Tag: Ashtin Under Lyne

Homelessness, PIP assessment failures, terrible landlords and questionable work agencies. Another week outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre.

Dear readers, I can’t believe that it’s Thursday again. Time goes so quickly these days.

This weeks demo was very productive and we helped lots of people but we really do need more helpers. If you’re ever in the area please come and say hello.

It rained as usual today but only for the first hour of the demo. I was actually shocked to see the sun peeping out from behind a cloud.

My apologies if I’ve been quiet this week, I wasn’t feeling 100% but I think that now we might be seeing the end of the rain for a couple of days I should be ok.

Today’s demo went really quickly and we helped so many people with differing issues ranging from giving food parcels to someone who was in need of one to giving directions. It’s going to take people a long time to get used to the new Tameside One building.

I can’t thank Gordon enough for supporting me today, his help is invaluable and is really appreciated.

I shall list my conversations as usual. I won’t divulge a persons identity either so they don’t run the risk of being targeted by the DWP. I’ve seen this happen and the fear of this happening is very real.

I had requests for food parcels before the demo started from people who were in desperate need for food and a conversation. It’s heartbreaking to see peoples life’s spin totally out of their control, and not by their own doing.

I spoke to a young woman today whom I’ve had conversations with in the past on many occasions. My heart goes out to her it really does.

When they say that bad luck comes in three’s she’s had triple this amount and more, it isn’t her oen doing either.

Various events in her life have resulted in her needing more help than can be offered locally thanks to government cuts.

I handed her a food parcel and had a long conversation with her. I really wish that I had a magic wand to help her. She’s such a lovely woman and I hate seeing her like this.

It was then that I had a conversation with a man whom I shall call Bill.

Bill has been working for a job agency grabbing working whenever her can. However the agency that he’s working for is refusing to give him a job reference for another job that he’s looking for nor have they been paying him his full wage. The agency is also refusing to give him wage slips.

Call me cynical but I can smell a rat when I hear stories like this. This job agency are exploiting Bill, making him work long hours for little or no pay and refuse to give him a wage slip because they’re most likely committing fraud in some way.

Bill is also trapped into working for them because he can’t get another job without a reference from this employer.

Stories like this make me furious and I signposted him to Greater Manchester Law Centre for help.

Being trapped on universal credit is bad enough but combine this with an agency that are refusing to give him wage slips and his full wage is really making his life hell.

More needs to be done to outlaw these awful job agencies and to abolish zero hour contracts. People are really suffering as a result of them, and he wasn’t the first person that I spoke to today that found themselves in the same position.

I hope Bill is ok, he was a lovely chap that really deserves much more than to be treated like this.

I had a quick conversation with a woman who is in the process off appealing a PIP decision. She’s doing everything that she can to appeal this decision.

I had a conversation with a young man who had recently lost his temporary accommodation so he’s now moving between various night shelters. Call me old fashioned but I believe that everyone deserves a place to call home. Criminalising homeless people just makes things much worse. The government should be on trial for treating people like this, for taking funding away from necessary services.

Meanwhile it looks like Boris Johnson is going to become our next prime minister. God help us.

I had a conversation with a young man that is newly homeless and has found a job. His problem is that he needed some bus fare to get to his new job, of course the DWP refused to help him even though he claims universal credit and the DWP are claiming that universal credit helps people into work.

What a load of rubbish, if they actually did want this they’d give this man his bus fare and ensure that every single person upon finding work is given a fully contracted job not an unstable zero hour contract job with a dodgy agency that refuses to pay them.

Who cares though? We do, my readers do but the government don’t give a toss.

It was then that I spoke to a lovely young woman. Her story was very similar to Bills.

She’s working for a job agency getting work whenever she can and she’s also looking for a secure job. She has children to care for.

She asked her agency if she could have a reference to send to a future employer. They point blank refused saying that they didn’t have to. Her wages have also been sparodic. Not ideal when shes got children to look after.

Thinking that the DWP would help her she asked them for help but was refused so I signposted her to Greater Manchester Law Centre where they can hopefully help her.

This highlighted how bad many of these agencies are. At the moment they’re running roughshod over very vulnerable people with absolutely no governmental opposition from the Tory Party. Like John Mcdonall and Jeremy Corbyn say, these agencies and zero hour contracts need to be abolished.

