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Can I start this weeks blog by saying how angry I am at this system that the government likes to call ‘Benefits’. Change the name, make it sound different then stigmatise the vulnerable people that are in desperate need of help. That’s exactly how this government rolls isn’t it. Today was just awful and there are no excuses that can be made to justify the governments deplorable behaviour against the poor. I do feel that it is a war against the poor and at the moment they have the upper hand. This cannot be allowed to continue for forever can it.
Anyway, you don’t want to hear my rant but it’s how I feel. But remember its not ‘Benefits’ it’s ‘Social Security’.
I arrived at the Jobcentre and was met by two Journalists from BBC North West, I do believe that the presenter was one of the two chaps but because I don’t have a television I wouldn’t really know. He seemed nice enough and they both were freezing cold. They actually stuck it out for the whole two hours, so kudos to them I just hope that the report is favourable.
The first chap that I spoke to was annoyed. He told me that he hated the Jobcentre, hated their attitude and just about everything about it. He’s trying his best to cope with the relentless system that just doesnt let a person rest at all.
Not content with his endless job searching looking for non existent and unsuitable jobs, they have put him on a two week course which is from 9-4 five days a week to teach him how to job search. He will then have to also do his allocated quota of job searching or he will be sanctioned. It never ends does it. he knows how to look for a job, he is doing so already but the government likes to spend thousands upon thousands on these dodgy companies to so called train these people. Make no mistake this is done purposely to remind a claimant of their place, to keep them demoralised and to not let them get ideas above their station.
The food parcels then arrived, along with some extra ones donated by Pat and the gang from Glossop. They were all taken and were needed. Along with the food parcels everyone was given a leaflet and encouraged to attend local outreach places where they can access further help if required.
I then spoke to a lady who’s niece and her family of three children and partner are going to have to wait over 6 weeks for their first payment of Universal Credit. I gave her a food parcel, a leaflet and also I encouraged her aunt to access the support available. As many people will know a person or family that have been transferred over to Universal Credit or have made a new claim most likely will not receive a payment until at least the 28th of January. Yes they can get an advance payment however this still has to be paid back at 40% until the rule changes are implemented. This might be in February but I wouldn’t hold my breath. I can’t find any reason why they can’t implement this sooner, however as we know they like being cruel.
My friend Kevin then appeared. He had travelled miles to join us, and he found this difficult however he did because he saw the need to. Why? to give people solidarity. He brought a lovely gift to give to someone needing it, which I did and you will read about this below.
Kevin is just fab! Big shoutout for Kevin and a huge thank you from the team!
I then spoke to a lovely lady who is having a very hard time of it. She had no money, no food (or very little) and at the time didn’t know which way to turn. The DWP do not help a person, they don’t give sympathy they just rubber stamp everything and send a claimant out. It’s a cruel harsh system.
I spoke to her and we both ended up crying, she was so nice and certainly didnt deserve to be treated like this. I gave her a hug and a much needed food parcel. I also handed over the lovely present that Kevin had brought with him and she was so happy. This is what it’s all about folks, helping people, giving solidarity, advice, and we are lucky that we can hand out food parcels. She later contacted me me to let me know that she was ok and I cried again. I’ll share the post, but I will not divulge personal details unless I get permission.
It was then that things got a whole lot worse. We stopped a lady who was leaving the Jobcentre to give her a leaflet etc. She told us that her sister was inside the Jobcentre and she had been refused entry to accompany her. Her sister is 8 1/2 months pregnant and had been told to attend a mandatory appointment for a parenting course. I find this totally ridiculous and abhorrent. This lady already has an older child, there is no history of any family troubles and she takes good care of her child and unborn child. Ignoring these facts, she was told that she had to attend or face being sanctioned.
As you can imagine her sister was furious as was I. People reading this might say.. “Oh but there’s rules”. Well I can tell you that when a person is claiming Universal Credit these rules are flouted quite blatantly all the time. This is why Universal Credit cannot be fixed because its corrupt and created to fail people, its inherrant to it’s design. STOP, SCRAP and design a new system that actually works. But hey what do we know, we’ve only experienced Universal Credit for over four years now.
I’m not ashamed to say that I cried again upon hearing her story when she left the Jobcentre. The DWP will not leave her alone, she feels constantly harassed, is still being told at 8 1/2 months pregnant that she has to look for jobs in Manchester and is so stressed that she is being prevented from enjoying her pregnancy.
Readers will know that my daughter had a similar fate when pregnant, as have many other pregnant ladies. For attending a Workfare interview at B&Q, telling them that she was 23 weeks pregnant she recieved a 3 year sanction. This has been featured in the media quite heavily in the past. However, I get very upset when a pregnant lady is treated this way. The DWP have no respect for anyone let alone an unborn child.
This my friends is how evil Universal Credit is.
I gave her our last food parcel, a leaflet and encouraged her to try and attend any of the local outreach organisations available.
We also spoke to many more people. We helped lots of people, had chats with local folk that were passing by and handed out lots of leaflets. The weather was cold but our spirits were high.
Many thanks to everyone that came along today to our demo, you all keep me going and you are all amazing! Also happy birthday to John, we did a wonderful rendition of Happy Birthday which was well recieved.
To be honest I’ve had an awful week, I don’t want to talk about myself too much it’s boring. However I do need to ask a question. I enjoy blogging, I need to get the word out to people and I do not want to change my blogging platform, I can’t really lots of people follow it and I really do not want to loose readers. I was always under the impression that the free version was unlimited, but it isn’t. I’ve used 75% of my available space and I can’t afford to pay for the subscription. However the subscription would be much better because I could add my future podcasts to it etc.
Any ideas are more than welcome, but I can’t leave WordPress.
Please read, share, talk about my blog. Talk about the issues that I write about. I’m more than a bit worried that Universal Credit and the suffering that people are having to endure will become normalised like the Bedroom Tax and the Council Tax supplement have been. Let’s keep the pressure on the government.
Sadly I never stop now, my whole life is revolved around this campaign and my daughter. Any donations are most welcome. Thank you so much to every one of my readers and supporters that already have and do. Thank you.
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