Category: Food bank

Shocking Statistics Show 350,000 More Children in Poverty Than Last year

According to statistics released today by CPAG (Child Poverty Action Group) 350,000 more children are in poverty in the U.K than last year.



This shows that 29% of all children in the UK are growing up below what is regarded as the breadline. In total that’s 4.2 million children in the UK, I’ll repeat this again 4.2 million children in the UK are growing up in poverty.

One of the main contributors to this sudden rise since 2022 is the stopping of the £20 universal credit uplift that happened half way through 2022.

At the same time £3.1 billion has been spent on Pupil Premiums and Early Years Entitlement for two-year olds that were introduced in 2008 has risen since 2021 from £2.5 billion to £2.7 billion a year whilst spending on the Early Years Entitlement for two year olds has fallen from £0.5 billion to £0.4 billion.


Forecasts of continued growth in child poverty mean that the current estimated £39.5bn annual cost will reach £40.4 billion in 2027 in today’s prices.



Commenting on today’s DWP’s child poverty statistics and CPAG’s own research on the economic costs of child poverty, Chief Executive of the charity Alison Garnham said:

“Children pay the highest possible price for poverty – they pay with their health, their well-being and their life chances. Our research shows the country also pays a heavy financial price.

Today’s DWP figures show that investing in social security is the way to remove children from poverty. Indeed, the Government did lift many kids from poverty with the £20 universal credit increase, but it plunged them back again with a subsequent cut.

In the face of today’s grim figures, and with another rise in inflation, it’s inexcusable for Ministers to sit on their hands. The Government must extend free school meals, remove the benefit cap and two-child limit and increase child benefit. The human cost for the children in today’s figures is incalculable. The economic fallout for all of us is vast. But if the political will is there, child poverty can be fixed.”

Meanwhile as the cost of living and energy price crisis continues to worsen even more children will be plunged into poverty leaving many to go hungry and at the same time foodbank donations are falling as the price of groceries increases leaving many having to close their doors to those in need.

It takes a truly evil and callous government to knowingly put the health and wellbeing of those most vulnerable at risk whilst they continue to profit from doing so.

The sooner this government has left office the better, to deliberatlty cause the suffering of 350,000 children and more is totally unforgivable.

Those responsible for making these decisions sleep well at night because they don’t care one bit and it’s pointless reaching out to them for sympathy.







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WCA To Be Abolished But It’s Not Good News. Universal Credit Sanctions Set To become Harsher.

It was announced in yesterdays budget that the WCA (Work Capability Assessment) is likely to be abolished however details of conditionality agreements, sanctions and other conditionality details have nit been revealed yet.

Theres also been rumours of the introduction of automated sanctions possibly implemented by bots for UC (Universal Credit) claimants

With the abolition of the WCA the small protection from conditionality that exists for those who are placed in the support group has been removed but the question is how soon they can enact this and is it a done deal?

From my knowledge this can’t happen without it first being in the white paper which it already is but this then has to go through parliament as a bill and then become an act so none of this is a done deal and it’s uncertain that they’ll have time to do this before a future general election.



If all of the above is successful and the WCA is abolished there are no details as to how the DWP will make decisions upon who will qualify for extra payments because they’re unable to return to work because of illness and disability.



Theres also the question of will the LCWRA (Universal Credit Work Related Activity) continue to stay or will they remove this as well in the future?

Theres also no details given as to who or what will decide if you should be subject to sanctions if you can’t look for work because your condition prevents you from looking for work and attend meetings.



As well as abolishing the WCA, the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) is allegedly already planning to ‘strengthen’ UC sanctions, with rumours of using possible Bots and specially trained staff to do so. These measures could automate the issuing of sanctions notices.

If these rumours are correct, this could mean that sanctions which are already at a record level high could well increase even more when DWP bots possibly send out sanction notices. Sanction notices are notorious for arriving late leaving the claimant with no idea why they haven’t received their payments.

Not to forget that bots aren’t programmed to ask for and look for reasons as to why a claimant has allegedly missed an appointment and they certainly don’t take into account a persons ability to attend meetings.


Whilst any changes to the WCA are very likely to take years to introduce and there is time to challenge these decisions, changes to sanctions could well be introduced rapidly and without warning.

Another question that needs answering is will these changes apply to existing claims? If so this will most likely take a long time to transition. So don’t panic nothing is going to suddenly change if you are currently in support group / LCWRA.



So when will these changes happen?

They will be rolled out geographically for new claims first from 2026/27 to 2029. Only then would existing claimants begin to be affected. There will be some transitional protection for claimants who have LCWRA but do not get any element of PIP.