I then had a conversation with a woman who has been battling a dodgy landlord for years. She told me about her substandard accommodation, leaking roofs, damp riddled walls etc.

It’s awful that she’s having to go through this. It’s had a detrimental effect on both her physical and mental health.

It’s much like the days of old from before Ken Loach made Cathy Come Home and Shirley Baker took a set of photographs that spurred the organisation Shelter to be formed.

It’s like stepping back in time, in my eyes right back to the mid 19th century onwards.

Whilst there’s a Tory government there’s suffering, the two go hand in hand and now we’ve most likely got Boris as our future prime minister.

Things aren’t going to get better until we vote them out and I can’t wait for that day.

A special mention goes out to members of DPAC that have collected thousands of copies of the Metro newspaper and gave them back to the Metro and the DWP.

The governments propaganda campaign has failed miserably through this campaign

Also the thousands upon thousands of people that have been forced onto universal credit that know the reality of this awful system.

Making work pay, don’t make me laugh. It’s the opposite and they know it.

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog. It’s really important that we get information like this out there for the world to see.

We will be back next week to help people.

There’s also a donate button at the top and side of this blog for anyone interested in donating. I’m a skint single parent struggling like everyone else is. Every penny does help.

A massive thanks to everyone that does already support my blog. Thank you ❤️.

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Universal credit is diabolical, it takes away any hope for the future.

Dear readers, due to personal circumstances this weeks blog might be short, it might not so I’ll see where it takes me.

This week I wasn’t met by any so called official telling me to move on, I was getting very annoyed about this because they were taking me away from helping people. I told them this and each one of them shrugged there shoulders and more or less said ‘well’.

It wasn’t easy resolving this but many thanks to my MP Angela Rayner and the Labour Party for supporting me, all my blog readers and fellow activists. It was completely ridiculous that they wanted to move us.

I am aware however that they’ll now be most likely looking for an excuse to move us. The security camera is constantly watching us whilst we are standing outside the Jobcentre.

The Jobcentre however aren’t celebrating with us, they’ve now shut the blinds on all of the windows so that we can’t see in. Aren’t they a lovely bunch… Not.

The weather was absolutely freezing, the wind was so cold and we ended up finishing earlier than normal. I apologise for this but it was really cold, much colder than usual. Come on spring I’m ready for some nicer weather now.

 

Today’s food parcels went straight away as usual. Everyone that needed to be helped was helped, everyone needing signposting was signposted we never leave anyone we always help everyone that approaches us.

We will hopefully be able to stay the whole two hours next week.

 

Today’s mood outside the Jobcentre echoed the weather. No one that we spoke wanted to be there, all of them were frustrated with the Jobcentre and the DWP. Universal credit has totally destroyed many of the people in my town Ashton Under Lyne. A combination of general austerity measures, massive reductions in the councils funding and universal credit has taken the soul out of the town. One day I’m certain that we will get it back.

We spoke to an older gentleman, he had attempted to make the long walk up the stairs because he didn’t know that there was a lift inside the building situated in the library. There really needs to be more signs, or at least some signs putting up outside the building telling people where everything is.

His story is this. He’s a disabled man and he doesn’t understand how this system works. No one has really taken the time to describe it to him and he’s feeling lost and frustrated.

He told us that his ESA payments were being messed with. He wasn’t receiving his payments and he didn’t know why. He’d tried to phone the DWP up twice, had waited on the phone for two hours to speak to an advisor but was cut off both times after two hours.

So an older, disabled man couldn’t get any answers. It’s ridiculous that the government will tell the public that they can always speak to an advisor, the truth is often very different. He ended up giving up and making the five mile journey to the Jobcentre to hopefully sort it out.

This poor man was struggling, he shouldn’t have had to go through this but he’s forced to.  Have I mentioned that I really hate the government and the DWP?

 

We spoke to a woman who was completely baffled by the universal credit system. Because she works and had received two wages in one month she didn’t receive her universal credit payment. It’s not her fault that the universal credit system doesn’t recognise that sometimes people do get two wages because of month changes.

I then saw a real fear in her eyes as she turned round, looked at me and said that because of this she might loose her house, become homeless and she didn’t know what to do. I gave her some advice and signposted her for help.

The truth is that thousands of people are being evicted because they’ve not been able to pay their rent because of the universal credit system. It’s not their fault they’re dealing with a cruel and inhumane system, a system that was created not to care.

