Tag: Ashton under lune

I’ve got £3 to last me for a week. Universal Credit strikes again

Wow I can’t believe that it’s Thursday again. It’s definitely a lot cooler out there so wrap up if your going out.

The cooler weather also highlights the inability for thousands of people to choose between heating and eating. Of course the government don’t want to rectify this, I’m convinced that they’re trying to kill us off.

Today was a mix of differing problems and as usual I will not be naming anyone. I hope that you understand why.

The first thing that I did today was to hand out the food parcels. We had six and within five minutes there was only one left.

The remaining food parcel was taken by a woman struggling to get by. She was claiming Universal Credit and unbeknownst to her the DWP had shut her claim down without telling her.

The DWP claim that she hadn’t signed her claimant commitment but she was adamant that she had done. This resulted in zero consultation with her and now she’s having to appeal this.

The DWP however have told her that she has to make a new claim for universal credit which means that she’s going to have to wait at least five weeks for her first payment.

She also has children and is understandably concerned about how she’s going to feed them.

Don’t expect any sympathy from the DWP though. They’ve got a cast iron weight instead of a heart.

It never get better hearing people’s DWP stories. But thank goodness we were there to help her. She’s going to appeal the DWPs decision.

I then had a conversation with a chap that I usually speak to every week. He told me that he had waited for over a hour for the bus to get to Ashton.

I can confirm that this is the norm in Tameside at the moment. Lots of our bus routes have been taken off and the ones that remain cost a lot more.

I’ve spoken to elderly and disabled people who have been housebound as a result of this. The bus used to stop right outside their houses and they can’t manage the walk to the nearest bus stop. It’s too far for them to walk etc.

If anyone from the Tameside area is reading this please join in with the Better Bus campaign.

I then spotted a woman leaving the Jobcentre. I offered her a leaflet and immediately she told me that she hates universal credit. I asked her why and she went into her pocket and got out some coins amounting to approximately £3. She said “This is all that I have until the end of next week. How on earth am I going to manage on this amount of money. ‘

Of course I advised her and signposted her to local organisations etc where she can get a food parcel from because we had ran out of them.

This is the reality of life whilst claiming Universal credit and its the same for thousands of people.

Far too many people have become accepting of this though. Many are resigned to their fate, they know that they’re going to be hungry and they think that no one cares about them.

Lots of us do care though, this shouldn’t be happening but we all to our best to help people.

We signposted quite a few people to CAB for advice and once again people having trouble with their council tax payments was mentioned. The poorest shouldn’t be made to bear the brunt of this.

We then spoke to a person that had recently been declared fit for work. They’ve got numerous disabilities and illnesses but don’t expect the DWP to care. They’re going to appeal this decision but in the meantime he was told by his DWP advisor that he’s no longer allowed to hand fit notes in.

Apparently the DWP know better than a doctor and a specialist doctor. They want everyone to look for none existent jobs despite the fact that many aren’t able to work.

As regular readers will know this is far from unusual but it never gets easier does it.

I advised a woman who’s son is being moved over from DLA to PIP.

We had a lovely conversation with a man who’s being sent on what feels like constant courses ran by and on behalf of the DWP. The latest course that they’ve been told to attend or be sanctioned is supposed to motivate people.

It’s a bit hard motivating people who are hungry and who’ve got the threat of being sanctioned hanging over their head. But hey every person that attends these courses are worth a fortune to the DWP. Not only does the DWP receive funding for these courses they also pay the providers quite a lot of money per person attending.

Wonderful isn’t it… Not. We can never forget that we’re just a number to them and we can and are exploited by the DWP at their whim.

We then had a conversation with a man that’s been having problems with his employer.

His employer is totally abusing the fact that there’s so many people looking for work. He pays people less than their long term staff. When people complain they tell them that they can walk, it doesn’t matter because they can fill the position straight away.

There’s far too many awful employers like this and it’s about time that something was done about this isn’t it.

Today we helped lots of people, provided support and gave out food parcels. We’ve been doing this for around six years now and it’s getting worse.

Please read and share my blog. Tweet it as well, email it to your local Tory MP.

I’d like to thank Gordon for all of his help today. I’d also like to thank you all for supporting the campaign and my blog.

This has become a full time job and every penny helps me to continue with both the campaign and the blog.

We’ll be returning next week and I’ll be blogging as usual.

I dream about being able to eat fresh fruit and vegetables.

