Tag: debt

Council Tax Arrears Rise Dramatically

A recent report undertaken by Money Advice has uncovered that Council Tax arrears are rising dramatically and are expected to grow exponentially.

As detailed inthe report the total amount of arrears owing now stands at over £4.9 billion, this is an increase of £521 million (12%) on last year (2021).



With the ever increasing cost of living costs and energy bills it comes as no surprise that many are struggling to pay council tax.This has been happening for years and it shows no sign of improving.

The analysis conducted by Money Advice suggests that the problem is worsening showing that in the past 5 years the average CouncilTax bill in England has risen by 24%. At the same time arrears have risen profoundly by 74% over the same time period

This leaves an ever increasing amount of households that are struggling to afford their bills and everyday costs therefore falling deeper into arrears unable to meet the payments.

The truth is that the current system of collecting council tax isn’t working, it often costs local authorities more to implement than they actually are able to collect. Households are already struggling to pay and local councils are trying to cope with the deficit of payments whilst trying to keep essential services going as many rely upon council tax payments to provide such services.

The rules that govern council tax collection are approximately 30 years old and are no longer working for today’s financial climate. The whole council tax system needs to be changed for it to work fairly both for households and local authorities.

Money Advice suggests that the Government needs to urgently take a duel approach both for households and councils.

They suggest that:

The government increases and ring-fence funding for Council Tax Support to stop people falling behind enabling more people to get help paying.

Change and reform collection rules so that households are treated fairly and not met with intimidating behaviour from bailiff sent out to collect arrears. This creates distress and doesn’t actually work to help people pay, instead it increases debt due to having to pay bailiff costs as well.

In an ideal world there would be new, fair system created that is affordable and doesn’t cause increasing poverty and spiralling into further debt.

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You can find a full copy of the report here at https://t.co/WT2vQSzLhA

Please read and share this raises awareness and is vitally important.

If you like my content and would like to contribute towards keeping both the blog and campaign going theres a donate button at the side and top of this blog post.

I work hard and I don’t receive any payments at all leaving me struggling for everyday costs and basics. Every penny makes such a huge difference and also helps to me to continue with my work.

Lloyds bank Foundation Warns Against Unfair Universal Credit Deductions

The Lloyds Bank Foundation have expressed concerns about the way the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) recovers debts from claimants when they start claiming UC (Universal Credit)

The Foundation have issued a report earlier this month (May 2022) warning that automatic deductions recovered from UC payments are at the time of writing, leaving more than 2 million people already living in poverty, unable to afford basic necessities such as food, gas and electric. This therefore and drives them further into debt and poverty.  

The Foundation report discloses that 44% of all UC claimants have money automatically deducted, the amount averaging £78 a month being taken. It also notes that many Universal Credit claimants are also having much larger deductions taken from their monthly payments.

Amongst the deductions are the advance payments given to UC claimants given to them whilst waiting five weeks for their first payment.

To add to this millions of new UC claimants find that they are unknowingly forced to pay back supposed Tax Credit overpayments that had occurred years earlier which were caused by an official error and no fault of the claimants.  

The Lloyds Bank Foundation have therefore called for historic debts to be stopped and any advance payments changed from loans to grants and affordability checks to automatically be made before any deductions are taken from Universal Credit and other benefits.

It’s doubtful that the DWP will listen to any of the report or making changes based upon its recommendations in the future.

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Please read, share, tweet and email my blog posts, this helps to raise awareness of the unfairness of the DWP system.

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A huge thank you to everyone that reads, supports my blog and campaign and shares my articles. I couldn’t do this without you.

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!

DWP To Start Planned Legacy Claimants Migration To Universal Credit

With much celebration yesterday evening the DWP announced that their plans to start migrating people from all legacy benefits to Universal Credit (UC) with a commencement date being May 9th. Their target completion date being December 2024. This will leave approximately 900,000 of households worse off whilst claiming UC.

Not only will thousands of claimants previously claiming legacy benefits be hit with lower payments they’re set to also face a benefit freeze leaving them in a much worse financial situation they are already in. They will also be faced with the distress of being forced to accept this whilst struggling financially to cover the basics.

The DWP claim that legacy claimants will be sent a ‘migration notice’ with a three-month deadline to make a claim for UC. If they don’t accept the migration notice or don’t receive it as is often the case with letters from the DWP their benefits will stop. This will undoubtably leave thousands of already vulnerable people not receiving any help to do so with the majority of people claiming legacy payments being disabled and ill people already struggling with day to day costs.

The DWP are quoted saying that legacy claimants will receive transition payments to ensure their income does not drop, however how many times have we heard the DWP make statements like this and don’t fulfil their promises.

As a direct result of this migration previous legacy benefit claimants payments will be effectively frozen every April with no end date given. This is because their transitional payments will abrade each year as UC rises with inflation whilst waiting for it to match up with what they’re being paid.

This is very concerning especially because 500,000 claimants forced to migrate claim ESA and are disabled and ill, causing extreme distress and worse with predictions being that they will face being much worse off financially.