It costs local governments far more to place families in emergency accommodation when they become homeless than it does to keep them in their homes. We really need to stop the hell thats universal credit and start to treat people with dignity and respect.

 

We then spoke to a woman who was also claiming universal credit.  Her problem is this.

She was dismissed from her job as a dinner lady, she went on to claim universal credit but hadn’t realised that her old employer was still paying her. Yes I know that some will say that she should have known this but she really didn’t.

Because of this she’s now got to pay back her wages and she can’t make a new claim for universal credit until next month. What a mess, of course the government will except her to live on nothing.  She’s also a carer for a family member but was refused carers allowance because her income was too high. I advised her of what to do and signposted her to relevant organisations.

 

We spoke to an older woman who was fed up of being sent on these ‘crap courses’ as she put it. She told us that these courses are absolute rubbish and haven’t helped her one bit.

Remember the DWP and the course provider make a lot of money from sending people on these courses. Unemployed and disabled people are seen as a financial commodity not a person.

 

We then spoke to a man that has been going through hell with the DWP. He’s an older man and also doesn’t understand the new DWP system. His story is this.

He’s one of the thousands of people that have failed their PIP medical assessment. He used to claim DLA. He appealed this decision and failed. He took it to the tribunal level and he failed.

As a result he’s now trying to make another claim but he is really confused, ‘It’s so confusing, I haven’t a clue what to do’ he said. He’s battling against a system that doesn’t care, that hates him and would prefer it if he disappeared somewhere.

Many of us do care though, we are trying to change things and despite what some people will say, we are making a difference. Solidarity to all fellow campaigners and to everyone suffering under this inhumane system.

This all happened in less than two hours. The DWP tried to get rid of us and for a while they really thought that they had won but they didn’t and we be back next week between 10-12 regardless of what the weathers like.

 

I can’t thank Kev and Daira from DPAC for joining us today, we really needed your support thank you so, so much.

 

Please read, share email and talk about my blog. Become a friend to someone that’s struggling with this awful system.

Thanks to Gordon and Roy for coming out today in the cold. Thank you SO MUCH.

 

If anyone would like to donate there’s a donate button at the bottom of the blog, at the top and at the side thank you so much. I’m a skint single parent trying my best to help people and fight this horrific system.

 

 

30 week pregnant woman told to look for work and new Jobcentre debacles.

Dear readers,

Today was the first day of protesting outside the new Jobcentre. Access to this Jobcentre is either up the stairs pictured below or in a small lift in the library pictured below.

Basically you’re stuffed if you’re claustrophobic and unable to climb stairs as well. Will the DWP be understanding of this… Time will tell.

We arrived as normal at 10am outside the new Jobcentre. It was pouring down with rain which didn’t help things either.

The minute that we arrived the police arrived, they must have been waiting for us. At first they were quite happy for us to stand outside the Jobcentre in the plaza area because it had been deemed a public place, however a member of the local authority decided differently. We were told that we had to stand in the area near the steps downstairs.

Flaming ridiculous. Of course that the Jobcentre don’t want us there so they’ve probably had words with someone, you know how these things go. Despite this’ll we will be back outside the Jobcentre next week.

We help people, hand food parcels out and support people… All things that the DWP should do. Whilst we were there local councillors who were standing with us weren’t impressed with us being moved. Believe me we will be back.

Today was hectic because the weather was awful and we’re trying to get used to our new spot.

There’s no signage up for the Jobcentre or the library either, its a fancy glass building and I like the library but there does need to be signs outside also.

Another matter of concern that was brought to me by a member of the public was that there’s no privacy near the computers and DWP staff were milling round the library and looking at what people were doing.

Lovely. A library is supposed to be a place of sanctuary.

We directed lots of people to the Jobcentre because they didn’t know where it was because of the lack of signage and we still spoke to people and handed food parcels out to those needing one.

I spoke to a heavily pregnant woman whos 30 weeks pregnant. Shes just made a claim for universal credit and has been told that she has to make a new cv and look for work.

What planet exactly do these DWP advisors live on? No one will employ a woman thats pregnant even more so heavily pregnant. The DWPs attitude towards pregnant women makes me feel sick.

Throughout the demo I was concerned and still are concerned about access to the Jobcentre for disabled people that can’t use lifts or stairs. What’s going to happen to them if they can’t attend their appointment? This needs addressing ASAP.