The degree of change in our proposals will require primary legislation, which we would aim to take forward in a new Parliament when parliamentary time allows. These reforms would then be rolled out, to new claims only, on a staged, geographical basis from no earlier than 2026/27

Below is a government link to their proposals in their white paper.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/transforming-support-the-health-and-disability-white-paper

I’ve tried to be concise and to word things simply, I don’t want anyone to panic and think that these changes are going to happen soon because they aren’t and theres time to oppose these proposals and protest against them.

Regarding Universal Credit claimants they’re most likely to bear the brunt of this much sooner and we still need to continue to support them and campaign against the extremely harsh treatment being thrown at them.

It’s no surprise that the government has yet again chosen to target the most vulnerable and I can see no end to their cruelty. We need to support each other in these cruelest of times.

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UK Mortgaged Homeowners More At Risk Of Arrears Than Other Developed Countries

Fitch Ratings a top credit ratings agency has warned the government that mortgaged homeowners in the UK are now more at risk of falling into arrears than in any other major developed country.


They also warn that the share of mortgaged homeowners missing more than three months of mortgage payments is most likely to double in 2023 to 1.5% as a result of high rates being charged to borrowers.


These figures are based upon the current number of residential mortgages in the UK which adds to approximately 135,000 households facing mortgage repayment arrears.


Research conducted by Fitch reveals Thar banks in the UK are more exposed to the housing market than in any of the 10 developed markets ranked by Fitch which include Canada, the USA, Germany, Australia and Italy.


A statement issued by Monsur Hussain at Fitch reveals “The UK scores the worst in terms of borrower risks.”


Fitch have also forecasted that the Bank of England will most likely raise the Bank Rate to a peak of 4.75%, up from 4% currently by May this year.


Jessica Hinds, director of economics at Fitch, said: “We have seen much bigger increases in mortgage rates, the Bank of England started tightening much earlier, and we have shorter mortgage terms than in other countries.”


Rather shockingly British borrowers fix for short periods of time either two or five years, buyers in the US commonly fix for around 25 years.


Mr Hussain from Fitch went on to say that in the year to November 2022 the average mortgage rates in the UK jumped by 4.5 percentage points compared to 3.5 points in the US.


As a result of this the UK’s housing market has come under immense pressure after mortgage rates increased dramatically when Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget was revealed inciting chaos in financial markets.


Even though rates have since started to fall concerns about the cost of living crisis and ever increasing energy bills have deeply impacted employment stability and less money available to pay mortgage and everyday household costs.

This has already had a massive effect upon mortgage repayments and is undoubtedly resulting in many being forced to sell their homes with many being repossessed and then becoming homeless.

Although this might not be seen as an important issue for some it is indeed a massive problem for not only people becoming homeless but for local authorities that are already massively underfunded being forced to bear the burden of this.

I can’t see this getting better and a housing recession could well be on the cards in the near future.

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1 In 7 Universal Credit Claimants Sanctioned

According to statistics released by the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) the rate of universal credit recipients hit an all-time high of 6.86% in October 2022.

This total decreased slightly to 6.51% in November 2022.

The statistics released by the DWP show that sanctions have risen by 4.16 percentage points in the last 12 months.



Sanctions given to universal credit recipients can be and are not excluding other reasons for failure to attend or participate in a mandatory interview, failure or inability to complete their online journal or being seen as not to be looking for work enough in their time allotted to do so.

Over the last year over half a million claimants were sanctioned which includes a total of 98.4% of all sanctions given for not attending an in-face or telephone interview.

Needless to say most universal credit recipients do not purposely miss important interviews and there is usually a good reason for doing so which are often not taken into consideration by the DWP.

At a time when most people are struggling because of the current cost of living and energy cost crisis the DWP continues to financially punish the most vulnerable.

It’s abhorrent that the DWP continues to do this, they extend a person’s punishment to such an extent that they can’t see a way out.

It needs to stop before even more people die as a result of the DWPs actions and decision making.

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New Cruel Universal Credit Sanction Traps Exposed

I’d like to say I was surprised upon hearing about a new sanction trap for Universal Credit (UC)) claimants but I’m not, afterall it’s not exactly the first time they’ve done this to unsuspecting claimants.

This time it’s been disguised as supposed help to move claimants into work.


The new scheme which has surprisingly been condemned by members of the DWP staff union PCS despite jobcentre workers are being offered a £250 ‘incentive’ to implement it.



The newly named Additional Jobcentre Support scheme requires UC claimants being forced by the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) to attend their allocated Jobcentre 10 times over a two week period.


