Tag: cold

Long foodbank queues on Christmas Eve.

A friend of mine that volunteers at a foodbank has just sent me the below images. They asked if their anonymity is kept and of course I’m respecting this.

The photos were taken as they were arriving for their shift at the food bank. It wasn’t open for some time, but the queue was already massive, people arriving early to make sure that they’d get some food.

As you can see the queue consisted of People, all differing in their needs. What can’t be missed is the people using wheelchairs queueing for food parcels.on Christmas Eve.

Also in the queue are elderly people and families with children.

You don’t need me to tell you that this shouldn’t be happening , it’s heartbreaking.

You can always find the measure of a country by seeing how they look after the poor, young, elderly and disabled.

The conservative government is blatantly failing on this front. As a country we can’t be proud of this either.

Being proud of a country is about being proud of what it actually does right, and how it treats those in need. It’s not about waving flags and singing the national anthem.

We can however also look back on history and also be ashamed for the very same reasons. Ignoring the fact that the UK government is causing direct harm to people won’t make it go away.

Whilst the government has been focusing on ridiculous things like blue passports people are dying, thousands are becoming homeless and many are becoming ill from poverty related illnesses.

Meanwhile the public are bombarded with images of the royal family having a lovely Christmas, the people queuing at this foodbank and others won’t be able to celebrate.

Its simply not acceptable.

I messaged the volunteer that took the below images and this is what they said

It felt like a slap in the face for them too. It’s a reminder of their privilege. Because despite having their own difficulties they can sit in a warm house, with food, having just wrapped presents for their family.

They went on to say that it makes them angry and sad that this is happening, that they wished that they could do more to help. There’s more that many could do, so let’s do it.

Helping others doesn’t have to cost a penny. A kind word, saying hello in the street makes the world of difference to someone that lives alone and hasn’t spoken to anyone for a long time.

Being a friend costs nothing also, sharing what you no longer need doesn’t either. Of course I realise that many people have nothing to give to someone else.

Let’s spend the festive period and the coming year to be kind and thoughtful towards each other. We need to do this because the government won’t ever care about you.

Faces and building names covered out of respect for the people queuing.
No one should be forced to literally beg for food on Christmas Eve.

Please read, share, tweet and email this blog post. This makes a massive difference and it raises lots of awareness. Thank you!

A huge thank you to everyone that has and is supporting my blog and campaign. I really appreciate it and I couldn’t do this without your support.

If anyone would like to donate there’s a donat button at the top and side of this blog post.

FUEL POVERTY A PRICE TOO HIGH FOR MANY

The impact of fuel poverty in 2021 is severe and all encompassing. With the cost of gas and electric rising dramatically this year it leaves thousands unable to even make the choice between heating and eating because they can afford neither.

The reduction in Universal Credit payments and benefit levels not rising enough with inflation leaves thousands in despair, living in cold and often dark housing. Poor households being hit by a “double whammy” of energy price increases and benefit cuts at the same time.

We’ve got a saying here in the north west of England, a saying that Peter Kay made famous, but it’s one that many of us say every day. ‘Turn the big light off’ and also ‘Shut the door you’re letting the cold in’. Whilst these were said in jest, many a joke comes from the harsh reality of life.

Thousands of parents, working and not working will be worrying about how they’ll feed their children and keep them warm, when they shouldn’t have to make that choice at all.

On top of this stay at home rules caused by the pandemic have cost some households at least an extra £45 per month more in increased heating and electricity bills. I say at least because this cost will now increase because of energy cost increases.
This means that the numbers of people, many not previously in fuel poverty are forced to make the stark choice between heating and eating.



Recently, Citizens Advice estimated that an extra 600,000 households had fallen into fuel poverty due to previous lockdowns and separate figures also show millions of people are already way behind on their fuel bills.

An additional concern is that fuel poverty can make respiratory illnesses worse meaning conditions such as Covid and long term health conditions are exacerbated by being forced to live in cold damp homes. This is a concern that disabled and ill people have had for a long time now, but the government are refusing to even address this, let alone help.


While the long term solution to ending fuel poverty is more energy efficient buildings and programmes such as the Government’s Green Homes Grant will help to facilitate this, there is a real urgent need for immediate energy debt relief for millions of families immediately.

Whilst we are made aware of the amount of people that have died as a result of Covid 19, the public are rarely kept informed about the excess winter deaths in England and Wales .