Dear readers what a horrible week it has been in parliament, I’m certain that you’re feeling the ramifications of this.

At the moment we are having to put up with a government that throws constant hatred out towards others with absolute no ramifications at all. Their hostile environment has certainly become a whole lot more hostile.

Right wing politicians, newspapers and followers are being encouraged by the government to abuse people especially left wing politicians and individuals.

I’ve had to start carrying a personal alarm with me at all times.It saddens me greatly that this is happening, we already have enough to cope with trying to survive from day to day.

This week I will be concentrating on one conversation that I had this morning.

All food parcels were taken as soon as they arrived. It’s not becoming better it’s getting much worse.

Whilst I condone the need for foodbanks the realisation that thousands of people would have either died or become extremely ill without them.

It goes without saying that the Tory party don’t give a stuff. But we already know this don’t we.

Every week for years now I’ve had some lovely conversations with some amazing people trying their best to survive whilst dealing with the DWP system. They’re the true heroes of society not someone wearing a suit and spouting all the right words. To survive the DWP system is a massive achievement and we need to recognise this more.

This morning I had a conversation with a lovely chap, I’m probably the only person that he talks to all week. He’s always got a smile to spare for others but he’s suffering greatly.

He hasn’t been able to have a proper cooked meal for a long time, and told me that he couldn’t remember the last time that he had been able to eat properly.

Being constantly hungry and having to rely upon foodbanks is taking its toll both mentally and physically. Mentally he’s feeling completely worn down, he’s trying his best but not achieving much in the DWPs eyes. He knows that he needs to find work but it’s hard, very hard.

Physically he’s feeling terrible. He’s unable to buy fresh vegetables and fruit and his diet which mainly consists of tinned food and cheap carbohydrates is taking its toll, telling me that he dreams of being able to buy some fresh vegetables and fruit and eating them. He knows the importance of a good diet but how on earth can he eat healthily when he hasn’t got the ability to do so.

This is a massive problem in society at the moment but it’s rarely spoken about.

It’s easy to become overweight when relying upon cheap quick food yet the media fat shame just about anyone they can find who happens to be overweight.

Dieticians and celebrity chefs can have as many programmes as they want on television to teach is how to eat healthily but they haven’t got a clue about what the reality of the situation is.

We don’t have enough money to buy fancy ingredients or the next new superfood whatever that might be at the moment.

Jack Monroe appears to be the only one that does know because she’s lived the foodbank life. Check her work out she’s fabulous.

We can’t afford to eat properly we’ve only got the means to survive.

If you take any message from my blog let it be this.

We aren’t responsible for the way that the government is treating us. Poverty is extremely hard to escape from, it follows us about everywhere.

You are not to blame for this.

Don’t listen to the Tories when they say that finding work pays. It doesn’t and this has been proven time and again. Universal credit has been created to make us fail, to make us dissappear, to make us give up.

Almost every person that I spoke to today was suffering because of the system that’s intent upon making them fail.

I want to tell the man that I spoke to today who’s too ill to work but is forced too look that he doesn’t have to look for work.

Basically I want a magic wand to stop this eternal suffering felt by thousands upon thousands of people every day.

I want to bring back industry to areas like mine where there is none. I wnt suitable jobs for everyone who is able to and wants to work. I want employers to be flexible around childcare and other family duties

I want people who have a disability or are ill to be respected instead of being failed at every step and constantly punished for existing.

I want a society that understands that not everyone has access to the Internet or a computer.

I want to see the end of universal credit and it be replaced with a fair and understanding system that helps not punishes people.

I want everyone to live in decent housing, not stuck in a B&B or suchlike. Everyone deserves a good place to call home.

I want everyone to be able to have a good and varied diet without worrying where their next meal is coming from and when.

I want children to be happy, not hungry and certainly not worrying about when they’ll get their next meal and certainly not to be forced to wear clothes that they’ve grown out of because their parents can’t afford to buy new ones.

I could go on forever but you get the jist.

What I can do though is to buy some fresh fruit and veg for the chap that I was speaking to today.

I can continue to help others and advise them. I can become a friend to them and I can be a shoulder to cry on. I can do this and I will continue to for as long as I’m able to.

I apologise for this weeks rant. Today hit me very hard, we’ve now become so poor that instead of dreaming about going on holiday or suchlike we’re dreaming about being able to eat fruit and vegetables.

Sad, bad times indeed.

Many thanks to Gordon for helping today. I apologise for this weeks blog I’ll be back to normal next week.