Claimants that are unable to attend or failing to participate in one session will highly likely to lead to a sanction.



Undeterred however by the cruelty of this new scheme the DWP are being ‘trialed’ at 60 jobcentres across England and Scotland.

As already proven by myself and many other like-minded campaigners these so called trials are usually the start of a national roll out regardless if they’re successful or not.



To add incentive to roll out this terrible scheme the DWP are offering a £250 bonus in the form of a voucher “to recognise and reward jobcentre teams who furthest exceed their aspirational targets.”

These vouchers will be given to each member of staff in the best performing jobcentres.


No explanation has so far been given as to what the alleged “aspirational targets” consist of and if this involves taking people off benefitif claimants have failed to comply for whatever reason. Nor has the DWP commented if it involves sanctioning claimants or forcing claimants into unsuitable and insecure work.


The PCS union, which represents DWP staff commented saying that they have no doubt that the main purpose of the scheme is to make life harder for claimants, saying:

“Our members will see through this pilot for what it is – a government hellbent on making it more difficult for people to claim benefits and which will increase the risk of poverty for those customers who fall foul of this pilot. Asking more customers to travel more often into jobcentres does nothing to help our staff or their workloads and does nothing to help the customers find the work that they need.”

However as I have already stated this isn’t the first time that the DWP have issued financial targets to incentivise cruelty.

Previous examples of this are ‘Sandras Stars’ which consisted of a Jobcentre manager giving DWP employees a star on a leaderboard for every employee that ‘offloaded’ sanctioned a claimant.

https://wp.me/p1Awq-2cd Sandra’s Stars

And who could also forget this example back in 2015. Of course they denied that this happened but the truth was all too obvious.

If there’s one thing that the government likes doing the most is implementing cruelty to the poorest and most vulnerable the very people.

The government and their henchpeople the DWP target social security claimants the most because they’re less likely to fightback and demand they’re treated fairly.

Most are worn down with the constant compliance requests that they’re hounded with.

They know that people claiming any form of social security are already paying the highest price for the cost of living and energy bills prices.

Many are primarily focused upon trying to get by from day to day and are less likely to know their legal rights and how to appeal DWP decisions.

Let’s hope that the PCS DWP staff members rebel against the mandate given to them from the government and their managers. If they do they deserve our support.

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Huge Rise In People Rehoming Pets

The charity the Dogs Trust has reported a huge rise in the number of people trying to rehome their pets.

The RSPCA have also seen that animal shelters and rehoming organisations have also seen a massive rise in animal rehoming saying that they are ‘drowning’ in animals as the cost of living and energy crisis continues to hit hard.

According to figures given by the Dogs Trust the number of pet owners attempting to rehome their dogs had risen hugely last year and continues to do so. Many shelters are now experiencing long waiting lists. Also seen is an increase in setting up pet food banks to help prevent people from having to re-home their pets.

Between 1 January 2022 and 31 October 2022 the Dogs Trust received 42,000 inquiries from dog owners about rehoming which is a rise of almost 50% on the same period in 2021. Sadly these figures show no sign of decreasing.

Amanda Sands, centre manager at Dogs Trust Leeds, said she had never seen such high demand in three decades of working at the shelter.

There’s people bringing in their dogs that at one time would’ve said: ‘I will never give my dog up.’ And they meant it,” she said. “And now they’re faced with the situation where they have no choice. To have to say goodbye to your friend, it’s unbearable. It’s unthinkable.”



The Association of Dogs and Cats Homes (ADCH), in conjunction with ITV’s Tonight programme, surveyed more than 60 animal shelters across the country about how they were responding to the cost of living crisis.

The figures showed 92% of shelters were seeing more people wanting to hand over a dog compared with pre-pandemic levels, and 88% were seeing more people wanting to hand over cats.

More than half were planning on opening pet food banks to respond to the crisis, and 30% were thinking about providing low-cost or free veterinary care.

Sadly these numbers are increasing as people can no longer afford to buy food for their pets. They are also finding it near impossible to pay for any vet bills that may occur.

The RSPCA also reported in 2022 a 24% increase in pets being rehomed as shelters report that they can’t keep up with rehoming requests.

Also back in 2022 75 families were using a food bank at the Blue Cross Animal Hospital in Grimsby every week.


Mark had been using the food bank for several months to help pay for specialist dog food for his staffordshire bull terrier Roxy. This has helped him save £60 a month on food. “She’s part of the family. We’d sooner go without ourselves then give Roxy up,” he told the Tonight programme.