Because the weather was awful, the rain didn’t stop and we were freezing cold we left a bit early. I’m so sorry but we were freezing and wet through.

We handed out all of our food parcels and helped people. Next week we will help even more.

Massive thanks to everyone that turned up to help in this dreadful weather. I really do appreciate it thank you so much.

Thanks to everyone who reads wnd shares my blog, thank you so much ❤️.

Also thanks to everyone that supports my blog and the campaign. Thank you so much. I’m a skint single parent just trying my best to help people and to raise awareness of the suffering of others.

Universal Credit guarantees poverty, hunger, debt, homelessness and despair.

Dear readers, its Thursday again and for a change it’s a lovely warm and sunny day. This gives many of us a huge sense of relief because we won’t have to put any heating on.

Today was a busy but quiet day. I know that this doesn’t make any sense to you, but its a bit difficult to explain.

When I arrived at the Jobcentre there was already a queue for the food parcels, amd Gordon had already arrived and was unloading the car.

Everyone that I spoke to today was hungry, fed up and wanted things to change. No one wants to live like this. It’s exiating not living, and it’s cruel and demanding. I wish that I had a magic wand to change this system and devise a replacement that’s fair for everyone.

I’ll list the conversations that I had this morning. Real names etc won’t be divulged either.

I spotted Chris as he was walking away from the Jobcentre, clutching a piece of paper in his hands. The same piece of paper that’s handed out to everyone that makes an enquiry.

Chris is a young man, very thin and pale. He was wearing thin clothing and looked downtrodden. I asked Chris if I could help him.

To break the Ice I handed him one of our leaflets, he looked at me and said ‘It’s not f#####g fair you know.’ I asked him what had happened. Chris told me that had an appointment early this morning but he was unwell and couldn’t leave his home until he felt better.

Chris had no money except the money that I gave him to buy a bit of food and a brew. He didn’t have any phone credit so he had walked to the Jobcentre to speak to someone.

Chris was told that he couldn’t have another appointment and that he had to wait for two weeks for his next Jobcentre appointment.

Chris was visibly upset, he knows that the reality of him being sanctioned are high and he didn’t know what to do.

I gave him some advice and told him that I’m there for him if he needs any help at all and he left a little happier than he was earlier.

I don’t need to tell you that even the threat of being sanctioned is enough to push people into a downward spiral of depression and panic. Many give up altogether, many never get over it. Sanctions traumatise people beyond belief

Sanctions need to be abolished because they do kill people.

I spoke to a young woman who was making her first claim. We advised her, gave her copies of our survival guide and leaflet. She appeared to be more confident when she walked away.

It was then that we were heckled at from a car that was passing by. Not one of us could decipher what they said, but they drove off feeling rather happy with themselves.

I then spoke to a young man how’s being made redundant after working at the same company for seven years. He’s never claimed any type of benefit before so I advised him, handed him our leaflets and had a nice chat with him.

June is an older lady trying her best to navigate the awful universal credit system.

June doesn’t know how to use a computer. Her son tries his best to help her fill in her job searches etc every week..

To make things worse June also has another problem with the universal credit system. Every month since she started to claim. Universal credit the computer system blocks her payment. Every month June has to telephone the DWP waiting over a hour and a half to speak to the right person.

The reason for this is that the system says that June had previously claimed incapacity benefit. June doesn’t even know what that is nevermind claimed it. So every month she has to fight to get her rightful payments.

No one should have to go through this. June suffers from various ailments and helps to look after her disabled daughter.

June feels like totally giving up. Luckily we were there to provide some support and advice.

I hate universal credit.

Meet John. John has had his wallet stolen. John is also very thin, looks unwell and was wearing unsuitable clothes. John has no money.

Thinking that the DWP would show some comlassion for his situation, he went to the Jobcentre for some advice. He was told that they wouldn’t help him, basically they didn’t care.

My heart went out to him. In the good old days people in his situation were able to get a crisis loan to see them through to their next payment day. This used to work well, and I’ve had a few crisis loans in the past.

We helped and advised John, I wish that we could do more but we can’t.

I spoke to another man who has also been made redundant. We advised him about what to do etc.

Meet Jenny, a young woman who works as a teaching assistant.. Jenny has children but has been forced to claim universal credit due to a relationship breakdown.

Needless to say, Jenny is struggling. She’s got a mortgage to pay, children to feed and to say that she’s unhappy with the system is an understatement.

