Family made homeless due to no fault of their own… Children taken into care. There’s no duty of care to keep families together. Welcome to Tory britain.

Sorry for the delay in writing my blog this week. After the demo I had to attend a meeting and time quickly drifted away. This sometimes happens so my apologies once again.

Today was freezing cold, horrendous for anyone who are forced to live on the streets, having no roof over their head. Not only do they have the weather to contend with they also have to cope with life on the streets, it’s tough much tougher than we can comprehend. My heart goes out to everyone in this situation and as I know we are all either one or two steps away from this ourselves.

I really didn’t think that I could despise this Conservative government even more than I did previously, but today has deepened my dislike of them. Let’s get it right, they really don’t care about anyone that isn’t a member of their club, and nor would many Tory MPs care about the homeless man that died near the houses of parliment this week. They’ll just exchange platitudes and that will be it.

I also make no apologies for my thinking this way, I’ve experienced too much now to think otherwise and every night I hope that the next day it will get better but it doesn’t.

 

Gordon arrived with the food parcels as soon as I arrived, he might have arrived a few seconds earlier than myself, I’m not sure but I was tired so my apologies. All food parcels were taken as usual, I shall list todays incidents, it’s probably easier that way.

 

The first person that I spoke to was an older man who had been sanctioned for not attending a meeting that he didn’t receive an appointment about. For any new readers of my blog this happens a lot, far too often for it to be a conincidence anymore. If you scroll down my posts, I think that I have mentioned this previously in an earlier blog.

I advised him of what to do etc and handed him a food parcel. Also, I gave him advice and solidarity because when a person is in that situation it does feel like your whole world is ending, for some it does. A kind word means more than you’d think.

 

I spoke to a man who often stops to talk to me. He is sleeping on a friends sofa, it’s his only option he says. He has a few problems with his accomodation so he likes to chat about it, and once again I advised him of his options. He took a food parcel and rushed home to get out of the cold. Cold weather and Asthma do not mix well.

 

I spoke to a young woman who was very inappropriately dressed for the weather. She looked very upset so I walked over to her and asked her if she was ok. She told me that she had attempted suicide the other day and was not long out of hospital. She had previously failed her ESA examination, and didn’t know how she was going to carry on. Shes also pregnant and worried about her unborn baby.

I gave her a hug, a food parcel and one of our leaflets. I also advised her of what she should do now as a matter of urgency and she assured me that she would do these tasks as well as access local groups for support. I reassured her that she isn’t alone, that we and others do care for her and are there for her. My thoughts are with her.

 

An older lady walked out of the Jobcentre, she stopped and stated that ‘They make you feel like you are a five year old in there’ and that the security guards are even worse. She finds them very intimidating and I can attest to that fact. Some of them must think that they are in the employ of the DWP, when infact they are employed by G4S and are only one step away from being in the same shoes as the claimants that they intimidate.

 

A lovely woman walked over and started to talk to us, she told me that her friend had mentioned us. She told us that she claims ESA and also PIP and already has a good support worker. Shes a very clever and articulate woman.

She told us that a representative of a local housing provider had been to see her to ‘advise’ her about Universal Credit which is being completely rolled out in Ashton Under Lyne in March. The representative panicked her and didn’t take into account her health conditions and left her in a state of panic.

Advice  was given to her and she is now arming herself with as much information as possible. The representative told her that she has to start saving money to pay her rent due to the wait for Universal Credit payments. Rent is a priority she was told. Thats as may be, but when you have no money how on earth can you save, its impossible isn’t it.

 

A young man stormed out of the Jobcentre looking very upset. He didn’t want to talk, I hope that he is ok.

 

I advised a lady who was posting a sicknote to send it by first class postage and to get proof of postage. This will back up her claim if it becomes lost as they often do. Shes had an awful time with her ESA and their crooked assessments.

 

I spoke to a lady who looked furious upon leaving the Jobcentre. She told me that her advisor was leaving, its an advisor that has worked at Ashton for some time. I used to have the same advisor on occasion and they are one of the more reasonable ones. Anyway today she had to see the person taking over their job. In her words this advisor was ‘horrible, didn’t listen to me, tried to catch me out on everything and I just wanted to get out of there’. I advised her of her right to complain and demand to change advisors.

Yes this is still a legal right and people should exercise this right whenever they encounter a problem like this. If you have a decent MP then go and see them, it doesn’t take long to sort out. Jobcentres hate MPS becoming involved because they know that they will be held accountable to some degree.

 

A man walked out of the Jobcentre and whispered to Gordon ‘The way they treat us in there is awful’. Says it all doesn’t it.

 

The last incident could be rather shocking to some readers, but not to others.

