They keep trying to trip us up at every step.

Dear readers it’s Thursday yet again and time to update the blog. I hope that you’re all ok and coping with what feels like a constant onslaught of cruelty from the Tory government.

It appears that Boris Johnson will most likely be our next prime minister so god help us all. We can guarantee that things will become worse under his rule.

If you’d have asked me years ago if I envisaged this country being in such a mess I would have replied no. Even if we get a new Labour prime minister it’s going to take years to sort out the Tory party mess. I’ll not even start on Brexit…

The weather was good today and even though there was just two of us for ages the mood was good, maybe the weather helped or discussing our plans for the Peterloo march to Manchester this year. When I get a link for this I’ll post it on my blog.

As usual our food parcels went straight away. They’re essential and really help people in a time of great need.

I honestly thought like packing it all in last week, the amount of criticism that I receive sometimes can be all consuming and it’s hard to take my mind off it. I do these demos to help people and to protest against the inhumane treatment given to the poorest and most vulnerable in society. It’s a point of principle for me. I was always taught to treat people as I like to be treated, only the Tory party must be reading another guide book, the clearly don’t give a stuff and are willing to drag this country into down as far as it will go. For them it doesn’t matter because they can walk away from the mess they make.

David Cameron, Ian Duncan Smith, Esther Mcvey and Amber Rudd one day we will get justice. Karma or whatever you call it can be a t**t sometimes can’t it.

We offer help, advice, signposting, copies of our survival guide and friendship. If you need help you’ll get it without having to fill out forms and wait ages in a queue. And like I mentioned earlier food parcels but they normally leave as quickly as they arrive.

I really hate the fact that there is a need for them and I will always do everything in my power to protest about this. My health isn’t brilliant sometimes but it’s better than a lot of the people that I speak to and who read this blog.

We are having lots of success with our survival guide, people are reading it and following the instructions which is why we made it. We are seeing people whom we have spoken to in the past and handed a leaflet to going into the Jobcentre with a file of some sorts, all their paperwork and they record any calls from and to the DWP. They record our calls so if you can do this it’s really helpful. If you have a smartphone you can download a free app from either the play store or the App Store over on Iphones.

For those that say that we’re useless, do nothing and are troublemakers the proof is in the pudding. We actually do quite a lot like other groups do throughout the country. We should all be welcomed and not scorned.

The universal credit system isn’t fit for purpose as you know. I can give you an example from todays conversations.

Both myself and Gordon had a conversation with a man that had received two DWP appointments via text message for the same day. One appointment was this morning and the other was this afternoon.

Because he wasn’t sure which was the real appointment he arrived for the morning appointment only to be told that it was this afternoon. So he then had to hang around Ashton-under-Lyne town centre until it was time for his appointment.

If this gentleman had been in poor health or disabled he might not have been able to do this. It’s a system that’s failing everyone except the government. They won’t admit this though.

Let’s see if Amber Rudd actually gets round to cutting the at least five week wait for a first universal credit payment. I wouldn’t hold my breath though, they’re in no rush to do so because it saves them money. The cost for us however is high. Our health both physical and mental suffers greatly and it’s near impossible to climb out of poverty once entrapped in it.

For anyone doubting this, take it from me I know because like the people that I speak to I’m in the same position.

We spoke to a nice chap whom I’m going to name Tom. Tom is an older man trying his best to navigate this awful system. He didn’t have a good word to say about universal credit. He did however tell me how he felt about it.

‘It’s a system that keeps wanting to trip us up at every step. There’s no let up is there? I honestly can’t see an end to it and it makes me so annoyed.” He went on to say that he hated having to live like this, chasing jobs that aren’t real, trying to keep a computer system happy. ‘It’s just not fair is it”.

Damn right it isn’t fair.

We spoke to quite a few people that were making a new application for universal credit. We handed them a copy of our survival guide and we hope that this has made things a bit easier for them. My heart goes out to them.

Schools are now breaking up for the summer holidays and not having a penny to spend on food or trips out will affect even more children this summer. Having to say no all the time to a child’s request is also devastating for the parents. We hide it well, but every time we have to say no a little piece of us dies a little. This is how it affects me. I hate feeling like this as much as you do.

Without a doubt both children and their parents will be going hungry this summer. Some schools and voluntary organisations will be opening to feed children at lunch times. If you know of anywhere near where you live that is doing this please comment on my blog so that my readers can see it. Thanks.

I had a long conversation with a man whom like myself lives with hydrocephalus only a different kind. He suffers from black-outs and has to spend prolonged time in hospital whilst they treat him.

I asked this chap how he was getting along with the system and he told me that he’s making an application for universal credit and is hoping that the DWP take notice of his fit notes (sick notes). I gave him some info and a copy of our survival guide.