Since 2000, excess winter deaths in England and Wales had remained generally at around 25,000. It is estimated that around 10% of these deaths were caused directly by fuel poverty. This is a large amount of people dying as a result of being cold which I fear will become much higher due to the recent energy price increases.

To give you an example my electric is now costing me £90 a month compared to the previous cost being approximately £50, and my gas charges have risen to at least £100 compared to approximately £60. I, like so many others try to keep costs down as much as possible.

Please read my previous blog detailing my energy saving techniques.

To add to this, most people living in fuel poverty are dependant upon pay as you go energy due to previous energy debts, or having the meters already being in their home and are unable to change them.

Paying back energy debt on pre paid meters is incredibly expensive even before the price rises. Those in this position will no longer be able to afford to heat their homes because the price is too high. Once your credit has gone, its gone leaving people forced to live in cold homes,

In an idea world, the government would have stepped in to challenge the price increases and to also help the public to cope with the cost increases.

Meanwhile the prime ministers has parties in number 10 ignoring the quarantine rules and carry on as though nothing has happened and nothing has changed. One rule for them and another for us as par the norm.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

If you live in the Greater Manchester area and you’d like to get involved please join https:\\manchesterdpac.com You will find likeminded people and will be given opportunities to join in activities that they are doing.

Unite Community is a trade union organisation created for those that aren’t working. It’s well worth joining however there is a small payment to join. They offer help, advice and even training. You can join them over at http:\\join.unitetheunion.org

A huge thank you to everyone that reads, likes and shares my blog posts. This not only means the word to me it also enables the truth about the reality of being poor in the UK to get out there. Every share means that awareness has been raised and people no longer feel alone.

I don’t get paid for any of the work that I do and to say its a struggle is an understatement. Yet again this week has been a tough one for me but I aim to publish at least one blog post per week.

If you’d like to support my blog and my campaign theres a PayPal donate button at the top and side of this blog post.

A huge thank you to those that have helped, I couldn’t do this without you.

£2 BILLION GIVEN TO PRIVATE COMPANIES FOR PIP AND ESA ASSESMENTS

Well who’d have guessed that the government would find £2 billion from their magic money pot to inflict even more cruelty to disabled and ill claimants.

Thanks to Benefits And Work who have uncovered the first details of the new assessment contracts for PIP, ESA and UC claimants.



These shiny new contracts will split the UK into five regions which will involve over £2.8 billion being given to the private sector over a period of five years. This is supposedly to allow the DWP to decide how these assessments will take place through telephone or face-to-face assessments.

I add that as usual this will be decided ignoring the actual physical and mental needs a claimant might have.


Under the new claimant Functional Assessment Services (FAS) system as it is titled, the UK will be divided into five regions from 1 August 2023:

Lot 1 – Northern England and Scotland 647,600,000

Lot 2 – Midlands and Wales 473,400,000

Lot 3 – South West England 338,000,000

Lot 4 – London, South East & East Anglia 396,800,000

Lot 5- Northern Ireland 105,100,000



In each region, a single company will be chosen to carry out all the PIP, ESA and UC assessments.

So basically money talks regardless of already vulnerable claimants needs. Whoever puts the best tender in wins the contract.

Call me old fashioned but the wellbeing and needs of individuals should always be put first. Instead they companies with no medical knowledge and experience to assess already vulnerable people.

They will be allowed to decide if a person disabled enough to claim their rightful payments regardless of having no medical knowledge of their needs.

Basically claimants life’s are once again in the hands of these so called assessors.


The total value of the contracts that will be given is £2 billion firstly to rise to £2.8 billion if the DWP chooses to extend the contract for an additional two years.

You can bet that they’ll choose to extend these contracts, afterall it’s beneficial for the government to extend them.

There’s always room for extending cruel systems such as this. What the government won’t tell you is that they want as many people as possible to be declared fit for work. It doesn’t matter of they’re fit or able enough to do so.



The Scottish government will be taking over PIP assessments itself in advance of August 2023.

There will be some claims that are already underway that will still be dealt with by private sector assessors.



The bid winners will be paid first for a ten month ‘implementation phase’. This will ensure they will have fully trained their staff and have acquired suitable premises. It also will give them the chance to implement their IT systems before going live.


As we already know the DWP never make any system uncomplicated though. To prove this the DWP will provide one IT system for PIP claimants and a separate system for ESA and UC claimants.

The DWP have already warned potential providers that changes might take place place throughout the life of the contract.

These changes may include alterations in the ‘channel mix’ as the DWP call it.

