents, grandparents etc etc.

The home office contacted him and told him that he’s no longer a British Citizen, even though his parents are British, and nor is his young child. They informed him that he has to hand their passports in. To say that he’s scared is an understatement, this is his country, his parents country. He works in the UK, paid tax and insurance but now he’s been told that he’s not welcome because he happened to be born unexpectedly in a different country.

Sadly this isn’t uncommon, cases like this happen a lot but are often unreported. No one should have to go through this, but the government doesn’t care.

Luckily we were there to help him and to signpost him. The Windrush scandal isn’t over, they were just warming up. I’m certain that hundreds of people have been forced to leave the UK and to move to a country where they have no connections etc.

It’s scandalous that this is happening in the first place.

I’ll leave this blog with a statement from UN rapporteur Philip Alston, taken from his report that was released this week.

“It might seem to some observers that the department of work and pensions has been tasked with designing a digital and sanitised version of the early 19th century workhouse, made infamous by Charles Dickens”

“Thomas Hobbes observed long ago, such an approach condemns the least well-off to lives that are solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. As the British social contract evaporates, Hobbes prediction risks becoming the new reality.”

I can’t thank Roy and Gordon enough for supporting me today and helping so many people today. We are all doing this on a voluntary basis, because we can see the need and need to address it.

We shall return next week as usual.

Please read, share, tweet, email my blog. For anyone wishing to donate towards keeping my blog going and the campaign there’s a button at the top of this blog and at the side.

You didn’t use the correct words so we didn’t process your request. Universal credit is torturous don’t believe the DWPs propaganda.

Dear readers I hope that you’re all well. This week we had sunshine which was extremely welcome and a nice change from the rain that we appear to have had since the move to the new building.

Today was quite a busy day, lots of people needing help, lots of conversations were had and lots of people were helped.

We handed out lots of leaflets and food parcels to those in need of them we’ve been doing this for around five years, ever since the introduction of universal credit in Tameside. Ashton Under Lyne was chosen to be a trial area so we’ve had a pretty shit time of it.

I was greeted at the Jobcentre by a man that has finally received his first universal credit payment. After paying back his debt for the loans that he had to take out when waiting for his universal credit to be processed he’s left with £231 to live on for the month. His monthly repayments are £86.67, how on earth is anyone supposed to survive on this? The answer is that they can’t. People often apply for loans from loan sharks etc to get them through the month and end up having to use most of their monthly allowance to pay them back.

This isn’t a fair system, nor is it a caring system. It’s designed to punish those that are in need the most. Don’t believe the propaganda from the DWP, the truth is far worse than some people realise.

We need a fair system, one that doesn’t punish a person for being poor. We need a system that enables people to thrive, to care for people.

I had a conversation with a chap that we’ve been talking to every week. He’s a lovely man and always has a smile on his face despite his circumstances.

He told me that he was being hounded via text message by the DWP. They were sending him text messages everyday telling him to phone them up regarding his universal credit claim. When he received a text message from them last week he phoned them and dealt with the matter.

The DWP not content with this have decided to send him text messages everyday asking him to phone them up. Of course this worried him so he telephoned them every time he received a message and every time he was otolaryngologists that they’d sent him the messages by mistake.

Can you imagine how this could send someone over the edge? It can and it does. The DWP need to stop harassing people but of course they won’t because I believe that some of them get a kick out of it.

I spoke to a man wanting to appeal his ESA medical assessment decision. Luckily he’s getting help from Welfare Rights, but no one should ever have to attend these awful assessments.

I then had a conversation with a man that was struggling with paying his council tax. He told me that they (the council) don’t care that he’s struggling they just want his money. Council tax and the council tax supplement is cruel to many, it’s unaffordable to most of the people that I speak to. I really hate this tax along with the bedroom tax. They push people into even more poverty, the bedroom tax is responsible for making thousands of people homeless.

We spoke to a man that was struggling to get his national insurance number from the Jobcentre. He had found some agency work but needed his national insurance number but the Jobcentre said no. Luckily I was able to phone our MPs office (Angela Rayner) on his behalf and they helped him with this, so thank you so much.

Of course this shouldn’t have happened in the first place, but the DWP aren’t renowned for their helpfulness are they.

I then spoke to a woman that was struggling with her claim. She had been advised to telephone the DWP to correct things. She did this and was informed that everything would be ok because she had phoned them. Of course the DWP lied. She asked her advisor why her complaint hadn’t been listened to because she had ‘used the wrong words’.

This is absolutely ridiculous, how on earth was she supposed to know what words to use. It’s obscene that they used this as an excuse not to help her.

We had at least five conversations with people that were focused on how awful the government is, how ‘shit’ the DWP system is, how awful a particular local conservative councillor is.

This is a complete turnaround from even a few months ago. Locally people are frustrated and angry with the government. To be honest judging from todays conversations it wont be long before they reach breaking point, after all there’s only so much abuse that a person can take until they reach breaking point.

We need a Labour government and soon. This has to change, and will change one day. I have to have hope in that to keep me going.

Please read, share rt email my blog if you can.

Many thanks to everyone that reads and supports my blog. Thank you so, so much it means the world. We will be back next week to do the same.

I’m a skint single parent trying to make our world a better place. For anyone wishing to donate there’s a donation button at the side and top of this blog.

I’ll be dead by the time they stop my sickness money. The stark reality of universal credit.

Dear readers, once again I’m sorry for the delay. It’s been a tough month for me so far and I hope that it gets better.

Today’s weather was awful, raining and cold, I even had to go into the market and buy myself a knitted hat. You can bet that many people claiming universal credit are freezing today. Let’s hope that we get some warmer weather soon.

I was met at the food parcel pick up point by two of the people that we help regularly with food parcels. They like to help us with carrying the food parcels which is really kind of them and I also love to see them.

As I approached the Job Centre there was a queue of people waiting for a food parcel, so they were all gone as soon as they arrived.

We are the 5th richest country in the world yet we have thousands and thousands of people are reliant upon food parcels to survive. The money certainly doesn’t trickle down to the poorest does it. It stays it the top.

I had a chat with the regulars all of whom are managing to maintain their accommodation and keep their tenancies and have done for quite a while now. They’re doing so well and I’m extremely proud of them. This is no mean feat believe me, but they’re trying so hard despite the DWP not providing them with enough money to survive on.

They told me that a local organisation is shut for a few weeks for renovation. This has given them some concerns because these organisations keep them going. Anyway, I did my best to cheer them up. Life’s hard when you’re skint.

I spoke to a woman who was rushing to get out of the rain, as I handed her a leaflet she expressed her concerns about her future move onto universal credit. She hasn’t got a clue how she’ll survive. I just hope that our leaflet and words of encouragement help her.

I spoke to a chap thats struggling to cope with life in general. He’s homeless and had to leave a local hostel because someone stole some of his belongings. He’s now got a flat but others are taking advantage of him and his good nature. Luckily his friend has taken him under his wing and will now be doing his best to help him.

It’s a sad reality that many leave hostels etc because they don’t feel safe, preferring life on the street. Without adequate funding etc it’s hard for these organisations to address this.

I spoke to a man that told me that he’s only received one universal credit payment in three months.

He told me that his universal credit payments were being paid into his friends bank account but his friend had died. He then informed the DWP that his friend had died and he informed the DWP that he had a new bank account to put his payments into. Unfortunately the DWP seem to have lost this information so he hasn’t been receiving his payments. I really hope that they sort this out for him asap.

We then spoke to a man suffering from mouth cancer. He hasn’t got a clue what benefit he’s claiming, what he’s entitled to. He was totally confused and shouldn’t have to be going through this in the first place.

We told him to get all of his paperwork together and to got to Citizens Advice for a full benefit check.

How on earth are vulnerable people supposed to survive on a system that actively works against the persons trying to survive on it.

A man as ill as he is shouldn’t have to battle a system such as this, he’s already battling cancer for gods sake. I’m certain that the government want us dead or to disappear. They see us as being worthless of having no value at all, therefore they regard our life’s as such.

I then spoke to a man that had worked all of his life. He told me that this new system baffles and confuses him. He told me that he didn’t have a clue of what benefit he was claiming.

Luckily I was able to help and advise him. My thought was that if we weren’t there what would he have done? It’s both a scary and depressing thought isn’t it.

We then spoke to a woman that walked out of work. She had worked as a support worker and was being forced to work 60 hours a week. She told me that her working conditions were so bad that she had no choice but to leave.

Support workers should be valued not abused. I really hate hearing stories like this, yet there are those that will make as much money as possible from the support worker and their client as possible.

She told me that the DWP keep sending her on ‘stupid courses’ that in her words won’t help her to find a job. She went on to say that she knows how to find a job and these courses are distracting her from doing this.

I spoke briefly to an older man as he was leaving the Jobcentre. I handed him a leaflet and asked him if he was ok. He told me that he was ill, and would most likely be dead before they (the DWP) stop his sickness benefits.

Why on earth should a man so ill be forced to attend Jobcentre appointments? Apparently we’re supposed to live in a ‘civilised’ society. There’s nothing civilised about forcing extremely ill person to attend DWP appointments.

I then spoke to a man claiming universal credit thats been forced to live on £175 a month due loan repayments, council tax and other expenses. Do the maths, thats certainly not enough to survive on is it, yet the Tories reckon that everyone’s better off on universal credit.

I then spoke to two women leaving the Jobcentre. They each took a leaflet and expressed their concerns about being moved onto universal credit in the near future.

I did my best to advise them both and they thanked me.

It worries me that so many people are suffering because of universal credit. I should say most people on universal credit are suffering. Many are hungry, stressed and struggling to get by. Working and not working they’re all in the same boat, struggling to make ends meet, struggling to eat, keep their accommodation and even their children.

More and more children are living in poverty, more than we have known in modern times. It’s no wonder that the amount of children being taken into the care of the local authority because their parents can’t afford to feed their children or maintain a home, indeed keeping a tenancy is too much for many parents.

It has been reported in the news this week that the mothers of newborn babies are abandoning their newborn babies in hospital because they can’t afford to look after them.

This is all happening in a country that used to be looked up to by others as one that looked after the poorest. It certainly isn’t now.

Unfortunately the weather was awful again today so we had to finish early. Hopefully we will have better weather next week.

Thanks to Gordon for helping today you’re a star.

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Refused a food parcel because they’ve had 3 this year.

Dear readers it’s Thursday and it’s blog day. Unfortunately we had to end the demo early because the rain was torrential, however now that I’m home the rain has stopped and the suns shining for a minute. Sod’s law isn’t it.

Whilst I was waiting for Roy and Gordon to drop off the food parcels I was stopped by a man standing behind the bench that I was sitting on. He looked awful, in the midst of addiction and the pain on his face was startling.

He asked me if I’d like to buy an x box game which I declined but told him that he could have a food parcel in a minute. I’m not here to judge him or to question where he got the x box games from, however I am there to at least give him some food and to signpost him which I did.

The sad reality is that incidents like this are common up and down the country. Being street homeless is no fun and it’s made worse if you have an addiction.

The governments answer to this was to restrict funding to rehab places and organisations that they’ve been forced to shut, which in turn puts a lot of pressure upon any remaining services.

Because of this, this chap and many like him fall between the cracks when they’re the ones in most need of support and help. I really hope that he approached the local organisations that I signposted him to.

A similar incident happened the other day whilst I was walking my dog on a field close to my home. A man was sitting in the bushes under a tree, out of the way. He stopped me because he saw my dog and we had a lovely conversation about dogs. I asked him about his situation but he was vague about it, but he did tell me that he was street homeless.

I signposted him to local organisations, which to be fair they most likely already know of him, but because he’s in the midst of addiction he could well be falling in between the cracks or he might have refused help etc.

Once again it’s not for me to judge, but I did signpost him and I gave him some food from my home. I really hope that he’s gone to a local organisation that will help him.

Back to today. Because it was raining we were only able to do a hour but we helped quite a few people within that hour. We also signposted everyone that we spoke to and handed them a food parcel if they needed one.

I had a conversation with a man that I shall call Bill. Bill is currently claiming ESA, although he seemed confused as to what benefit he was claiming. Bills story is this, he’s lost his wallet with his money and bank cards in, he’s also lost his ID and hasn’t got any money at all.

Bill told me that he’s due his payment on Monday and by then he should have his bank card etc and will be able to access his money. In the meantime he’s got no electric and no food.

Bill approached a food bank local to him and asked them if he could have a food parcel. He was refused because he’d already had three. He then panicked and luckily he was told about us.

This made me think. How many people are refused a food parcel after having three? I do know that many food banks use their discretion and give more than three, but this ruling is absolutely terrible. Considering that a claim for universal credit often takes more than five weeks, and appeals regarding ESA and PIP decisions take much longer, saying that three food parcels is enough is obscene.

I do know that many food banks do hand out more than three food parcels, and thank you. You’re saving life’s, helping people to survive an horrific situation.

I then spoke to a young woman, she didn’t need a food parcel but she told me that universal credit is the worst thing thats ever been invented.

She told me how difficult it is for her to manage on universal credit, saying that she tries to budget but she doesn’t have any money to budget with. She’s stressed out, trying to manage on a system that’s totally inadequate for both her and her young sons needs.

We briefly spoke to two young men and we asked them if they’d like a leaflet and a food parcel. They said yes to both and I asked them how they were coping. Their reply was “It’s shit”. Yes it is isn’t it.

We briefly spoke to a woman that needed one of our leaflets for her daughter. She didn’t say why, but hopefully her daughter will get the help that she needs.

I then spoke to a woman that is struggling on universal credit. She has three children and worries about how shes going to feed them. I handed her a leaflet and told her that we are here for her whenever she needs any help.

It was then that the rain got much worse and we had to leave, dashing for shelter to a local coffee shop.

I don’t need to tell you that life shouldn’t be like this. No one should be homeless and living on the streets regardless of addiction or not. Parents shouldn’t have to worry about how they’re going to feed their children and there shouldn’t be a need for food banks.

Please readers, use your vote in the local elections and vote against your local Tory candidate. The less of them that have any power the better. It’s the only way to try and put an end to this cruelty.

I’m so sorry that the blog is short and we left early. The weather was awful and I’m still not 100% over that rotten virus. But we helped lots of people and thats the main thing isn’t it.

Lots of thanks to Roy and Gordon for coming today and bringing the food parcels. Thanks also to all of my blog readers and supporters.

homeless teen Ryan

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Man threatened with eviction by landlord because his rent is a week late due to ESA payment delay.

Dear readers, its Thursday again and blog day. Today’s demo was very productive and many conversations were had and help given even though there was just two of us there today.

We really would like it if more people could join us but I also realise that many can’t for a wide range of reasons. It’s very hard to get the publics support for campaigns like mine because poverty isn’t pretty, poverty is depressing and harsh. It also reminds people that they could too be in the same position at any given moment. It’s a tough one I know but campaigners countrywide would love more support either face to face or online.

I’m still battling a virus and we still haven’t got a date for my dads funeral and I’m still grieving, so please be patient with me I am doing my best in limited circumstances.

Anyway enough about me onto todays demo and conversations. Please note that we gave help, advice and signposting to everyone that needed it, survival guides were handed out and lots of people were helped.

We do this all on a purely voluntary level and we aren’t funded by anyone. We just can’t abide injustice and the causes of poverty and discrimination, too many people are suffering, too many people are dying.

How many more deaths will it take before the public rise up against the causes? My guess is never, the it’s alright Jack attitude runs through our society preventing many from rising up against anything. This was highlighted today by a conversation that I had with a lovely chap this morning. His attitude towards universal credit was that it’s awful but it’s ok and we should just put up with it because everyone is in the same boat so to speak. We need to change this way of thinking and asap.

This morning there was a large queue for food parcels, indeed I had already had phone calls requesting one. As soon as we arrived with the food parcels they left with the people needing them. I’ve found that a lot of people in my area survive on food parcels being given at different places and free or reduced price meals given at various places.

Life shouldn’t be like this should it, surviving on food parcels and scraps of food. But it is, and the fault lies solely at the feet of the Tory Party. I will never, ever forgive them for this, I’ve never forgiven Thatcher either but that’s another story.

After the food parcels were handed out we had conversations with everyone that received one and checked to see if there’s any progress in their situation or if they need any more help and advice. We never let anyone leave without this.

I spoke to an older man that had been promised that he would receive his first universal credit payment in April, he had waited until this week to see if he actually got his payment and surprise surprise he didn’t.

He phoned up the relevant department and asked them where his payment was. The DWPs reply was cold and uncaring. No apology was made and he was told that he shouldn’t have been told this and he’ll just have to wait like everyone else.

His comment to me was “What am I supposed to do now? How am I supposed to survive now? They just don’t care do they”. Damn right they don’t.

I spoke to a man that was struggling trying to find access to the internet and was forced to just use the Jobcentres computers. I advised him to use the library’s free internet and computers, and also the free WiFi as Ikea etc. He was happy to know this and thanked me.

I briefly spoke to a woman that has very limited eyesight due to cataracts. she told me that she’s struggling with the new building because of the lack of signage etc. Lets hope that this is rectified soon.