Basically Jenny is being punished by the cruel universal credit system even though she’s working. Only a cruel Tory could devise such a cruel and heartless system.

I spoke to another woman thats struggling with the universal credit system. Please remember that not everyone can use a computer. Many find it hard.

I advised a woman who’s caring for her disabled daughter.

I spoke to another woman struggling on universal credit even though she works. She’s also finding it hard to pay her mortgage payments.

I spoke to a young man who’s making his first application for universal credit.

I spoke to another man who’d just been made redundant.

We also spoke to a couple who are experienced in fighting the system. They’ve self taught themselves and know their stuff. Well done to them. Having confidence or the appearance of confidence really does help. Advisors don’t see them as easy targets and are less likely to target them.

Yet again we helped lots of people, provided food, advice and comparison to people. We’ll be returning next week to do the same.

Many thanks to everyone that came to the demo today.

Massive thanks to everyone that reads and shares my blog. Also massive thanks to everyone who supports my blog.

£213 a month to live on, and also have to top up rent payments with that. People are struggling to survive on universal credit.

Dear readers, today was grim and the weather didn’t help anyone, let alone the people forced to use the Jobcentre. Yet again we encountered numerous people with all sorts of problems ranging from universal credit, ESA and PIP, housing problems etc.

We handed out all of our food parcels, most were taken by single parents with children and working families. They rely on foodbanks to survive, it really shouldn’t be like this.

Thanks to Gordon for joining me and also Jack. Your help is invaluable and it’s appreciated by everyone.

As usual I won’t divulge the names of anyone that I spoke to this morning. The DWP snoop everywhere and I don’t want anyone that I spoke to being targeted by the DWP. This does happen, but not on my blog. I value everyone that I speak to unlike the DWP.

 

John walked out of the Jobcentre clutching the usual list of phone numbers that they hand out to everyone. I handed him a leaflet and asked him if he needed any help. John told me that he was ok, but thats only because he’s living with a relative that can feed and look after him whilst he’s waiting for his universal credit claim to be processed, saying that the alternative is to horrible to think about.

 

I then spoke to Gemma. Gemma has struggled almost all of her life, she’s 19 years old and to be honest isn’t enjoying anything about her life at the moment. In her short lifetime she’s been homeless twice and has been rehoused not long ago.

Gemma is claiming universal credit and is finding it almost impossible to manage. She receives in total £513 a month total to live on after paying her rent payment. Out of this she has to pay back her rent arrears that she keeps accruing because she’s finding it hard to pay her full rent. She also got into rent arrears whilst she was waiting for her universal credit claim to be processed, “What are you supposed to do, just pay your rent with the loan that they give you? It was impossible for me to pay my full rent because I needed food to eat, and gas and electric to buy. I’ve got no one to borrow money from, and that’d have to be paid back as well.

To make the situation worse Gemma also has to repay her universal credit loan back at £100 a month. There’s absolutely no regulation concerning the repayment of loan debts. No set amounts that people have to pay back, sometimes I think that they pick a number out of thin air and decide thats how much they should pay back. It’s ludicrous

Basically after all of her above debts are paid back Gemmas left with £213 a month to survive on. She’s got to buy gas, electric, food and transport costs. She’s a broken woman at 19 years old. Huddled up in the cold, Gemma muttered “It’s almost as if they’re trying to destroy me. I’m 19 years old and I’m worn out because of the stress and worry. There’s a good chance that I’ll become homeless again, and I’m doing my best. Universal credit is destroying me. They look at me (DWP staff) as if I’m stupid, like I’m something on the bottom of their shoe. They don’t want to help me”

Gemmas 19 years old, at the start of her life and should be enjoying life. Instead she’s worn out, depressed and feels like giving up. This, my friends is what universal credit does to people. It eats you up, totally consumes you until eventually you give up. That’s exactly what its designed to do.

 

Sarah is a single parent and is also having a difficult time. She’s claiming universal credit and to say she’s struggling is an understatement. Here’s her story.

Sarah was instructed to attend an appointment, which she was ready to do but unfortunately one of her parents suddenly fell ill and was rushed into hospital by ambulance. Sarah was with her relative when this happened and from the ambulance she telephoned the DWP to try and rearrange her appointment. The person that she spoke to said that this wouldn’t be a problem, and they’d phone her later with another appointment.