When the demo ended we made our way over to IKEA for a free cuppa and some warmth. We were also having a meeting.

As I was walking over to our table I was stopped by a woman and a man that I have spoken to many times in the past. Due to no fault of their own they were made homeless and are getting legal advice about this. This is bad enough isn’t it, but they have children and as a result of their becoming homeless their children have now been taken into care.

They asked for help regarding housing for both themselves and their children,but were told that the duty of care goes only to their children and not the parents.

I have mentioned this subject earlier in the week via twitter my twitter id is @charlotteh71 with fellow blogger Kate Belgrave, and I have also had personal experience of this attitude towards duty of care when my daughter asked for help with rehousing, and I do know that this does happen, it happens a lot in most local authorities up and down the country.

The duty of care used to go to both children and their parents, and it used to be a priority to keep a family together. This priority seems to have gone, most likely due to a lack of emergency accomodation and cost. The irony is that it costs a lot more to place a child into the care system than it does to keep a family together. So now the parents are street homeless and unless they find accomodation they are not likely to have their children returned.

It’s an almost identical situation as in Ken Loach’s film Cathy come home. The government are tearing families apart, children are being taken from good parents, who’s only so called crime is to have a run of bad luck, to loose their job and then their home. These aren’t crimes, this shouldn’t be happening in the first place.

We bought them a warm meal, gave them some good advice and signposted them to local organisations. They have done nothing wrong except to be poor, and in this governments eyes thats criminal.

 

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I’m sorry if I’ve ranted a bit today, I’m upset. Every week for over 4 years I’ve seen and heard some awful things and it does get to me at times. Everything that I write is a true account and has been witnessed by members of the team, who are wonderful.

How much more will it take before enough people want change? I know that many of us can’t take much more.

Many thanks to everyone that came along today. I know that it’s cold and this winter is never ending but I really do appreciate it and so do the people that are forced to use the Jobcentre.

 

Please share, tweet, talk about or email my blog to your local MP. Even if they are a conservative MP they need to know what is happening to the poorest and most vulnerable of this country.

Also please donate if you can, every penny does count. Thank you!

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Insulin dependant lady fails ESA medical relying on foodbanks, wheelchair bound homeless man forced to live in rat infested hostel, missing gateway codes, welcome to Tory Britain.

Well today’s demo was busy. I was greeted by John as I arrived at Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre, he was very early today and that cheered me up immensely. Very soon after John’s arrival Gordon arrived with the food parcels and they more or less left as soon as they arrived. it’s an awful sign of the times when this happens and the cold weather certainly does not help. Everyone agrees that winter does feel never ending this year.

I have been pondering on how I should write this weeks blog, and I have decided that I shall list the accounts of what happened today. Please note that no one in need left without adequate help, support, signposting and when needed a food parcel. So here goes.

 

The First Lady that I spoke to stopped for only a moment. She told me that she had failed her ESA medical because the DWP had lost her form. Unbelievable isn’t it. Well sadly this isn’t unusual, she was given advice on how to appeal, where to get help doing so and was given a food parcel. She wasn’t given any help from the Jobcentre just a sheet of paper with a telephone number on it. Thank goodness we were there to help her.

 

I spoke to a man who was working but because his income is very limited he couldn’t afford to buy any food shopping. I advised him and handed him a food parcel, he was relieved that he had someone to talk to that understood and that he wasn’t on his own.

A woman stopped me to tell me that the DWP had lost her sick note, she was devestated and is trying everything that she can to sort this out. I advised her on what to do and handed her a leaflet. Gordon had a chat with her also. She will be ok, but shes a vulnerable person and she shouldn’t be forced to pay financially for the DWPS mistake.

We spoke to a young woman who was wearing totally unsuitable clothes for the cold weather. She appeared to be confused and told me that she had just found out that she is pregnant. We advised her, gave her a leaflet and food parcel and also signposted her to a local organisation where she can get a hot meal and get some solidarity. She appeared happy with that and hopefully things will get better for her.

I noted today that there was more people being turned away from attending their appointment for being ‘too early’. Being early counts as being 10 minutes early. The Jobcentre should remember that if a person were to attend a job interview then it is good practice to arrive 10 minutes early, and afterall they are supposed to be preparing people to return to work. It’s also flaming cold outside and a bit of compassion wouldn’t go amiss would it. It wasn’t overly busy either. I suspect that this is really all about control, afterall all claimants need to be constantly reminded to who is their real boss don’t they, the DWP are in total control of their life’s. it’s awful and soul destroying.

A young couple rushed out, they didn’t want to speak and they looked annoyed. I asked them if they were ok (daft question really) and the young woman told me “They are all pi** takers in there aren’t they”. Sorry I can’t elaborate more on that but they wern’t hanging around.