We then spoke to a man whom I shall call Bob. This is his story, it might sound familiar to you.

Bob was due his ESA payment on the 16th of April but due to a doctors mistake Bob didn’t receive his payment. Bob enquired as to why he didn’t receive his payment and he was told to hand in another sick note, which he did.

Because of the above Bob was a week late paying his rent, his landlord is already threatening to ‘throw him out’ of his home even though legally he can’t do this. This obviously upset Bob because he had been street homeless for many years and he doesn’t want to have to go through that again. We advised him to the best of our abilities and signposted him.

Bob went on to tell us that his brother had previously won his ESA appeal, even though he had lung cancer and shouldn’t have been made to undergo one of these fake medical assessments. I call them fake because they more or less fail everyone and most people have to appeal this decision.

Bob went on to tell us that his brother recently died in February. He wasn’t even allowed to spend his last days peacefully because he had the DWP asking him to go for medical assessments.

Shame on each and every one of these highly paid so called medical professionals that fail obviously ill and disabled people. One day justice will come knocking at your doors and we’ll be waiting.

I then spoke to a man that said that because everyone’s being treated badly it’s ok because we’re all in the same boat so to speak. My answer was that it’s not ok, it’ll never be ok and it should never be accepted.

We spoke to a man that was given a 166 day sanction because he had attended a work trial organised by the DWP at the same time as his signing on appointment. He had informed his advisor etc, claimed bus fares etc to attend this work trial but he was still sanctioned for apparently not telling his advisor when he did.

You really couldn’t make up this could you. It’s downright persecution of the poorest because many feel that they cant fight back.

We signposted him to our local MPs office who will be able to help him with this.

We spoke to a man that told us that he had just signed off because he’d found himself a full time job, a rarity these days. We congratulated him and his smile said it all.

As he was leaving he said that he’d never sign up for that (universal credit) again. Can you blame him, I don’t. Many people choose to take themselves off the system because they can’t cope with it. Many of these people are street homeless struggling to survive.

There is a direct connection to street homelessness and universal credit and this needs to be reported more widely.

I briefly spoke to an older woman whom I shall name Joan as she was walking into the Jobcentre. She told me that she hates it in the Jobcentre because they always make her feel like shes done something wrong.

Joan has been sanctioned because she was in hospital and missed her signing on appointment. She has never been told the length of her sanction and wasn’t told that she can appeal this also.

We advised her, and signposted her to our local MPs office who will treat her with dignity and respect and hopefully overturn the sanction for her.

My heart goes out to each and every person that has been sanctioned, failed ridiculous so called medical assessment, has an awful landlord, cant manage on universal credit, can’t feed themselves or their children. It’s a long list isn’t it and I could go on for forever but you get the idea.

This state sanctioned abuse of the poor and disabled needs to stop and soon. Far too many people are dying, too many people are suffering.

I just wish that more people would realise that this could happen to them at any given time. Society needs to be more compassionate towards each other. It’s not a crime to be poor, but it is a crime to abuse those that are poor.

This all happened in less than two hours, and it was a quiet morning. Can you imagine how awful it is across the country? It’s much worse than the public and some politicians realise.

Please read, share, email and tweet my blog. It’s so important to get the word out there.

Many thanks to Roy for helping me this morning. I really appreciate this, I just wish that more people would join us.

I’m struggling at the moment, financially and physically. I know that this will pass, but each and every share of this blog helps thank you. I’m a skint single parent just trying my best to raise awareness and to correct the wrongs of the DWP.

You’re not working enough hours, you need to tell your employer to give you more hours. You’ve got a week to do this. The DWP really hate so called under employed people. Thank

Dear readers it’s Thursday again and luckily this week the weather was good. Yippee I thought, then I saw the already formed queue for the food parcels. I was also met by a German television film crew that had arranged to film us today.

You might ask why would a German television crew want to film us. The answer is this, they really can’t believe how the government is treating the poorest and most vulnerable, especially as the UK was previously known to them for being kind to people, and we had a good social security system. I can imagine that viewers will be shocked to see the truth.

As soon as the food parcels arrived they were taken by those needing one. They keep people going, help to prevent people from literally starving. I’ve no doubt that our advice, help, signposting and food parcels have saved life’s. Never underestimate the difference that you can make to a persons life by just being a friend.

I’ll list some of the conversations that I had with people today. As usual I wont use real names etc because of the very real repercussions from the DWP. This is a fear based upon facts. People are often targeted by the DWP for talking to people like ourselves.

I spoke to Ben. Ben is a young man and his situation is quite complex. Recently Ben had spent six days in prison and hadn’t realised that because of this and not being able to conduct a job search whilst in prison that his payments would be stopped.

As a result he’s now left with no money and has had to start again with his claim.

Most of the people that I speak to haven’t a clue what their legal rights are regarding the DWP. They also don’t know what they’re entitled to claim either and no DWP representative is in a rush to help with this either. Don’t fall for the lies spun by Amber Rudd, not one truthful word is uttered from her mean mouth.

Lets also not forget that government officials have sat on a report for eighteen months that said that universal credit was detrimental to claimants wellbeing. It also showed that people are worse off when claiming universal credit.

You might ask why they sat on this report for eighteen months and the answer is simple. The government wanted to continue with the roll out of universal credit regardless, knowingly ignoring the risk to the wellbeing of thousands and eventually millions of people. If the report had been disclosed then the rollout would have probably been halted. Simple really.

I spoke to an older man that is shocked that people are needing food parcels in 2019, stating that there shouldn’t be the need for them. He went on to say that he’s claiming universal credit and isn’t finding the process welcoming at all, saying that they (DWP staff) like to let you know that they’re in charge.

I asked a woman leaving the Jobcentre how it was going for her. Her reply was ‘It’s shit”.

I spoke to a man that spoke poor English. He had worked as a translator in Afghanistan and has lived in this country for a while. He didn’t understand that because his circumstances had changed he was now being made to apply for universal credit. He’s now been waiting seven weeks for a payment. He’s feeling upset, depressed and confused.

I spoke to Simon. Simon has been waiting for seven weeks for his first universal credit payment. He’s a fully qualified plumber and is looking for work as a plumber.

Simon told me that the only jobs available at the moment are jobs with agency’s that don’t pay a decent wage, have no reliable hours and he has to pay the agency £17 a week for them to send him any payments owed.

The DWPs answer was this… They sent him to B&Q to work for nothing for 16 hours a week. I’d love to know how much B&Q actually make out of working with the DWP. They’ve been doing it for years now. Everyone deserves a decent days pay for a days work.

I then spoke to Rob. Rob told me that he’s been sanctioned for not attending an appointment in February that he didn’t know about. He had checked his online account and any post arriving at his home. Rob wonders if his online account had been hacked or something. Theres a high possibility that the DWP didn’t even issue an appointment in the first place. Before anyone says it, yes I know that this happens all the time, I’ve been helping people regarding so called missing appointments for years. Please see earlier blogs.

I spoke to a woman with various illnesses and conditions. She uses a crutch to get around and really can’t cope with the DWP at the moment. Her situation is this.

Jenny moved into her partners home five months ago. Jenny informed the DWP eleven times via her online journal and face to face appointments that she had moved in with her partner. The DWP have now decided to stop her payments making her reliant upon her partner. To make matters worse the DWP are accusing her of committing benefit fraud when she had clearly told them.

I helped and advised her the best that I could. Now because of the inability of the DWP to do anything right she’s being punished. It’s easier to bully a disabled woman than to admit that they’re wrong isn’t it.

I spoke to a lovely chap thats trying to start his own business up making wooden jewellery. He’s happy at the moment but he won’t be after a year when he’s expected to meet the minimum income floor.

We then spoke to a chap thats already working part time doing a manual job. He likes his job however they’ve only offered him part time hours.

Today at his signing on appointment he was told that it’s his fault that he isn’t working more hours and he’s got a week to convince his employer to give him more hours. If he doesn’t then they’ll start asking him more to find more work.

It’s absolutely ridiculous to expect and employee to do this. If there were more hours at work he would be working them. This is what the DWP call being ‘Under employed’. The DWP are never happy with anyone even those working. It’s absolutely disgusting that people are being treated in this way, its sickening.

On days like this the words ‘By gods grace go I’ Meaning that I’m lucky at the moment, I’m not being harassed by the DWP at the moment but my time will come very soon and I’m dreading it.

Everyone that I spoke to today either was given a food parcel, given advice, signposting etc etc. No one left without receiving any help. We work hard to help people, because both we and I believe that EVERYONE is important, everyone deserves a decent quality of life, to be able to eat and keep warm should never be seen as a luxury. Everyone deserves a place to call home and to be safe. Sadly for thousands this isn’t the case.

As you might know the local elections are coming up very soon. Please use your vote and vote the Tories out. Use your vote wisely because the only way to stop this is to vote them out.

Please read, share, email and tweet my blog. For those that already do this thank you!

For everyone that supports the campaign and blog thank you very much. I’m a skint single parent just trying to do my best to change things and to help people.

I apologise for any quietness lately, due to my father dying I’ve been a bit distracted. I’ll be back to normal soon enough.

My sons five in Jun, they’re going to move me over to Universal Credit. I’m scared.

Dear readers, once again I have to apologise for the blog being published late. My father died late last week and I’m still trying to get my head round it. Anyway, like I have said before it’s not about me is it.

The weather today was surprisingly good, the sun was shining and it was reasonably warm. We didn’t get hassled by any officials either an added bonus.

As usual the food parcels went straight away, one of the men that took one told me that I was the only person that he’s spoken to all week. Poverty is extremely isolating.

We gave everyone that we spoke to a copy of our survival guide, we  signposted people, advised people and spoke to almost everyone that passed us to go into the Jobcentre.

 

The first Person that I spoke to was a man that we see regularly because he needs a food parcel and general help from us. He told us of his experience in the Jobcentre this week.

Whist he was in the Jobcentre looking for work on one of the screens that they provide. According to him a security guard stood behind him and told him to leave the building because he’s a protester.

If his account is correct, the G4S security guard should not have done this. He isn’t a protester, he receives food parcels and advice from us. He will be making a complaint to both G4S and the DWP.

I spoke to a vulnerable disabled man, he told by a DWP advisor that he couldn’t claim both universal credit and PIP, so he hadn’t had any money for quite a while. He’s now in rent arrears etc. Luckily now he’s successfully applied for universal credit and PIP after being advised to do so by another advisor. Honestly you couldn’t make this up could you.

How on earth are claimants supposed to navigate the system when their advisors often don’t know what they’re doing? They aren’t are they, they want us to go away, disappear or die, it’d suit them because the employment levels will be lower.

The DWP regard every claimant as a commodity to be sold to the highest bidder eg, workfare positions with various companies and organisations or sent on rubbish courses that do nothing to improve a persons life.

The DWP and the organisations and companies profit highly from this whilst claimants are left with hardly anything and many are reliant upon food parcels and the kindness of friends. Atrocious isn’t it.

I spoke to a man that needed a food parcel. He told me that he had some problems whilst telephone the ESA department. The first time that he telephone them he waited for 45 minutes to get an answer only to be told that the computers were down and they couldn’t help.

The second time that he telephoned them he waited another 45 minutes until he got an answer. Whilst I appreciate that people often wait a lot longer than that but it’s totally off putting for the person telephoning. Maybe that’s part of the plan, make them wait a long time to put them off making a claim etc. Who knows but I know what I think, you’re probably thinking the same thing.

I then spoke to an older man that looked annoyed. He took a leaflet and I asked him if he was ok. His reply was that he was sick of being treated like crap. His story is this.

Having worked for all of his adult life, his last job was as a hob carrier and he had worked for the same company for 25 years. Unfortunately he contracted TB, and a few weeks later he had a bad fall and broke his arm badly. He now finds himself at the mercy of universal credit and he’s trying to understand the system but is confused at the same time.

Because he’s now claiming universal credit the DWP are keen on sending him to different courses, the latest one being a fork lift carrier course to teach him how to drive one etc. Although he’s looking forward to this he still has to run around trying to get proof of how much the bus fare will be to get to Oldham where the course is being held. It’s ridiculous.

Due to the wait for universal credit he’s now in arrears with his mortgage and is scared that he’s going to loose his house. He told me that he’s scared, that he might be loosing everything that he’s worked for. A sad reality for many in his position.

I spoke to a woman that was attending the Jobcentre with her two children. Her youngest son has just been diagnosed with Autism. The DWP have told her that as soon as her son is five in June they’ll be moving her onto universal credit. She told me how scared she is, that she’s worried about her children, will she be able to feed them adequately etc. Having children and claiming universal credit is scary.

I advised her and told her what she could claim for her son etc and she took a leaflet.

No one should be scared like this woman, but most of the people that I speak to are scared because their futures are unpredictable, they don’t know what sort of hell is around the corner waiting for them.

We spoke to a woman thats recovering from breast cancer and other illnesses as a result of the cancer and the treatment.

Her story is this, she suffers from extreme tiredness, she missed two phone calls from the DWP because she was asleep. She doesn’t choose to fall asleep, she tried to stay awake but she couldn’t do it.

As soon as she was able to she contacted the DWP and asked them if she would receive a payment this week. She was told that she will but she’ll have to repay the DWP back.

Unbelievable isn’t it. A woman who’s been extremely ill isn’t given any support or sympathy. Basically she’s been left to her own devices and she didn’t know what to do.

No one should be treated like this. A caring government would let her rest and make a good recovery, instead she’s neglected and shunned. Disgusting.

I spoke to a woman that noted that she’s always waiting ages for an answer when phoning the DWP. Quite rightly she said that not everyone has a mobile phone and the DWP should understand this. They don’t and they have no intention of being understanding, its not in their remit is it.

I spoke to a woman that needed a form printing for the DWP. The DWP refused to print it for her telling her to go elsewhere. Typical treatment by the DWP.

We spoke to a woman who had waited for 13 weeks for her universal credit claim to be processed. She had been working for a local travel company that had gone bust, ceased trading. She was owed £1000 by her ex employer and the DWP wanted her to get the monies owed straight away. That might be easy to say but her previous employer is refusing to pay her so she’s taking them to the small claims court to try and recover the monies owed to her.

Thankfully she’s now receiving her universal credit payments but it’s left her stressed and in debt.

I spoke to an older man that told me in his opinion the people that designed universal credit should be forced to claim it for a long period of time. They should suffer like he is he said.

This all happened in the space of two hours folks, this will also be happening up and down the country as I type this. Please be a friend to someone it could be the difference between life and death.

Many thanks to Roy and Gordon for all of their help today.

Many thanks to all my readers and supporters of this campaign both online and in person.

Please read, share and talk about my blog because whilst Brexit is still the main topic of conversation people are still suffering and dying.

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£220 a month to live on with children to feed. Universal credit literally starves people into submission.

Dear readers. Today was another interesting morning outside the new Jobcentre.

As soon as I arrived I was immediately met by yet another person from the council. That’s three different people in three weeks, they must be desperate to get rid of us.

To put it bluntly we’ve been doing these protests for over five years now. Not one council official or employee has ever approached us with offers of ‘help’ or suggestions of how we should do things. No concern was ever shown for the claimants that we’re helping except concern and help from local councillors and two MPS that have helped us.

Now I’m being met by differing officials all of whom are offering me the same thing. A room inside the council building on a Thursday at the same time as the demos. Although one of these people actually suggested a different day.

Whilst I’m interested in some of the suggestions that they’ve made they can’t and won’t whitewash us away because the DWP now share the same building as the council. They should have thought about this when the plans were being drawn up.

The employees that have been sent out to talk to us appear to have no idea that we are a high profile campaign and have a very large support base, and anyway I’m used to having to be able to stand my ground.

In simple terms I won’t be bought off.

Ok back to today. Once again because an official decided that they wanted to speak to me again I was taken away from being able to help people. I’m not sure that this is their intention, but wether it is or not I’m getting rather annoyed with it. At least members of the team were able to hand the food parcels out. Next week I refuse to be distracted by anyone.

All the food parcels were handed out within 20 minutes and everyone that needed help was signposted and/or helped.

As well as helping people we’re also there to protest against the inhumanity of universal credit. Quite simply it isn’t fit for purpose and people are dying as a result.

We spoke to many people and had some very interesting conversations with people. Here’s a run down of the conversations that we had today.

We spoke to a woman who told us about her experience of the DWP. Her story is this.

Last year she had an advisor that wasn’t being nice to her (sadly that’s not unusual), so she asked if she could change her advisor and requested to be treated with some dignity. Her request was denied and her advisor sent for two security guards to escort her from the building.

Yep a simple request denied and a vulnerable person treated as though they’re a criminal. Don’t fall for the rubbish that comes out of Amber Rudds mouth. Jobcentres are generally hostile environments.

I spoke to a man who is now relying on food banks and our food parcels to survive. He’s worked all of his adult life until now because his health isn’t good.

I like to chat with him because we’re most likely the only people that he sees and has a good chat with. When I looked at him I could see that he’s so fed up of the system because he’s just about surviving.