Only the DWP phoned the wrong number. Not the one that’s registered online, an old number that isn’t used anymore, and Sarah had already informed them about this.

Sarah also couldn’t remember her 16 pin log in details. How on earth is anyone supposed to remember this, its impossible. Even if people write it down its easy for it to get lost. If they put it in their mobile phone (if they have one) and the phone breaks, then the numbers missing.

Sarah phoned the DWP to tell them that she’d forgotten her PIN number. The DWP then told her that she had to go online to get the number. Sarah couldn’t access her online account because she didn’t have her pin. Basically they gave her an impossible task to complete.

Upon attending her next DWP appointment she was told that the DWP were deducting her universal credit payment by £200 but don’t worry, we’ll give you a LOAN for £150 that you have to pay back. Are the DWP getting their ideas from illegal money lenders or something? This is atrocious.

Basically Sarah was fined £200 for missing a phone call that she never received because they phoned the wrong number, and for loosing her PIN number. You really couldn’t make this shit up could you.

Sarah is also in rent arrears now because she was unable to pay her full rent because she was sanctioned. She now has to top up her rent payments and repay two DWP loans back.

Don’t forget Sarah is a single parent with a very young child, she didn’t have any food in her cupboards and didn’t know what to do. Luckily I gave her a food parcel and advised her on what to do. Hopefully she will access local services and she will appeal her sanction.

It’s despicable that people are treated in this manner, not only are the parents suffering but their children are too. The DWP just don’t care. It’s no coincidence that more and more children are being put into the care system is it. Many parents can no longer provide food, heating, clothing etc for their children and it’s not their fault. The blame lies purely at the governments feet.

 

I asked an older man how was he coping with universal credit. He looked at me and said ‘Just about. Now I’ve got to pay my council tax”

 

I spoke to a young woman working a zero hour contract at a local cake factory. When she started her job she was told that if she worked hard she might get a contracted job. She worked hard but never got the contract. Now she has no job security at all.

 

Gordon spoke to an older woman aged 62 who’s claiming universal credit, she’s struggling but then again nearly everyone claiming universal credit are aren’t they.

 

We then had a conversation Brian with an older man, he claims ESA and was told to phone an 0845 number recently. He wasn’t very clear about why he was told to phone this number up. He’s confused because the system is extremely confusing.

Brian has a contract phone and his phone bill per monthly is £15 a month. Brian tried phoning this number numerous times, each time he was placed on hold for great lengths of time. When he received his bill it was £54.

Of course he was angry, he shouldn’t have cost him  this much, all calls to the DWP should be free, but many still aren’t.

Brian was angry, frustrated and echoed concerns for those without a mobile phone contract saying ‘How the hell are they going to pay that? They’ll never get any help if they don’t have a phone will they’ He realises the systems rotten, and wondered why the government are allowed to do this ‘It’s criminal’ he said, and he’s not wrong.

 

Jack, a local councillor  represented a claimant whilst they had an appointment, this helps a great deal and I can’t recommend this enough. More should do this if they’re able to.

 

We left todays demo cold and a bit downhearted, but knowing that we’ve helped people makes everything worthwhile.

 

Please read, share and tweet my blog, also subscribe to it, it’ll save you from having to look for it every week.

There’s also a donate button at the top of this blog and at the side. I’m a skint single parent just trying my best to help people, through my blog I’ve managed to reach thousands upon thousands of people. As a result of this and other campaigns, more and more people are aware of the cruelty of universal credit and the heartless state of our government.

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Today we released doves and laid a wreath in memory of everyone that has died as a result of the government’s war against the poor and disabled.

Dear readers as many of you will know we have a special Christmas memorial service outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre every year.

We do this in memory of every person who have died as a result of the government’s heartless treatment of the poor and disabled. I call it a war against the poor because that’s exactly what it is.

Of course the government have taken away many of the means that people can fight back in the way if appeals etc. Legal aid is almost non existant and organisations that help people have had their funding cut to the bare minimum.

Be aware that this is all done purposely. The government regards us as a burden, not worthy of any help. In fact not worthy of anything.

So five years ago myself and others decided to fight back. I personally know people that have committed suicide because of the government’s cruel regime as have others. I felt that I needed to take a stand so here I am five years later.

The awful fact is that more people are committing suicide than ever before, more people are forced to live in extreme poverty than has been known in modern times, but still all the press are interested in is what Jeremy Corbyn did or didn’t say.

