What’s the point in trying to stop them from sanctioning me? They do it anyway. A man defeated by the system.

I’m going to start this weeks blog by thanking all of my readers, supporters, followers on Twitter and friends on Facebook. Also I want to than all my activist friends for their support.

Today was absolutely freezing cold. Not only did I have to contend with walking the mile to school on what was effectively sheet ice, the wind chill was awful. I really don’t know how anyone that is street homeless survives in this weather. I only stood for nearly a couple of hours and I was chilled to the bone. The national and local severe weather emergency provision is unsatisfactory also. All different authorities use differing thermometers and rulings. Once the weather on their individual thermometers reaches above zero then there isn’t any provision.

They don’t keep in mind that their thermometers can be wrong, and people can and do still die on the streets in above zero temperatures. Today with the cold, and wind chill it’s much colder than they think. Ultimately it’s all about saving money though and denying responsibility. A national system needs to be introduced, where every local authority uses the same temperature measure, ideally the Met Office and take things like wind chill, feels like temperature and rain into account.

Anyway I have digressed from the demo, but it’s a subject that I’m passionate about. I speak to many street homeless folk and I can’t imagine the hell that they go through on a daily basis.

 

Anyway like I’ve said it was cold, so much so that we had to leave 20 minutes early. There was only three of us, and a couple of friends came to say hello, thank you! I’m always wary that I don’t want anyone to become ill. But I apologise anyway.

 

The first person that I spoke to today was a lady who told me that she was grieving. There had been a death in her family and she was trying to cope as well as keep up with the DWP regime. She had handed a sick note in, but unfortunately it had ran out so back on the treadmill she goes. I handed her a leaflet which she was thankful for.

 

I spoke to a lady who was new to the DWP system due to a relationship breakdown. She has two children, one still very young, but her advisor has given her an unreasonable job search time in her claimant commitment. I advised her and she will be taking this further. I gave her a survival guide which she was grateful for.

 

We spoke to an older man who’s son is claiming Universal Credit . His told us that his son is 50 years old and has a degree. He is looking for work and is doing his best. He told us that the DWP staff are ‘buggers’ who don’t help anyone but themselves. It must be awful seeing his son in this position and worrying about him also.

 

We spoke to a man who had won two tribunals to reinstate his JSA payments, but the DWP are still refusing to pay him. The DWP have given him all sorts of rubbish excuse that don’t amount to any substance at all, and they are ignoring the tribunals order to pay him his money. He will be appealing this though, he’s very knowledgeable and will hopefully be visiting the Law Centre in Manchester for further help.

 

I spoke to a few people that were walking out of the Jobcentre clutching colourful, glossy brochures. They informed me that they contain information about a health and wellbeing course at a local college. I will endeavour to get further details of these courses.

 

We spoke to an older man who looked very despondent. We asked him what the problem was and he told us that he was sick of that place (the Jobcentre). We handed him a leaflet and told him that it would help him, and hopefully prevent him from being sanctioned. He looked at the leaflet, looked at us and said “What’s the point? They do it anyway.” That, readers are the words of a defeated man. His pride has gone, and the system has ground him down as much as it can. This is what the system does to people, it takes a person’s spirit from them, I’ve seen it countless times and it sickens me.

 

I spoke to a lady who I speak to on a weekly basis. She’s so lovely and always has a smile for us despite having a hard time. She has had the flu, works for 12 hours a week and relies on the top up element of Universal Credit. Because she claims the top up element she still has to do a weekly job search which she keeps to stringently. Today her advisor told her that she hadn’t looked for work enough. Luckily for her she proved that she had done so. She was so close to wrongly having her top up wrongly sanctioned, and thanks to our advice she had the evidence. This is how easy it is to be sanctioned and it angers me.

 

We handed out 6 food parcels, all full to the top, handed out extra bread, handed out copies of our survival guides, gave comapssion, understanding and sympathy. All of those qualities the DWP are devoid of. I’m very sad to say that we had to leave early, 20 minutes early but we were really cold. I’m still cold. But we will return next week as usual and will be there for the full two hours.

Steve if you are reading this get well soon!

Thanks to my rocks Gordon and Roy for coming today. I’m very aware that it wasn’t easy for you so a massive thank you.

 

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DWP staff told to reach Aspiration targets. 

The DWP like to create new names for targets that they want staff to reach. These names help the government to disassociate themselves from the heinous acts that they choose to inflict on claimants and their families. 

I have it on good authority that a DWP Labour Market decision maker now has a new name for a target they have to reach. 

A Labour Market decision maker is an employee of the DWP specifically employed to deal with Mandatory Reconsiderations. A Mandatory Reconsideration can be requested once a decision has been made to stop a claimants money for whatever reason given. 