I then had a chat with a lovely woman and her friend. She told me that she’s always worked until now because she’s been ill and is now unable to work. She started to claim universal credit in September and every month she has to chase up the rent element of her universal credit. Every month the DWP underpays her.

As well as having to chase up payments she’s also stuck in the cycle of repaying back the loan that she was forced to take when she applied for universal credit and on top of this she has to pay back an overpayment from her previous tax credit claim.

She’s broke, is fed up and told me that both herself and her younger children are having to survive on £220 a month and that’s before she’s bought her gas and electric for the week.

Could you survive on this? Would it make you feel eager to find a job even though you might be unable to. I know that having to survive on such a low amount of money certainly doesn’t incentivise you into finding work. Instead it makes you hungry, driven by hunger and finding food takes over every other single thought in your head.

This is why so many give up, why many people die early and why some disabilities become worse.

As I type this around 3.7 million children are living in absolute poverty in the uk. That’s 3.7 million children that are hungry, that need the basics of life. much like this woman and her children. Why the government is being allowed to get away with this is beyond me, but hey the news will be taken over by Brexit.

Most of the people that I speak to couldn’t care less about Brexit because they’re hungry. That’s the most important thing for them. The reality is that not many of these children and their parents will ever be taken out of the circle of poverty that they’re now stuck in.

I asked the lady how was she surviving. She told me that it’s the kindness of friends that’s keeping her going. A sad reality for many.

I spoke to a woman needing some advice for their friend who’s now having to go through the whole ESA and PIP application system. It’s a nightmare and made as such to stop people from making a claim.

I spoke to a woman who had always worked until she became ill and had to have half of her bowel removed. If that wasn’t bad enough shes also broke her arm.

I asked her what would she like to do with her life in the future. She told me that she’d like to return to work but doubts if she would be able to for a long time.

I asked her if the DWP are treating her well and she told me that they weren’t because they don’t treat anyone well, saying that the whole system is awful and needs to be replaced. Of course she’s correct.

She’s also repaying her DWP loan back and a previous tax credit debt. I advised her and signposted her for help with these matters.

I spoke to a young man who’s being continually sent on the pointless DWP courses that they like to send people on. So far he’s been sent to a few of these courses.

It’s pointless he told me. They send me miles away and they’re supposed to reimbursement for my transport costs. I’ve asked for my fares to be paid this week and the company that I was sent to have refused to repay him.

This poor chap survives on £55 a week, out of this he has to get gas, electric, food pay the council tax supplement etc. He told me that he won’t be able to buy as much food as he would like to.

£55 a week is the cost of a breakfast and a few drinks to some Tory politicians. It’s absolutely disgraceful that we are supposed to survive on such low amounts of money.

This all happened within two hours outside one Jobcentre. People are suffering like never before but Brexit is taking over the news.

How long are we expected to survive like this? I’m certain that they want to kill us off slowly, because that’s exactly what it feels like.

We will be back next week, please come and join us we really need your support at the moment. If you can’t join us then please support us online. Thank you!!

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog. Help your neighbour and be a friend to others. So many people are suffering in silence, too proud to ask for help.

I don’t receive any funding for the work that I do or for the blog. I can’t stand injustice, unfairness and suffering and this is why I do what I do. I’m a skint single parent just trying to make a difference.

For anyone wishing to donate there’s buttons at the top and side of this blog.

They want to move us. Sanctioned for two months I’m going to lose my home.

Dear readers, its Thursday again at least it wasn’t raining this week. Today’s demo was a tad different and I’ll explain below.

All of the food parcels were handed out to people that really need them, it’s heartbreaking to see new faces waiting for us to arrive with them, and it’s going to become much, much worse.

We also signposted everyone that needed help.

Universal credit and Brexit are going to cause the perfect storm for the DWP. They’ll be more people for them to persecute, and we all know how much they like to do that don’t we.

As I arrived at our new spot a policeman cross council worker was waiting for me. He was polite and told us that he had been told to tell us that we have to move to another proposed spot…. ROUND THE CORNER WHERE NO ONE CAN SEE US.

Not only is that proposal ridiculous it will prevent us from helping people. We are now in negotiations with this chap. I’ve made it very clear that I’m not interested in going round the corner.

Having to deal with these negotiations took me away from helping people, now that did upset me and I will endeavour not to let anyone down next week.

For a start we aren’t trouble causers, we help people. Nor are we a dirty little secret that has to be hidden away out of sight and sound of anyone.

I was expecting this, so I’m not one bit surprised, like I’ve said before it’s going to be like starting all over again and we need your support. If anyone would like to join us one week to show solidarity we would welcome you with open arms.

Anyway back to the important stuff.

The mood of the claimants wasn’t good today, everyone that we spoke to seemed either depressed and annoyed usually a mixture of both.

I spoke to Sam when he was walking out of the Jobcentre. He took a leaflet and asked for my help. Sams story is this.

Sam has substance abuse issues and he’s trying his best to get clean.

Sam had just had a spell in hospital, he was released yesterday and he showed me his hospital wristband.

Sam was moved onto universal credit and he struggled to keep with the DWPS demands. The DWP don’t give a toss that he’s trying to recover from addiction and that this can take a long time.

Sam is now waiting for his eviction letter from his landlord. He’s being evicted because he couldn’t keep up with the rent payments due to the long wait for his universal credit claim to be processed.

Sam will soon be street homeless and will be classed as making himself intentionally homeless by the local authority even though he didn’t choose to be moved onto universal credit and he couldn’t borrow any money from family etc.

As a result the local authority could wash their hands of him, they might not and I hope to god that he gets some support because being street homeless would be awful for him.

I then spoke to David. Davids story is this.

David had been laid off in January so he made a claim for universal credit.

David was paid a Christmas bonus that he wasn’t expecting to receive just after he had made his application for universal credit.

The DWP saw this as a wage and stopped his claim for universal credit.

Sam spent all of the Christmas bonus money on vet fees for his dog that had to be put to sleep.

Sam then had to start the application process all over again.

Sam has been without money from December to February.

He’s worried that he’s going to become homeless and that he’s going to loose everything that he has.

The DWP don’t care though because they’re paid not to care. As it stands Sam will become yet another statistic, not a name, not a person but a number.

I then spoke to Jim. Jims story is this.

Jims working now but he had been unemployed for a period of 14 months not long ago. He was made redundant from his job of 30 years.

Jim told me that he was treated terribly, spoken to like dirt and was mandated to undergo workfare (work for nothing) at a local Barnados charity shop.

Jim worked long hours there, and when it was time for him to finish his time there he was told to not put this experience on his CV. Baffled by this response he ignored them and put it on his CV.

He told me that he thought that all this was a sick game that they’re playing with everyone. ‘They know that there’s no jobs, but they keep sending people on these crap courses which degrade us. They just like people like me to suffer’

That’s the truth of it isn’t it.

Jim told me that it was the worst experience of his life and that he never wanted to go through it again, stating that no one deserves to be treated with such disrespect.

Luckily Jim now has a job, he wanted to have a chat with us to tell us about how he felt, how he was treated because it still affects him now, saying that the whole experience had scared him for life.

A man walked past and shouted that he agrees with everything that we’re doing and to keep up the good work.

We then spoke to an older man who had been claiming Severe Disability Payments. Basically he’s in poor health and certainly isn’t fit for work.

All was going ok until he asked for his PIP payments to be increased due to needing a mobility scooter to get around.

They refused, sent him for a medical assessment and his Severe Disability Payments were also stopped.

He’s now been without money for 13 weeks.

A very vulnerable disabled man has been without any money for 13 weeks.

We signposted and helped him as much as we possibly could, but it left me feeling sick in my stomach. Before anyone says that thousands of people are suffering just like this man is, I already know this. I speak to people in this position all the time.

Some days I get upset, but I’m human with a heart and compassion something that the DWP don’t have.

This happened within 2 hours, hopefully I won’t be distracted next week as I was today. Can you imagine how many people are suffering at the hands of the DWP?

Thousands upon thousands are, thousands are homeless, hungry and scared because of universal credit. It’s not acceptable to treat people like this.

Please spare them a thought.

We will be returning next week.

Photograph taken at the old Jobcentre.

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I’ve lost everything because of universal credit.

Wow, what a palaver it was last week, an extremely bad bout of rain and the hassle from the new Tameside One staff and security. It’s mind boggling that they wanted to move us when all we are doing is helping people, feeding people and signposting them.

I was expecting a repeat of last weeks performance today, but it didn’t happen, however I’ve heard from a reliable source that they’re trying to find a way of getting rid of us, to move us on.

So here’s the deal. We help people, feed people, give people advice and have literally saved life’s.

We’re extremely peaceful, so much so that we’ve gained the respect of the local police force mainly because we help vulnerable people and prevent people from taking other options to feed themselves. Why? Because we feed them. Simple.

How anyone can take offence to this is beyond me, we do important community work.

If they do try to go down the injunction route I’ll let you know, and it will be reported in the press.

I was dreading today, not because of the hassle but because of storm Gareth. It’s here, it’s very windy and the rain has been torrential. It’s no fun standing outside in that.

We were lucky today because the rain actually stopped for most of the time so we didn’t get too wet. Imagine how awful it is for homeless people in this weather.

Luckily the locals are now aware of where we actually are so it was a lot less hectic than last week.

We handed the food parcels out and as usual there was a bit of a queue for them but they were glad to see us, as were we glad to see them. I like to know that they’re ok because they’re vulnerable people and need support.

Jenny walked towards me, she looked upset and in shock. She told me that she’s failed her PIP assessment and she doesn’t know how she’s going to survive. I advised her and gave her a food parcel, but I don’t have a magic wand even though I wish that I did.

People with disabilities are horrendously targeted at by the government. I have a theory that they want them to die. What other reason would there be for being as cruel as they are. After all they’re vulnerable people who cannot work due to disabilities.

Their doctors and consultants have diagnosed them and have informed them that they’re not fit enough to work but a physiotherapist who’s paid a large sum of money can diagnose them as being fit for work.

Their disabilities have suddenly been magicked away by the gods of Atos and Maximus.

Personally I believe that these assessors should all be made to pay for the damage that they’ve done, the people they’ve destroyed and the deaths they’ve caused. I also believe that these assessments should be stopped. We need to stop this downright persecution of the disabled community.

I then noticed Tom walking towards the Jobcentre, he was struggling up the steps. As he approached the Jobcentre I asked him if he’d like one of our leaflets, he said yes he did.

I helped and advised him and I also signposted him. He looked so downtrodden and depressed. This is exactly what the government wants though.

I then spoke to Sally. As I handed Sally a leaflet she told me that she’s lost everything because of universal credit. She struggles to eat, she’s sold anything of any value and she can’t afford to heat her home.

This is the reality of life whilst claiming universal credit. My heart went out to her, my god I want the government to pay for what they’ve done to people.

I then spoke to June. June cares for her husband who has brain cancer. He’s not going to get better but he recently failed his PIP assessment.

Yes folks because he can move he failed his PIP examination. They forget about the excruciating pain that he’s in, the side effects of the medication that he’s taken which render him unable to do most tasks. Disgusting.

When a person is seriously ill like this, they don’t want to be worrying about the DWP, they shouldn’t have this stress forced upon them. Many go to their graves worrying about the DWP and having no money, food etc etc.

Seriously this is about as cruel as it gets. We’ll soon have mass paupers graves again because we can’t afford funerals or burials.

Rhona and Sheila then arrived. Rhona had travelled all the way from London to help us. Thank you so much for doing this, you helped so many people today!!

I then spotted Jane walking to the Jobcentre, Jane told me that she’s failed her PIP assessment and she didn’t know what to do. I helped and advised her and also signposted her. Heartbreaking stuff.

I spotted Keith because he was hanging around the area outside the Jobcentre with his friend, he told me that he’s been sanctioned because he didn’t attend a group session arranged by the DWP. Keith will appeal this decision though because he had a good reason as to why he couldn’t attend.

A man walked out of the Jobcentre and shouted ‘Twats’ as he was leaving.

People can be critical at others who shout or get aggressive when the DWP treats them badly. Remember they’re probably upset because they’ve lost everything, they’re upset and are vulnerable. Instead of criticising they need to find out the reason why they’re upset.

I spotted two familiar faces standing outside the Jobcentre, they looked confused and slightly annoyed. I asked them what the problem was and they then told me.

‘My money’s been stopped because I’ve had to change my bank account, I’m not going to be able to survive this week because it’s going to take them ages to sort it out’

‘I might keel over and die, that lot don’t give a shit’

We had a good chat and I signposted him. His key worker is going to phone the DWP up for him. Rhona also helped him. Thank you so much!!

We spoke to a lovely couple who are appealing a failed ESA assessment. They asked if we knew how long that it’ll take for the appeal to be processed and they were shocked when I replied that it could be longer than a year.

Luckily they’re seeking advice from our local CAB office, but they thanked us for our leaflets and said that it was very useful.

Myself Dave and Rhona had a brief conversation with a man who was waiting for his universal credit claim to be processed.

Jim had been caring for his mum for 15 years, his mum had sadly died so he had to start claiming universal credit.

Jim had walked miles in the rain to get a food bank voucher from the council offices. He was freezing cold and wet through. I advised him and told him that there’s a brilliant food bank in Mossley.

I also advised him and Rhona helped him out.

This all happened within two hours, so many vulnerable people aren’t getting any support, most have to go without meals, many are without a home.

Quite frankly this government makes me feel sick with rage. No one should be treated like this, there’s no excuse. But hey the Tories hate poor disabled people because they see us as a burden. We are anything but that.

Thank you so much everyone for turning up and helping today. I was amazed at how many people, local councillors included turned up to show their support. Jan even brought us some chocolates. It means so much to me, having their support.

It goes without saying that the DWP weren’t impressed by our presence neither was the manager of the building. If they’re reading this then know that we are peaceful and we didn’t obstruct any area nor did we harass anyone.

Our demo was witnessed by others and it’s peaceful as always.

Safe journey home Rhona thank you so much!!

We’ll be back next week.

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Many thanks to those that subscribe, read and share my blog. Thank you to all the other campaigners also fighting for change either online or on foot.

I’m a single parent just trying to do my best to help others. I don’t get paid for anything that I do. There’s a donate button at the side and the top, every penny helps!

A massive thanks to everyone that came along today to help and to everyone that supports my blog. Thank you!!

30 week pregnant woman told to look for work and new Jobcentre debacles.

Dear readers,

Today was the first day of protesting outside the new Jobcentre. Access to this Jobcentre is either up the stairs pictured below or in a small lift in the library pictured below.

Basically you’re stuffed if you’re claustrophobic and unable to climb stairs as well. Will the DWP be understanding of this… Time will tell.

We arrived as normal at 10am outside the new Jobcentre. It was pouring down with rain which didn’t help things either.

The minute that we arrived the police arrived, they must have been waiting for us. At first they were quite happy for us to stand outside the Jobcentre in the plaza area because it had been deemed a public place, however a member of the local authority decided differently. We were told that we had to stand in the area near the steps downstairs.

Flaming ridiculous. Of course that the Jobcentre don’t want us there so they’ve probably had words with someone, you know how these things go. Despite this’ll we will be back outside the Jobcentre next week.

We help people, hand food parcels out and support people… All things that the DWP should do. Whilst we were there local councillors who were standing with us weren’t impressed with us being moved. Believe me we will be back.

Today was hectic because the weather was awful and we’re trying to get used to our new spot.

There’s no signage up for the Jobcentre or the library either, its a fancy glass building and I like the library but there does need to be signs outside also.

Another matter of concern that was brought to me by a member of the public was that there’s no privacy near the computers and DWP staff were milling round the library and looking at what people were doing.

Lovely. A library is supposed to be a place of sanctuary.

We directed lots of people to the Jobcentre because they didn’t know where it was because of the lack of signage and we still spoke to people and handed food parcels out to those needing one.

I spoke to a heavily pregnant woman whos 30 weeks pregnant. Shes just made a claim for universal credit and has been told that she has to make a new cv and look for work.

What planet exactly do these DWP advisors live on? No one will employ a woman thats pregnant even more so heavily pregnant. The DWPs attitude towards pregnant women makes me feel sick.

Throughout the demo I was concerned and still are concerned about access to the Jobcentre for disabled people that can’t use lifts or stairs. What’s going to happen to them if they can’t attend their appointment? This needs addressing ASAP.

Because the weather was awful, the rain didn’t stop and we were freezing cold we left a bit early. I’m so sorry but we were freezing and wet through.

We handed out all of our food parcels and helped people. Next week we will help even more.

Massive thanks to everyone that turned up to help in this dreadful weather. I really do appreciate it thank you so much.

Thanks to everyone who reads wnd shares my blog, thank you so much ❤️.

Also thanks to everyone that supports my blog and the campaign. Thank you so much. I’m a skint single parent just trying my best to help people and to raise awareness of the suffering of others.

My baby died and they won’t help with the funeral costs.