An example being “change in proportional requirements relating to virtual assessments and face to face assessments. They could for example change requirements such as 60% face-to-face to 20% assessments.


It is very clear that the DWP and not the assessment providers that will decide which proportion of claimants receive a telephone or face-to-face assessment.


This makes it clear that assessment providers will be working to meet targets for types of assessment. This will completely ignore the fact that some claimants are obliged to have an inappropriate method of assessment.

As you can see none of this will be beneficial for anyone that claims ESA,PIP and UC.

As these systems are target driven the assessors will be more concerned with meeting targets than the wellbeing of anyone being assessed.

I don’t have to tell you how much distress is caused by cruel systems like this especially if they’re target driven. Who remembers Sandra’s Stars?

We must remain vigilant because as we know from past experience the government will try to put in legislation and plans without our knowledge.

You can do this by sharing information online on your preferred social media provider, emailing mine and likewise blogs to people that might need informing

Manchester DPAC over at https:\\manchesterdpac.comhttps:\\manchesterdpac.com Also local branches of Unite Community over at join.unitetheunion.orghttp://join.unitetheunion.org.

Every share, tweet and conversation about these issues raises awareness which is extremely important.

Massive thanks given to Benefits And Work for making me aware of this happening. They do so much hard work to raise awareness.

Also thanks to a Twitter friend for alerting me to this. Thanks RooneyMusic!

Also if you live in the Greater Manchester area please join Manchester DPAC. You can find them on Facebook and Twitter

Please read, share and tweet my blog. Every share helps so much!

A huge thank you to everyone that has and does support my blog and campaign. I really couldn’t do this without you.

I don’t receive any payment for any of the work that I do. I’m struggling financially at the moment. As you know my son died and my daughter is struggling to cope with his death as am I.

If you would like to donate my PayPal ad is posted above, below and at the side of this blog post.

Sanctions return for new style ESA and JSA and Universal Credit


As we quickly approach Christmas and a cold hungry winter once again the DWP are going to bring back the cruel sanction system.

They never miss a chance to make Christmas even more harder do they.


Sanctions relating to the claimant commitment had been suspended due to the pandemic.

It is very clear that the DWP are now back to business including sanctioning sick and disabled claimants.


According to Touch base the DWP are quoted as saying“This week a change was made to bring the obligations in new style JSA and ESA benefits in line with those in Universal Credit”

“This will mean that, as is the case for Universal Credit claimants, if someone in receipt of new style JSA and ESA fails to do what they have agreed to in their Claimant Commitment without good reason – such as having or caring for a child, or a change to a health condition – their payments may be reduced for a set period. This is known as a sanction.”

“All Claimant Commitments are tailored to a person’s personal circumstances and local jobs market, and claimants affected by this change are being informed of the introduction of the new process. Sanctions are only applied as a last resort when a claimant is not engaging with the commitment they have made. If someone disagrees with a decision they can ask for it to be looked at again.”

This is all rather scary as the government have now passed on the onus of sanctioning decisions to the Job Coaches and not a decision maker.

Sanctions aren’t always a last resort decision and I’m speaking from years of experience helping people to appeal sanction decisions. Also since when have the DWP taken children into consideration… They haven’t.

I’m sure that many of you reading this have had so called Job Coaches that take an obvious dislike you you. I’ve also experienced this and I know exactly what it’s like. It’s soul destroying.

I’ve experienced having a Job Coach that clearly hated me. She would find holes in everything that I did and tried to sanction me at every opportunity that came her way.

Luckily I was able to make a complaint about her which involved my local MP.

I changed Job Coaches but she would glare at me every time that I walked past her. I have mentioned this in a previous blog post.

My question is this… How many innocent people are going to be wrongfully sanctioned because of this very reason?

It’s also worrying that there could well be even more sanction targets (offloads). Therefore the need to reach these targets will cause the suffering and distress of thousands of people.

Basically the whole sanctioning process could well be ramped up a whole lot more..

Opinion isn’t fact and there are many valid reasons why a claimant has not been able to to fulfill their claimant commitment.

Illness, lack of money for essentials such as no money to top up mobile phones or to have access to the internet at home.

Access to libraries is fast becoming a rarity these days. The DWP demands that claimants have access to the internet at all times.

Essentialy if an Job Coach decides in their opinion that a claimant hasn’t done enough then they’ll sanction them.

Remember once again opinion isn’t always fact and this is a very dangerous precept to use.

