Dear readers, its Thursday again at least it wasn’t raining this week. Today’s demo was a tad different and I’ll explain below.
All of the food parcels were handed out to people that really need them, it’s heartbreaking to see new faces waiting for us to arrive with them, and it’s going to become much, much worse.
We also signposted everyone that needed help.
Universal credit and Brexit are going to cause the perfect storm for the DWP. They’ll be more people for them to persecute, and we all know how much they like to do that don’t we.
As I arrived at our new spot a policeman cross council worker was waiting for me. He was polite and told us that he had been told to tell us that we have to move to another proposed spot…. ROUND THE CORNER WHERE NO ONE CAN SEE US.
Not only is that proposal ridiculous it will prevent us from helping people. We are now in negotiations with this chap. I’ve made it very clear that I’m not interested in going round the corner.
Having to deal with these negotiations took me away from helping people, now that did upset me and I will endeavour not to let anyone down next week.
For a start we aren’t trouble causers, we help people. Nor are we a dirty little secret that has to be hidden away out of sight and sound of anyone.
I was expecting this, so I’m not one bit surprised, like I’ve said before it’s going to be like starting all over again and we need your support. If anyone would like to join us one week to show solidarity we would welcome you with open arms.
Anyway back to the important stuff.
The mood of the claimants wasn’t good today, everyone that we spoke to seemed either depressed and annoyed usually a mixture of both.
I spoke to Sam when he was walking out of the Jobcentre. He took a leaflet and asked for my help. Sams story is this.
Sam has substance abuse issues and he’s trying his best to get clean.
Sam had just had a spell in hospital, he was released yesterday and he showed me his hospital wristband.
Sam was moved onto universal credit and he struggled to keep with the DWPS demands. The DWP don’t give a toss that he’s trying to recover from addiction and that this can take a long time.
Sam is now waiting for his eviction letter from his landlord. He’s being evicted because he couldn’t keep up with the rent payments due to the long wait for his universal credit claim to be processed.
Sam will soon be street homeless and will be classed as making himself intentionally homeless by the local authority even though he didn’t choose to be moved onto universal credit and he couldn’t borrow any money from family etc.
As a result the local authority could wash their hands of him, they might not and I hope to god that he gets some support because being street homeless would be awful for him.
I then spoke to David. Davids story is this.
David had been laid off in January so he made a claim for universal credit.
David was paid a Christmas bonus that he wasn’t expecting to receive just after he had made his application for universal credit.
The DWP saw this as a wage and stopped his claim for universal credit.
Sam spent all of the Christmas bonus money on vet fees for his dog that had to be put to sleep.
Sam then had to start the application process all over again.
Sam has been without money from December to February.
He’s worried that he’s going to become homeless and that he’s going to loose everything that he has.
The DWP don’t care though because they’re paid not to care. As it stands Sam will become yet another statistic, not a name, not a person but a number.
I then spoke to Jim. Jims story is this.
Jims working now but he had been unemployed for a period of 14 months not long ago. He was made redundant from his job of 30 years.
Jim told me that he was treated terribly, spoken to like dirt and was mandated to undergo workfare (work for nothing) at a local Barnados charity shop.
Jim worked long hours there, and when it was time for him to finish his time there he was told to not put this experience on his CV. Baffled by this response he ignored them and put it on his CV.
He told me that he thought that all this was a sick game that they’re playing with everyone. ‘They know that there’s no jobs, but they keep sending people on these crap courses which degrade us. They just like people like me to suffer’
That’s the truth of it isn’t it.
Jim told me that it was the worst experience of his life and that he never wanted to go through it again, stating that no one deserves to be treated with such disrespect.
Luckily Jim now has a job, he wanted to have a chat with us to tell us about how he felt, how he was treated because it still affects him now, saying that the whole experience had scared him for life.
A man walked past and shouted that he agrees with everything that we’re doing and to keep up the good work.
We then spoke to an older man who had been claiming Severe Disability Payments. Basically he’s in poor health and certainly isn’t fit for work.
All was going ok until he asked for his PIP payments to be increased due to needing a mobility scooter to get around.
They refused, sent him for a medical assessment and his Severe Disability Payments were also stopped.
He’s now been without money for 13 weeks.
A very vulnerable disabled man has been without any money for 13 weeks.
We signposted and helped him as much as we possibly could, but it left me feeling sick in my stomach. Before anyone says that thousands of people are suffering just like this man is, I already know this. I speak to people in this position all the time.
Some days I get upset, but I’m human with a heart and compassion something that the DWP don’t have.
This happened within 2 hours, hopefully I won’t be distracted next week as I was today. Can you imagine how many people are suffering at the hands of the DWP?
Thousands upon thousands are, thousands are homeless, hungry and scared because of universal credit. It’s not acceptable to treat people like this.
Please spare them a thought.
We will be returning next week.
Photograph taken at the old Jobcentre.
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