Dear readers, yes its Thursday again, this week was the last week that we’re going to be stood outside the old Ashton Jobcentre. Don’t fear though my friends, we’re moving to where the new Jobcentre will be which is the new Tameside One building where some of the local council will be based, the library and Welfare Rights. Because the Jobcentre is inside the new building and up a floor we can only stand outside on the ground floor where the public entrance is. Ah well, you win some and you loose some.

I wonder if the market manager will be reporting me to Interpol again for standing near Ashton market, that was extremely funny.

Today was a tad slow probably because the Jobcentre is closing tomorrow ready for the move to the new building. This didn’t stop the need for food parcels and need for help and advice.

As I arrived at the Jobcentre Roy was waiting for me with a few people that needed food parcels. I must note that I was on time but I had to get a coffee because it’s chilly again up north. I’ll list some of the conversations as I usually do, and I’ll use pseudo names to respect a persons privacy.

 

I spotted Dave as he was running into the Jobcentre, he hurriedly told me that he’d been sanctioned but he didn’t know why. He also hadn’t received any letter etc to confirm this. Needless to say that this is pretty standard, the DWP send most letters out second class and they don’t rush to post them either. I gave him some advice and handed him a food parcel upon his exit.

 

Jim stopped to chat to me as he was leaving the Jobcentre. Jims story is this, he had a heart attack a few weeks ago and he’s attempting to make a claim for universal credit whilst he can’t work. He wasn’t sure how long that it would take for him to receive a payment so I told him. Jim was surprised that it would take at. Least five weeks and he now hopes that he’ll be back in work before then. Nice one DWP, don’t you have any idea of how serious a heart attack can be? Callous is one of the words that I like to use for incidents like this.

 

I spoke to a young man who attends a local organisation called ‘Roots to work’. Roots to work sound very much like a work programme place where attendance is mandatory or else expect a sanction. I prefer to call them hell holes or sweat shops of struggle, pain, embarrassment and struggle. I’m sure that they’ll disagree with my opinion, but having experienced these places myself I know what I saw and experienced.

One day not long ago some DWP representatives marched into Roots To Work and informed him that he wouldn’t be able to claim ESA for much longer and he’s going to be transferred over to universal credit in the near future.

This is correct but they didn’t inform him that he would be eligible to claim the disability element of universal credit, so I informed him of this. What a surprise the DWP being selective in what they say to people. Their very presence set him into a state of panic.

 

I then spoke to Gill, a young woman who visibly looked upset. I asked Gill if I could help her. Her reply was ‘My baby died three months ago, I had only just made a claim for universal credit just before my little boy died.’

Gill then told me that her baby’s funeral had been performed by the local council council and she had had to pay for this themselves. She’s now struggling to get the DWP to reimburse her some of this money.

My heart went out to her, she had been ill advised, felt alone in the world and was now trying to get a receipt for the funeral to satisfy the DWP. I signposted her to my local MP for help with this.

I asked Gill how she was coping and were the DWP treating her well. Her reply was that she’s struggling to cope and the DWP haven’t shown her any sympathy for the death of her baby. She’s still got to search for a job.

I helped and advised her the best that I could. I gave her a hug and told her that I’m here for her whenever she needs someone. I also signposted her to local organisations that might be able to help her.

The memory of seeing her stood there in tears clutching her baby’s baby bag will never leave me. No one that have lost their child should be treated like this should they.

 

I then spoke to Mandy. Mandy is a young woman at the start of her adult life and should be enjoying it. Instead Mandy is battling the universal credit system and at the moment she’s loosing this battle.

Mandy’s story is this. When Mandy made a claim for universal credit she signed her new claimant commitment in front of her advisor as is required. Mandy was then surprised to see that her claim for universal credit had been denied because she hadn’t signed the claimant commitment which she had signed. You really couldn’t make this up could you.

Mandy then tried to appeal their decision but was told that they weren’t allowing this and she had to make another claim for universal credit, so she now has to go through the whole process again.

How much of this shit are we expected to put up with? A whole lot more when everyone else is moved onto universal credit and the system can’t cope. Wonderful… Not.

 

 

I then spoke to Jenny who is her sons registered appointee. Jenny receives al of her sons DWP letters and attends all of his DWP appointments with him. Jenny wanted to drop off some information on behalf of her son but was refused, she was obviously distressed so we set to task to sort this out.

I gave Jenny the telephone number for Ashton Jobcentre and she phoned them up from outside the Jobcentre, they then allowed her to drop off the required documentation. If I hadn’t done this then her son would have been most likely been sanctioned.

Honestly this shouldn’t be happening. To be told by a DWP representative at the front desk that she wasn’t allowed in to drop the documentation off and that she wasn’t his appointee either. Not only was this information incorrect, it caused her to become distressed and angry. If they had looked at her sons records correctly they would have seen that she is his appointee.

DWP stop doing this. It’s not that hard to correctly check a persons details and to be respectful to a person is it. Sometimes I think that I’m speaking a foreign language that they don’t understand.

 

I then spoke to the PCS rep for Ashton Jobcentre, he had no problem speaking to me and we discussed several things. Unlike his predecessor he wanted to listen etc. If you’re reading this thank you.

 

Today was tough but we do this every week. I’ve been standing outside Ashton Jobcentre for five years now, my comrades have been helping for three years. In a strange sort of way I’ll miss the old building. We’ve shared tears, hugs, and advice. We’ve also had plenty of laughs and have had some memorable demos there. Goodbye old building, DWP we’ll see you at the new building.

A massive thank you to all my supporters, readers and my campaigners. You all mean the world to me.

Thank you to everyone that came along and helped this week, thank you so much.

I’m a single parent just trying my best to help people and right the wrongs of the DWP. I receive absolutely no funding for the work that I do. There’s a donation button at the side and the top of my blog for anyone who would like to donate. Thank you!

 

 

Universal Credit guarantees poverty, hunger, debt, homelessness and despair.

Dear readers, its Thursday again and for a change it’s a lovely warm and sunny day. This gives many of us a huge sense of relief because we won’t have to put any heating on.

Today was a busy but quiet day. I know that this doesn’t make any sense to you, but its a bit difficult to explain.

When I arrived at the Jobcentre there was already a queue for the food parcels, amd Gordon had already arrived and was unloading the car.

Everyone that I spoke to today was hungry, fed up and wanted things to change. No one wants to live like this. It’s exiating not living, and it’s cruel and demanding. I wish that I had a magic wand to change this system and devise a replacement that’s fair for everyone.

I’ll list the conversations that I had this morning. Real names etc won’t be divulged either.

I spotted Chris as he was walking away from the Jobcentre, clutching a piece of paper in his hands. The same piece of paper that’s handed out to everyone that makes an enquiry.

Chris is a young man, very thin and pale. He was wearing thin clothing and looked downtrodden. I asked Chris if I could help him.

To break the Ice I handed him one of our leaflets, he looked at me and said ‘It’s not f#####g fair you know.’ I asked him what had happened. Chris told me that had an appointment early this morning but he was unwell and couldn’t leave his home until he felt better.

Chris had no money except the money that I gave him to buy a bit of food and a brew. He didn’t have any phone credit so he had walked to the Jobcentre to speak to someone.

Chris was told that he couldn’t have another appointment and that he had to wait for two weeks for his next Jobcentre appointment.

Chris was visibly upset, he knows that the reality of him being sanctioned are high and he didn’t know what to do.

I gave him some advice and told him that I’m there for him if he needs any help at all and he left a little happier than he was earlier.

I don’t need to tell you that even the threat of being sanctioned is enough to push people into a downward spiral of depression and panic. Many give up altogether, many never get over it. Sanctions traumatise people beyond belief

Sanctions need to be abolished because they do kill people.

I spoke to a young woman who was making her first claim. We advised her, gave her copies of our survival guide and leaflet. She appeared to be more confident when she walked away.

It was then that we were heckled at from a car that was passing by. Not one of us could decipher what they said, but they drove off feeling rather happy with themselves.

I then spoke to a young man how’s being made redundant after working at the same company for seven years. He’s never claimed any type of benefit before so I advised him, handed him our leaflets and had a nice chat with him.

June is an older lady trying her best to navigate the awful universal credit system.

June doesn’t know how to use a computer. Her son tries his best to help her fill in her job searches etc every week..

To make things worse June also has another problem with the universal credit system. Every month since she started to claim. Universal credit the computer system blocks her payment. Every month June has to telephone the DWP waiting over a hour and a half to speak to the right person.

The reason for this is that the system says that June had previously claimed incapacity benefit. June doesn’t even know what that is nevermind claimed it. So every month she has to fight to get her rightful payments.

No one should have to go through this. June suffers from various ailments and helps to look after her disabled daughter.

June feels like totally giving up. Luckily we were there to provide some support and advice.

I hate universal credit.

Meet John. John has had his wallet stolen. John is also very thin, looks unwell and was wearing unsuitable clothes. John has no money.

Thinking that the DWP would show some comlassion for his situation, he went to the Jobcentre for some advice. He was told that they wouldn’t help him, basically they didn’t care.

My heart went out to him. In the good old days people in his situation were able to get a crisis loan to see them through to their next payment day. This used to work well, and I’ve had a few crisis loans in the past.

We helped and advised John, I wish that we could do more but we can’t.

I spoke to another man who has also been made redundant. We advised him about what to do etc.

Meet Jenny, a young woman who works as a teaching assistant.. Jenny has children but has been forced to claim universal credit due to a relationship breakdown.

Needless to say, Jenny is struggling. She’s got a mortgage to pay, children to feed and to say that she’s unhappy with the system is an understatement.

Basically Jenny is being punished by the cruel universal credit system even though she’s working. Only a cruel Tory could devise such a cruel and heartless system.

I spoke to another woman thats struggling with the universal credit system. Please remember that not everyone can use a computer. Many find it hard.

I advised a woman who’s caring for her disabled daughter.

I spoke to another woman struggling on universal credit even though she works. She’s also finding it hard to pay her mortgage payments.

I spoke to a young man who’s making his first application for universal credit.

I spoke to another man who’d just been made redundant.

We also spoke to a couple who are experienced in fighting the system. They’ve self taught themselves and know their stuff. Well done to them. Having confidence or the appearance of confidence really does help. Advisors don’t see them as easy targets and are less likely to target them.

Yet again we helped lots of people, provided food, advice and comparison to people. We’ll be returning next week to do the same.

Many thanks to everyone that came to the demo today.

Massive thanks to everyone that reads and shares my blog. Also massive thanks to everyone who supports my blog.

64 year old woman with multiple health condition fails universal credit medical assessment. Living in substandard accommodation. How are people supposed to survive this?

Dear readers, its Thursday yet again. The sun was shining for us today, what a welcome surprise. It was lovely to see. No joy was found from the DWP though, there’s a surprise.

I’ll be listing everything that happened today as usual. No real names will be divulged either. Today we handed out six food parcels and helped lots of people who would have otherwise been left, stranded without help by a system that doesn’t care about them.

Those of you that have been through the system or know people that have will already know that the DWPs flagship universal credit system is cruel, heartless and punishing. It discriminates against everyone but particularly women, children, single parents and people with disabilities.

Universal credit is obscenely complicated and hard to navigate, often DWP advisors don’t know the rules either. Not one department communicates with another even though universal credit is computer driven by default. You’d honestly think that the designers of it would have thought about people that are unable to use computers or don’t have any access to the internet at home. They also didn’t take into account the fact that libraries are shutting their doors or reducing the hours that they’re open because they can’t afford to stay open.

Universal credit is a system that rarely works well for anyone, but it was designed to do this, to reduce the unemployment levels by any means possible. If that means that a person takes themselves off the system because they can’t cope then so be it. No one will try and stop them either. Above the door of every Jobcentre a sign saying ‘Abandon all hope ye who enter here’ because that’s exactly what people do.

 

The first thing that I noticed today was the queue of women waiting for food parcels. It goes without saying that there shouldn’t be a need for us to hand food parcels out but there is, and will be for as long as this rotten government is in power.

As I was handing the food parcels out a young man stormed out of the Jobcentre. I asked him what was wrong and he shouted ‘It’s a pile of shit in there, they don’t give a shit do they’ I agreed with him and handed him a leaflet.

 

Meet Tom. Tom had successfully made an application for universal credit a couple of months ago, thats good you might think. Well, no because it appears that whoever processed his application didn’t quite do everything correctly.

Upon applying for universal credit a claimant is expected to provide ID and proof of tenancy etc at their first meeting, because as you know rent etc is all rolled into one payment every month. Here’s where Tom encountered his first problem. I say first because he’s bound to have more problems as time progresses.

Tom looked confused as he handed me a form that he had just been given by his advisor. As I looked at it he told me that he had already provided them with the ID and proof that they needed. Here’s the letter in all it’s glory.

 

In this letter he’s asked about every single detail of his tenancy, including gas and electricity check certificates and energy performance certificates. Tom has no idea what those are, his landlord didn’t issue him with these. The DWP need to remember that not all landlords actually do this.

Other questions included are ‘Are you up to date with your rent payments? If yes, provide evidence of this.’

‘Would your landlord accept less rent at times if you could not afford to pay the full rent?’

‘Will your landlord accept a lower rent if universal credit does not meet your full rent liability?’

‘Would your landlord take you to court to evict you if you failed to pay the rent?’

‘Would your landlord take legal action to recover rent arrears?’

These questions are totally ridiculous. Landlords rarely if ever lower a persons rent payment to suit the DWP, and of course a landlord will take action to evict a tenant for non payment of rent. It’s ridiculous to think otherwise, and very arrogant of the DWP to suggest that a landlord should back down to the demands of the DWP.

Honestly, the above form looks like something thats been typed out at home in a hurry. There’s absolutely nothing official on this form, no DWP logo either. It’s all very strange.

Tom quite rightly noted that they should have asked for this information when he first made his claim, he’s already received his first payment. He’d already paid his rent with this. Honestly you couldn’t make this up.

To make matters worse he had to make a new appointment just to hand in this form, if he doesn’t attend he’ll get sanctioned.

I asked him if he had moved house and he told me that he hadn’t, his was living at the same address when he made his claim for universal credit.

Luckily I was able to walk him through the questions and signposted him if he needs further help. Poor fella, he was so confused. He thanked me and he walked away hopefully less confused.

 

Tom looks after his sister who is computer illiterate, his sister struggles to get out and depends on Tom to do most tasks for him. Tom attended the Jobcentre a few weeks ago to hand his sisters fit note in. He was told quite bluntly at the reception desk that he couldn’t do this and he had to post it. So Tom posted it using an envelope that they gave him.

Today Tom attended the Jobcentre once more to hand his sisters fit note in. This time they accepted it but asked him where the previous fit note was. He told them that he’d posted it because he’d been told to. Unbelievable isn’t it.

Tom was understandably a bit fed up, saying this system is bloody ridiculous isn’t it.

 

I spoke to a woman struggling to pay the bedroom tax, a man that was sent away fro being ten minutes early and a woman who told me that she claims universal credit and PIP and its bloody awful.

I also spoke to an older woman that cares for her son who’s autistic. He had failed his latest ESA medical because apparently he ‘looked ok’. Obviously the DWP don’t recognised hidden disabilities, they’ve got quite a bad track record of this.

I spoke to a young man that has taken himself off the system because he couldn’t cope with it. I asked him how he managed from day to day, he told me that he tries his best but is dependent upon relatives. He hopes to get a job in the near future.

 

We spoke to a self employed plasterer, he quite loudly told us that universal credit has ruined many of his friends and colleagues. Universal credit made it impossible for them to continue with their trade. He was understandably angry, but angry at the government for doing this to them.

 

I spoke to Bill, bill has been sanctioned because his daughter had been taken into hospital and he missed his signing on appointment. He did telephone the Jobcentre and communicated this through his online journal, he’s even provided evidence of the hospital stay. But the gods of the DWP have decided that he’d be sanctioned so he was.

I told him that he could appeal the sanction decision and he told me that his advisor hadn’t told him that he could appeal. Thankfully hes now going to appeal this and hopefully he’ll win his appeal. He wouldn’t have known to do this if we weren’t there to inform him.

 

Meet Pat. Pat is 64 years of age and has numerous medical conditions, some quite serious. Pat hasn’t been able to work for years because of this. Pat also claims universal credit.

Pat recently attended a universal credit medical assessment, she failed this and was told that she’s now fit for work.

So the DWP gods have performed another miracle haven’t they.

Pat is determined to appeal this decision, so she informed her advisor of this. Her advisor then told her that she now needs to provide medical proof if she wants to appeal.

Pat has now had to pay £15 for a letter from her doctor. This is completely ridiculous, she’s already shown evidence of her medical conditions.

To make matters much worse Pat lives in a home riddled with damp and her landlord is reluctant to deal with it. She told me that she doesn’t know how much more she can continue like this, its becoming all too much for her.

Remember pat is 64 years of age, she shouldn’t be treated like this and she honestly didn’t expect this.

I did everything that I could to help her and signpost her. It’s absolutely heartbreaking when you speak to someone thats suffering as much as this. For gods sake we’re supposed to respect our elders. The DWP respects no one not even their staff.