The whole sanction system should be abolished. There’s absolutely no reason why a person should have their very basics for survival to be snatched off them by the click of a button. Which is based upon the opinion of a Job Coach. Remember opinion isn’t always fact.

Whilst we are still in the midst of a pandemic the government and the DWP have now returned to normal. Don’t expect them to care because they obviously don’t.

Keep a good written and digital record (if you can) of everything that you’ve done to fulfill your claimant commitment.

If you’ve been ill or suchlike also try to keep a record of whatever you can to prove that you’ve been ill.

It’s important that you do all this because sanctioning you will be a whole lot harder if you keep a good record of everything.

Photo by Breakingpic on Pexels.com

If you are in the Greater Manchester area please have a look and even join in with Greater Manchester DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) activities. You can find them here at https:\\manchesterdpac.com

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog posts. It helps enormously to get the truth out there.

How am I? I’m ok apart from catching a sickness bug yesterday hence my blog being late. My apologies.

A huge thank you to everyone that has supported my campaign and blog. I really couldn’t have done it without you.

I don’t receive any payment for any of the work that I do. If anyone would like to donate there is a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.

It’s expensive being poor

You might have heard this statement being made rather more these last few years. The combination of the cruel DWP system, zero hour contract work, low hourly pay and the pandemic have all ensured that being poor is now more expensive now than it has been in recent times.

Of course it has always been the case but the amount of hatred beaten upon anyone that’s poor and disabled is now worse than I ever remember it.

I’ve mentioned this many times throughout my blog posts over the years that I’ve been blogging and writing but at this moment in time I’ve never known such a hostile environment for anyone that’s poor and disabled.

Cruelty towards the poor has always existed and laws have been created to ‘deal’ with poor people go right back to medieval times and perhaps earlier. This does not excuse the modern day cruelty metered upon the poorest and most vulnerable at the very time when they need help.

The DWP (Department Of Work And Pensions) and the government are our modern day overlords that are hell bent on causing pain and suffering to those that are in need of their help.

To understand this we need to look at the DWP’s cruel system guised as Universal Credit, titled as such to give the illusion of help and support. Instead of monetary credit and help claimants are met with cruelty and a total lack of care given by the `DWP, the organisation that is supposed to be helping them.

When universal Credit was created the publicity surrounding it said that it was created to help those most in need and that claimants would be much better off financially if they applied for it, The truth is that it most people that have and do receive Universal Credit are much worse off financially than they were previously.

The cruelty doesn’t end there though. The government systematically put in place various punishments that ensure that claimants don’t receive enough money to live off. Sanctions given reducing a persons payments for so called ‘failing’ to comply, when quite often a person has complied but the cruel DWP system is never satisfied with anything that a claimant does.

Sanctions as well as monies garnished from Universal Credit payments for debts such a Council Tax and fines are the cause for many to have to use food banks in order to survive. It’s very difficult if near impossible to get the DWP to reduce a sanction and for courts and local authorities to reduce the monies paid back per week. This is a circle of poverty that’s never-ending. It’s torturous and cruel. Not one thought is given by local authorities and the DWP about how they’ll survive. They also don’t care as long as they get their money.

Being poor is expensive because although our incomes are much reduced we are still expected to pay the same bills that those better off financially pay. It’s extremely unfair but I can’t see this changing for the better in the future, I do expect it to worsen leaving more people living in extreme poverty.

Just recently it was announced that gas prices are increasing to such a high degree that we won’t be able to heat our homes no matter how small they can be. Eating is also a luxury these days for thousands. With retail prices increasing having a good substantial meal each day is more or less impossible. I often reminisce about the good old days then I was able to do so, it feels like a lifetime ago.

On top of this rents are increasing for thousands and thousands are being made homeless on a daily basis and organisations that help homeless people are overwhelmed and can’t keep up with the demand for their services.

Can you imagine how devastating it is to loose your home only to find yourself having to live on the streets relying upon begging and organisations feeding homeless people in city centres?

It’s very easy for those better off to say go to a food bank for help when many do limit their food parcels to three. When you’ve had your allotted amount you’re on your own again to try and work out how to survive. There are food banks that do help people long term and a huge thank you to them for doing so. They need support more than they’ve ever needed it before. This isn’t the answer to the problem though, its a sticking plaster on an open wound that shows no sign of healing.

Many forget how humiliating it is to be forced to ask for help, it makes people believe that they’ve failed everyone, both themselves and their families. To do this is to admit that they have nothing and feelings worthless is something that no one should be forced to feel.

