Tag: budget 2015

This week’s blog might be my last.

Dear readers I’m sorry to have to be the bearer of bad news.

My yearly payment for my blog is due next week and I can’t afford to pay for it.

I upgraded because I had used up most of the free space that they offer. The free plans don’t allow me to do a lot on my blog eg posting PayPal links etc etc.

I upgraded because I had to.

Now I’m afraid that I’ll loose everything, all of my hard work throughout the years because I can’t pay.

I haven’t got a clue about how to set up a website or design one either. I’m not good at things like that.

If you can help me please get in touch.

My bill is £90 which is a lot I know.

I’m sorry for posting this but I don’t want this weeks blog to be the last one.

Thank you

Charlotte

This week’s blog might be my last.

Dear readers I’m sorry to have to be the bearer of bad news.

My yearly payment for my blog is due next week and I can’t afford to pay for it.

I upgraded because I had used up most of the free space that they offer. The free plans don’t allow me to do a lot on my blog eg posting PayPal links etc etc.

I upgraded because I had to.

Now I’m afraid that I’ll loose everything, all of my hard work throughout the years because I can’t pay.

I haven’t got a clue about how to set up a website or design one either. I’m not good at things like that.

If you can help me please get in touch.

My bill is £90 which is a lot I know.

I’m sorry for posting this but I don’t want this weeks blog to be the last one.

Thank you

Charlotte

This week’s blog might be my last.

Dear readers I’m sorry to have to be the bearer of bad news.

My yearly payment for my blog is due next week and I can’t afford to pay for it.

I upgraded because I had used up most of the free space that they offer. The free plans don’t allow me to do a lot on my blog eg posting PayPal links etc etc.

I upgraded because I had to.

Now I’m afraid that I’ll loose everything, all of my hard work throughout the years because I can’t pay.

I haven’t got a clue about how to set up a website or design one either. I’m not good at things like that.

If you can help me please get in touch.

My bill is £90 which is a lot I know.

I’m sorry for posting this but I don’t want this weeks blog to be the last one.

Thank you

Charlotte

This week’s blog might be my last.

Dear readers I’m sorry to have to be the bearer of bad news.

My yearly payment for my blog is due next week and I can’t afford to pay for it.

I upgraded because I had used up most of the free space that they offer. The free plans don’t allow me to do a lot on my blog eg posting PayPal links etc etc.

I upgraded because I had to.

Now I’m afraid that I’ll loose everything, all of my hard work throughout the years because I can’t pay.

I haven’t got a clue about how to set up a website or design one either. I’m not good at things like that.

If you can help me please get in touch.

My bill is £90 which is a lot I know.

I’m sorry for posting this but I don’t want this weeks blog to be the last one.

Thank you

Charlotte

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.

£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.

dsc_00157215327510097875089.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

No wonder people commit suicide.

Sounds a bit extreme doesn’t it, speaking from years of experience of helping people tackle the inhumane DWP system I have to agree.

Today was a day fraught with frustrations, helping upset, angry people barely surviving, seeking food from foodbanks that’s if they can find one or if they can find one that’s open. This morning highlighted just how fragile we all are when placed in this situation.

When you make a claim for universal credit you still have to wait at least five weeks. Yes you can get a loan, but from speaking to people many of them use this to pay some of their rent arrears off and to buy gas and electric. Food is lower down on the list because they’re scared. Scared of loosing their home, scared of what’s round the corner

I don’t want any medals for what I do, but I do wish that others would replicate what we do because its important to get out there, to help and to also protest against the very need for our being there. Saturday demos whilst good for raising awareness just don’t cut it when it comes to helping people.

Sorry for the rant, and I do appreciate everything that everyone does online, online activism is essential but for those that are able to join us or start a new group then please do.

 

Today was extremely hectic for lots of different reasons. The food parcels went straight away, we could have given more out. It’s cold and people are trying to stay warm so there’s less money to spend on food, that is if they have any money in the first place.

 

After handing out the food parcels I had a chat with a man who’s heavily in debt with Brighthouse. Companies like these are the scourge of our society, praying on the poorest because they don’t have the money to pay for a fridge etc brand new or second hand.

After having dealings with Brighthouse myself I can attest that their so called bailiffs (they aren’t bailiffs but they act as if they are) can be a tad scary and intimidating. We need to put more regulations on these companies and make it impossible to exploit the poor.