 

We spoke to an older lady who is insulin dependent. She has to take insulin several times a day and also eat decent food at regular intervals throughout the day. She had attended her ESA medical and had failed, so with the help of welfare rights is now taking her case to a tribunal. She is understandably worried about this because she needs to eat.

This lady is also a WASPI lady, who should be by rights receiving her state pension. Because the government wrongly changed the goalposts regarding this she can’t and is now at the mercy of a system that cares nothing for her at all. Roy quite rightly stated that she has been dropped off the cliff edge with her safety net being thrown away. She is still in shock that the government would treat her like this. We gave her advice, a leaflet and showed her compassion and solidarity, this did mean the world to her.

 

I spoke to two homeless men that are at the moment living in an area that isn’t in Tameside, but not too far away, a place called Openshaw. I recognised them both when I saw them because they had both been street homeless in Manchester and I had spoken to them both. One of these men is a wheelchair user.

They told me about the terrible living conditions that they are being forced to endure. They are living in temporary accommodation in a hostel. Whilst they are living there they have to pay a top up amount and they are supposed to get a breakfast every day. The landlord is refusing to feed them, there’s water leaking everywhere and they told me that the place is overrun by rats and mice. They hate it there, but it’s either there or the streets and it’s too cold to be out on the streets.

There has also been a mix up with their money and they are scared that they are going to be thrown out because they can’t afford to pay the top up and they are scared. I had a good chat with them, and I signposted them to a local organisation that might be able to help them with their situation and I also advised them of where to go for help with their payments.

Life is awful for them, hellish infact and it’s the same for thousands of homeless folk up and down the country. From what I have been hearing there needs to be far more stringent regulations put into place regarding these hostels. There are some awful ones out there, it seems that it goes from one extreme to another, from excellent accomodation where residents are given full support and the other end of the spectrum where the landlord just collects the rent and doesn’t want to have anything to do with the care of the vulnerable people living in them. This needs sorting out asap as a matter of urgency.

 

We spoke to a woman that isn’t entitled to claim contribution based JSA because she hadn’t worked in the previous year. She lives with her partner and he works more than 24 hours a week, therefore she is at the mercy of him for any money at all. She told me that she gets money to go for milk and the odd tenner every now and then. She doesn’t have a life, no independence and it’s eating her up inside. She told us that she had worked all her life, since she was 18 without a break except for last year. She’s paid into a system that refuses to help her in her time of need and it’s rotten. She told me that it’s a good job that her partner is a nice fella or it could be much worse. I agreed, I know women and some men who are trapped at home with an abusive partner because of rulings like this. This government cares nothing for victims of domestic abuse, infact by its own rulings it appears to encourage it. Shame on them.

There was nothing that we could do except offer her advice and sympathy, She thanked us for our kind words.

 

We spoke to a lady who was very upset as she was leaving the Jobcentre. She had been working previously and was working through her probational period at work. On her last day of probationary work, just before she was about to sign her contract for a permanent job she had a heart attack at work. The company refused her a job and she had to spend a long period of time in hospital.

Upon leaving hospital she claimed ESA and was put in the work related category. She wasn’t happy about this but didn’t know how to navigate the system. Because she was put in the work related category she was given a gateway code that she had to give to the DWP upon phoning them, logging on for work searches etc.

She told us that her code didn’t work, they told her on the telephone that she must find the correct one and she was going round in circles. They obviously haven’t been watching or reading the news because if they had been they would have known that the official policy for a situation like this is to help the person in need. They refused. In desperation she walked into the Jobcentre and luckily she spoke to a nice advisor (I know who you are but won’t name incase of repercussions but thank you) and they offered to help her, and to telephone her within three hours.

She is also telephoning our MPS office, and has hopefully visited the local organisation that we referred her to for some food and a nice hot cuppa. We had ran out of food parcels but I know that if she has gone to see them then they would help her.

She told us that she had 83p left to her name, she had nothing else. She had always worked and this is the first time that she has claimed any type of benefit except working tax credits when her children were younger.

This can happen to anyone folks, a sudden illness, a loss of a job, a berevement or a bit of bad luck can put anyone in this situation. There is an old saying, and I say it often ‘but by the grace of god go I’. Never take anything for granted we can’t because it could happen to anyone at any time.

 

Today was busy even though the town centre appeared quiet today. I know that there are a lot of people that are ill at the moment, my daughter included so get well folks I’m thinking of you all.

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Many thanks to everyone who attended today. Numbers might have been low but spirits, compassion and solidarity were high. We will return again next week and the week after etc etc. Come and join us we would love to see you!

 

 

Please share, tweet, email and talk about this blog. If we don’t continue to get these issues into conversation and the public arena this will never change. For everyone that already does, thank you and thank you to everyone that supports my blog and work.