People are dying. A further three million people will be forced into poverty next year due to the further roll out of universal credit. Myself I feel that number is quite low.

Even more children will be forced to go hungry, their parents will be even hungrier. Homelessness will increase drastically due to the long wait for a universal credit payment to be processed and landlords not wanting anyone claiming any type of benefit to live in their properties.

Many self employed people will be forced out of self employment because they don’t fill the government’s impossible remit for self employment under universal credit.

More and more disabled people will be persecuted by the government, be made to go hungry and not able to access the care that they desperately need.

We need to continue to fight against this cruel government and to be honest we need to stop being so nice about it.

Remember this could happen to you and the safety net that you were relying on to catch you is no longer there.

I spoke to lots of people today, none of whom could afford food over Christmas. We handed them food parcels which will tide them over until next week.

I had a conversation with a young working single parent. She says that her life has been destroyed by universal credit.

She took a loan out from the DWP to tide herself and her young child over until her claim was processed. She now has to pay this loan back at the cost of £150 a month.

After paying all of her bills off she’s left with £90 a month for her and her son to live off. To buy food etc.

Could you manage on this small amount? It’s impossible, so she’s now reliant upon food banks to literally keep them both alive.

I helped and advised her and handed her a food parcel. I wish that I could do more but I can’t.

Here’s some photos and some footage of us releasing doves in memory of everyone that have died due to the government’s heartless treatment of the poor and disabled.

Theres also footage of our appropriate Christmas carols from the Glossop branch of unite Community.

Thank you to everyone for coming along today, I’m very emotional now so I’ll leave it here. Thank you for reading and sharing my blog.

Also many thanks to everyone that supports my blog and campaign.

I used to donate to foodbanks now I rely on them. Had to finish work because of childcare costs. Universal credit at it’s worst.

Dear readers I’m back! Thankfully I was able to attend this weeks demo. Last week was extremely busy but very productive. Before I start writing this weeks blog, please can I send get well wishes to Roy and extremely valuable member of the team. Get well soon!!

If I said that today was busy that would be an understatement. From the minute that I arrived it was unbelievably busy, hampered slightly the weather but we’re used to it. If you can guarantee anything about Manchester and the surrounding areas it would be a given that it’ll rain sooner rather than later. Anyway enough about that.

As I arrived a man was waiting for me. I call him a regular because he likes to stop and chat and keep me updated on his situation. He’s recently been rehoused and hopefully hes managing his tenancy ok. He’s a lovely chap but he finds life difficult. There just isnt the amount of support that he needs out there although local organisations do their best. The government have systematically starved outreach organisations of any funding and many of them have closed. Those that remain open do so by sheer determination and the goodwill of others.

Not long after, I asked a young woman if she was ok and I handed her a leaflet. She told me that she regarded universal credit as being crap and after paying her rent and loans that she had taken out whilst she was waiting for her Universal Credit to be processed she’s not left with enough money for food.

She’s now reliant upon food banks and the goodwill of friends. Her life won’t be getting better anytime soon. How can anyone productively look for work when they are hungry? They can’t. Hunger takes over everything, all of your senses and instincts are taken over by the need for food. Anyone that says otherwise obviously hasn’t been hungry like this.

It was then when we ran out of food parcels. We handed six out, but a woman desperately needed food. Her situation is complicated and without food she could well find herself falling into a deep, dark spiral that’s hard to climb out of, so I took her to the shop next door to the Jobcentre and bought her some food.

I asked another woman how she was coping on universal credit. She told me that she’s ok for one week of the month, but after paying her rent, universal credit loans and debts she can’t afford food. Shes disabled but has been placed in the work related group.

The DWP have been very consistent with their hate for disabled people, and every week I find myself helping people with disabilities the most. The DWP cares not about disabilities only the potential amount of money that they can make out of a person.

A young man then stopped me, took a leaflet and asked me what we were doing outside the Jobcentre. I explained that we were there to help people, to advise and signpost people if possible. He then opened up and told me his story.

He had been claiming universal credit for a long while now, and was receiving the work related disability element. He had been asked to attend an appointment to transfer him over onto the new computer system. Unfortunately he became ill and was admitted to hospital. Because he was ill he had forgotten about the appointment, and anyway he was too sick to phone up.