Writing from experience of being poor and living in poverty £10 may as well be a million pounds. Having a decent set amount of money to spend on food, energy bills and personal care is a dream that many including myself have.

Maybe one day it’ll be achievable but realistically the government aren’t going to change into a caring machine any time soon if ever. With the opposition government not opposing enough except for the usual few whom I’m thankful for it leaves the government to do exactly what they want whenever they want.

Remember this… If someone tells you that they haven’t got a penny to their name they probably haven’t. They probably haven’t had cash to hold for a long time. It’s not a sentence that’s thrown around flippantly its the truth, its reality for thousands of people every single day of every single week of the year.

Can you imagine living like this? It’s a living hell.

I’ve not met a single person in all of the years that I’ve been helping and blogging that doesn’t want to better their situation. The government makes this near impossible. The government is responsible for our suffering and don’t ever forget this.

Photo by MART PRODUCTION on Pexels.com

Please join my colleagues and friends over at https:\\manchesterdpac.com if you live in the Greater Manchester area. They do amazing work and they provide much needed support.

I write this blog after a very stressful week for myself. I don’t publish everything that I go through on a personal level online because some things should remain private. I’m still mourning the loss of my son especially as halloween is approaching which he loved to celebrate especially with my grandchildren.

I want to make this world a better place for everyone but sometimes it’s impossible to do more than I’m doing.

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog. Every share makes a massive difference to raising awareness of the governments wrong doings to the most vulnerable,.

If anyone would like to donate as long as it doesn’t put yourself in need theres a donate button at the top and side of this blog post. Every penny helps both myself and my blog continue. I don’t receive any payment for any of the work that I do and every penny makes a massive difference.

Universal Credit uplift ends leaving thousands hungry and cold.

Well it came as no surprise to see that the government ignored the petitions signed by the public, demonstrations from DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) and pressure from MPs to end the £20 Universal Credit that was introduced during the pandemic.

I and many others expected this to happen because the Tory party is an evil, cruel machine that won’t stop until the poor and disabled are gone and destroyed. They want the working class totally compliant to their needs and not their own, this has been proven in the policies and decisions that they make.

Universal Credit wasn’t constructed to help people, instead it does the opposite. If you’re unemployed the payments given aren’t enough to live on let alone survive. If you’re working you can never satisfy the system and are put under immense pressure to find more working hours.

As well as the reduction of monies given to claimants money for debts is also garnished and taken away before their payments are received. This leaves the claimant with virtually nothing to live on after paying their rents which are constantly increasing.

Some people. say that you can get these payments reduced, when in reality it’s either impossible to or at best extremely difficult to do so. The debt repayment amounts are usually implemented without consulting the claimant and they aren’t taking their income, or lack of it into consideration.

DWP and council tax debts amongst others have been the cause of people taking their own lives and attempting to do so. Having no money to provide for yourself and family members makes you feel worthless and its very understandable that people can’t see the point of being alive anymore.

Feeling like a failure to yourself and your family if you have one is soul destroying, it leaves you questioning what have I done wrong to deserve this? In reality they’ve done nothing wrong at all. The fault lies totally at the governments feet and their cruel and heartless polices.

Once you step back it’s easy to see why the government does this. They do it because they see disabled and poor people as surplus to requirements. If they can’t make a profit out of you then they’ll persecute the hell out of you. They do this until a persons on their deathbed and beyond and no apologies are given for doing this.

Then the pandemic arrived and at first the government tried to ignore it, they tried to downplay it until they could no longer do so. When they did start to address it the measures that they took were far from adequate and damn right dangerous. Basically they didn’t care if the working class died because they are surplus to requirements anyway.

After much pressure being put on them by the opposition, campaigners like myself and even Tory Mp’s they reluctantly introduced the £20 uplift Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit claimants which was virtually their admission that the monies being given weren’t adequate.

For some the £20 uplift might appear to be nothing, some still think that everyone has this amount of money to hand when in reality they don’t.

When you have nothing, no money at all £20 makes a massive difference, it made the difference between eating and not eating, heating and not heating and it greatly improved the quality of life of thousands of people.

The uplift has proven too greatly improve a persons and their families life, it was an extra buffer that they could rely on and it made a big improvement in their lives. It also improved the economy because people had a little bit more money to spend.

As soon as the first date was given we campaigned hard to prevent it from happening and it worked. The government withdrew their plans and moved the date until October and this is where we are now.

