Tag: council tax fines

EHRC Breaks Promise To Investigate DWP Role In Deaths



As reported by Benefits And Work the EHRC (Equality And Human Rights Commission) has broken its promise to investigate the role that the DWP (Department of Work And Pensions)have played in the deaths of vulnerable claimants. This has left the DWP not needing to answer any questions as to the role that they played in their deaths

Instead the EHRC are now asking the DWP to create new policies in relation to claimants with mental health issues and learning difficulties. This will replace the promised investigation.

This is despite promises made by the EHRC in 2019 that they would start an   investigation into the deaths of vulnerable claimants.

The EHRC used the pandemic as an excuse to not start the investigation.



The Commission has now declared that it  only intends to enter into a Section 23 agreement under the Equality Act 2006. This will oblige the DWP “to commit to an action plan to meet the needs of customers with mental health impairments and learning disabilities.”

Keep in mind that the DWP are a much larger organisation that receive more funding  than the EHRC. 
This will no doubt result in the DWP will dragging their heels in creating so called policies that will be nothing more than good intentions that probably won’t be actioned upon.

Whilst I don’t have any details as to why the EHRC have changed their minds I can say that at best they’re very niave putting far too much trust in the DWP to do the right thing.

The DWP has an appalling track record of discrimination against vulnerable claimants, ignoring their basic human rights and making life extremely hard for them.

Despite my disappointment with the EHRC’s decision I’m not surprised. The DWP will do anything to avoid any actions taken against them making promises that they’ve got no intention of keeping whilst doing the bare minimum to comply.

Once again thanks go to Benefits And Work for their hard work and inspiring this article.

A huge thanks to everyone that likes, shares, reads and supports both my blog and campaign.

I don’t receive any payment for the work that I do and it’s a struggle to say the least.

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

Thank you!

I can’t afford to eat and heat. Back outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre.

It feels strange to be writing this blog post this week because I’ve actually been able to return to my weekly demo and advice session outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre.

The DWP and local council might have mistakenly thought that I had stopped doing the weekly demos. I haven’t and dependant on my health I’m back.

This week I decided to stand outside the old Jobcentre building that had been shut down and moved to the new swanky council building. The truth is they underestimated the demand for the Jobcentre and were forced to re open the old one as well.

The old building has had a bit of a makeover, Laurence Llewellyn Bowen has nothing on this transformation. The doors have been repainted, a new carpet put down and what looks like cattle pens with numbers on installed.

Obviously this transformation wasn’t made to make the people that use the Jobcentre feel at ease, I can bet it has the opposite effect.

This week I was on my own accompanied by my daughter and two lovely men filming for french tv. They’re making a programme about the UK’s benefit system and have interviewed the amazing Debbie Abrahams, myself and they’re going to interview the dark lord himself David Cameron.

I was asked many times about my opinion of him, I answered that he’s got the blood of thousands of vulnerable and disabled people on his hands. Along with Ian (I’ll hide in car boots) Duncan Smith there’s a special place in hell for them.

Back to the demo. I chose the old Jobcentre because it’s actually very busy full of people coming and going looking rather stressed whilst doing so.

It wasn’t long until I had a conversation with a man who wasn’t far from retirement age. He had been given an appointment to attend a ‘Working Well’ interview despite being disabled and unable to work.

The DWP with all their infinite knowledge sent him a text message without an address to go to. Basically he didn’t know where his appointment was.

He walked to a building down the road and was told that his appointment wasn’t there and he had to go back to the Jobcentre.

Back at the Jobcentre he was told that he had to get back to the other building and they’d changed the time of his appointment without informing him. Typical DWP communication failure once again. Call me cynical but I’m sure that they do this on purpose sometimes.

To say that this gentleman was distressed was an understatement. He said ” Why can’t they leave me alone? I can’t work and no one will employ me”.

It wasn’t long before I spoke to a young woman that is completely fed up with the DWP. She’s started her own photography business and she’s doing her best to promote it and to find work

The DWP won’t leave her alone though. Every two weeks she still has to attend a back to work interview and she can’t cancel the appointment even if she’s working.

The DWP once again making it very hard for anyone to succeed by themselves. Her business is called WJ Photography and I think she’s on Instagram and Ticktok.

As it became notably colder, probably because we had been standing there for a while we spoke to a man that looked like he was going to start crying at any time.

His story his hard, but sadly not unusual.

As is often the case he had been living in substandard social housing. His home was full of damp and unsuitable to live in.

After a few years of struggling to get the housing association to take action they finally attempted to fix it. This left him without electricity and sleeping at his son’s place on the floor.

He explained the situation to the DWP who were totally unsympathetic telling him that he still had to look for work online for 35 hours a week.