It’s supposed to be a fair process, but I’ve had good reason to doubt that this process is anything but fair. I’ve heard of a Mandatory Reconsideration being refused on the same day as the reconsideration was requested. 

So yet again the evidence of target lead decisions is mounting up. Of course the DWP will deny this, they never say on paperwork that they have a target led system but of course we know different. Who remembers the Sheriffs stars?

Now I’m not saying that all DWP staff are happy about this. They have brought this issue up with their union the PCS but their complaints haven’t been listened to by the DWP. The Government have no intention of changing it because this system works too well for them. So the staff have to carry out orders. Failure to reach their aspiration targets will result in being seen as a poor performer with poor performance levels and they will receive a disciplinary. Can you imagine how stressful this can be if you really don’t want to do this, but are too scared of being targeted at work or loosing your job? They won’t want to be in the same position as a claimant. This does not excuse the DWP employees who don’t mind doing this. They really need to question their motives and their moral standards. Having to refuse a claimants money could quite literally result in that claimants death. There’s enough evidence of this. 

Now the definition of the word aspiration is this. “A hope or ambition of achieving something” As in the needs and aspirations of the people” Words associated are desire, hope, longing, yearning, hankering, urge, wish. The list goes on. 

It’s quite different than the governments retroric that states that people should “Aspire to work”

I really do think that the government have surpassed themselves here. Aspiration targets for refusing mandatory reconsiderations could be translated as a desire to refuse as many mandatory reconsiderations as possible. 

The more exposure we have on target led decisions that we can expose the better. No one can challenge anything publicly unless the public actually know. 

And I’m not supporting the DWP either. This system is cruel, it’s designed to fail a claimant and I will continue to challenge this for as long as humanely possible. 
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Universal Credit promotion continuing and DWP involvement with The Poverty Agenda Group Oldham And Tameside.

Well, well well it seems that the DWP aren’t giving up as Teresa May suggested. My instincts were right in thinking that they would continue the planned roll out, after all they had just employed new staff especially for this purpose at a Jobcentre in a nearby town. 

Today I received a rather interesting email. It was from an organisation called Poverty Agenda Group Oldham And Tameside They work closely alongside several networks and organisations to provide resources and help to raise awareness, and to also provide practical help to those living in poverty across the Greater Manchester area. 

In this email that was sent out, it included a selection of roll out tools for the promotion of Universal credit. 

Now I found this extremely interesting as Universal credit has been proven to not make work pay. The waiting time for a Universal Credit claim to be processed at its quickest is six weeks, the longest period of time that I have heard of is three months. So why are The Poverty Agenda Group Oldham And Tameside Group  communicating with the DWP? 

Now included in this email is a complete tool kit which will give organisations everything that they would need to promote Universal Credit. So I have had a good look, and have picked some of the misleading information out to highlight to the readers of my blog. I do know that what I am about to show you is nothing new, but it does no harm indeed to show you again. People forget quickly. 

Now take note. This is the propaganda. Below is an image of the reality.

You are not better off in work whilst on Universal Credit, you are actually worse off. As from April 2016 the back to work bonus was taken away, leaving claimants with no benefit at all. Quite simply you end up worse off. It seems that the DWP has failed to correct their promotional material. 

Also in the material given, the DWP tries to pursuade organisations to ensure that claimants tick the boxes on the Universal Jobmatch job search account that claimants are forced to sign up to. 

Now if a claimant does this, they loose all privacy and their unreasonable job searches will be monitored at all times. I’ve seen cases of when a claimant was ten minutes short on their job search and they had their Universal Credit payments sanctioned. The amount of time that claimants have to search for jobs is entirely individual, for some claimants they have to job search for 35 hours a week. 

However in a recent freedom of information request it shows that legally you have no obligation to tick that box at all, and indeed the accompanying box next to it on the form. I always inform claimants that this is the most important thing to do. 

You can imagine how alarmed I was to see that The Poverty Agenda Group Oldham And Tameside are in communication with the DWP. They are supposed to be helping people out of poverty rather than dragging them into even more poverty. 

You also might be interested to learn that Universal Credit has lead to an increase in domestic violence incidences. The lack of money, and one person controlling the household income has had a detrimental effect. People are suffering, that I and others have no doubt and the suffering will indeed continue. Universal Credit was created to cause suffering I’m sure of that. 

Update: I have been contacted by a member of Greater Manchester Poverty Action. This has absolutley nothing to do with their group. The group involved is The Poverty Agenda Group Oldham And Tameside. An email had been sent to Greater Manchester Poverty Action and the sender from the Poverty Agenda Group had included them without their knowledge. 