 

I spoke to a middle aged man who’s in the process of being evicted. He told me that the move over to universal credit has caused this.n

We spoke to a young man that was prevented from attending an appointment with a friend, ten minutes later another man was prevented from entering the Jobcentre with his partner. He wanted to help her but he was turned away. The law states that a claimant is allowed support when attending an appointment but hey, the DWP employees at the front desk of Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre appear to totally disregard this.

 

Today’s conversations all happened within two hours on a Thursday afternoon. Universal credit doesn’t work, its very design dictates this.

We need to stop and scrap universal credit and replace it with a much fairer system that actually cares for people.

 

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog.

Thank you to everyone that turned up to help today, I really appreciate this.

 

Massive thanks to everyone that supports my blog. Without you I honestly don’t know what I’d do. Your support means everything especially when times are hard. As a skint single parent I can relate to everyone that I speak to.

Keep safe, we’ll be back next week as usual.

 

 

£213 a month to live on, and also have to top up rent payments with that. People are struggling to survive on universal credit.

Dear readers, today was grim and the weather didn’t help anyone, let alone the people forced to use the Jobcentre. Yet again we encountered numerous people with all sorts of problems ranging from universal credit, ESA and PIP, housing problems etc.

We handed out all of our food parcels, most were taken by single parents with children and working families. They rely on foodbanks to survive, it really shouldn’t be like this.

Thanks to Gordon for joining me and also Jack. Your help is invaluable and it’s appreciated by everyone.

As usual I won’t divulge the names of anyone that I spoke to this morning. The DWP snoop everywhere and I don’t want anyone that I spoke to being targeted by the DWP. This does happen, but not on my blog. I value everyone that I speak to unlike the DWP.

 

John walked out of the Jobcentre clutching the usual list of phone numbers that they hand out to everyone. I handed him a leaflet and asked him if he needed any help. John told me that he was ok, but thats only because he’s living with a relative that can feed and look after him whilst he’s waiting for his universal credit claim to be processed, saying that the alternative is to horrible to think about.

 

I then spoke to Gemma. Gemma has struggled almost all of her life, she’s 19 years old and to be honest isn’t enjoying anything about her life at the moment. In her short lifetime she’s been homeless twice and has been rehoused not long ago.

Gemma is claiming universal credit and is finding it almost impossible to manage. She receives in total £513 a month total to live on after paying her rent payment. Out of this she has to pay back her rent arrears that she keeps accruing because she’s finding it hard to pay her full rent. She also got into rent arrears whilst she was waiting for her universal credit claim to be processed, “What are you supposed to do, just pay your rent with the loan that they give you? It was impossible for me to pay my full rent because I needed food to eat, and gas and electric to buy. I’ve got no one to borrow money from, and that’d have to be paid back as well.

To make the situation worse Gemma also has to repay her universal credit loan back at £100 a month. There’s absolutely no regulation concerning the repayment of loan debts. No set amounts that people have to pay back, sometimes I think that they pick a number out of thin air and decide thats how much they should pay back. It’s ludicrous

Basically after all of her above debts are paid back Gemmas left with £213 a month to survive on. She’s got to buy gas, electric, food and transport costs. She’s a broken woman at 19 years old. Huddled up in the cold, Gemma muttered “It’s almost as if they’re trying to destroy me. I’m 19 years old and I’m worn out because of the stress and worry. There’s a good chance that I’ll become homeless again, and I’m doing my best. Universal credit is destroying me. They look at me (DWP staff) as if I’m stupid, like I’m something on the bottom of their shoe. They don’t want to help me”

Gemmas 19 years old, at the start of her life and should be enjoying life. Instead she’s worn out, depressed and feels like giving up. This, my friends is what universal credit does to people. It eats you up, totally consumes you until eventually you give up. That’s exactly what its designed to do.

 

Sarah is a single parent and is also having a difficult time. She’s claiming universal credit and to say she’s struggling is an understatement. Here’s her story.

Sarah was instructed to attend an appointment, which she was ready to do but unfortunately one of her parents suddenly fell ill and was rushed into hospital by ambulance. Sarah was with her relative when this happened and from the ambulance she telephoned the DWP to try and rearrange her appointment. The person that she spoke to said that this wouldn’t be a problem, and they’d phone her later with another appointment.

Only the DWP phoned the wrong number. Not the one that’s registered online, an old number that isn’t used anymore, and Sarah had already informed them about this.

Sarah also couldn’t remember her 16 pin log in details. How on earth is anyone supposed to remember this, its impossible. Even if people write it down its easy for it to get lost. If they put it in their mobile phone (if they have one) and the phone breaks, then the numbers missing.

Sarah phoned the DWP to tell them that she’d forgotten her PIN number. The DWP then told her that she had to go online to get the number. Sarah couldn’t access her online account because she didn’t have her pin. Basically they gave her an impossible task to complete.

Upon attending her next DWP appointment she was told that the DWP were deducting her universal credit payment by £200 but don’t worry, we’ll give you a LOAN for £150 that you have to pay back. Are the DWP getting their ideas from illegal money lenders or something? This is atrocious.

Basically Sarah was fined £200 for missing a phone call that she never received because they phoned the wrong number, and for loosing her PIN number. You really couldn’t make this shit up could you.

Sarah is also in rent arrears now because she was unable to pay her full rent because she was sanctioned. She now has to top up her rent payments and repay two DWP loans back.

Don’t forget Sarah is a single parent with a very young child, she didn’t have any food in her cupboards and didn’t know what to do. Luckily I gave her a food parcel and advised her on what to do. Hopefully she will access local services and she will appeal her sanction.

It’s despicable that people are treated in this manner, not only are the parents suffering but their children are too. The DWP just don’t care. It’s no coincidence that more and more children are being put into the care system is it. Many parents can no longer provide food, heating, clothing etc for their children and it’s not their fault. The blame lies purely at the governments feet.

 

I asked an older man how was he coping with universal credit. He looked at me and said ‘Just about. Now I’ve got to pay my council tax”

 

I spoke to a young woman working a zero hour contract at a local cake factory. When she started her job she was told that if she worked hard she might get a contracted job. She worked hard but never got the contract. Now she has no job security at all.

 

Gordon spoke to an older woman aged 62 who’s claiming universal credit, she’s struggling but then again nearly everyone claiming universal credit are aren’t they.

 

We then had a conversation Brian with an older man, he claims ESA and was told to phone an 0845 number recently. He wasn’t very clear about why he was told to phone this number up. He’s confused because the system is extremely confusing.

Brian has a contract phone and his phone bill per monthly is £15 a month. Brian tried phoning this number numerous times, each time he was placed on hold for great lengths of time. When he received his bill it was £54.

Of course he was angry, he shouldn’t have cost him  this much, all calls to the DWP should be free, but many still aren’t.

Brian was angry, frustrated and echoed concerns for those without a mobile phone contract saying ‘How the hell are they going to pay that? They’ll never get any help if they don’t have a phone will they’ He realises the systems rotten, and wondered why the government are allowed to do this ‘It’s criminal’ he said, and he’s not wrong.

 

Jack, a local councillor  represented a claimant whilst they had an appointment, this helps a great deal and I can’t recommend this enough. More should do this if they’re able to.

 

We left todays demo cold and a bit downhearted, but knowing that we’ve helped people makes everything worthwhile.

 

Please read, share and tweet my blog, also subscribe to it, it’ll save you from having to look for it every week.

There’s also a donate button at the top of this blog and at the side. I’m a skint single parent just trying my best to help people, through my blog I’ve managed to reach thousands upon thousands of people. As a result of this and other campaigns, more and more people are aware of the cruelty of universal credit and the heartless state of our government.

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No money, no food, no heating. Stop complaining, take yourself off universal credit states DWP advisor.

Dear readers, it’s Thursday again, the weeks seem to fly by don’t they. It’s easy to forget that in the midst of the Brexit confusion that people are still suffering due to universal credit, ESA and PIP failed medicals and austerity measures in general. It’s extremely cold as well which isn’t helping anyone that I’ve spoken to either. A cold home is awful, it makes you feel like giving up altogether doesn’t it. Please check on friends and neighbours to see if they’re ok.

 

A bit of self promotion here, but I’ve recently had a few television appearances, those being The Victoria Derbyshire programme on Tuesday, RT News the week before and Sky News tomorrow morning. Some might criticise me for doing these interviews, but it’s important to get the news out there. People need to know exactly how bad it is don’t they.  By the way I don’t get paid for any of this either.

 

Today was cold, below zero and we had to leave half an hour early because of this. Self care is very important as I learnt in August when I was hospitalised, and I apologise for leaving early.

I’ll use pseudo names as usual, it was very busy today and we spoke to lots of people, handed out much needed food parcels and helped lots of people. Everyone that required help was given help, no one was left without it.

Cathy is a single parent with a young child, she claims universal credit and started a new job a few months ago. She was happy because she thought that it would be a way out of poverty. She’s since learnt that it doesn’t.

Cathy was given a different tax code, and as a result most of her wages were taken away by her huge tax bill every month. Her employer took pity on her and gave her an advance of her wages because she needed to eat, pay childcare and suchlike. Because the universal credit system saw this as being two wages in one month, they stopped her universal credit top up payments. She’s shown them all of the evidence that would rectify this but the DWP are at the moment refusing to change their minds.

So payslips, evidence from the tax office, proof from her employer have all been refused. They refuse to budge on this, they refuse to even look at the evidence.

Cathy has now had her tax code changed, but she won’t see the benefit of this until next month. The advance payment that was given to her had to be paid back out of her wages. She’s now left with £101 for the month to live on, remember she also has a small child, has to feed and clothe her child, get to and from work and keep her home warm.

I referred Cathy to our local MPs office, I’m sure that they will help her to rectify this but the plain refusal of the DWP to even look at her evidence is clearly wrong and is also extremely bad practice. Do they care? Not one bit, they don’t care if they both become hungry, homeless and suchlike. Everyone should be horrified by their attitude towards claimants.

Ben stopped me outside the Jobcentre, he asked me if I’d watch his bicycle for him whilst he attended his appointment, he can’t afford a lock for his bike. Of course I said yes, we do this a lot and have most likely prevented a fair few bikes from being stolen.

Ben told me that he was sick and tired of universal credit, he’s having a tough time and even after budgeting he can’t manage. Advance loans have to be paid back, rent and other debts have to be paid and it’s leaving him unable to support himself.

I handed him a leaflet and he told me that he doesn’t receive his next payment until the 9th of February, he’s got no food and no money to buy any either. He told me that he’d asked for a budgeting loan but had been refused. Basically tough, we’re not going to help you even though we got you into this mess in the first place.

As I handed him a food parcel, he couldn’t believe that a stranger would help him, care for him and listen to his plight, you see you don’t normally associate kindness with the Jobcentre. I pointed out to him that this is the very reason why we stand outside and why we aren’t allowed in on Thursdays even of someone needs our help. He couldn’t thank us enough.

It was then that I spotted Janet walking out of the Jobcentre. She looked both upset and annoyed, so I handed her a leaflet and asked her if I could help her. She told me that she didn’t need it because she was going to have to stop her claim for universal credit. I asked her why and she replied that her advisor had advised her to.

As you can imagine I was rather surprised at this because she hadn’t found a job, she was struggling to live on £250 a month to feed both herself and her children, so I asked her a few more questions.

Janet had attended her appointment and had told her advisor that she was struggling to survive on such a low amount of money, she also told them that she had worked all her life but had suffered a nervous breakdown after the death of a family member, Her doctor advised her to stop work and to rest, only the DWP appear to know better than a qualified medical practitioner.

The response from her advisor was staggeringly awful. If you don’t like it, stop claiming universal credit and survive without it. She had almost literally taken this advice literally, the stress of universal credit is crippling her she told me, and she can’t afford to eat on a regular basis. Their answer was basically tough, we don’t care and we aren’t going to help you either.

I spoke to an older man who had worked as a chef for around forty years. Due to ill health and disability he had to stop working and made a claim for universal credit. Since making his claim he’s struggled, he hasn’t a clue how to use a computer and can’t keep up with the demands that the DWP make of him.

I advised him as best as I could and he walked away with a bit more hope than he arrived with, he told me that universal credit should be scrapped because its awful and people like him just can’t navigate the system.

I then met Bill. Bill is 62 years old, has several health problems and is disabled as a result. He was claiming ESA but had failed his medical assessment so was now appealing this with the help of a local MP.

Luckily Bill has a good friend that can take him to the Jobcentre for his appointments, put him in touch with his MP and basically help him fight his corner. He realises that he’s lucky in this respect because thousands of people don’t have any type of support network at all and are left without any help.

I’m positive that Bill will be receiving good advice from his MP, but he really shouldn’t have to go through this should he.

The DWP have a remit from the government that they must fulfil, that remit being to get people off benefits by any means possible. Today’s conversations definitely show evidence of this.

Remember the DWP machine has no compassion towards anyone, it fails to recognise a persons individual requirements and needs.

Universal credit is designed to fail everyone, and to make claiming a benefit so hard that it prevents you from claiming in the first place. Remember this.

A massive thanks to everyone that reads and shares my blog.

Also a massive thank you to everyone that also support my blog. I’m a skint single parent trying my best to help people that are forced into an in tolerable situation. There’s a donate button at the top and side of my blog. Thank you!

No wonder people commit suicide.

Sounds a bit extreme doesn’t it, speaking from years of experience of helping people tackle the inhumane DWP system I have to agree.

Today was a day fraught with frustrations, helping upset, angry people barely surviving, seeking food from foodbanks that’s if they can find one or if they can find one that’s open. This morning highlighted just how fragile we all are when placed in this situation.

When you make a claim for universal credit you still have to wait at least five weeks. Yes you can get a loan, but from speaking to people many of them use this to pay some of their rent arrears off and to buy gas and electric. Food is lower down on the list because they’re scared. Scared of loosing their home, scared of what’s round the corner

I don’t want any medals for what I do, but I do wish that others would replicate what we do because its important to get out there, to help and to also protest against the very need for our being there. Saturday demos whilst good for raising awareness just don’t cut it when it comes to helping people.

Sorry for the rant, and I do appreciate everything that everyone does online, online activism is essential but for those that are able to join us or start a new group then please do.

 

Today was extremely hectic for lots of different reasons. The food parcels went straight away, we could have given more out. It’s cold and people are trying to stay warm so there’s less money to spend on food, that is if they have any money in the first place.

 

After handing out the food parcels I had a chat with a man who’s heavily in debt with Brighthouse. Companies like these are the scourge of our society, praying on the poorest because they don’t have the money to pay for a fridge etc brand new or second hand.

After having dealings with Brighthouse myself I can attest that their so called bailiffs (they aren’t bailiffs but they act as if they are) can be a tad scary and intimidating. We need to put more regulations on these companies and make it impossible to exploit the poor.

Because he had paid his Brighthouse bill he didn’t have enough money for food. I advised him of what he should do etc. At least he’ll eat now.

 

Today was also blighted by people having problems with their sixteen digit Universal credit log on details. Everyone is expected to remember this, many people either forget it or loose the piece of paper that they’ve wrote it on.

If they don’t log on they’ll get sanctioned. Combine this with many of these people being new claims for universal credit and they don’t know their way around the system let alone remember this. Basically if they don’t have a sympathetic advisor then they’ll get sanctioned. A decent advisor will tell them what their code is, many don’t though.

 

I spoke to Jane, she’s just made a claim for universal credit and is in the process of waiting for her first payment. She’s got at least four weeks to wait. Jane has a baby and has got a job but she needs to pay her childcare fees upfront,

Jane doesn’t have any money, if she doesn’t go to work she’ll be sanctioned so she’s at the mercy of her childcare provider and hoping that they can be sympathetic.

When she does receive her first payment then she’ll also struggle to receive her childcare payments. Not one person that Ive spoken to regarding this has ever received their childcare payments on time if at all. It takes constant phone calls and visits to the Jobcentre to rectify this. Then they have to repeat this a few weeks later.

To say that universal credit helps people is obscene. it drives people like Jane into even more poverty.

 

I was stopped by a man that appeared to be very agitated and upset, I’ll call him John.

John hates the Jobcentre, he doesn’t understand how the system works and he’s struggling.

John has been told that he has to attend the work programme twice a week, and because hes having to pay the debt for the loan that he had to take put whilst waiting for his universal credit payment to go through, hes skint.

John told myself and others of the struggle that he has walking to his work programme appointments. He’s frustrated because they don’t help him there. John needs proper support and understanding. Not someone that’s only supposedly helping him because there’s a financial incentive to do so.

Johns worn out both physically and mentally. He shouted that its no wonder that people commit suicide because THAT place drives them to it, and he knows because hes been close to it himself.

According to John the Jobcentre is a “f*****G joke. They don’t want to help you, no one does. They just leave you to cope and I wish that they’d leave me alone, its given me high blood pressure and I’ve never had that before”.

We all spent a lot of our time talking to him, giving him hope and showing support. We also signposted him to local organisations that can provide him with some support. I really hope that John is ok because I’m worried about him.