Of course the DWP showed their distinct lack of understanding about this, they stopped his claim and ignored his reason for non attendance. He even showed them details of his hospital admission.

So he now he had to make a new claim, was now without an income, and the DWP didn’t  give a stuff.

As he was leaving an awful G4S security guard bellowed at him to go back inside the Jobcentre. Upon leaving the Jobcentre he was told that it’s now being sorted out. That’s brilliant however he’s had to go without money for a long while.

It was then that I asked a young woman if she would like one of our leaflets. She told me straight away that universal credit is awful. Previously she had worked but because she has twins and two other children she was paying more money out in childcare than she was receiving so she had to end her job.

Now she’s totally dependent upon universal credit and is paying back her universal Credit loan, buying gas and electric to keep her children warm and paying a top up on her rent.

To say she’s struggling is a massive understatement. She’s dreading Christmas, hasn’t got a clue how she’ll manage, but she does know that her children won’t be having much of a Christmas this year. Reliant upon foodbanks to survive its a complete nightmare.

I signposted her etc, and had a long chat with her. She told me that she used to always donate to food banks but now she’s reliant upon them. It’s a terrible indictment of how the government regards women and children.

I then spoke to a young couple with a young child. Whom I shall name Bill and Mary. Here’s their situation.

Both are on universal credit. Neither of them has a computer or the internet at home. Bill has Aspergers.

They live separately after living together and have told the DWP that they no longer live together. The DWP are ignoring this. Mary’s letters from the DWP are constantly being sent to Bills house, and they are constantly being accused of co habiting, and have even been told that they should make a joint claim.

Despite being a ridiculous thing to suggest, the reality is that they don’t live together therefore can’t make a joint claim. There’s two lots of rent to pay and a young child to look after, but the DWP reckon that its a good suggestion.

They’ve also been complaining about the letters being sent to the wrong address for a long time now but nothing ever gets done about it. Why? Because the system is crap, not one department communicates with another. They just don’t.

Can you imagine the implications of this if, say Mary’s partner was violent? Luckily he isn’t. If he was he would have details about her appointments, her finances etc etc. A woman’s safety is never a priority for the DWP, but this could result in something very serious happening to a woman.

So it looks like because not one DWP department adequately communicates with another there’s little regard for data protection laws let alone potentially a woman’s safety.

I then chatted to another woman with a young child. She told me that she’s having a nightmare with the DWP and universal credit at the moment.

She works part time and relays upon childcare to go to work. Every month the DWP expect her to upload her bank statement etc so that they can pay her childcare. Every month the system won’t allow her to upload this information, so every month she has to go into the Jobcentre to try and sort it out.

You’d think that a task like this should be easy to complete wouldn’t you, afterall they’re always banging on about how brilliant universal credit is, how it supposedly ‘lifts’ you out of poverty (it doesn’t) and how easy the computer system is to navigate (it isn’t either}.

It’s one big nightmare for her and she has to rely upon friends to survive, although shes worried that they’ll no longer be able to help her in the future.

It’s disgusting, degrading and humiliating. Anyone that believes that universal credit is a good thing and can be fixed needs a reality check. It’s got more holes than a fishing net and could they fix all the holes in one? It’s beyond repair and they need to wise up.

I spoke to the elderly father of a young man. He’s been supporting his son for around twelve months now. His story is a bit complicated, and from what I could make out he hasn’t received any payments for twelve months but they wern’t sure why.

I signposted them as a matter of urgency. They are struggling so much themselves and can’t afford to keep their son as well, but they also can’t leave him without. What a horrible situation to be in, it’s beyond cruel.

A young man then stopped me and old me immediately that Universal Credit is crap. I asked why and he told me that after claiming universal credit for a long while he now has to provide the DWP with all of his ID again. He wondered why he has to do this, they already have copies of everything and if they look they would easily find it. But no, that would be too easy wouldn’t it. So now, like many others he’s forced to start again and all because the DWP have created a system that fails to talk to the old one.

Wonderful and they wonder why suicide rates are rocketing.

In my living memory, the poor and disabled have never been persecuted as much as they have now, and this will get much worse next year.

The system won’t be able to cope, but the DWP and government will blame the claimant not themselves and they don’t give a stuff either.

A massive thanks to everyone that came along today, get well soon Roy and thank you to Pat for making us a new banner.

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Many thanks to everyone that supports my blog, thank you so much.

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