I’ve had many phone calls and emails from people asking me what will they do next, is there any more funding that they can access and sadly the answer was no, no there isn’t. It’s gone and theres nothing that can be done about it.

The governments decision to end the uplift has caused and will cause great distress and illness for many. Trying to feed yourself and your family will be back to near impossible forcing them to go back to food banks for help.

Foodbanks rely upon donations of food though, and many of the people that donate food are poor themselves so I expect food donations will decrease making it very hard for the to continue with their work.

The governments answer to this is to find more work and to ask your boss for a pay increase and more working hours. This is extremely hard to get though because There might not be any extra hours available and jobs can be hard to get.

Theresa Coffey also announced that she’s going to target disabled people who think that they can’t work because in her warped world they can. To say this is cruel beyond belief is an understatement. They know that they can’t work, they know that its impossible for them to work and it’s extremely hard to find an employer that is willing to make their business premises disabled friendly and be understanding of a persons disability.

Whilst Coffey was singing about having the time of her life on Karaoke at the Tory party Conference, thousands of people were and still are in distress and falling deeper into poverty because of the decisions that she’s made and is making.

I’ve never had any illusion that the Tory party would care for the working class. I grew up under the shadow of Thatcher and I lived in poverty then, having holes in my shoes was a regular occurrence. I knew that they’re cruel and have swinging bricks where their hearts should be.

This Tory government has taken cruelty to a whole different level though, they’re monsters and we must keep campaigning against their evil plans. There are more of us than them and we will never forget their cruelty.

Photo by Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas on Pexels.com

A big shout out goes to DPAC for their amazing week of action against the withdrawal of the uplift, and also campaigning to get it given to those on legacy benefits also. To say they’re amazing is an understatement.

I have some bad news though. My yearly payment for this website host and my domain name is coming up in November. In total it comes to £115 and I just don’t have the money to renew it.

I hardly have enough money to live on as it is and I’m reliant upon food banks and kindness. £115 may as well be a million pounds to me because I just can’t afford to pay it.

I really don’t want to loose all of my work which totals to about eight years of writing, campaigning and raising awareness. To put it bluntly I will be devastated and heartbroken.

I don’t want to change website hosts though because I don’t like change and this payment gives me the add ons and features that I need to keep it going.

My dream was to pass this blog down to my children and The Working Class Movement Library in Manchester when I’m long gone.

I really don’t want to stop blogging.

If anyone would like to donate to keep my blog and campaign going theres a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.

A huge thank you to everyone that has and does help to keep my blog and campaign going. I honestly couldn’t do this without you.

No blog update this week. .

Dear readers and subscribers, I’m very sorry but there’s not going to be a blog post this week.

I was told that my son had died on Friday and I’m trying to deal with it and organise his funeral etc.

I will be writing a new blog post as soon as I’m able.

There is a crowdfunding page relating to this on both my Facebook and Twitter account.

Thank you , solidarity Charlotte.

I’ve had enough. My long Covid nightmare continues.

Dear readers and subscribers, you I get have realised that Ive been pretty much out of action this past week. I apologise for this, I feel awful about it and I hope that it doesn’t happen again.

Ive been struggling to get through this last rebound due to needing more meds and waiting for them to be processed.

I’ll be honest with you, I’m feeling pretty low at the moment. This past year has been a complete nightmare and so far it doesn’t appear to be easing.

My health is pretty rubbish at the moment, it takes me much longer to do tasks that I didn’t used to think about. My daughters more than fed up with me being ill and I do feel like I am to blame for this. Being a single parent is tough when you’re ill.

Yesterday I learnt that the support that I was getting will be ending next week. This was very difficult for me to process because I’m still needing help.

Ive noticed that many essential support networks and general support services locally are ending next week because apparently everything’s going back to normal.

It’s rather foolish to believe that because this latest lockdown is ending that Covid 19 has ended as well. So many people are still ill with it and are suffering from long covid.

It’s very neglectful of any support network to believe that this latest lockdown ending is the last lockdown that we are going to have.

Already the numbers of children that are infected with covid 19 are rising along with the schools re opening. Combine this with the majority of the population have only had one vaccination leaving others still waiting for their vaccination dates it arrive.

Not long ago Boris Johnson declared that we would ‘have to get used to people dying’. I for one can never get used to that. He should never have uttered those words.

To be honest the only things that have been keeping me going recently are this blog and your support. I need your support more than I ever have before.

I want to be better, maybe these latest meds will work. I don’t want to be in the position that I’m in now. It’s pretty dire tbh and I expect that thousands of other people are feeling the same as I am now.