 

I handed a leaflet to a man, and as I did he said “ I don’t know how they expect me to live on this money. I don’t have enough to survive, are they trying to kill us?”

They aren’t officially but we know that the governments pernicious policies do indeed kill people.

 

A woman walked past muttering racist comments. She honestly thought that so called immigrants receive vast amounts of money whilst she lives on a pittance. I corrected her, but I’ve  noted that the amount of racist comments have increased of late. a sad indictment of the British press, media and of course the Tory government.

 

 

I then spoke to Val. Val is a carer for her son aged sixteen who has epilepsy. Val is ill herself and had to end her employment because of her ill health.

Val now clams universal credit and she’s distraught by her situation. After she’s paid her universal credit loan, her rent top up, her gas and electricity she’s got no money left for food. She’s tried reducing the loan repayments but she was refused.

Remember Val is ill and her son is disabled.

Val spends her days visiting foodbanks and trying to survive, she told me of her humiliation of having to ask for food, for being in this situation, for being in debt. She’s always worked and never thought that she would be in this situation.

Like Ive said before, this can happen to anyone, and I mean anyone. I helped and advised her, I became a friend to her and I hope that it made a difference.

 

I spoke to an older woman and I informed her of the WASPI campaign and told her that she’s not alone. She wasn’t aware of it so I like to let women know about the campaign.

 

We spoke to a man, he’s just been discharged from his mental health team after having a terrible time. Now he’s left to claim universal credit because he had to finish work due to his ill health.

We had a lovely chat with him and told him that we are there every week to help people. I also signposted him to a local organisation that will be able to help him.

 

This all happened in less than two hours. The food parcels went straight away, we helped everyone that we spoke to, we signposted those that required signposting and we gave people hope when they had none. It’s what we do.

 

Many thanks to everyone that joined us today you’re all amazing and I do appreciate it.

Thanks to all my blog readers for keeping me going, for supporting me and each other via the comments section. Also a huge thanks to everyone that has supported the blog and has shared my blog. Despite what others might like to say we do make a difference,

 

Please read share and rt my blog. There’s also a donate button for anyone wanting to donate. I do this on a small income and every penny helps. Thank you!

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Single parent, zero hour contract. Two wages in one month, universal credit stopped. Forced to go without any payments for at least ten weeks.

Dear readers, I’ll be blatantly honest with you. Today was awful, really difficult and wasn’t helped by a person insisting that universal credit is the best thing ever.

The conversation went on for about fifteen minutes and took me away from helping people.

It’s not hard to find evidence to prove that universal credit doesn’t help people  is it. It’s been plastered all over the newspapers these past few weeks. Anyway at least I wasn’t spat at this time. And  we know how much that people are suffering because we see it, we live it.

Anyway today was freezing cold and I can’t thank Roy, Pat and Ron for coming along to help. Also to a facebook friend that joined us for a while. I really do appreciate this.

 

Today was hard for many reasons, I did my best but I’m not a miracle worker. We handed out our usual food parcels, helped and advised people, signposted them and contacted my local mp, and put other people in touch with their mps. I’m extremely lucky that I can do this because I know that many can’t.

Anyway, I’ll list todays conversations. I won’t divulge any real names either, I never do because the DWP like to snoop.

 

Almost as soon as the food parcels arrived they disappeared. This is a regular occurrence sadly, An older man shuffled out of the Jobcentre obviously struggling to walk. Do the DWP care? Not a bit but you already know that don’t you.

I had a brief conversation with a man, he was visibly frustrated. He stopped to tell me that he thinks that the DWP are the most uncooperative lot that he’s ever had dealings with, ‘They just don’t care, they make me feel like shit”.

 

I spoke to a homeless man, he’s taken up the offer of a bed for the night scheme running here in Greater Manchester. He’s thankful that he’s got a bed for the night, but he has to move between two places ever week. He’s also concerned that when the scheme ends in March that he’ll just be put back onto the streets with no support. This does need clarifying.

Because he’s homeless and spends the most of his time wandering around he gets cold so he applied for a loan from the DWP. He was successful with his request and accepted £200 of the £350 offered.

It doesn’t end there though, after kitting himself out with footwear and thermals etc he ran out of money so he asked the DWP if he could have the extra £150 that they’d offered.

The answer was a loud NO, so now he’s forced to ask local charities for help. The DWP really are a heartless lot.

 

I spoke to a woman that had been refused her rent payment because she was in receipt of ESA. She’d been told that she had to transfer herself over to universal credit by a representative of the local council. Of course this is extremely bad advice, the DWP will contact her when she’s being transferred over and she’s still entitled to her rent. I signposted her to my local MPs office.

 

I then met ‘Debbie’. Debbie is a single parent with young baby. Her story is an example of how universal credit doesn’t help people at all, instead it plunges people into poverty.

Debbie is claiming universal credit and she was told by her advisor that she had to accept a zero hour contract job. Just how they expect a lone parent or anyone to be honest to survive on a combination of both universal credit and a zero hour contract is beyond me. They’re totally incompatible.

Because Debbie had two wages in December due to the way that the month worked out, she had her universal credit payments stopped. She no longer would receive universal credit and she would have to apply for it again.

I’ve wrote about this before and this is pretty standard behaviour from the DWP, you might have seen the recent court case concerning this in the news. Three single parents like Debbie took the DWP to court concerning this matter and they won, of course the DWP are appealing and it might not become legislation for many months if ever.

Debbie has been forced to go without any universal credit payments since December, she’s reapplied but she will go without any top up payments for around ten weeks, if she’s lucky it might be a couple of weeks less.

Did I mention that she’s also been without work for a while because its a zero hour contract and they haven’t contacted her?

If she leaves the job they’ll sanction her so she’s trapped. Not only is she trapped but her young baby is too. Debbie told me that her two friends are in the same position and are all surviving on food banks for food.

Debbie is also living in extreme fuel poverty also. She can only turn the heating on for half a hour in the morning, the same at around midday and just before bedtime. Remember its freezing cold at the moment. It won’t be long before their health is affected by this, before their home becomes damp, before they can’t take anymore.

Welcome to universal credit, the system that actively punishes people for trying their best and drags people into the pits of poverty. How on earth do they expect people like Debbie to survive is beyond me. Needless to say Amber Rudd is in complete denial about this and reckons that only a few people are adversely affected by universal credit. Amber needs to meet Debbie and her friends, in fact I challenge Amber Rudd to stand with me outside the Jobcentre for at least two hours to get a dose of reality.

I’m also aware that she realises that universal credit isn’t working and Rudd doesn’t give a stuff.

 

 

It wasn’t much longer when I had a conversation with ‘Fran’. Fran is a single parent of three children, two of which are young adults but they still live with her and cost her money,

Fran is now in receipt of her third universal credit payment and to say that she’s struggling is an understatement. After paying her bills, rent etc she’s left with £300 a month to survive on, to break this down that’s £50 a week, less than that in a five week month.

Fran has to feed herself, her youngest child and also her older children out of this because they’re also skint.

Fran has to put £10 on her electric meter every two days because it runs out quickly. She cant afford to keep doing this so she mostly sits in the cold when she’s home.

Why should anyone be forced to live like this? She’s doing her best to find work but she cant find a suitable job. It’s obscene that in a country as rich as ours people are literally starving and dying from hypothermia. Don’t believe me? Read a newspaper or use Google. It’s happening and happening to lots of people.

I’m certain that both the media and officials underestimate the harmful effects that universal credit has upon women and their children. Even if we stopped universal credit now, they will still be paying a price for this cruelty for generations to come.

No one forgets living in poverty, being hungry. It can and does make people ill, children and their parents become malnourished, and often homeless.

The price upon their well-being will be massive and this will have to be addressed by future governments as a matter of urgency.

 

 

I advised an older man who’s in obvious ill heath about his upcoming universal credit medical. These medicals are exactly the same as the ESA ones, Ive taken a few people to these so called medicals. I wished him luck, he told me that he was thankful that someone cared about him.

 

I then spoke to a ‘Dennis’. Dennis is claiming ESA, but he had been told by someone from my local authority that he had to end his claim for ESA and apply for universal credit.

Remember this is the second time today that I’ve heard this.

Dennis hasn’t received a letter from the DWP either. The DWP move people over not the local council.

I immediately telephoned my local MPs office and they spoke to him straight away, they also advised him I’m so lucky that I can do this.

Dennis doesn’t have a mobile phone either so I used my telephone to help him. Not everyone has a mobile phone, remember you need money to buy one and money to top one up. I hope that Dennis rectifies this soon, I’m pretty confident that he will.

I’ll also be tackling this problem also, someone obviously needs some more training.

 

It also appears that quite a few disabled people using mobility scooters were asked to attend the Jobcentre. The DWP won’t leave them alone will they because the DWP likes to persecute anyone with a disability. Shame on them.

 

 

It was then that I spoke to a 63 year old man. He’s been told to finish work due to ill health and to claim his pension early’

He went into the Jobcentre for advice, they didn’t have a clue as to what he should do, but gave him a phone number to contact another department.

I also advised him to contact his local MPs office which he did and they told him what to do, and how to do it. He was very thankful because like he said he really didn’t know what he should do.

 

This is a brief summary of today’s conversations, we did speak to more people, we helped lots of people. If we hadn’t have been there then they wouldn’t have had any hope, they wouldn’t have known what to do and I’m proud that we showed them compassion and support.

 

 

It’s also become very clear that more and more older people, many of whom used to be of retirement age are being targeted by the DWP. Indeed, if someone of a pensionable age  lives with or marries someone of a working age then under universal credit they aren’t allowed to receive their pension anymore, they have to move onto universal credit.

We’ve already been seeing this happen in Ashton Under Lyne for quite a while.

Not only is this cruel, it will have a detrimental affect upon their health and well-being. Universal credit hardly provides enough money to exist on and these couples will be faced with neing £7,000 worse of a year. Mark my words this will result in extreme poverty and the death of some of our older generation and the DWP will have more blood on their hands.

Didn’t I say years ago that they’d come after the pensioners? I remember being laughed at every time that I said this. Those laughing won’t be laughing now will they.

 

It’s been a bad week for universal credit claimants, and it will continue to become much worse. We need to raise as much awareness about the reality of universal credit as you can. Please read, share, tweet and email my blog.

If you have an awful MP attend their surgeries, contact them because even if they don’t listen or refuse to act then keep reminding them because they have to record it.

 

 

There’s a donate button for anyone that would like to donate. Every penny really does count.

Many thanks to all of my readers and to everyone that has supported my blog. Thank you so much, you keep me going when I’m having a bad day.

 

 

 

 

 

British Gas have taken my last £5 from me, I don’t know what to do. Universal credit, eating and keeping a home warm is an impossible task at times.

Today’s weather is bitterly cold, we are in the  -0s here, yet we have more and more people unable to heat or eat or do either. This isn’t going to get better anytime soon either. Summer comes as a blessed relief, and disappears far too quickly.

We were very short on numbers today, and the cold didn’t help. Regardless we plodded on. It’s not about us, its about everyone suffering under this cruel regime.

Today was quiet again, even so the food parcels were taken almost straight away. They always are and the need for them is increasing daily.

Whilst I wish all my readers a happy new year and hope that all of your life’s will be much better this coming year, I didn’t celebrate it much. I’ve got no reason to really. This year will see at least another 3 million people transferred over to universal credit. Many of these people will be disabled and self employed, all to be punished by a system that hates them. So excuse me for not celebrating, I’m preparing for battle instead.

 

Like Ive already said, it was quiet today, people were cold and there was a lot of rushing in and out of the Jobcentre, people desperately trying to keep their master (the DWP) happy, afterall the DWP more or less controls everything that we do and they aren’t shy about this fact either. It’s awful, and it’s been allowed to happen.

 

I spoke to a fella who has just been re housed into a place of his own. He’s happy about this, after all he can in theory start to rebuild his life now. This is in theory though, because he’s had problems with the smart meter that was already installed in his flat, an old tenants debt on the metre, and British Gas’s reluctance to help a chap who really hasn’t got anything.

He is in the process of sorting this out, and they are issuing him with a new smart metre, however this doesn’t help him now does it. Today he put his last £5 on the smart metre that he has and it ate it up in a very short time.

I did mention that it’s cold didn’t I. It’s freezing.

So now he’s having to find money to heat his flat, he cant afford food as well. So we gave him a food parcel to tide him over. I wanted a magic wand to make it all better for him, but I don’t have one.

Think about this though folks. Being cold isn’t just relegated to street homeless people. Thousands of people are just as cold whilst living in homes. As a result their homes become damp, and they become ill as a result of being poor.

Just because someone’s got a home doesn’t mean that they aren’t suffering, they are. They are suffering in so many different ways like shown in the film I, Daniel Blake which is incidentally being shown on BBC2 on Saturday the 5th of January. It isn’t a feel good film, and I hope that it spurs more into campaigning against universal credit like I do, or it encourages people who are able to help others more.

 

I spoke to a young family with a newborn baby and another young child. They didn’t realise that her maternity allowance is classed as an income when you’re claiming universal credit. No one told them of this before she had the baby, so they took her maternity allowance off her final universal credit payment.

This has understandably forced them into a very bad position financially, but they told me that they’re just coping. To make it worse because the local registry office is so busy, they cant register their baby’s birth until the end of this month, therefore aren’t able to claim any monies for the baby.

This system is rancid, it eats away at everything that a person has. It often takes away a persons sanity and their ability to feed themselves. And yet there’s been little opposition politically from this being extended to a further 3 million people this year.

There has however been lots of opposition from campaigners like myself, we know what’s coming, we know its going to be terrible but it feels at times like we’re banging our heads against a brick wall.

 

Highlight of the morning, a man that we help on a regular basis won £6 on a scratch card. Good on him.

Dislike of the morning, an older woman saying that the countries in this mess because of ‘foreigners’. We know that this isn’t true, and it sickens me to know that far too many people believe this.

 

Dislike number two, seeing an older woman crying because the DWP have accused her of claiming money fraudulently when she most definitely hasn’t been. The DWP now want her to repay this money, the money that she claimed legally. I do hope that she pursues this, we have encouraged her to.

Seeing  a person cry like this is heartbreaking and it never, ever gets easier.

This morning before I set off for the demo, I saw this posted on Facebook by my friend I’majsaclaimant. This is what can happen when you feel that your world is collapsing around you, when you believe that life isn’t worth living anymore.

This is what sanctioning people does to people, and the DWP won’t  give a toss, nor will the government. My thoughts and prayers go to this woman’s family and to everyone else that have been affected like this.

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IMPORTANT NOTICE.

Due to a “computer glitch” some people who were due to be paid their ESA next week have received half of it this week.
This has led to a lot of upset and confusion as people have been thinking their payments have been stopped and that was a final payment.
It’s not. They’ll receive the other half on their normal day next week.
They’ve now put an announcement on the ESA phone line before all the options you have to press.
So if anyone is worried, there’s no reason to be.

 

 

 

Please read, share, tweet, email my blog thank you!

Many thanks to everyone that supports my blog and the campaign it means the world.

I’ll  be back again next week, whatever the weather.

There’s a donation button at the top of the page and to the side if anyone would like to donate. Thank you!

We need to do more.

Dear readers,  I haven’t mentioned Christmas because I know how hard this time of year can be. Not everyone has a family that cares, and many of us can’t afford to buy food let alone presents. But I do wish you all a happy new year, and a better new year. God knows this year has been bad enough, but next year will potentially even harder.

 

We did an hour outside the Jobcentre this morning, but it was quiet. I’ve found that the DWP like to give appointments, sanctions etc before Christmas to leave people without money over the Christmas period, its the DWPs way of saying merry Christmas.

It was quiet today, people rushing in and out not wanting to speak. For the above reasons there wasn’t a lot of people to speak to. Those that were there dashed past muttering words such as ‘They are horrid in there, Its a load of crap and suchlike.

I thought that I’d post a newspaper article that I wrote and was published last Saturday. I don’t get paid for this but its good for the campaign.

Anyway, here it is I hope that you like it.

 

So five years ago myself and others decided to fight back. I couldn’t just sit back and allow this to happen, and five years later myself and the team are still outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre helping people, advising them, signposting and feeding them.  

The awful fact is that more people are interested in what Jeremy Corbyn did or didn’t say rather than the real news that’s right in front of them. 

People are dying. A further three million people will be forced into poverty next year due to the further roll out of universal credit. To be realistic I feel that number is underestimated. 

Even more children will be forced to go hungry, their parents will be even hungrier. What sort of society do we live in that allows this?

Homelessness will increase drastically due to the long wait for a universal credit payment to be processed. Many landlords don’t want anyone claiming any type of benefit to live in their properties, so in the absence of decent amounts of social housing being built, most homeless people will remain homeless for the foreseeable future. 

Thousands of self employed people will be forced out of their positions because its almost impossible to  fill the government’s impossible remit for self employment under universal credit. This will have a devastating effect upon local communities. This has also been underestimated. 