He’s going to find it near impossible to find a job that will take note of his disability and employ him. It’s ridiculous even to suggest it. I really hope that he’s ok.

We had quite a few complaints about the new building, mostly about the lack of adequate signage, directions to lifts and the awful steps. I’m definitely going to address this with my local council and I hope that these problems will be sorted out.

Honestly it’s not rocket science to put signs up is it. People shouldn’t be left to guess where they should go. It’ll even put people off from attending appointments or requesting help.

Another complaint was that there isn’t any LED sign etc to tell people with hearing problems that their number has been called in the council part of the building. This needs rectifying asap.

This week was challenging, but very productive. I encouraged a woman to appeal her PIP decision and I’ve put support in place for her to do this.

I also had a conversation with a security guard employee whom I think actually employs people over at the college side of the building. I told him about the two wages in one month scenario and he is definitely interested in changing paydays so that any employees don’t suffer from this. Yes the DWP are still doing this.

We will be returning next week to help more people. We love doing this because it gives people hope as many of you will know. A massive thank you to everyone else that are also taking action like we are. You’re all amazing.

Get well messages for Roy, he’s not well at the moment and we’re missing him so much. Get well soon!!!

Thank you to Gordon for being an absolute superstar and my Twitter follower for coming and saying hello. You know who you are!! You made me smile so much!!

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog to other, even your local Tory MP or councillor. They need to know what the reality of this situation is even though they’ll either choose to deny it or will ignore it.

There’s also a donation button at the side and top of my blog for anyone wanting to donate. I am actively looking for a job and if anyone knows of a job suitable for me please let me know. Thank you so, so much.

A huge thank you to everyone that has and does support my blog. You all give me the strength to carry on as do my wonderful friends. I really couldn’t do this without you all.

17 thoughts on “They keep trying to trip us up at every step.”

  1. Well done on your continued hard work Charlotte, we all support and appreciate everything you do! x Bo, Southampton


  2. Thinking of the man with two appointments on the same day, I wish more people would go on the offensive when the the job centre tries to jerk them around, because I find it works; they don’t try it on twice. I once got given 4 appointment dates in the same week, two of them on the same day. The occasion for this was that I’d informed the job centre that I was about to start a free vocational course (to train for the security industry) and I would be required to be in the college between certain hours for 4 weeks, so if they wanted to see me and add the course to my claimant commitment, they would have to do it before the course started. Their response was the four interviews, in the first week if the course, all during college times. I immediately emailed them via my UC account to accuse them of deliberately setting me up to miss an interview so they could use me for their sanctions targets; of trying to sabotage my course and damage my prospects of finding work; advised them that they knew damn well nobody needs 4 interviews in one week so this had to be a deliberate P take by the job centre staff; demanded that they withdraw all the interviews and fix one only outside of college hours; and lastly that I would sue them for potential loss of earnings if they cost me my place on the course. They then fixed me one interview, still within college times. I did get help from the course provider getting that changed, as they think they have a relationship with the job centre to facilitate claimants going on their course. I am still pursuing a complaint against the job centre 8 months on because they never apologised, never clarified whether it was a mistake or not, and have not undertaken to make sure it doesn’t happen again. But my 2 job coaches since then have been very respectful and have agreed that they will consult me on interview dates and will change them if I say I have somewhere more important to be. Though “more important” than attending the job centre does cover only a limited range of situations! But I find that asserting yourself gets more respect not more retaliation. I try to inspire other claimants I meet with the confidence to do the same, but it’s very depressing that claiming benefits and dealing with the job centre operates on a ‘survival of the fittest’ basis.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do part time voluntary work for a foodbank charity working mostly in their warehouse and tomorrow they are giving me a letter to take to the jobcentre that explains that they have booked me in for forklift truck training over 3 days next week, and it will clash with my signing-on day on Tuesday. I’m betting (I might be wrong) that the jobcentre will either refuse to rearrange my signing appointment or possibly say I’m not allowed to do the training at all because it’s not been arranged through them, it’s something I’m doing off my own back and they generally don’t like it when people do that. We shall see. My Adviser /Work Coach /Dole Clerk has been on my case lately and seems to be looking for any excuse to give me a hard time or possibly Sanction me. She’s never happy no matter what I do. I can’t believe the amount of shit I have to put up with and the hoops I have to jump through just to get my lousy 70 quid a week JSA. BTW, by comparison, in Ireland unemployment benefit is the equivalent of £168 per week and not as strict either.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’ve experienced many situations with the jobcentre along the same lines as these examples – won’t go into them here and now – but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if your “advisor” says you can’t sign on because you weren’t actually available to work for those 3 days and you weren’t actively seeking work. It happened to me.


