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