Dear readers, it’s Thursday again and here’s my latest blog update. Thankfully the weather was good today, indeed very warm for a change. We spoke to lots of people and helped lots also.
We do vital work, helping people when they’re upset, stressed and dealt with unfairly by the DWP. Claiming universal credit is a difficult and arduous process, hard for many, impossible for some as they don’t know how to or don’t have a computer.
For those saying that they should go to a library thats easier said than done. Many libraries have shut and some libraries reduced to a small mobile library that visits occasionally and don’t have computer or internet access.
For those that say that they can do their job searching on a phone, a lot of people don’t have smart phones, many have pawned them for money for food or bills and many don’t know how to use them. Life isn’t as simple as some make it out to be. Most of you already realise this of course.
Universal credit is a complicated system that’s designed to make people fail. It doesn’t benefit those that are working and claiming universal credit either. If you are seen to earn ‘too much’ then they’ll automatically end your claim. This happens all the time to people that have received two wages in one month because of the number of days in the month or if you’ve managed to get some overtime.
This week is the start of Amber Rudds universal credit publicity campaign in the Metro newspaper. The facts that she’s stating in these ads are untrue and based upon old data. They’ll be running this advertisement campaign for nine weeks, so there’s plenty of time to bin these newspapers when you see them.
This is why it’s very important to share my blog and other blogs like mine. We need to get the truth out there to the public. Whilst we can’t afford to pay 250 thousand to do this like the Tory party have, we do have social media and word of mouth. We are much more effective than they are using these methods because the Tories haven’t got a clue how to relate to real life people.
Everyone that we spoke to today were signposted for help, given advice immediately and given a food parcel if needed. The food parcels went as soon as we arrived with them, there’s a huge need for them because many people are surviving by visiting various foodbanks during the week and accessing any free cooked food facilities.
It shouldn’t be like this, but it is and we will be there to help them as long as there is a need.
I spoke to a man as I was handing him a food parcel, he told me that he’s been told that he’s missed two PIP appointments even though he didn’t receive any letters regarding this. He collects his post from the local post office so he definitely hasn’t received them.
As a result he’s now having to survive by using foodbanks and our food parcels.
I had a quick chat with a woman who was carrying her seven week old baby. Call me old fashioned but I don’t believe that anyone with such a young baby should be hounded by the DWP. Children benefit hugely from being with their parents, and if the government allowed this then they’d save millions of pounds. But it’s not about saving money is it, it’s about making people suffer, and that includes children.
I had a conversation with a young woman who is claiming universal credit and is working. She told me that because she had done some overtime the previous month, the universal credit system and automatically stopped her claim because it decided that she had earnt ‘too much’.
This has left her not knowing how she will survive, pay her rent and other bills. Despite Amber Rudds claims no one benefits from claiming universal credit especially working people.
Sadly this woman will never be able to satisfy the universal credit system, nor will anyone that I’ve spoken to today and over the years. It’s an abusive, gaslighting system that wears a person down until they’ve had enough.
It wasn’t long after that I had a conversation with a very vulnerable man and his carer. I’ve seen him having to go into the Jobcentre every week. A government with an ounce of compassion wouldn’t make him or anyone like him sign on. He should be able to enjoy his life instead of worrying all the time.
I then had a conversation with an older man.He quite rightly pointed out that nobody would employ him at his age, and he doesn’t like being harassed by the DWP to find work. He told me that she’s worked since leaving school and has never seen a system like it.
His situation doesn’t end there though, because he’s claiming universal credit he still has to pay the bedroom tax and the council tax supplement. To say that he’s struggling is an understatement, he doesn’t know how much more that he can take.
Roy briefly spoke to a young woman. Her situation is this, her private landlord is selling the house that she’s renting and she’s being forced to move home. When she moves home this will trigger a change of circumstances and she’ll be moved onto universal credit. To say that she’s scared of this happening is an understatement.
Luckily Roy provided some reassuring words and advice. I really hope that she’ll be ok.
I then spoke to an older lady, she told me that she was 65 and had worked for 50 years. She missed out on getting her pension and she’s not entitled to it until March.
During this conversation she told me that she didn’t receive any notification that this would happen to her and she certainly didn’t receive any letters telling her this. She’s doing her best to survive and is a member of the Back To 60 campaign, an important campaign which is overshadowed by the WASPI campaign. Please folks support them both.
Being harassed at 65 years of age by the DWP to find work is not only insulting it’s downright wrong. No one will employ her, it’s hard enough being a young person and finding work how on earth can they expect her to magic up employment that will satisfy the DWP. It’s scandalous and needs to be reported more often.
It was then that we all had a conversation with a chap who’s just returned from living in a different area of the country. He was already claiming universal credit and thought that it would be simple for the DWP to transfer his claim to his present address.
Sadly the DWP don’t believe in doing anything simply though, the system is rigged to make people suffer. He described how he’s now living a ‘nightmare’ and he’s sick of waiting for his commitment appointment with a DWP worker.
Universal credit shouldn’t be complicated after all it was advertised as being simple and easy to use. The reality is that its the most complicated system that many have seen and at times impossible to deal with. Don’t believe the DWP lies and spin.
It was then that I spoke to a young man thats going through a complete nightmare. His situation is this.
He was born in a different country because his mother had gone on holiday and had her baby unexpectedly there. His mother is a British citizen and was born in the Uk as were her parents, grandparents etc etc.
The home office contacted him and told him that he’s no longer a British Citizen, even though his parents are British, and nor is his young child. They informed him that he has to hand their passports in. To say that he’s scared is an understatement, this is his country, his parents country. He works in the UK, paid tax and insurance but now he’s been told that he’s not welcome because he happened to be born unexpectedly in a different country.
Sadly this isn’t uncommon, cases like this happen a lot but are often unreported. No one should have to go through this, but the government doesn’t care.
Luckily we were there to help him and to signpost him. The Windrush scandal isn’t over, they were just warming up. I’m certain that hundreds of people have been forced to leave the UK and to move to a country where they have no connections etc.
It’s scandalous that this is happening in the first place.
I’ll leave this blog with a statement from UN rapporteur Philip Alston, taken from his report that was released this week.
“It might seem to some observers that the department of work and pensions has been tasked with designing a digital and sanitised version of the early 19th century workhouse, made infamous by Charles Dickens”
“Thomas Hobbes observed long ago, such an approach condemns the least well-off to lives that are solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. As the British social contract evaporates, Hobbes prediction risks becoming the new reality.”
I can’t thank Roy and Gordon enough for supporting me today and helping so many people today. We are all doing this on a voluntary basis, because we can see the need and need to address it.
We shall return next week as usual.
Please read, share, tweet, email my blog. For anyone wishing to donate towards keeping my blog going and the campaign there’s a button at the top of this blog and at the side.