      2. Well it’s still a little bit uncertain, I’ll have to see what happens in the morning. I went to the Jobcentre on Friday, showed them the letter and explained the situation (to one of the floor staff on ground floor). She went off to speak to someone and came back saying that it was alright for me to do this training and I can either sign on first thing in the morning beforehand when the jobcentre opens at 8.30am, or I could come and sign at the end of the day after I ve been to the training. She said that someone, a Manager, would phone me that day (Friday) to confirm it but no one ever rang. I’ll go to the jobcentre first thing at half 8 in the morning and hopefully it will be a quick signing straight in &out, IF the right message has got through to the right person, but if there’s any delay and I’m kept waiting I’m going to be late for the training. It takes about 15 mins. if I walk fast from the jobcentre to the foodbank. Trouble is also I have arthritis in my left foot and it’s painful if I walk too fast. I was also told that my payment would be delayed unless I sign on that day. If I go to sign after the training and they haven’t got the message then anything is possible, they might have closed my claim (I wouldn’t put it past them) and even if the mistake was rectified they wouldn’t be able to reopen my JSA claim and I bet I’d have to open a claim for Universal Credit, so I’m not taking any chances. Besides which I don’t know what time the training ends, whether it’s 4.00pm or 5.00pm, I’ve not been told and no one at the foodbank seems to know either. Hopefully I’ll sign first thing, get to the training on time, and it’ll be ok, but you never know when dealing with the Jobcentre. Also, I’m totally skint til Friday so got no money for bus fares or lunch, just to make it worse.


      3. Well it doesn’t really matter about the bus fares, ordinarily I do walk there and back anyway twice a week, it’s about a mile and half each way, and the exercise is good for me as I also have high cholesterol and high blood sugar (I sound like a right wreck!), it’s just that tomorrow is all going to be a bit of a rush. Money for lunch would be good though. I’ve got about a Quid in loose change and 25p in the bank. To be honest I’ll be glad when this week is over and done with and it’s Friday (and today is only Monday!), but that’s how it feels when you’re poor you just want time to pass. I’ll get through the week somehow. Can take some ibuprofen for my aching foot. Oh, just remembered also I have to walk to my doctors after the training to pick up my other meds. stomach pills as I also have a hiatus hernia. If I was a horse they would shoot me! But try getting a sick note in this day and age – no chance! Be glad when I can get my pension in god knows how many more years.


      4. I managed to get signed on and got to my training on time, despite the jobcentre staff not expecting me and knew nothing about it because, surprise surprise, the message never got communicated to them by the people I spoke to downstairs on Friday, who told me to sign at 8.30 as soon as they open. Turns out the signing floor upstairs doesn’t even open til 9 but someone saw me anyway after I explained it all over again to two of them. They asked who I had spoken to on Friday but I don’t know her name, then asked me what she looks like, and were all completely in the dark and mystified by the whole thing. Typical.


  3. I had a job interview in the building last Tuesday, the first time I have actually been inside it, and the first thing I noticed was the poor signage. I had to get careful directions from one of the librarians to the lift, even though it was only yards away. The design of the building is such that the lift on the ground floor in the library section is hidden in a little alcove. When you get to the first floor, where the council offices are, there is no receptionist visible to ask for directions, (just a row of cubicle desks whose staff fail to make eye contact with any new person who walks in) and no signs visible for you to figure out where to go for yourself. There is a very discreet set of signs halfway across the open plan space, set against a wall. You can’t see them until you’re almost facing them. It would make sense to have high contrast direction signs hanging from the ceiling, where you can’t miss them, as has long been the custom in railway stations, department stores, supermarkets and the better designed public buildings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally agree with you. It’s awful for the lack of signage. I’m going to email them again and see if I get any response. They could and should have done much better than this.


  4. Reblogged this on Fear and Loathing in Great Britain and commented:
    ‘It’s a system that keeps wanting to trip us up at every step. There’s no let up is there? I honestly can’t see an end to it and it makes me so annoyed.” He went on to say that he hated having to live like this, chasing jobs that aren’t real, trying to keep a computer system happy. ‘It’s just not fair is it”.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The 5 weeks wait for UC is all wrong in my eyes. I mean even if it was necessary from an administrative point of view then surely when the payments do begin they should be back dated to the beginning of the claim. Or in other words the advancement should be a grant, not a repayable loan. Hardship payments too should not have to be related. It’s all David Freud’s fault , he is the main one who dreamt up this evil, he was the real brains of the Welfare reforms (begun in the days of New Labour at the request of Tony Blair). Then he jumped ship,joined the Tories and continued doing the same job. An unelected bureaucrat multi -millionaire wielding power over the lives of millions of people. It makes you sick. That’s not Democracy.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s