Because he had paid his Brighthouse bill he didn’t have enough money for food. I advised him of what he should do etc. At least he’ll eat now.

 

Today was also blighted by people having problems with their sixteen digit Universal credit log on details. Everyone is expected to remember this, many people either forget it or loose the piece of paper that they’ve wrote it on.

If they don’t log on they’ll get sanctioned. Combine this with many of these people being new claims for universal credit and they don’t know their way around the system let alone remember this. Basically if they don’t have a sympathetic advisor then they’ll get sanctioned. A decent advisor will tell them what their code is, many don’t though.

 

I spoke to Jane, she’s just made a claim for universal credit and is in the process of waiting for her first payment. She’s got at least four weeks to wait. Jane has a baby and has got a job but she needs to pay her childcare fees upfront,

Jane doesn’t have any money, if she doesn’t go to work she’ll be sanctioned so she’s at the mercy of her childcare provider and hoping that they can be sympathetic.

When she does receive her first payment then she’ll also struggle to receive her childcare payments. Not one person that Ive spoken to regarding this has ever received their childcare payments on time if at all. It takes constant phone calls and visits to the Jobcentre to rectify this. Then they have to repeat this a few weeks later.

To say that universal credit helps people is obscene. it drives people like Jane into even more poverty.

 

I was stopped by a man that appeared to be very agitated and upset, I’ll call him John.

John hates the Jobcentre, he doesn’t understand how the system works and he’s struggling.

John has been told that he has to attend the work programme twice a week, and because hes having to pay the debt for the loan that he had to take put whilst waiting for his universal credit payment to go through, hes skint.

John told myself and others of the struggle that he has walking to his work programme appointments. He’s frustrated because they don’t help him there. John needs proper support and understanding. Not someone that’s only supposedly helping him because there’s a financial incentive to do so.

Johns worn out both physically and mentally. He shouted that its no wonder that people commit suicide because THAT place drives them to it, and he knows because hes been close to it himself.

According to John the Jobcentre is a “f*****G joke. They don’t want to help you, no one does. They just leave you to cope and I wish that they’d leave me alone, its given me high blood pressure and I’ve never had that before”.

We all spent a lot of our time talking to him, giving him hope and showing support. We also signposted him to local organisations that can provide him with some support. I really hope that John is ok because I’m worried about him.

 

I handed a leaflet to a man, and as I did he said “ I don’t know how they expect me to live on this money. I don’t have enough to survive, are they trying to kill us?”

They aren’t officially but we know that the governments pernicious policies do indeed kill people.

 

A woman walked past muttering racist comments. She honestly thought that so called immigrants receive vast amounts of money whilst she lives on a pittance. I corrected her, but I’ve  noted that the amount of racist comments have increased of late. a sad indictment of the British press, media and of course the Tory government.

 

 

I then spoke to Val. Val is a carer for her son aged sixteen who has epilepsy. Val is ill herself and had to end her employment because of her ill health.

Val now clams universal credit and she’s distraught by her situation. After she’s paid her universal credit loan, her rent top up, her gas and electricity she’s got no money left for food. She’s tried reducing the loan repayments but she was refused.

Remember Val is ill and her son is disabled.

Val spends her days visiting foodbanks and trying to survive, she told me of her humiliation of having to ask for food, for being in this situation, for being in debt. She’s always worked and never thought that she would be in this situation.

Like Ive said before, this can happen to anyone, and I mean anyone. I helped and advised her, I became a friend to her and I hope that it made a difference.

 

I spoke to an older woman and I informed her of the WASPI campaign and told her that she’s not alone. She wasn’t aware of it so I like to let women know about the campaign.

 

We spoke to a man, he’s just been discharged from his mental health team after having a terrible time. Now he’s left to claim universal credit because he had to finish work due to his ill health.

We had a lovely chat with him and told him that we are there every week to help people. I also signposted him to a local organisation that will be able to help him.

 

This all happened in less than two hours. The food parcels went straight away, we helped everyone that we spoke to, we signposted those that required signposting and we gave people hope when they had none. It’s what we do.

 

Many thanks to everyone that joined us today you’re all amazing and I do appreciate it.

Thanks to all my blog readers for keeping me going, for supporting me and each other via the comments section. Also a huge thanks to everyone that has supported the blog and has shared my blog. Despite what others might like to say we do make a difference,

 

Please read share and rt my blog. There’s also a donate button for anyone wanting to donate. I do this on a small income and every penny helps. Thank you!

img_3572