As it had been a quiet few weeks at the Jobcentre we weren’t expecting it to be busy, but it just goes to show that you can never predict an afternoon outside the Jobcentre. Yesterday was quite distressing universal credit problems for working people are beginning to take their toil on the most vulnerable.
One thing that I’ve noticed whilst standing outside the Jobcentre is the amount of people going into the building wearing a uniform. Yes when you are working and on universal credit if you work part time hours or hours that fall below the 39 hour working week total then you have to sign on and prove to them that you are looking for more work. You are classed as under employed . It doesn’t matter if you have children, it doesn’t matter if you work night shifts you have to be there. Of course if you have a family to care for then it’s going to be doubly impossible to complete this task. Your on a treadmill and you can’t get off. Home, work, home, job search the list goes on.
Yesterday I was talking to a young man. He had come out of a very bad situation and was living in temporary accommodation. He was very lucky to find this accommodation, but he was made to move to the other side of manchester. He had no choice, but the local authority under their rules which are more or less the same up and down the country had classed him as making himself ‘intentionally homeless’. So therefore has to accept any offer which he’s offered. Usually they don’t offer anything. This is of course untrue, but it saves money and time to put people under this category and to deny any responsibility for them. He had found some work and is on universal credit. Great he thought, a step up the ladder. He was very wrong. As a result of this and being placed on universal credit he has now lost his place in the hostel because it takes too long for universal credit to sort his rent out. And he has to top his rent up.He’s never been on the streets and he was scared. We signposted him to a local organisation that might help him if they have any room. As a single young man he isn’t priority on anyone’s list. I was heartbroken for him. The rule is if you are in temporary accommodation you can’t work, the rents are too high and you could never make a wage large enough to cover it. But the Jobcentre knew better, so effectively they have made him homeless and no one wants to help him. This isn’t unusual but it just highlights how wrong the system is.
Another young man approached me. He had made a claim for universal credit and had received a letter saying that he was entitled to a payment. He had fulfilled all the requirements and thought that after having no money at all since March he would be getting a payment. He went to the bank to check if his money was there and it wasn’t. When he got home there was another letter to say that he wasn’t receiving a payment but there was no explanation. He was mortified. Remember he had no money since March. We helped him and also signposted him to a local foodbank and homeless organisation. He said he will loose his home now as a result of this. Why? Because you cannot claim housing benefit on a zero income basis whilst claiming or awaiting the results or a claim for universal credit.
Imagine how many people are being made homeless this way. We encountered two in as many hours and I imagine the figures to be shocking. I really don’t understand why this government get away with this everyday. They really do hold peoples life’s in their hands and with a click of a button they can destroy it. The failure to release the figures for those that have died as a result of these benefit reforms says it all. Personally I think that they have destroyed these numbers, afraid that the European court of human rights would take that to task for it. Maybe I’m wrong but I’m very suspicious. Mainly because of their track history of lies and deception.
“The only thing that the working class can aspire to is to be poor. This government have it stitched up and it’s only going to get worse”
Please come and join us on our demo every Thursday between 1-3 outside Ashton under Lyne Jobcentre. We welcome everyone who comes in peace.
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