Dear readers I hope that you’re all well. This week we had sunshine which was extremely welcome and a nice change from the rain that we appear to have had since the move to the new building.
Today was quite a busy day, lots of people needing help, lots of conversations were had and lots of people were helped.
We handed out lots of leaflets and food parcels to those in need of them we’ve been doing this for around five years, ever since the introduction of universal credit in Tameside. Ashton Under Lyne was chosen to be a trial area so we’ve had a pretty shit time of it.
I was greeted at the Jobcentre by a man that has finally received his first universal credit payment. After paying back his debt for the loans that he had to take out when waiting for his universal credit to be processed he’s left with £231 to live on for the month. His monthly repayments are £86.67, how on earth is anyone supposed to survive on this? The answer is that they can’t. People often apply for loans from loan sharks etc to get them through the month and end up having to use most of their monthly allowance to pay them back.
This isn’t a fair system, nor is it a caring system. It’s designed to punish those that are in need the most. Don’t believe the propaganda from the DWP, the truth is far worse than some people realise.
We need a fair system, one that doesn’t punish a person for being poor. We need a system that enables people to thrive, to care for people.
I had a conversation with a chap that we’ve been talking to every week. He’s a lovely man and always has a smile on his face despite his circumstances.
He told me that he was being hounded via text message by the DWP. They were sending him text messages everyday telling him to phone them up regarding his universal credit claim. When he received a text message from them last week he phoned them and dealt with the matter.
The DWP not content with this have decided to send him text messages everyday asking him to phone them up. Of course this worried him so he telephoned them every time he received a message and every time he was otolaryngologists that they’d sent him the messages by mistake.
Can you imagine how this could send someone over the edge? It can and it does. The DWP need to stop harassing people but of course they won’t because I believe that some of them get a kick out of it.
I spoke to a man wanting to appeal his ESA medical assessment decision. Luckily he’s getting help from Welfare Rights, but no one should ever have to attend these awful assessments.
I then had a conversation with a man that was struggling with paying his council tax. He told me that they (the council) don’t care that he’s struggling they just want his money. Council tax and the council tax supplement is cruel to many, it’s unaffordable to most of the people that I speak to. I really hate this tax along with the bedroom tax. They push people into even more poverty, the bedroom tax is responsible for making thousands of people homeless.
We spoke to a man that was struggling to get his national insurance number from the Jobcentre. He had found some agency work but needed his national insurance number but the Jobcentre said no. Luckily I was able to phone our MPs office (Angela Rayner) on his behalf and they helped him with this, so thank you so much.
Of course this shouldn’t have happened in the first place, but the DWP aren’t renowned for their helpfulness are they.
I then spoke to a woman that was struggling with her claim. She had been advised to telephone the DWP to correct things. She did this and was informed that everything would be ok because she had phoned them. Of course the DWP lied. She asked her advisor why her complaint hadn’t been listened to because she had ‘used the wrong words’.
This is absolutely ridiculous, how on earth was she supposed to know what words to use. It’s obscene that they used this as an excuse not to help her.
We had at least five conversations with people that were focused on how awful the government is, how ‘shit’ the DWP system is, how awful a particular local conservative councillor is.
This is a complete turnaround from even a few months ago. Locally people are frustrated and angry with the government. To be honest judging from todays conversations it wont be long before they reach breaking point, after all there’s only so much abuse that a person can take until they reach breaking point.
We need a Labour government and soon. This has to change, and will change one day. I have to have hope in that to keep me going.
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I’m a skint single parent trying to make our world a better place. For anyone wishing to donate there’s a donation button at the side and top of this blog.