Dear readers, I’m sorry for the delay in writing this weeks blog and publishing it. A missing bus and daughter duties are to blame. Here it is and I hope that you enjoy it. Enjoy is the wrong word to use I know because its damn depressing but imagine how depressed people are when trying to cope with this system.
Before I list everything that happened today, I have to mention something. Hardly any of the people that we speak to are what you would describe as being ‘fit and well’, none are scroungers and most are desperately trying their best to manage despite living in desperate poverty.
New clothes, nights out, trips to the cinema are a thing of the past and having a meal in a restaurant can only be dreamed of. We handed out five food parcels in the space of half an hour, all to people that are desperate, are awaiting Universal Credit payments and are also struggling to cope whilst living on Universal Credit. So please don’t message me saying that they are ‘trying it on’ are ‘scroungers’ and aren’t worthy of sympathy. What has happened to them can and does happen to anyone.
The first man that I spoke to looked confused and distressed. This was his first time attending the Jobcentre. He is a manual labourer and has had to take time off work because he had been attacked quite badly. He told me that he couldn’t believe how difficult that it is to get any help from the Jobcentre and he’s waiting for his first Universal Credit payment. He’s been waiting for two weeks so has got a long wait still and he hopes to have found more work by then.
This man needs time to recover and recuperate, but the government won’t allow this. Get to work is their mantra, despite what your circumstances are and your ability to do so.
I spoke to two homeless chaps that I generally speak to every week. They are lovely chaps but are struggling at the moment. They need more intensive help but it just isn’t available at the moment, the government cut the funding so we now have thousands of people like these chaps walking the streets. It’s awful. In reality it would work out cheaper in the long run if the government actually funded this help because emergency housing, visits to a&e all amount up. It’s cruel.
I spoke to another homeless man who is living in a tent out of the immediate area. He’s claiming Universal credit and is struggling. He proudly told me that he has been clean for a long while now and is trying to improve his life. He has had news that he might be in with a chance of getting a flat to live in so everything crossed for him.
Roy and Gordon spoke to a young woman who is forced to live in unsuitable accommodation. She has no choice but to stay there either because of the shortage in social housing.
I spoke to an older man, he’s lost his job and is now faced with the challenge of trying to fathom out the Universal Credit system. He told me that the last time that he was unemployed was in the 1980’s and things were very different then. He went on to say that back then he was given help, guidance, and was shown how to do things. He actually had help to find a job. Now, he said you are just left on your own without a clue in the world, trying to cope with a massively complex system and having to go for weeks without a payment. “They want you to die don’t they”. He isn’t wrong there is he.
I spoke to a woman that has been mandated to attend one of their so called ‘miracle’ courses. To attend this course they have to provide proof of ID, the ID being a passport, driving licence, birth certificate or a household bill. Now I’m very aware that this has been going on for years but this is DWP bureaucracy gone mad. No one that isn’t forced to attend these courses actually wants to be there, no one wants to sneak in either. Proof of their benefit entitlement from the DWP or a letter from them should be enough. It’s another expensive hurdle to cross, and it can be an expensive one also.
We helped an older lady out with her Council Tax court summons. She had received a letter saying that she had to attend court for non payment even when she had already paid over half the bill. A member of our team E, took her over to the council offices where she spoke to an officer. They quashed the court order, quashed the court costs and gave her a better payment plan than she had already agreed to. Who says that we do nothing…… Needless to say she was very happy now that she doesn’t have the threat of court hanging over her head anymore.
Council tax is a massive worry that is constantly looming upon most of the people that I speak to including myself. The supposedly ‘small’ amount that they have to pay, which isn’t small is often unpayable. Eating and rent has to be a priority. I do still campaign against the council tax supplement and the whole council tax system but no one is talking about it anymore. It’s been accepted that the poor should pay a large chunk of their meagre income towards this and it shouldn’t be accepted it needs to be fought.
We noted an older man struggling to walk into the Jobcentre, he didn’t want to talk but it broke my heart seeing this. Many older people will have the worry of the DWP hanging over them until their death. Horrible.
I spoke to a 57 year old woman that suffers from several illnesses, all debilitating. She struggled to attend the Jobcentre and I handed her a leaflet. She told me that she had been given little advice except that she should claim PIP. I agreed and I advised her further. She told me that she was glad that I was there to speak to, because now her path is much clearer.
I spoke to a woman who has only just started to receive her Universal Credit payments. She told me that she now has to survive on £200 a month which equates to £50 a week for a four week month, even less in a five week month.
That’s £50 a week or less. Out of that food has to be bought, gas and electricity to be paid, council tax to be paid, the bedroom to be paid and any other system.
So don’t tell me that the people that I speak to have it easy, they don’t. They are living in poverty with no hope, and no future that they can see. Universal Credit is working ok for the government though. It’s systematically making sure that the poorest and most vulnerable people in society suffer, it encourages them to give up and lowers the unemployment figures.
Oh and Esther Mcvey can stuff her lies where the sun doesn’t shine. We all knew that she was lying, she knew that she was lying and yet she still continues to smirk at us all.
I spoke to a man struggling with the online system of Universal Credit. “It baffles me he said, I know how to use a computer but this is beyond ridiculous” Yep! it is.
I spoke to a woman that had been refused to accompany her friend into the Jobcentre. Her friend is vulnerable and really needed her support. Come on Ashton Jobcentre, do I need to tell you the rules about allowing a person to be accompanied again? How many times do I have to repeat myself…. A person is allowed to be accompanied. There I said it again.
So here it is, all this happened in less than two hours. We worked hard and many thanks to Roy and Gordon. The amount of suffering is unprecedented and even though I often regard myself to be extremely wise to the system, I’m still often shocked. The government needs to stop this, the system needs to be challenged more and unemployed people are important. They are trying to survive an inhumane system and they are all heroes in my eyes.
Please read, share, RT, email my blog. I do my best and as a single parent running this campaign can be challenging at times. but we must continue to fight against this terrible system because people are dying and it needs to stop.