We already know that UC is a cruel, harsh system that deliberately punishes the most vulnerable leaving thousands in extreme poverty and distress. UC benefits the government alone giving them the perfect opportunity to punish working class people for simply existing.

Whilst the government and the DWP are rubbing their hands in glee we must continue to support each other and campaign against the governments cruelty, it’s the only way that we will survive this.

Combined with the energy price crisis and the ever increasing cost of living I have no doubt that thousand will die as a result of this forced migration.

God help us all.

EDIT: FROM PAULA PETERS. Also will add the UC regs for legacy benefit support group claimants are not in place yet and still being discussed the white paper on work and disability is important to Keep an eye on.

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Huge thanks to Dan Bloom over at The Mirror for being the inspiration for this piece and a Twitter follower rooneygmusic for sending me the info over last night.

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A huge thank you to everyone that is subscribed to and reads my blog.

Another massive thank you goes out to everyone that has supported and does support my blog and campaign I really couldn’t do this without you.

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.

DWP Secret Survey To Blame Claimants For Living In Poverty.

It comes as no surprise to hear that the DWP are up to their old tricks again. Thanks to Benefits And Work for uncovering the details of a secret survey that is being carried out by the DWP. Rather than being a positive thing the DWP have decided to use this opportunity to further blame claimants for living in poverty. Whilst not putting the blame where it should go which would be the DWP and the government.

According to Benefits And Work the survey is being carried out by one of the UK’s leading polling companies on behalf of the DWP under the pretence of helping the DWP to better understand people’s financial situation and what support they may need.
The online survey asks a number of questions about claimants being in debt and kind of debts claimants have. It also questions what effect these debts have had on them and their daily lives.



This is the question that stands out from the rest. ‘What types of help or support, if any, would be most useful in helping you manage your finances?’ And to the unknowing bystander it looks fairly reasonable except it isn’t.

The list of survey answer options includes:

Help with working out what money they have left to spend each/day/week/month.Advice on how to manage spending so they don’t run out of money
Advice on how to reduce their spending
Advice on how to reduce their debts


What is missing completely are the very reasons why claimants are in debt in the first place. No mention is given as to the the real reasons why a person might find themselves forced into poverty and are then unable to live a debt free life.

As it stands the amount of social security payments are way below the rate of inflation and haven’t been increased as such, ignoring the facts that food and energy costs have already increased. Energy costs are also set to increase again in April. This will leave claimants unable to make a choice between heating and eating because they’ll be unable to do either. at a rate


The 5 week waiting time for Universal Credit claims to be processed immediately throws claimants into debt. Some can argue that claimants can apply for a loan to cover this whilst ignoring the fact that it doesn’t cover it and the loan has to be paid back. According to the DWP this loan has to go towards paying your rent costs which results in having no money for heating or eating.

It’s also pretty fair to say that hardly any claimants receive their full payment amounts due to the DWP and related organisations garnishing payments for debts such as social security debts, council tax and television licence debts and other related debts. It’s extremely hard, near impossible for claimants to reduce the amount of money garnished each week or month leaving them with much reduced payments in the first place.


There is also no option for questioning the extremely long delays for PIP assessments and WCAs. These long waiting periods throw disabled people into a never ending circle of debt and distress. They are entitled to these payments which go towards them being able to cover the hidden costs that disabled people face every day. Instead the government would rather not help them and instead choose to make their lives as difficult as possible.


With the absence of these answers the survey will no doubt give results saying that claimants who are in debt need to be able to manage their money more resulting them to be referred for budgeting advice. It’s impossible to budget more when claimants aren’t receiving enough social security payments to help them to survive. A caring government would rise payments in line with inflation because it’s the right thing to do.

As it stands this survey will allow the DWP to make the assertion some claimants are unable to eat or heat because they are failing to budget correctly, therefore fuelling the DWP and governments rhetoric that claimants are to blame for their own poverty.

This is very concerning because going off the DWPs track record they’ll share this survey as quickly as possible, after all theres nothing they like more than to punish claimants for reasons that are out of their control.

Benefits And Work have made a Freedom of Information request to find out when and if this report is going to be published.

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Solidarity and support to Disabled People Against The Cuts. You can join them here at https:manchesterdpac.com

Many thanks to Benefits And work for highlighting this story and for all of the hard work that they do to help others.

For last weeks report Thousands Cold And Hungry This Winter. Also my previous report about increased benefit sanctions DWP Sanctions Set To Rise Dramatically.

A huge thank you to everyone that likes, shares, supports and reads my blog. I really couldn’t do this without you xxx.

This Monday coming is the anniversary of my son’s death, the night that he took his last breaths leaving a gaping hole where he once was. I miss him everyday and to be honest I’m still wondering how I’ve coped with his loss for this past year.

I’m hoping to be able to visit his memorial (funds allowing) and to (if I’m ready) to scatter some of his ashes at Hartshead Pike one of his favourite places.

Whilst they were unable to find a cause of death we can still remember him. He will always be in our hearts and memories until we meet again.

Solidarity to love to the Ukraine and Palestine.

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I don’t receive any payments for any of the work that I do, nor do I receive any payments for my campaign.

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

Thank you!

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.

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.

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.