Please read, share tweet and email my blog.

Please support my blog and campaign. Many thanks to everyone that has already. You all mean the world to me.

We don’t care that you’re disabled and distressed you still have to attend DWP courses. More tales from Ashton-under-Lyne Jobcentre.

Dear readers it’s Thursday and we had a very busy demo. All of our food parcels were taken straight away and we helped lots of people. I’ll list today’s conversations but I will not be divulging anyone’s identities etc.

I realise that this week is an extremely busy week politically but people are still suffering under the government’s cruel and demeaning DWP policies. Please try to support this campaign and the many others that help people so much. It also looks like there’s going to be a general election in the very near future and this will be our chance to oust the awful Tory party. Please register to vote and use the vote that we fought so hard to get.

I spotted Alice sitting on a nearby bench outside the Jobcentre, she was sat with her daughter and toddler grandchild. I asked her if she would like one of our leaflets and she told me about her ordeal with the DWP..

Alice is disabled and like thousands of other people she failed her ESA medical assessment. She has appealed this decision and eighteen months later she’s still awaiting for a decision from the DWP. As a direct result of this she’s now dependent upon her daughter helping her in her home and to take her out for appointments

Alice told me that she’s finding the whole process demeaning and embarrassing, she doesn’t want to ask her daughter for help but she’s left with no choice. Needless to say the DWP regard her as fit for work when she obviously isn’t. I gave Alice some advice and signposted her to other organisations for further help.

I then spotted Ben as he left the Jobcentre. Ben is a University graduate and has always worked until he became ill. Because of this Ben is struggling with his rent payments. After all deductions being taken out of his universal credit payments he’s left with approximately £125 a month to live on.

Ben is struggling to cope and is understandably frustrated. He’s been refused jobs because he doesn’t have an up to date passport and he really wants to work. Being able to afford a new passport is definitely not achievable for him.

Needless to say it shouldn’t have to be so hard to find employment. The only jobs that seem to be available are zero hour contracted jobs and jobs requiring a driving licence. But hey the government reckons that the ‘world of work’ is fabulous and we’ve never been as well off.

The reality couldn’t be more different could it.

I then had a conversation with a man who’s struggling with his disability. Thankfully he’s got some excellent support but he’s still having to cope with the whole DWP rigmarole.

Life really shouldn’t be like this but it is for thousands of people. We should all be very angry, but sadly many aren’t. Far too many people accept that this is their lot in life and they don’t deserve anything better. Years of having a Tory government does this to you.

We’ve been targeted by the right wing media as being the enemy, that we don’t deserve anything because we’re a bunch of scroungers deserving of ill treatment and everything that comes with that. The truth is that we’re not and nobody should be treated like this.

I then spotted a woman and her friend leaving the Jobcentre, she was crying and obviously very distressed. She was at first unable to speak because she was so distressed but her friend was able to speak to me.

Jill is disabled but the DWP are treating her terribly. I’ve noticed her having to attend appointments at the Jobcentre every week. If that alone isn’t stressful enough she been forced to attend a DWP course elsewhere.

Jilll is really struggling with this. She feels that she’s being targeted both by the DWP and the course providers and she can’t cope.

Visibly distressed she told her adviser that she couldn’t cope with the demands made to her both both on the course and the DWP, she asked if she could stop attending the course.

Her advisor then told her that she would have to attend the course regardless and she started to cry. Her tears were ignored by the DWP but not by us.

I get both angry and upset when I see the DWP treat vulnerable people like this. It shouldn’t be happening but it is and to thousands of people every day up and down the country. Luckily I and my comrades were there to support and advise her.

Can you imagine how hard it is to cope with the constant stress and discrimination relentlessly metered onto you from the DWP? It makes people I’ll, many take their own life because they can’t cope.

In an ideal world this wouldn’t happen. We would all be treated with respect and dignity. I know that this is a dream and it most likely never happen but it doesn’t do any harm to want to achieve this.

Last but certainly not least I then had a conversation with Alice. Alice is 63 years old and had always worked until she became unwell. Years of hard manual work certainly hasn’t helped her wellbeing.

Alice thought that she could claim her pension only to be told that she has to wait three more years to do so and she must find work.

Alice told me that she struggles to use technology and doesn’t have a smart phone, even if she did she wouldn’t know how to use one.