He’s been looking for work since 2018 and can’t find a job, this isn’t without trying because he’s tried damned hard.

I then had a conversation with a chap that I used to speak to on a regular basis outside the Jobcentre. He told me that he was stressed because his mobile phone and internet are due to be cut off because he can’t afford to pay the bill.

Being aware that he needs to search for work online and has to have a working phone number for the DWP to contact him on has resulted in him feeling extremely stressed.

He told me that he’s found an old sim card that’ll work for the DWP to phone him on but he’s worried about his job searching.

I advised him to use the internet at the library or Ikea, but life shouldn’t be like this for a person who’s 60 years of age.

The universal credit system was created to punish people for being poor and for being disabled, never ever forget that.

I really hope that they’re ok , telling them that I’d be back again next week if they want some advice or someone to talk to. After all kindness costs nothing and it makes a massive difference to a person’s day.

Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre.

I’ll be returning again next week and I’ll be publishing a blog post tomorrow about the new Jobcentre closures.

I need your help though. I need people to share this blog post and my others as much as possible. I want to continue to report about the impact that DWP decisions have on people and how this is still happening.

It would be amazing if I could be joined by some other like-minded people. It’s a big ask I know but it’s essential that we can remind the DWP that we are still here and we are still reporting on their misdoings.

If anyone could donate towards buying someone a cuppa etc I’d be eternally grateful. It’s winter and it’s cold here. A nice hot cuppa keeps the morale going.

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

I’m intending to continue with the weekly demos which are dependant on my health. I’ve still got long covid and a lung that’s not functioning as it should be. Thanks covid.

If I have to cancel a week it’ll be for health reasons only. Apologies in advance.

A huge thank you to everyone that has and does support my blog and campaign. These past two years have been extremely challenging for us all and I really do appreciate it.

DWP Blocks Essential Sanctions Research



The DWP is effectively trying to block essential and possibly life-saving university research. This research undertaken by Glasgow University with it’s purpose is to find out whether there is a link between benefits sanctions, ill health and suicide.



The research involves Glasgow University linking anonymised DWP data with NHS records. This could and most likely reveal that people that have been sanctioned have been prescribed antidepressants and people that already have existing conditions have resulted in their health declining. The research will also reveal the figures for those attempting to take their own life and sadly for those that have taken their own life.



When Glasgow University informed the DWP that they were starting their research in 2019 the DWP suggested that they would support the project. However since the project began the DWP have continually placed barriers up to try and stop this research to continue.

This comes as no shock to campaigners like myself. The DWP know how badly sanctioning people affects both their physical and mental health..


The DWP have spent years giving excuses to Glasgow University demanding that the research needed tighter security which they complied with. After these measures were put in place the DWP moved the goal post again insisting that Glasgow University must apply for permission to do the research all over again.



This has caused huge delays for the project. Professor Nick Bailey stated that the research should have been completed in 2020, but it has yet to start.



The chair of the Commons work and pensions committee, Stephen Timms told the Guardian “This emerging pattern of obstruction suggests that a culture of secrecy is entrenched in DWP. It must wake up to the harm that it is doing and commit to a new spirit of openness.”

There’s little doubt that the government will either delay or prevent any project that reveals the reality of how people suffer when they’ve been sanctioned.

It will continue to be the case until politicians stop ignoring the immense suffering of thousands of people. Although there are some politicians that don’t ignore this such as Debbie Abrahams who regularly speaks and campaigns against the cruelty of the DWP and their policies.

Ignoring the suffering of thousands of people will result in thousands more deaths. What is needed is for the opposition to start actively opposing the government on DWP related issues.

This isn’t likely to happen in the near future and MPs like Debbie Abrahams are loan voices in parliament trying extremely hard to change things. In the absence of this sadly DWP related issues and problems are going to get worse.

What is needed is for the opposition instead of concentrating about the ‘world of work’ they need to also concentrate and campaign on behalf of those unable to work.

Something has to happen and soon. With energy bills set to rise again in April and people already struggling I fear that thousands will die as a result of being cold and hungry.

It’s impossible to budget money when you have none in the first place

The conservative government has blood on their hands and they’ll never be able to wash it away.

A massive thank you to everyone that subscribes, reads and shares my articles. This makes a massive difference and it raises awareness.

This week was the first aniversary of my sons death. I’ve found it very hard to cope with but I’m still here.

Thank you to Benefits And Work for uncovering this story and for the hard work that they do.

I don’t receive any payment for my work and to say it’s a struggle is massive understatement. I’m reliant upon donations to continue to blog and campaign.

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

A huge thank you to everyone that has helped me. You’ve literally kept this going and I’m eternally grateful.

I’m sorry.