Meanwhile a YouGov and Dogs Trust poll that was made in conjunction with the Tonight programme found that 48% of dog owners were saying they now are now finding it more difficult to provide their pets everything that they need because of the cost of living crisis.

Understandably vet bills topped the list of concerns which was followed by the rising cost of dog food and pet insurance costs.

Roll forward to 2023 I can only imagine that these figures are rising. It’s difficult to find a foodbank that provides dog and cat food although there are some that do.

No one wants to rehome their pets, it’s a decision that is usually made when they’ve exhausted all other means of providing the essentials for their pets.

As the cost of living and energy cost crisis continues there’s no doubt that the most vulnerable will undoubtedly pay the highest price.

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300% Increase In Disallowed PIP Awards

According to Tom Pursglove DWP Minister For Disabled People, 42,000 claimants lost their PIP Personal Independence Payments) awards in 2021 because they allegedly failed to return their AR1 PIP review forms.

This has caused an astonishing unexplained increase of almost 300% in just two years.



Theres a strong probability that many of the claimants that have been disallowed their payments have indeed returned them in time and the inept and archaic DWP system could be either losing them or taking far too long to record that they have been received.


Not to forget that some claimants may have failed to return the review form because the distress that completing these forms can cause triggering physical or mental health conditions.



As I reported a couple of weeks ago the tragic death of Laura Winham who’s disability benefit was stopped without any welfare checks by the DWP and other organisations after she failed to return her PIP claim form after being told that she needed to transfer from DLA to PIP.

Please note that all agencies involved were aware that she had a severe mental illness and needed support to do so.



According to Pursglove, claimants with serious mental health or cognitive conditions or who are vulnerable in other ways should have their files ‘watermarked’ to show they need additional support. Clearly this isn’t happening in all cases.

According to DWP policy claimants such as these should not have their PIP stopped because of a failure to return a form.

Are the DWP ignoring their own policies and procedures?Unsurprisingly this appears to be the case doesn’t it.

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DWP Found guilty Of Lying And Withholding Advice From Claimant

It has been reported that in February 2023 a high court found that the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) guilty of lying to a claimant concerning their legal rights and also guilty of keeping vital legal guidance secret in order to recover an overpayment of £8,000 from a claimant.

This overpayment was also found to be a result of mistakes made by the DWP leaving the claimant not at fault.



This resulted in the court preventing the DWP from taking the overpayment back from the mother of two disabled children. In doing so it has been revealed that possibly thousands more claimants may have been lied to in the same manner.

The claimant had made her appeal on the grounds that the DWP had kept secret its detailed policy which advises that in this situation overpayments should be waived.

Upon hearing this the judge in this case found that this secrecy was unlawful.




It was revealed that the DWP repeatedly lied to the claimant by telling her that she had no right to ask them to consider waiving the debt of which the judge found this to be ‘manifestly unlawful’.

Evidence showed in the trial also revealed that in the year to March 2021 a total of 337,000 universal credit claimants were asked to repay overpayments that were caused by errors made by the DWP.

The total value of those overpayments was £228 million.



Unsurprisingly the DWP claimed that only 47 claimants asked for their overpayments to be waived in the whole of 2020 and just 7 of those requests were granted.

The judge saying that “If the claimant’s experience of twice having her request for waiver rebuffed without consideration is not unique to her, the number of requests in fact made may exceed the number recorded ”


The truth is that thousands of claimants might have requested a waiver and been ignored or even denied by the DWP.

At the same time thousands more might not have been aware that they even had the right to ask for one.

This case shows that the DWP continues to harass and financially withdraw monies from extremely vulnerable people brazenly most likely not expecting to be challenged.

It also has to be acknowledged that the claimant in this case was extremely brave for taking the DWP to court. It’s a very difficult thing to do and her doing so has possibly helped thousands of other claimants in similar situations.

Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive.

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A huge thank you to everyone that reads, likes and shares my blog posts. It’s vitally important especially that in times like these we continue to raise awareness of what life is like for the poorest and most vulnerable in the UK.

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An Observation Of Life On The Streets Of Manchester

My ramblings.

First published a few years ago but nothing much has changed.

I notice a young homeless girl living on the street. She has her blankets and bags next to her ready for the night ahead.
She should be excited about life but instead she looks lost. She has a can of beer next to her, she says to numb the pain and cold.

She’s sat with a group of men, also homeless but seems detached from them. I ask her if she is ok, and she says that she is and that there’s safety in numbers.
She needs to keep safe. As a woman living on the streets life can be very dangerous. Even if you don’t like the people you are sitting next to you stay with them she says. They are her protection.