Needless to say the DWP have demanded that she finds work despite her age and not being fit for work. “How on earth am I expected to find work” she told me “I’m old, riddled with arthritis and I struggle. It I don’t search for work they’ll stop my money. It’s not right but I have to do it”

I agreed with Alice and I advised her. Her situation isn’t unusual, far from it. With the government wanting to raise the retirement age to 75 they’ll literally be working us to death.

We deserve so much more than that and I amongst others will continue to campaign against this governments disgusting policies. We will one day make them answerable for all their decisions, for all the deaths that they have caused and for all the suffering endured by thousands and thousands of people under their rule.

We deserve so much more than this.

We also had many conversations with other people and we advised them. Never underestimate the value of a friendly face outside a Jobcentre. It’s essential that we continue for as long as people are suffering.

A massive thanks to everyone that came to help today you’re all amazing. I really couldn’t do this without you.

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog. It might not be perfect but it is vital that we keep sharing these stories out there. The government needs to be made aware of the damage that they’re doing to the most vulnerable in society.

A massive thank you to everyone that has or is supporting my blog, I really couldn’t do this without you.

For anyone wanting to donate there’s a PayPal link at the bottom and side of this blog. Thank you so much.

Can’t afford food can’t cope thanks to universal credit.

Dear readers it’s Thursday again and I hope that WordPress doesn’t play up again today. Once again my apologies.

We were joined again by colleagues and friends from Stockport and Oldham and Ashton. Recently support for the demo has been very low so I really welcomed this. It gave me the hope that I needed to carry on with the demos. We are needed and I won’t be stopping them anytime soon.

As usual all the food parcels were taken straight away and I held one back for someone who had messaged me before the demo. We all should be angry about the need for food parcels but unfortunately it’s become normalised and accepted by many. Years of Tory rule will do that. Poverty is also now normalised and it’s become acceptable that we are treated like the dirt underneath someone’s shoe, there’s absolutely no accountability on the government’s part but they’re quick to hound a person to find work whilst their on their deathbed.

I’ll list the conversations that I had as usual and I won’t be divulging any names either.

The first conversation that I had this morning was with a man who’s been having a terrible time of it lately. Basically he’s not getting his payments because the DWP won’t accept that he no longer lives at a previous address.

He’s phoned them up, handed in evidence of his new address but they still aren’t listening. He’s now angry and quite rightly so. He needs to eat, pay his bills etc. Do the DWP care? Nope so he has to start phoning them again in the hope that he will be able to get his payment.

I wish that this was unusual but it isn’t. DWP department are notorious for not communicating with each other and for not knowing the correct procedures for things either. It’s much like winning the lottery when you get a good advisor either face to face or on the phone.

It was then that I spoke to Joanne, she’s a woman that I first spoke to a while ago and she was in need of out help again, saying that she’s been let down by every single service in the area and especially by the DWP.

If I had a magic wand and I could change things for her I would but I don’t and I can only advise her. If you’re reading this Joanne, don’t give up we care for you and one day it will get better for you.

I then spotted James as he was leaving the Jobcentre. He looked a tad confused and I handed him a leaflet.

James told me that since he started to claim universal credit he’s lost weight because he can no longer afford to eat regular meals. He’s also struggling to keep his accommodation going but one by one his appliances are breaking down and he can’t afford to either repair or replace them. Thanks to universal credit he hasn’t got much hope for the future.

The DWP declared James fit for work, he obviously isn’t but they don’t care. I advised him and myself and my colleague had a long conversation with him. From what James was saying he doesn’t really speak to many people so I hope that we made a difference to his day. I also signposted him for further help.

We then spotted Paul as he was leaving the Jobcentre, he was looking at our placards and agreeing with them especially the ‘stop universal credit’ one. We asked him if he needed any advice. Paul replied saying that universal credit is ‘terrible’ and it’s ruined his life.

Paul is given a payment of £509 a month out of that he’s got to pay his rent which is £340 a month. The rest of his payment is left to pay bills, food and gas and electric. To say that he’s struggling is an understatement.

Since making a claim for universal credit he’s struggling to cope because his income is so much lower than it used to be. We had a long conversation with him and advised him. I hope that we gave him some hope.

I then noticed Jim walking out of the building, I think that he had been visiting the local council offices.

Jim is an older chap and remembers when life was much easier. He’s been denied his DLA payments and he was visably upset. We had a long chat with him and hopefully he’s feeling better knowing that he is important and we are listening. As usual we advised him.