I have therefore amended my blog but I will not change my opinion that the original sender The Poverty Agenda Group Oldham And Tameside really need to think about their actions. Associating with the DWP is in my eyes morally wrong. 

I find it very disturbing that they are in communication with the DWP. 

Help needed! 

Shoutout for help!

 You may or may not remember that over a year ago I wrote about the awful troubled family scheme implemented by the government. Well it’s been proven to have only been successful in 2% of cases.

In different areas the TFP is called different things:

Confident Families (Wigan and possibly other areas)

Stronger Families (Doncaster and possibly other areas)

Priority Families (Nottingham and possibly other areas)

Working Together with Families (Preston and possibly other areas)

Families First (Bradford and possibly other areas)

 I’m wanting to do a follow up article on this and I’d like to speak to anyone who has been forced to go on this scheme, or who weren’t even told that they were on the scheme and then later found out. 

Anyone that contacts me will remain anonymous out of respect for privacy, unless they state that they want people to know who they are. 

I can’t state how important it is to get the reality of being forced to undertake these schemes out there. Unless we speak about it the public will remain unaware! 

Many thanks ! 

Many thanks!

We are featured in this weeks copy of The Big Issue North.

The author Gary is a lovely chap. He shadowed me at our weekly demo and I think that he was shocked of the gravity of reality of the in work conditionality element of Universal Credit. 

People often forget about this, perhaps because they think that it won’t affect them. But it very well could do and it’s best to research and to be prepared for the eventuality of in work conditionality. 

Anyway, have a read, it’s a fantastic article and very well written.

Thanks very much Gary. 

The DWP takes a rather sinister stance on disabled and non disabled claimants. Provision of Research Lab Facilities for DWP.

Being a disabled claimant is hard enough, the whole rigmarole of trying to ensure that you get money to live on, money that you deserve is unbelievably hard. Not happy with the methods that they already use to stigmatise ill and disabled claimants they have decided to go one step further.

At first I read this and couldn’t quite believe it. In essence they have recruited an agency to take part, alongside the DWP in what can only be seen as interrogation tactics, or methods used in police stations when interviewing possible criminals.

A claimant will be told to attend an office for an interview, as we know these interviews aren’t voluntary. If you don’t attend then it gives them the option of punishing you, usually by stopping your only source of income.

From what I have read a claimant will be asked to enter a room which consists of walls where mirrored glass or the like are being used. The interview will then be watched from behind the mirrored glass in the adjacent room. It says that claimants are supposed to be informed of this happening, but do they? The DWP have been less than forgoing with their honesty and cannot be relied on for telling the truth.

Here is the link to the advertisement for the tender for the position.

To add insult to injury the winning tender has been awarded £60,000 for undertaking this work. Seems like there’s a never ending money pit to fund the ill treatment of claimants, both disabled and non disabled and their carers.
https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/3653b606-2d53-4031-ae5b-ec6e38c59f10

This is particularly disturbing. Why would they want observe claimants in this way? Claimants who are acting lawfully and whom are the most vulnerable in society?

I can only sumise that this will be used to both further intimidate and also to take notes both on body language and physical communication in such a way that can be used against them. Why hide behind a mirrored screen? Why drag claimants and their carers in for these interviews if it isn’t to try and put them off from claiming the money that they need to survive?

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We should be outraged at this, and in my eyes it is a step too far.

Please share this widely for me. Claimants should not ever be experiments in their evil DWP laboratory.

They are based in Manchester, once again in the North West of England. But of course they aren’t biased towards northern people………..
Northern Voices T/A The Talking Shop
Supplier’s address
87-89 Chapel Street
Manchester
England
M3 5DF

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A statement. 

It was pointed out today that someone was confused about the political stance of our demonstration group, which is Tameside against the Cuts. It has always been made clear that we are a cross party group and have no alliances to any political group. Indeed, we find the diversity good and healthy. 

We are a non discrimitory group and everyone regardless or age, sex, gender or sexuality is welcome to stand alongside us. We do not tolerate racism, sexism, classism or any kind of insult towards anyone. We have respect for everyone. 

The claimants are our priority and will always remain so. And we stand together to fight against the draconian measures enforced by the government, we also stand against austerity and everything that comes along with that. 

I apologise for my PayPal email address. Its been brought to my attention that people might find it off- putting. I cannot change that as I do not have another bank account to open a new PayPal account. It plainly states my name as I am the blog writer. 

If there is, or has been any confusion I apologise, and here is a photo of the team, a mixed political party gang with no Tory or UKIP members allowed. 

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