More and more disabled people will be persecuted by the government, be made to go hungry and not able to access the care that they desperately need. Many will become homeless as a result of being transferred to universal credit. 

We need to continue to fight against this cruel government and to be honest we need to stop being so nice about it, after all they aren’t showing any compassion towards those most in need, and they aren’t listening to polite requests to stop either. 

I spoke to lots of people today, none of whom couldn’t afford food over Christmas. We handed them food parcels which will tide them over until next week.

I had a conversation with a young working single parent. She says that her life has been destroyed by universal credit.

She took a loan out from the DWP to tide herself and her young child over until her claim was processed. She now has to pay this loan back at the cost of £150 a month.

After paying all of her bills off she’s left with £90 a month for her and her son to live off. This meagre amount is supposed to feed them both for a month. Could you manage on this small amount? It’s impossible, so she’s now reliant upon food banks to literally keep them both alive.

I helped and advised her and handed her a food parcel. I wish that I could do more but I can’t.

This is a damning indictment of the way the government regards working class people of this country. Combine this with the possible effects of Brexit, we could well see more poverty than has ever been seen in modern times. 

We need to do more, we all need to do more, both for our future and our grandchildren’s futures. If we don’t the future will look very bleak indeed. 

 

Many thanks to members of the team that came out today to help. I really do appreciate this, thank you so much.

Massive thanks to everyone that reads, shares and supports my blog. Thank you!

Please read, share, tweet, email my blog. This is very important and I can’t stress how important it is to get the word out there.

Today we released doves and laid a wreath in memory of everyone that has died as a result of the government’s war against the poor and disabled.

Dear readers as many of you will know we have a special Christmas memorial service outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre every year.

We do this in memory of every person who have died as a result of the government’s heartless treatment of the poor and disabled. I call it a war against the poor because that’s exactly what it is.

Of course the government have taken away many of the means that people can fight back in the way if appeals etc. Legal aid is almost non existant and organisations that help people have had their funding cut to the bare minimum.

Be aware that this is all done purposely. The government regards us as a burden, not worthy of any help. In fact not worthy of anything.

So five years ago myself and others decided to fight back. I personally know people that have committed suicide because of the government’s cruel regime as have others. I felt that I needed to take a stand so here I am five years later.

The awful fact is that more people are committing suicide than ever before, more people are forced to live in extreme poverty than has been known in modern times, but still all the press are interested in is what Jeremy Corbyn did or didn’t say.

People are dying. A further three million people will be forced into poverty next year due to the further roll out of universal credit. Myself I feel that number is quite low.

Even more children will be forced to go hungry, their parents will be even hungrier. Homelessness will increase drastically due to the long wait for a universal credit payment to be processed and landlords not wanting anyone claiming any type of benefit to live in their properties.

Many self employed people will be forced out of self employment because they don’t fill the government’s impossible remit for self employment under universal credit.

More and more disabled people will be persecuted by the government, be made to go hungry and not able to access the care that they desperately need.

We need to continue to fight against this cruel government and to be honest we need to stop being so nice about it.

Remember this could happen to you and the safety net that you were relying on to catch you is no longer there.

I spoke to lots of people today, none of whom could afford food over Christmas. We handed them food parcels which will tide them over until next week.

I had a conversation with a young working single parent. She says that her life has been destroyed by universal credit.

She took a loan out from the DWP to tide herself and her young child over until her claim was processed. She now has to pay this loan back at the cost of £150 a month.

After paying all of her bills off she’s left with £90 a month for her and her son to live off. To buy food etc.

Could you manage on this small amount? It’s impossible, so she’s now reliant upon food banks to literally keep them both alive.

I helped and advised her and handed her a food parcel. I wish that I could do more but I can’t.

Here’s some photos and some footage of us releasing doves in memory of everyone that have died due to the government’s heartless treatment of the poor and disabled.

Theres also footage of our appropriate Christmas carols from the Glossop branch of unite Community.

Thank you to everyone for coming along today, I’m very emotional now so I’ll leave it here. Thank you for reading and sharing my blog.

Also many thanks to everyone that supports my blog and campaign.

They’ve stopped my money I don’t know what to do. Universal credit strikes again.

It’s supposed to be the festive season isn’t it? The time of year when we’re all expected to drop everything, forget all of our problems and celebrate Christmas.

Christmas won’t be coming to thousands of people throughout the country though will it. Presents won’t be bought, toys won’t be wrapped, food won’t be bought, homes won’t be heated and time won’t be spent with family.

For those that reckon that I’m exaggerating then think again because I’m not. This is the cold, hard reality of life whilst claiming universal credit. The DWP shows absolutely no sympathy, the government even less so. They’ve got hearts made out of  stone.

Whilst I’m writing this blog someone thats working and claiming Universal credit will come to the stark realisation that because their employer has been kind and paid them early for Christmas, they won’t be receiving a universal Credit top up payment in January.. Why? Because universal credit doesn’t take into account a four week month or an employer simply being kind.

 

Today’s weather echoed the atmosphere emanating from the DWP, it was freezing cold much like their souls, although I often wonder if they have one but that’s another subject. The cold weather did nothing to encourage people, and yes this does matter a lot.

 

As I approached the Jobcentre I was approached by a woman who I speak to regularly. Despite being skint she told me that she was doing well in her efforts to get better, it was nice seeing her smile.

 

We then took the food parcels out of the car. All five of them didn’t have chance to touch the ground. They were taken straight away and I offered some chocolate out that had been donated to me from a friend.

To be honest the food parcels went at a record speed which shocked me even though I shouldn’t be shocked. This happens a lot, too often and it shouldn’t be happening

 

A man that’s receiving help from the law centre in Manchester stopped me to tell me about his latest bad treatment from the DWP.

He claims universal credit and had been told by the DWP that he has to transfer over to the new system for his universal credit claim. H did just that, provided all of his ID etc and reckoned that he’d be ok.

He thought wrong, and he was told that it’d take five weeks to process…. Remember he’s already claiming universal credit and therefore shouldn’t have to go without money for five weeks. Not happy with this he visited our local citizens advice center. Luckily they managed to sort it out and he’ll now receive a payment in two weeks.

Complete madness. No Christmas for him, absolutely nothing to look forward to. His claim should have automatically transferred over but it didn’t. Someone or something decided that his claim would be different. Universal credit doesn’t work and this is a perfect example of why it doesn’t.

 

I briefly spoke to a gent and I offered him a leaflet. He told me that he had thought that being on universal credit would be a short term thing only it hasn’t been and he’s fed up. Totally understandable.

 

I spoke to a woman that told me that she won be getting her first universal credit payment until next week. Out of that shes got to pay all of her bills etc and she reckons that she’ll be left with nothing.

If this carries on we’ll look back at Christmas and believe that its only for rich people, for people with money much like a private club. I despise the government for this.

 

Ii spoke to a woman that had failed her PIP assessment so had started the appeal process.

 

I then walked over to a young chap who was desperately trying to get through to the DWP on the phone. Yes he was stood outside the Jobcentre doing this because they no longer have telephones that claimants can use, nor do they make telephone calls on behalf of a claimant.

He was frustrated and understandably so, despite having no money he was forced to listen to that flaming Vivaldi music.

His story is this. He went through a relationship breakdown and had found himself homeless. Luckily he’s got a bed ever night through the Andy Burnham scheme, but he’s still homeless and trying to sort out his money.

He said to me frustratingly that he had worked all of his adult life, had paid his national insurance and had also been in the army for four years. He doesn’t understand why the DWP wont help him when he’s paid into the system.

Of course he’s correct, they should be helping him but they don’t, infact they don’t care less about him and everyone like him.

 

It was then when I was asked to help a woman that I’ve spoken to on a regular basis. She was stood in the corner of the Jobcentre entrance with her head in her hands crying. I asked her what was wrong and she told me that her money had been stopped because someone had told the DWP that she’s moved house. She hasn’t of course, shes still living in her home albeit a cold home.

It really pisses me off that some people have seemingly nothing better to do than to report other people to the DWP and effectively ruin their life’s. I’m sure that some people get a kick out of it but I don’t. It’s cruel and as a result she’s without an income to feed herself and to keep warm.

Don’t forget it’s almost Christmas although like I said earlier thousands won’t be celebrating it so lets not forget them at this time of year, and every other day of the year. People are dying and until this stops I won’t stop either.

I cant thank the team enough for coming along today, I bet they’re all still defrosting.

Please come and join us for our special Christmas demo next week. We’ll be handing out special Christmas food parcels, laying a wreath, making speeches and releasing doves in memory of everyone thats died as a result if the governments cruel austerity regime.

 

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog.

Please donate if you can, theres buttons at the top and side of this blog. I’m a skin single parent trying to help others. Every penny helps to keep the blog going.

Thank you to everyone that has and does support my blog, this means a lot to me.

 

I used to donate to foodbanks now I rely on them. Had to finish work because of childcare costs. Universal credit at it’s worst.

Dear readers I’m back! Thankfully I was able to attend this weeks demo. Last week was extremely busy but very productive. Before I start writing this weeks blog, please can I send get well wishes to Roy and extremely valuable member of the team. Get well soon!!

If I said that today was busy that would be an understatement. From the minute that I arrived it was unbelievably busy, hampered slightly the weather but we’re used to it. If you can guarantee anything about Manchester and the surrounding areas it would be a given that it’ll rain sooner rather than later. Anyway enough about that.

As I arrived a man was waiting for me. I call him a regular because he likes to stop and chat and keep me updated on his situation. He’s recently been rehoused and hopefully hes managing his tenancy ok. He’s a lovely chap but he finds life difficult. There just isnt the amount of support that he needs out there although local organisations do their best. The government have systematically starved outreach organisations of any funding and many of them have closed. Those that remain open do so by sheer determination and the goodwill of others.

Not long after, I asked a young woman if she was ok and I handed her a leaflet. She told me that she regarded universal credit as being crap and after paying her rent and loans that she had taken out whilst she was waiting for her Universal Credit to be processed she’s not left with enough money for food.

She’s now reliant upon food banks and the goodwill of friends. Her life won’t be getting better anytime soon. How can anyone productively look for work when they are hungry? They can’t. Hunger takes over everything, all of your senses and instincts are taken over by the need for food. Anyone that says otherwise obviously hasn’t been hungry like this.

It was then when we ran out of food parcels. We handed six out, but a woman desperately needed food. Her situation is complicated and without food she could well find herself falling into a deep, dark spiral that’s hard to climb out of, so I took her to the shop next door to the Jobcentre and bought her some food.

I asked another woman how she was coping on universal credit. She told me that she’s ok for one week of the month, but after paying her rent, universal credit loans and debts she can’t afford food. Shes disabled but has been placed in the work related group.

The DWP have been very consistent with their hate for disabled people, and every week I find myself helping people with disabilities the most. The DWP cares not about disabilities only the potential amount of money that they can make out of a person.

A young man then stopped me, took a leaflet and asked me what we were doing outside the Jobcentre. I explained that we were there to help people, to advise and signpost people if possible. He then opened up and told me his story.

He had been claiming universal credit for a long while now, and was receiving the work related disability element. He had been asked to attend an appointment to transfer him over onto the new computer system. Unfortunately he became ill and was admitted to hospital. Because he was ill he had forgotten about the appointment, and anyway he was too sick to phone up.

Of course the DWP showed their distinct lack of understanding about this, they stopped his claim and ignored his reason for non attendance. He even showed them details of his hospital admission.

So he now he had to make a new claim, was now without an income, and the DWP didn’t  give a stuff.

As he was leaving an awful G4S security guard bellowed at him to go back inside the Jobcentre. Upon leaving the Jobcentre he was told that it’s now being sorted out. That’s brilliant however he’s had to go without money for a long while.

It was then that I asked a young woman if she would like one of our leaflets. She told me straight away that universal credit is awful. Previously she had worked but because she has twins and two other children she was paying more money out in childcare than she was receiving so she had to end her job.

Now she’s totally dependent upon universal credit and is paying back her universal Credit loan, buying gas and electric to keep her children warm and paying a top up on her rent.

To say she’s struggling is a massive understatement. She’s dreading Christmas, hasn’t got a clue how she’ll manage, but she does know that her children won’t be having much of a Christmas this year. Reliant upon foodbanks to survive its a complete nightmare.

I signposted her etc, and had a long chat with her. She told me that she used to always donate to food banks but now she’s reliant upon them. It’s a terrible indictment of how the government regards women and children.

I then spoke to a young couple with a young child. Whom I shall name Bill and Mary. Here’s their situation.

Both are on universal credit. Neither of them has a computer or the internet at home. Bill has Aspergers.

They live separately after living together and have told the DWP that they no longer live together. The DWP are ignoring this. Mary’s letters from the DWP are constantly being sent to Bills house, and they are constantly being accused of co habiting, and have even been told that they should make a joint claim.

Despite being a ridiculous thing to suggest, the reality is that they don’t live together therefore can’t make a joint claim. There’s two lots of rent to pay and a young child to look after, but the DWP reckon that its a good suggestion.

They’ve also been complaining about the letters being sent to the wrong address for a long time now but nothing ever gets done about it. Why? Because the system is crap, not one department communicates with another. They just don’t.

Can you imagine the implications of this if, say Mary’s partner was violent? Luckily he isn’t. If he was he would have details about her appointments, her finances etc etc. A woman’s safety is never a priority for the DWP, but this could result in something very serious happening to a woman.

So it looks like because not one DWP department adequately communicates with another there’s little regard for data protection laws let alone potentially a woman’s safety.

I then chatted to another woman with a young child. She told me that she’s having a nightmare with the DWP and universal credit at the moment.

She works part time and relays upon childcare to go to work. Every month the DWP expect her to upload her bank statement etc so that they can pay her childcare. Every month the system won’t allow her to upload this information, so every month she has to go into the Jobcentre to try and sort it out.

You’d think that a task like this should be easy to complete wouldn’t you, afterall they’re always banging on about how brilliant universal credit is, how it supposedly ‘lifts’ you out of poverty (it doesn’t) and how easy the computer system is to navigate (it isn’t either}.

It’s one big nightmare for her and she has to rely upon friends to survive, although shes worried that they’ll no longer be able to help her in the future.

It’s disgusting, degrading and humiliating. Anyone that believes that universal credit is a good thing and can be fixed needs a reality check. It’s got more holes than a fishing net and could they fix all the holes in one? It’s beyond repair and they need to wise up.

I spoke to the elderly father of a young man. He’s been supporting his son for around twelve months now. His story is a bit complicated, and from what I could make out he hasn’t received any payments for twelve months but they wern’t sure why.

I signposted them as a matter of urgency. They are struggling so much themselves and can’t afford to keep their son as well, but they also can’t leave him without. What a horrible situation to be in, it’s beyond cruel.

A young man then stopped me and old me immediately that Universal Credit is crap. I asked why and he told me that after claiming universal credit for a long while he now has to provide the DWP with all of his ID again. He wondered why he has to do this, they already have copies of everything and if they look they would easily find it. But no, that would be too easy wouldn’t it. So now, like many others he’s forced to start again and all because the DWP have created a system that fails to talk to the old one.

Wonderful and they wonder why suicide rates are rocketing.

In my living memory, the poor and disabled have never been persecuted as much as they have now, and this will get much worse next year.

The system won’t be able to cope, but the DWP and government will blame the claimant not themselves and they don’t give a stuff either.

A massive thanks to everyone that came along today, get well soon Roy and thank you to Pat for making us a new banner.

Please read, share, email and tweet my blog. Many thanks to my readers that already do.

Many thanks to everyone that supports my blog, thank you so much.

I hate asking this but if you can, please donate to keep my blog going. I’m on an extremely low income and every penny helps! Thank you!

Left without a penny thanks to Universal Credit and unhelpful DWP staff.

First may I apologise for the lateness of the blog. I had to attend an important meeting in London where I was representing the victims of universal credit, and the damage and pain that universal credit causes.

As you are already aware, universal credit creeps up upon people like a thief in the night, destroying every element of life as you knew it. Instead your future is often reliant on the network of foodbanks and the kindness of friends and family, thats if you have any of course.

It’s impossible to fix and has more holes than a fishing net.

As I know from experience poverty is very isolating and surviving becomes a priority, everything else seems to pale in comparison. Each and every person that myself and the team speak to are isolated in some way, and their struggles overtake their lifes.

 

 

Before I write the account of yesterdays events, please may I stress that everyone received help, advice, a copy of our survival guide and a food parcel if needed. Five food parcels were handed out to hungry people.

Also I need to thank every single  member of the team that attended the demo in my absence. Roy has given me a brief outline of yesterday’s events and I’m thankful of that.

 

 

 

The weather yesterday was terrible to put it mildly. It was extremely windy and the rain was bouncing down thanks to storm Diana, and it’s hard work standing outside for two hours in those conditions.

 

Gordon dropped the food parcels off and so the morning started. Because the weather was awful people were dashing in and out of the Jobcentre, heads down wanting to get their appointments over with as soon as possible. As a result it was hard engaging people in conversation, and I apologise for the lack of material in this weeks blog.

 

As usual, some people were waiting for the food parcels, albeit in different places desperate to find shelter.