I have to apologise for the lack of a blog post this week. I woke up on Thursday morning feeling ill. This lasted a couple of days and today I woke up with a migraine.

I know that I should have published a blog this week but I wasn’t physically capable of doing so and I will catch up with my blog in the next few days.

As many of you will understand it’s virtually impossible to do much whilst having a migraine, theyre bloody awful.

I will be publishing a blog post about the cost of living crisis etc this week. Like you I’ve been very worried about how on earth I’ll manage once April arrives.

Lot’s of love and solidarity to you xx.

Where Are The Missing Long Covid PIP Claimants ?



As reported by Benefits And Work there are possibly thousands of missing Long Covid PIP claimants that appear to be missing from both the Office for National Statistics. They are also missing from the DWP latest published statistics.



New figures from the Office for National Statistics estimate that 506,000 people have now had Long Covid for over a year. This number is increasing every day yet they’re missing, nowhere to be found.



247,000 Long Covid sufferers say that their ability to undertake their day-to-day activities has been “limited a lot” as a result of Long Covid.



Yet according to the latest DWP statistics on Stat-Xplore record there are just 480 claims regarding Long Covid where it is the the main condition for claiming PIP. This figure has risen from 143 claims three months earlier.


However the success rate for PIP Long Covid claims has fallen from 76%, but is still high, at almost 60%.

A quarter of those who were successful in claiming PIP received the enhanced rate of both the daily living and the mobility components.



It appears that PIP claims for Long Covid do have a better than average chance of success. Despite this hundreds of thousands of people who could be making a PIP claim appear to not be doing so.


Long Covid is exhausting to live with and is likely to hinder any employment prospects. Living with Long Covid also increases everyday living costs.

The reality of having to make a choice between eating or heating, or not being able to afford either is something that Long Covid sufferers and others have to make daily.

The reason for the missing PIP claimants could be because of a distinct lack of information regarding claiming PIP for Long Covid sufferers. This is abhorrent. Everyone that is suffering from this disabling condition should be informed of their right to claim PIP to help with their everyday living costs.

Please read, share, tweet and email this blog post. Sharing makes a huge difference in raising awareness to the public.

A huge thank to Benefits And Work for providing this information. They’re amazing and work so hard.

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

For anyone that likes my blog and campaign and would like to donate towards keeping both going there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.

Financially I’m struggling and every penny is appreciated. Thank you.

Poverty doesn’t end at Christmas

Dear subscribers and guests it’s been a tough year for so many of us, I know it, I feel it.

This year was probably the worst one of my whole life. My son was tragically taken away from me mid pandemic. It hurts more than anything else that I’ve experienced.

Whilst we were abiding to the social distancing rules, the Tory government were busy partying and carrying on as if nothing had happened.

This was a case of we’ll do whatever we want sod the public. They don’t care about us. My son had to have a very reduced socially distanced funeral whilst they were enjoying life.

To be honest this is a perfect example of how they treat us. They never spare a thought for us so don’t expect them to either.

Christmas is a tough time for so many reasons wether it be for financial reasons or bereavement. I’m with you, I feel it.

I haven’t put a Christmas tree up this year. My daughter and I decided that it doesn’t feel right so we put some extra lights on his memorial table.

So much pressure is put on society to have the big tree, the decorations and lots of good food. The truth is that so many of us can’t afford to buy the big tree, pay for the electric to light the Christmas lights and affording a big meal with all the trimmings is near impossible.

Poverty doesn’t end at Christmas, if anything it’s amplified for reasons that I’ve already stated.

You do Christmas how you want to do it. Try and ignore the pressure to comply to what everyone expects. If you want to turn the TV off and read a book instead then do it.

If you want to spend Christmas day doing nothing then do it. Be kind to yourself.

I used to put so much pressure upon myself to get everything right for others to see. Loosing my son has made me realise that none of this really matters.

Like many of you I’m going to find Christmas tough, but I will get through it.

So many families are going to be going without the Christmas that they were used to. The pandemic has caused thousands of people to loose their jobs and it’s also resulted in the deaths of thousands of people.

Thousands of families and individuals are newly dependant upon foodbanks to keep them going. It’s not easy asking for help and the food isn’t the best. Hopefully one day it will get better.

How do you explain to your children that Father Christmas can’t come this year? It’s heartbreaking.

What we can do is be there for each other, talk to friends on social media, text or face to face (socially distanced of course).

We will get through this. Lots of love to you all.

Please read, share and tweet my blog. This makes a massive difference and it raises so much awareness.

A huge thank you to everyone that supports and has supported my blog this year. I really couldn’t do it without you.

I don’t receive any payment for the work that I do and to say it’s tough is an understatement.

For anyone that would like to donate there’s a donate button at the top and 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.

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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.

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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.