I woke today with a migraine, not something that you might be interested in, but if I make a few mistakes writing this then that is why. So my apologies.
Once again, its autumn, and although it looks pretty, it’s starting to get cold, so please think of those that cannot afford a winter coat, new winter boots etc. Winter is a very hard time of the year, in fact the hardest for everyone living in poverty, whether it is a disabled person struggling to get buy on a meagre income, a single parent struggling to get by, an elderly person unable to heat their home. We are all in the same boat, an awful one and hopefully sometime soon things will change.
Gordon arrived with the food parcels and so we started our demo. When I tell you that people are in desperate need I mean it. No one would either ask for or accept a food parcel if they weren’t desperate. But they all were given to folk that desperately needed them. They were all given advice, solidarity, compassion and were signposted to local organisations or local MPs. This is all a very important part of our work. We cannot just put a sticking plaster over it and expect everything to be ok. It won’t be, and reaching out to people when they are at their lowest is very important, as is empowering them to make them able to deal with the devil which is the DWP.
Here’s a run down of occurrences from todays demo. Please note, names and contact details of all persons concerned are confidential at their request and will remain so at their request.
I was stopped by a man whom I was handing a leaflet to and was told that there was a massive queue outside the Magistrates Court. I asked why, and he told me that these people were in debt with their council tax due to universal credit. ‘It’s evil he said, people can’t survive and now they are scared that they will be taken to prison for non payment’.
Normally I would have rushed down to the magistrates court, but I was unable to because we were low on numbers at the demo and I was needed there. But what I can say is that this is wrong. How on earth can people afford to pay their council tax when they are either waiting for or receiving universal credit? I know that allowances are made when you are applying for benefits, but a person still has to pay a portion of council tax. This is not helped by the universal credit system which despite what the conservative party says, is not running smoothly at all. Not one department knows what the other is doing, they don’t communicate and they haven’t got a clue about the rules and regulations. However, they are fully aware of when and how to stop a persons money rendering them penniless.
My heart went out to the people in the queue, because I’ve been there in that queue in the past and I also owe council tax. It’s a complete nightmare.
I spoke to a partially sighted man who struggles to be able to read. He has told Ashton Jobcentre and the DWP that all appointments etc have to be given by telephone, they have refused to send him large print letters so that he can read them. He told me that he is sick to death of telling them to do this. I advised him of his rights as a disabled person and that he should visit his MP to discuss this. He told me that he would be doing so.
Once again, it’s very important to seek help from outside organisations, and if you have a good MP then consult them. The DWP really hate an MP becoming involved, trust me they hate it.
I spoke to an older WASPI lady who told me that she was struggling but carrying on. She’s a lovely lady who is just doing her best to manage within an unmanageable system. We had a chat, gave her some reassurance and gave her a food parcel.
We spoke to a young man who was very knowledgeable about how the DWP system is ran, and the rules and regulations. He knows his stuff, he knows his legal rights and he is a corrupt advisors worst nightmare.
He told us that he had been forced to use the computers upstairs in the Jobcentre, despite having access to a computer at home and being very competent at doing so. They like to make people feel worthless and to know their place don’t they.
Anyway, he logged into the system and it kept saying error, which he thought was strange because he had never had any problems at home doing so. He returned home and he had received an email from Microsoft telling him that his security had been breached. This is not good at all, and the system that the DWP are currently using in their Jobcentres might be being seen as a security risk by internet servers. This is an issue that we need to keep an eye on folks, let me know if this has happened to you also.
A man walked out smiling and said ‘I’ve just had the pleasure of telling the Jobcentre to f off…. I’ve found a job’. We all cheered for him. What a fantastic feeling that must have been.
I spoke to a young man and his girlfriend who had made the mistake of trying to take hot drinks into the Jobcentre. They were completely new to the system and didn’t understand why they were being treated like this. Basically, it’s just not on is it as they say in Manchester.
I spoke to women with very young babies, older men telling me how awful the system is, basically lots of people. It’s hard work but whilst people need help, and while this rotten system is in place I will continue to be there for everyone that needs me and the team.
A massive thank you to the members of the team that turned up to support the demo, it really does mean a lot. We were low on number again today, so please, if anyone is able to, come and join us on Thursdays between 10-12. We are really friendly and you will get a warm welcome.
I will continue to write my blog, lobby people and do everything alongside this campaign that is essential but isn’t necessarily seen by others. This is very important and by continuing to put pressure on the government and opposition MPs we are starting to make changes. This isn’t easy though and this and everything else has ensured that I have little free time now, and no money for luxuries so apologies if I am slow in responding to people. This is why. I’m a single parent trying to juggle everything.
This week I have had a poorly daughter and have represented a person at their ESA medical. It’s been busy.
Check out The Morning Star tomorrow for my latest article tomorrow. I do not get paid for this, but I really enjoy writing, and the newspaper has helped my campaign so much.
A massive thank you to everyone that reads and supports my blog. You are all amazing, and please keep sharing.
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