If any organisations are reading this blog post, please reconsider stopping support just because the latest lockdown is ending. So may of us are, not by choice dependent upon this help.

I feel that Ive been totally honest with you, I needed to get this worry off my chest so to speak and I want people to realise how tough it is for long covid survivors.

One day, hopefully soon this nightmare will be over and I’ll be back to my normal self. It’s been so long since I’ve been there.

Please read, share and tweet my blog. I really want to get the reality of our situations out there for everyone to read.

For anyone that would like to donate to keep both my blog, myself and the campaign going theres a donate button at the top and bottom of this blog post.

I really need your support and I thank everyone that does and has supported my blog and campaign.

Thank you.

I’m struggling……

Dear readers and subscribers, you may have noticed that I’ve been quiet this week. My aim is to produce at least three blog posts a week. I want to provide more newsworthy content as well as my weekly blog which is personal to me.

I have failed to do this because once again I’ve rebounded. I’ve got yet another chest infection that has hit me extremely hard, not only physically but mentally.

I really thought that I’d beaten my long covid symptoms, and for the most part I have. What I didn’t count on was that I could get another chest infection which has made me feel so ill.

I felt the symptoms up to about 14 days ago, I get pains in my right lung which are hard to describe. I stupidly ignored these symptoms because I didn’t want to be ill again, I didn’t want to have to say that I’m ill again because I’m sure that everyone is fed up of me saying this.

I carried on as usual until last Sunday when my body told me that I couldn’t continue like I was doing. My sats dropped to a low level and just doing the most basic chores made me breathless and tired.

I admitted defeat and spoke to my doctor. They diagnosed another chest infection and advised me that I should really go to the hospital. Easier said than done though when you’re a single parent and your child is totally dependent upon you.

I explained my situation and I was prescribed anti antibiotics and more inhalers. My consultant has been notified and I’m waiting for an appointment to see him.

There’s no doubting that I was extremely foolish to ignore my symptoms, don’t ever do this. For anyone in a similar situation to me, please act upon your symptoms and get help. I can’t believe that I was so stupid.

I think the main reason as to why I ignored my new symptoms is because I had such a long run of better health. I wasn’t struggling as much and I was seriously considering the fact that I would be well very soon.

I wanted to hold onto that hope, to become normal once again, to be included in future plans and to have ambitions of achieving my goals.

My goals aren’t particularly hard to achieve for an able bodied person. I love walking, I used to walk miles everyday and I so wanted to walk to Hartshead Pike once again with my daughter. Maybe one day I’ll achieve this.

Luckily I think that my antibiotics have started to work and my sats are much better than they were. Not perfect, far from it but acceptable for both myself and my doctor and consultant.

I know that the Covid 19 virus has damaged my lungs, especially my right lung and I have to accept that I’m more vulnerable to getting chest infections, but it’s impossible for me to live in a covid free environment. My daughter returned to school and with that came the spread of viruses brought home through no fault of her own.

So yes I’m struggling, yes I’m fed up of complaining about my health but this week has certainly been a big challenge for me. I want to do more, to eat more healthily and to have a better lifestyle but it’s impossible when I’m dependent upon such a low income.

I’m not only worried about my physical health I’m worried about how on earth can I juggle things around to provide everything that I need to get healthy again. It’s bloody impossible but I’ll try my best to do this.

For now my goals are low. I would first like to once again achieve my goal of more blog content because I love to write and I love to hear from all of you, because you are important.

As for my health, I’m back to taking it a day at a time, hopefully achieving small goals along the way. I’m grateful to be alive, to have survived Covid19, and to still be here talking to all of you.

Please keep safe, wear a mask and don’t for one minute think that this virus has gone away. It hasn’t and we still need to be careful.

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog. Every time that my blog is shared results in more people reading about the truth of our life’s, our struggles and how shitty life is for us at the moment.

I don’t get any funding for writing my blog and at the moment I’m really struggling financially. For anyone that would like to donate theres a donate button at the top and side of this blog piece.

Every penny enables me to continue to blog and it really helps my campaign. I want to be back to normal again I really do.

A huge thank you to everyone that shares and supports my blog and campaign. I really couldn’t do this without your help. It would be impossible. Thank you all so much.

High Court rules that taking high amounts of payments from Universal Credit payments unlawful.

Most people that claim Universal Credit find themselves in debt through no fault of their own. The five week wait for a new claim to be processed ensures that they’re going to accrue debts.