It’s abhorant that people need to use food banks in the first place and we all need to campaign in whatever way possible about the very need for them.

Supermarkets set up boxes for people to donate food, and the poorest that have needed to use food banks themselves often donate the most. I argue that supermarkets should provide this food themselves, not the public. They can afford to do so, but hey my opinion means naff all in the world outside my blog and campaigning.

 

 

Roy told me of a man that looked distressed upon entering the Jobcentre. He apparantly left the Jobcentre in even more distress. He shouted ‘They’ve left me with nothing, I’ve got nothing, what am I supposed to do?”

Apparently he had made a claim for universal credit and was a chap about ten years older than myself. A man brought up in what seems like a different world, a world that cared for people, a world that had a good safety net that could be relied upon. Now the safety net has disappeared, gone, nowhere to be seen.

He was advised to take a food parcel and signposted to various local organisations that might be able to help. Will he contact these groups? Who knows. He might feel ashamed that his life has come to this, a bag of food and some kind words by strangers.

Universal credit, the benefit reforms and the governments so called austerity measures are responsible for the deaths of thousands, this we do know. People like this man are a high risk of becoming one of these deaths simply because there’s no real safety net at all, NHS services are cut to the very bone and trust in organisations such as Mind and Citizens Advice are low because of their involvement with the DWP.

The DWP has now become the enemy of the people, something to be feared. The DWP buys off charities and organisations and even has supermarkets like Sainsbury’s spying on disabled people for them.

Big brother is here in the form of the DWP.

Disabled people and many unemployed people are becoming afraid to leave their houses for fear of abuse by the right wing types, discriminated against because they have a disability, discriminated against because they are poor.

We know that this isn’t acceptable but to thousands it is. The tories have directed a hate campaign via the media and it worked, people have become even more isolated than before.

Like my friend Paula said yesterday, we need the left wing, especially the Labour Party to change the language that they use, lets stop pitching workers against disabled and unemployed people please, because thats exactly what it feels like.

 

Yesterday was tough, tough for many reasons and reality is tough. No amount of positive thinking can change this.

We will be back next week, and I will certainly be there, so come and say hello. We do important work and people rely upon us.

Know this, as you’re reading this, someone will be thinking of taking their own life because they can’t take any more persecution from the DWP.

Know that a mother or father or both won’t be able to eat today because they can’t afford to do so, but they will feed their children.

Know that a young person will be leaving care with little or no support, many becoming homeless.

Know that an individual or family will be made homeless today and won’t have anywhere to turn, many having to sofa surf or live in rat infested temporary accommodation.

I could go on for forever but you get the picture. People are dying and the government doesn’t care.

 

 

Please read, share and email my blog. a massive thanks to those that have already, thank you!!

 

If you can, please donate to keep my blog going, I’m a skint single parent and every penny is really appreciated. Thank you

 

 

 

Watch out folks it’s Christmas sanctioning time. Single parent-sanctioned in time for Christmas. Another dire week outside Ashton Jobcentre.

Do you know what especially pees me off, readers? Christmas sanctions. Every year just before the Christmas period the DWP appears to hand out long sanctions for often the most dubious reasons. Of course, they know that this will ensure that all claimants and their families if they have one, won’t be able to celebrate Christmas. If they have a home it’ll also ensure that they’ll be living in a cold house or flat with hardly any food.

This week towards the end of the demo we spoke to a young woman with two young children. She was visibly upset and I asked her if we could help. She told me that she’d been sanctioned for not attending an appointment because she didn’t receive the letter telling her when the appointment was.

This is the most common trick in the DWP’s book. These letters hardly ever arrive, and in the rare instance that they do they arrive they do so weeks after the appointment date given.

Scared that she would lose her home she spent all the money that she had on paying her rent. this left her without a penny in the bank. Nothing.

My colleague and friend who was stood next to me started to cry, the poor woman was doing her best to cheer her children up until one of her children dropped a sausage roll on the floor. Knowing that she wouldn’t have been able to buy another, my friend gave her some money to buy another. It’s heartbreaking.

So a woman with young children is left penniless because she’s effectively been sanctioned for not receiving a letter that the DWP have supposed to have sent. They won’t be celebrating Christmas like the DWP staff will. Instead, they’ll be sat in a cold home with food parcels and anything that local charities can help them out with.

The government is heartless, the DWP are sadistic in their actions and they aren’t going to stop doing this anytime soon. Use your vote it’s the only way to get rid of them.

Luckily we were there and we helped her, advised her, told her what to do, where to go for help and where to get help over Christmas. There is never any justification for sanctioning children and their parents. To hell with it, they shouldn’t be sanctioning anyone. Starving someone into submission won’t find them a job, or show them a way out of the system. Instead, it makes them ill, depressed, often suicidal.

Of course, this is all purely intentional on the governments part. They knew that this would happen, they knew that people would die as a result. But don’t expect them to care, they love it. They want to get as many people off the unemployment statistics by any means possible and they mean to cause limitless damage to the working class of this country.

Upon arriving at the demo this morning I was stopped by a woman that’s working and claiming universal credit. She has children and relies on her childcare being paid by the DWP. After all, they promise this in their fancy adverts don’t they.

She told me that not once has she been paid her childcare payments on time and the payments are always wrong. This happens every month, and every month she has to complain, cause a fuss and demand that her childcare is paid. After all, they are supposed to pay it. She’s receiving a low wage and is worse off claiming universal credit.

Universal credit certainly doesn’t pay, especially single parents and their children. They suffer immensely, with children to feed and the DWP reluctant to help them it makes living hellish at times.

Of course, this is blatant discrimination, the Tories have never liked single parents and their children, you only have to look at the front pages of right-wing newspapers and television channels to see this. Regarded as scroungers, scum and every other awful name in the book. To put it bluntly, like disabled people, we are an easy target for theDWP. It’s not acceptable, not one bit but it happens all the time.

Universal credit causes immense problems for most people that are forced to claim it. Take ‘Linda’ (not her real name).

Linda receives the universal credit work-related ESA equivalent element. She’s disabled. Out of her monthly universal credit payments she has to pay her rent top-up of £180 a month. This leaves her with next to nothing to live on.

Linda had applied for a discretionary housing benefit payment but she’d been refused this. Before speaking to us, she didn’t know that she could appeal this decision, and she wasn’t aware of where to go, so I told her what to do and where to go.

How the hell are the government expecting her to survive? Don’t forget she’s disabled. As a man said to me today it’s criminal, people shouldn’t be treated in this manner, should they.

Not long afterwards we handed a leaflet to a man who was leaving the Jobcentre. We had a lovely conversation, he’s set up a radio station called Greater Manchester Rock Radio. If you can check it out. I’ve got absolutely no idea what bandwidth it’s on though, sorry. It’d be brilliant if he can gain a few more listeners. No, I don’t have a link sorry.

Here’s another example of stupid universal credit bureaucracy. ‘Helen’ (not her real name) already claims universal credit and in her words its shit. Because Ashton Jobcentre is upgrading their computer system she’s been made to go across the road to a local further education organisation that has been hired by the DWP to make a new claim for universal credit. Some organisations are easily bought, aren’t they?

So now Helen has to apply for universal credit again and pray that she receives next months payment, that is if the system doesn’t mess things up. So two applications for the same benefit, two arduous procedures to go through and extra stress and worry just to top it up.

Why the DWP can’t transfer people over that are already claiming is beyond me, but they never miss out on an opportunity to make someone suffer do they.

I was stopped by another woman that told me that she had also been refused her discretionary housing payment. As a result, she has to pay £76 a month top up for her rent, this is taken out of her monthly £276 payment. Do the maths, take away money for gas, electric and food it leaves her with very little to live on.

I advised her on how to appeal etc and where to go.

Not long after this, we were approached by an older man clutching a bundle of letters. He claims the work-related ESA equivalent of universal credit, but he didn’t realise this. Nor did he know how to do anything DWP related, he’s lost, he doesn’t understand the system and can’t understand why this is happening to him.

We all took the time to explain things to him, and what to do if he needs help. Poor fella, it breaks my heart it really does, and I bet it breaks your heart also.

Remember the government hype about being able to get an interim loan from the DWP when waiting for a universal credit payment to go through? Well, you can, but this often comes at a price, £86 a month to be exact for a couple that I spoke to. Of course, this will ensure that both themselves and their children are guaranteed an extended period of living in poverty.

Don’t believe the hype folks.

We then spoke to a young woman who’s first universal credit claim has been delayed because of a DWP blunder. Their answer was that she might get a payment tomorrow, but it might be Monday, who knows. But it’s delayed and it’s not her fault either.

How about we sanction the DWP for this. Not a bad idea.

A young man that I shall call Joe stopped me, his story isn’t uncommon but it’s awful non the least.

Joe doesn’t understand how universal credit works, it wasn’t explained to him.

Joe didn’t realise that he had to pay his rent out of his monthly payments.

Joe then owed rent.

Joe was evicted because of rent arrears.

Joe’s now one of the thousands of sofa surfers that aren’t treated as a priority by anyone, one of the hidden homeless.

Thanks to the DWP and their lack of communication, Joe despite being young doesn’t have much of a future.

Ta for nothing DWP, thanks for ruining a young man’s life and all because you don’t take the time to advise people, although you do take the time to punish people.

When I say that universal credit can be hell on earth it is, I don’t say that in jest. Every day someone is thinking about committing suicide because of universal credit, ESA and PIP-related worries. Delayed payments, debt failed medicals all contribute towards this. In my eyes, the government are responsible for these deaths, each and every one.

Today, we handed out five food parcels, helped lots of people and provided support and solidarity to everyone we spoke to, and we all worked very hard. Many thanks to everyone that turned up to help it means so much to me.

Many thanks to everyone that reads and shares my blog, it’s become my life’s work, an essential documentation of how the poorest are treated in the UK.

I don’t receive any payment for writing this blog and as a single parent myself, life can be a struggle for myself as well. Any donations would ensure that both myself and the demos can continue, thank you!

A massive thank you to everyone that has and does support my blog and campaign. It means the world both to myself and the team.

Man given eight-month sanction for missing an appointment. Can we stop sanctioning people, please?

Dear readers, I apologise for the lateness of my blog. As you may have heard Esther Mcvey has resigned from her role as the DWP minister because she doesn’t agree with the deal put forward by Theresa May, she actually stated that she wouldn’t be able to look her constituents in the eye. I found this quite hypocritical because she has no problem looking in the eyes of the disabled, poor, working poor and the families of those who have died as a result of her cruel decisions whilst in office.

Don’t celebrate yet because she’ll be back, she’s done this before, and anyway, they’ll replace her with someone equally as odious and stone-hearted. We shouldn’t start celebrating until we have a general election and Labour win, and if this happened it’d take us years to repair the damage.

Anyway, the blogs late because I had to go to Salford Quays to be interviewed by Granada news regarding this. So my apologies once again.

Once again can I remind people that we handed out five food parcels, we helped and advised everyone that we spoke to and signposted everyone that needed to be signposted. We also act as an impromptu councilling group and we offer advice concerning other matters also.

The campaign doesn’t end at 12pm on Thursday, for me, it lasts for seven days a week.

Yesterday was a little warmer even though it was dull. armed with a cup of decaf I walked over to the Jobcentre. I was greeted by a woman who we’ve been helping for a while now. She’s a shy woman and yesterday we had a breakthrough, she opened up about her situation and we can now help her further.

Due to circumstances out of her control, she’s had to make changes to her claim for universal credit and as a result, she’s not going to receive any payments so I handed her a food parcel.

It’s so sad to see someone that’s desperately trying to improve her situation being pushed further down into poverty. This won’t enrich her life, it’ll make life much harder for her and to be honest I’m worried about her.

 

I spotted a lady walking out of the Jobcentre with two small children, one in a pram. She told me that she’s had to make a new claim for universal credit and she has been forced to take a loan from the DWP to survive.

It shouldn’t be like this, children shouldn’t be forced by the government to go hungry, not to forget their mother will be hungry and no doubt their health will suffer. It takes a government of psychopaths to inflict cruelty such as this.

 

A woman stopped Gordon and she explained her situation, which unfortunately isn’t uncommon. Her situation is this. She’s currently claiming JSA and has been offered a job. Brilliant you might say, and it is, however, there’s a problem. Her job is a part-time position and it would take her over the threshold that’s allowed when claiming JSA, she’d have to move over to universal credit and the thought of this scares her.

She knows that she’ll have to go without any payments for at least five weeks, she knows that the conditions of universal credit would damage her both physically and mentally. Basically, she’s scared.

We had a chat and we’re hoping that her situation has been rectified, but once again it shouldn’t be like this. Making a claim for universal credit feels like you’re being punished, and it’s a fact, to be honest. We’re being punished for being poor, for needing help and it’s cruel and unnecessary.

 

I was stopped by a man that myself and the law centre have been helping told me that his mandatory consideration. He’s beginning to gain confidence, mainly because he knows that he’s being supported, listened to, understood and respected. Being cruel certainly doesn’t encourage people does it.

 

We noticed a man walking around confused. He’d been told that he needs to provide proof of his address. Simple you might think, but it isn’t for many. People move homes, are homeless, have had to leave a property in a rush and are staying in temporary accommodation. Some people have chaotic lives, but it doesn’t mean that they should be punished for this, unfortunately, they are. There’s a massive lack of understanding not only from within the DWP but in all governmental and local governmental departments. Often the receptionists at these places can appear uncaring which doesn’t help.

 

Gordon and myself were stopped by a woman who I shall name Dot.

Dot is an older lady, her husband died in March and Dot is still grieving. She’s depressed and is finding life very difficult.

Dot is claiming the sickness (ESA) related element of universal credit and she’s struggling. She’s constantly worried and she’s being reminded that she’ll soon have to return to work.

Dot should be allowed to recover and grieve, but there’s no way that the DWP will allow this.

Dot’s future doesn’t look good thanks to this government.

 

I spoke to a man whom I shall name Jim.

Jim walked out of the Jobcentre looking confused, he’s an older chap.

Jim had spent three days trying to make an online claim for universal credit. Three days folks, because he was struggling with the system. In his words, he ‘doesn’t get along’ with computers and he was constantly being thrown off the website for one reason or another.

Jim went to see his advisor and he was told that he shouldn’t be making a claim for universal credit, he should be claiming ESA. He was told by a different advisor that he should apply for universal credit.

You can see why Jim is confused, can’t you? I can. Honestly how hard is it to ensure that you give the correct advice? Impossible I fear.

Does the DWP care about Jim? Not one bit.

 

I was stopped by a woman, she had been made redundant. She was told to go to the Jobcentre to start her universal credit claim. Simple you’d think. Nope. She told me that she was being sent to a different building to make her claim.

 

A rather frustrated man stormed out of the Jobcentre, he shouted ‘Theresa May is an old bag, shes horrible’. It’s hard to disagree with that, isn’t it?

 

I had a brief conversation with a man who told me that he’d been sanctioned for eight months. Yes, eight months. His reason for missing his appointment was that he had to help his father move into a nursing home out of the area. He provided evidence of this, he appealed and they refused his appeal. So he went without money for eight months.

I advised him on what he should do, but you might ask how does someone survive for eight months with no income. To put it bluntly many don’t. Many die, most are hungry and many lose their homes.

Sanctions and universal credit are two of the main reasons why people become homeless, but many are forgetting about sanctions and their impact on people, just like they are forgetting about the two-child limit, the benefit cap, the bedroom tax and the council tax supplement. I often feel that I’m a lone voice when talking about these issues because some have forgotten about them, many have accepted it as the norm.

 

I then had a conversation with a Kurdish man who had been temporarily employed by an agency. He didn’t understand that he had to make a new claim for universal credit and would have to wait for around five weeks or more for his claim to be processed.

The system is too complicated, it makes you financially worse off, combine this with a limited understanding of the English language and you’re certain to fail. Can I say that I hate this government?

 

Last but not least, I spoke to a woman who I shall name Jenny.

Jenny has been sanctioned. Jenny has children.

Jenny has been sanctioned because she didn’t see the message on her universal credit account to attend an appointment.

Jenny doesn’t have a computer, Jenny doesn’t know how to use a computer. Jenny struggles to access the places where she can use a computer.

Jenny is being punished because she can’t understand the system because she has a disability and the DWP don’t care.

We advised Jenny but for her and people like her, their future is very bleak. It’s ok for local governments and organisations to provide internet access locally, but it’s completely useless for someone without a computer, who doesn’t know how to use a computer and can’t afford one also. We need a paper system, one that everyone understands and we should also be campaigning for this.

 

This all happened over two hours and we do this every week. We work hard helping people in cold and often with abuse from passers-by. I can’t thank everyone that comes along to help enough. You’re all amazing, you keep me going especially when I feel fed up like I do now. The work that we do is much needed and has become essential.

 

Thank you to everyone that reads, shares and supports my blog. I receive no funding for this and any donation however small will be most welcome and put to good use. Thank you to everyone that has supported my blog. Thank you.

We’ll be back next week and every week.