She wants to make enough money for a b&b for the night, but says she has given up all hope of finding a permanent home because she has addiction issues and feels unable to deal with them. She will one day she says.
After saying this her facial expression changes as worry weighs down heavily on her mind. A weight that she feels can’t be lifted at the moment.

Whilst we are talking a young man rushes past, earphones on looks anxious. Perhaps late for an appointment. He doesn’t notice the homeless girl sat near him. He’s self consumed with himself and his journey. She says that she sees this all the time.

Her wish, she says is that people would be nice to one another. She would like more people to say hello, but they don’t and she looks down again.

A lady walks past walking her dog. People stop and compliment her on her dog. They don’t notice the young girl, but they notice the dog. I feel that this is rather sad. A vulnerable human life appears to be less important.

A teenage boy stands next to the homeless girl. He says hello to her and asks her if she would mind if he plays some music and starts rapping. She welcomes it.

His rapping consists of the story of his life, that he has encountered prejudice, loss and also some lovely things.
People start to give him money, but instead of keeping it himself he gives it to the homeless girl. He tells her that she is important, that she is loved and not to give up.

He tells her that one day, life will get better because his did. She smiles and thanks him.
Maybe, just maybe that one act of kindness gave her the strength to carry on.
I’d like to think that she kept warm for that night.

I Struggle To Feed And Keep My Kids Warm. Real Life Stories From The Public.

As the never ending cold winter and the ever increasing cost of living and energy costs continues once again I took to the streets and interviewed several people in my local town Ashton Under Lyne.

Ashton Under Lyne is a typical northern working class town, drained of money by the government and the majority of people living in differing stages of poverty.

Mortality rates are amongst the highest in the UK and there’s a higher rate of people either being unwell or living with some type of disability.

Like any other northern working class town it doesn’t have a lot for people to aspire to despite the positive changes that Tameside Council are implementing and trying to introduce.

Years of government forced austerity policies has been and continues to cause a lack of funding for essential services with most things already stripped to the bare minimum.

As I headed off into the cold I spoke to a young woman that had two young children with her. I introduced myself and asked her how she is coping with the cost of living and the ever increasing energy crisis.

As I asked her this I could see that she was upset, telling me that she thinks that she’s failing her children because she can’t give them the things that she used to be able to do.

“We’re living in a cold house trying to keep turning the central heating on at a bare minimum. I usually turn the heating on for an hour in the morning and again in the evening at bedtime, that’s if I’ve got credit because I’m on a prepaid meter”

She went on to say that her health is suffering most likely because she’s cold and because she often doesn’t eat meals, if she does it’s a bare minimum. “I can’t afford to eat as well as my children and they always come first”

I asked her how she keeps warm when the heating isn’t turned on. “I wear layers of clothing and I have a thick blanket that we all snuggle under. I’ve got a little fan heater that I use just to keep the chill off because I don’t want the children to become ill and even that’s a struggle. Once I run out of credit on my meter that’s it it’s gone and I can’t afford for that to happen”

She told me that she often takes the children to the library that has a warm area and her children can have a look at some books and she can have a free cuppa.

However she continued to say that sometimes she found this very difficult because she doesn’t always want to be around other people..

I asked her if she had visited a food bank recently and she said yes she has and is now dependent upon them even though it’s still a struggle saying that they’ve been a lifeline for her and her children.

But despite getting help from food banks they don’t cover all of her food and every day living costs so she has to try and fill the gaps in.

“I’m always topping up my energy meters, I’ve never had this problem before. It’s bad, really bad I just wish that it wasn’t like this”

I signposted her to several organisations that might be able to help her but this is only a sticking plaster.

Whilst the government sits back and causes the suffering of those most vulnerable her experience is going to be repeated time and time again

Their inhumane policies will undoubtedly cause malnutrition and hypothermia related illnesses and worse.

Undoubtedly there will be recorded deaths of those suffering like this but how many will actually be reported as so.

Every death related to this needs to be reported and spoken about in parliament. The government is knowingly causing the suffering of thousands if not millions and they need to be reminded of this every single day.

This shouldn’t be happening at all.

I will continue to share the experiences of those that I interview in future blogs, hopefully weekly.

If you would like me to use your story get in touch I’m happy to do so.

Let’s be clear no one should be forced to live like this.

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Believe it or not there are still people that aren’t aware that this is happening.

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I don’t get paid for any of the work that I do and I would like to continue to report on these stories.

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By doing so I will be able to help others more.

Thank you xx.