At the time of writing the DWP can automatically take high level deductions from a persons universal credit payments personal allowance for court fine payments, council tax debts and suchlike.

The DWP has a blanket policy of always cutting benefit by the maximum amount possible which is given regardless of personal circumstances. This leaves already financially vulnerable people struggling to buy food and to pay bills.

Yesterday the High Court has today ruled that this policy and practice of taking high amounts of payments from a persons Universal Credit is unlawful.

In February 2020, Shelter launched a legal challenge on behalf of four people, all of whom had a history of rough sleeping and therefore are hugely impacted affected by deductions being taken out of their Universal Credit payments.

Shelter challenged the DWPs deductions policy and all decisions to apply the ‘maximum deduction rate’ to universal credit. They also challenged this for all court fine payments regardless of the claimant’s personal circumstances.

The DWPs policy of deducting the maximum amount of 30% from the Universal Credit standard allowance leaves claimants with as little as £51 per week to live on., that is unless they have more deductions taken from their payments for other debts such as DWP loans etc.

These payments ensure that claimants cant afford to heat and or eat, pay for transport to get themselves to appointments and to buy essential phone credit to fulfil their required Universal Credit job searches.

Shelter argued in court that the DWP’s deductions policy and approach to deductions unlawfully removes an important discretion prescribed by law.  Regulation 4 of The Fines (Deductions from Income Support) Regulations 1992) provides the DWP discretion to deduct a minimum of 5% from peoples’ UC to pay back court fines (and a maximum of £108.35).

The DWP’s blanket policy removes this discretion by setting a fixed maximum deduction of 30% and doesn’t allow claimants to request a lower deduction even in exceptional circumstances where they’re facing hardship.

The DWP’s defence of this policy is that in theory Universal Credit claimants can return to the magistrates’ court to request a direct repayment plan.

In reality this is impracticable. Most claimants aren’t aware that they can do this and the DWP aren’t exactly helpful if a person wants to do this.

The deductions regime is an effective means of repayment of debts, however as it stands the high level of repayments pushes a claimant even further into debt and poverty because repayments aren’t set at a reasonable level, taking into account a claimants financial circumstances.

Shelters case was heard at the High Court before Mr Justice Kerr via a remote hearing on 12 and 13 January 2021. Shelter’s claim was also heard together with a second claim brought by Hackney Community Law Centre acting on behalf of a disabled UC claimant.

The court found that DWP’s deductions policy is unlawful because it ‘fetters discretion’: i.e. it prevents decision makers from taking a UC claimant’s personal circumstances into account when setting the deduction rate.

The court ruled that by setting a fixed rate for deductions from UC for fines, and the DWP’s inflexible approach in making decisions on these cases, removes the discretion provided for in the relevant legislation. This is unlawful.

Responding to the DWP’s defence of an ‘alternative route’ through the magistrates’ court, Mr Justice Kerr states:

‘The deductions regime is paternalistic: the debtor cannot be left to pay off court fines voluntarily; they must be made to do so, for their sake and society’s.  The Secretary of State’s passivity leaves unperformed the duty upon her to make that happen in appropriate cases.’

The High Court ruled that the DWP’s policy and practice in its present form was not lawful. The judge ordered that the relevant section in the deductions policy relating to fines be amended to reflect the judgment.

This judgment means that the DWP will have to change the deductions policy and their guidance must include discretion for DWP decision makers.

This will mean that Universal Credit claimants will be able ask the DWP to lower the amount deducted for court fine payments if they are struggling financially to pay them.

In reality nothing is changing regarding this legal decision yet because the DWP are as usual appealing the courts decision, but I will keep you posted about this.

This ruling has the opportunity to change Universal Credit claimants financial situations for the better, but you can bet that the DWP will drag this out for as long as possible.

My apologies for the lateness of this weeks blog. Yesterday was so busy for myself and my daughter and I’m once again unwell again.

I will endeavour to do my best to not let this happen again.

I’m so fed up with being unwell, not only does it impact me health wise it impacts my relationship with my children and it hits me hard financially.

I am doing my best to get well again because I hate feeling like this.

Please take care, keep safe and be kind to yourselves.

Please read, share and tweet my blog. Every time that you do this helps the truth to get out there which is extremely important.

A huge thank you to everyone that supports both my blog and campaign.

For anyone that would like to donate toward my blog and campaign theres a donate button at the top and side of this blog post. Every donation makes a huge difference and enables me to continue with both my blog and campaign.

Sources Shelter.