I then spoke to a chap who’s really struggling at the moment. Luckily he has a support worker that can fight his corner for him.

We then spotted Debbie leaving the council building. She walked right up to us, pointed at our placards and said that she agreed with everything that we were saying and doing.

Debbie’s daughter had nothing but problems with her universal credit payments over the Christmas period. Debbie said that the system is ‘disgusting’. Her daughter is now forced to work a full time job and she hardly sees her children. Debbie and another grandparent helps with the childcare because she can’t afford that either.

This is all causing immense stress for everyone concerned and she’s too scared to claim universal credit after her experience of it.

Essentially thousands of people are forced into taking zero hour contract jobs etc because they’re scared of the DWP and especially universal credit. This is a sad reality of employment these days. Thousands of employers exploit their employees to enable them to profit more. It needs to stop because we are worth so much more than this.

We left the demo today knowing that we had helped lots of people. Thank you so much to everyone who came to support us it really makes a massive difference.

We will be returning next week as usual.

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog.

Theres a PayPal button at the top and side of this blog for anyone wanting to donate. Thank you so much xx.

Your entitled to universal credit hang on no your not yes you are.

Dear readers this weeks blog is extremely late because WordPress has apparently got some problems and it wouldn’t upload my blog. I then followed their instructions which resulted in it being deleted. Never mind here’s my second attempt at uploading it.

Thursday was a mixed bag really lots of differing problems mostly because of the DWPs incompetence.

As I arrived there was a queue for the food parcels both at the drop off point and outside the Jobcentre. I had conversations with all of the people needing the food parcels and the common theme was that they’re fed up with the DWP messing them around. They also hate not being able to feed themselves off the meagre amount of money that they receive. It’s near impossible. Universal credit pushes people into poverty and there’s no escape from it.

My first conversation was with a woman who has four children and is struggling to feed both her children and herself. She told me that she regularly has to go without meals in order to feed her children and her health is now suffering, telling me that she’s always having to visit the doctors for aliments that she didn’t suffer from when she was working and better off financially.

Loosing her job and having to claim universal credit is the worst thing that has ever happened to her and her children she said. She’s also worrying about buying uniforms for her children saying that she can’t afford to buy them any new uniform but proudly told me that at at least she’s managed to buy them new shoes.

Can you imagine how humiliating this is for both her and her children? No doubt that thousands of others will be in the same situation and they too will be suffering in silence. Luckily I could signpost her for help but this is only short term help.

It was then that I had an interesting conversation with a woman struggling with making a claim for universal credit. Telling me that she’s tried three times and each time they gave me a different answer. Once they even gave her a payment date then denied her application.she doesn’t haven’t got a clue what will happen with my latest application. She asked if anyone working there (the DWP) have a clue what they’re doing? I answered saying that it depends on who you talk to, its much like playing a game of roulette.

Luckily I could signpost her and advise her and hopefully she will be successful this time. The stress of her situation is immense because she hasn’t got a clue where her next meal is coming from.

It was then that I had a conversation with an older lady that told me that she’s a registered carer. She’s finding it very hard to live off the meagre amount of money that she gets for doing this. As I handed her a copy of our survival guide she told me that the DWP have now decided to give her two payments a month instead of one a month which is messing up her rent payments. She’s tried to get her landlord to understand but they refuse they just want their rent.

Luckily I was able to advise and signpost her but it’s intolerable that someone who is saving the government thousands of pounds a week is being treated this way. Carer’s are invaluable and should be treated as such.

I then had a short conversation with a woman that wasn’t happy with being made to attend the Jobcentre twice a week. Not only is this extremely stressful for her but it’s also costing her a fortune in bus fares because she lives quite a distance away. Basically it’s costing het at least two meals a week.

This is exactly how they control us, they never allow anyone to have a rest or to think independently. They want everyone to be under their beck and call at all times even when ill.

Universal credit is cruel beyond belief, its been created to be like this. Both myself and many others want to see an end to this cruel system and a fairer one created.

We were joined by colleagues from Stockport Against Austerity but unfortunately we had to end the demo early because it started to rain very heavily. As we took shelter elsewhere we were still available to advise people and indeed we helped a woman to understand why her first universal credit payment would take so long.

I’m very glad to have helped so many people over the years and we will be back next week to do it again.

Please read, share, email, tweet my blog.

There’s also a donation button at the side and top of this blog.

A huge thank you to everyone that has and is supporting my blog. It means the world to me.

£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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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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