Please donate towards the work that I do, it’s not easy and I live on a very low income and I receive no funding at all. Every penny does help thank you.

 

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What’s the point in trying to stop them from sanctioning me? They do it anyway. A man defeated by the system.

I’m going to start this weeks blog by thanking all of my readers, supporters, followers on Twitter and friends on Facebook. Also I want to than all my activist friends for their support.

Today was absolutely freezing cold. Not only did I have to contend with walking the mile to school on what was effectively sheet ice, the wind chill was awful. I really don’t know how anyone that is street homeless survives in this weather. I only stood for nearly a couple of hours and I was chilled to the bone. The national and local severe weather emergency provision is unsatisfactory also. All different authorities use differing thermometers and rulings. Once the weather on their individual thermometers reaches above zero then there isn’t any provision.

They don’t keep in mind that their thermometers can be wrong, and people can and do still die on the streets in above zero temperatures. Today with the cold, and wind chill it’s much colder than they think. Ultimately it’s all about saving money though and denying responsibility. A national system needs to be introduced, where every local authority uses the same temperature measure, ideally the Met Office and take things like wind chill, feels like temperature and rain into account.

Anyway I have digressed from the demo, but it’s a subject that I’m passionate about. I speak to many street homeless folk and I can’t imagine the hell that they go through on a daily basis.

 

Anyway like I’ve said it was cold, so much so that we had to leave 20 minutes early. There was only three of us, and a couple of friends came to say hello, thank you! I’m always wary that I don’t want anyone to become ill. But I apologise anyway.

 

The first person that I spoke to today was a lady who told me that she was grieving. There had been a death in her family and she was trying to cope as well as keep up with the DWP regime. She had handed a sick note in, but unfortunately it had ran out so back on the treadmill she goes. I handed her a leaflet which she was thankful for.

 

I spoke to a lady who was new to the DWP system due to a relationship breakdown. She has two children, one still very young, but her advisor has given her an unreasonable job search time in her claimant commitment. I advised her and she will be taking this further. I gave her a survival guide which she was grateful for.

 

We spoke to an older man who’s son is claiming Universal Credit . His told us that his son is 50 years old and has a degree. He is looking for work and is doing his best. He told us that the DWP staff are ‘buggers’ who don’t help anyone but themselves. It must be awful seeing his son in this position and worrying about him also.

 

We spoke to a man who had won two tribunals to reinstate his JSA payments, but the DWP are still refusing to pay him. The DWP have given him all sorts of rubbish excuse that don’t amount to any substance at all, and they are ignoring the tribunals order to pay him his money. He will be appealing this though, he’s very knowledgeable and will hopefully be visiting the Law Centre in Manchester for further help.

 

I spoke to a few people that were walking out of the Jobcentre clutching colourful, glossy brochures. They informed me that they contain information about a health and wellbeing course at a local college. I will endeavour to get further details of these courses.

 

We spoke to an older man who looked very despondent. We asked him what the problem was and he told us that he was sick of that place (the Jobcentre). We handed him a leaflet and told him that it would help him, and hopefully prevent him from being sanctioned. He looked at the leaflet, looked at us and said “What’s the point? They do it anyway.” That, readers are the words of a defeated man. His pride has gone, and the system has ground him down as much as it can. This is what the system does to people, it takes a person’s spirit from them, I’ve seen it countless times and it sickens me.

 

I spoke to a lady who I speak to on a weekly basis. She’s so lovely and always has a smile for us despite having a hard time. She has had the flu, works for 12 hours a week and relies on the top up element of Universal Credit. Because she claims the top up element she still has to do a weekly job search which she keeps to stringently. Today her advisor told her that she hadn’t looked for work enough. Luckily for her she proved that she had done so. She was so close to wrongly having her top up wrongly sanctioned, and thanks to our advice she had the evidence. This is how easy it is to be sanctioned and it angers me.

 

We handed out 6 food parcels, all full to the top, handed out extra bread, handed out copies of our survival guides, gave comapssion, understanding and sympathy. All of those qualities the DWP are devoid of. I’m very sad to say that we had to leave early, 20 minutes early but we were really cold. I’m still cold. But we will return next week as usual and will be there for the full two hours.

Steve if you are reading this get well soon!

Thanks to my rocks Gordon and Roy for coming today. I’m very aware that it wasn’t easy for you so a massive thank you.

 

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No electric, no food, failed ESA medicals. This weeks blog.

Dear readers, can I please apologise for the lateness of my blog this week. After the demo, we went for a cuppa to warm up and then went to a meeting. This took time, but it was essential. More news about this at a later date if everything goes to plan.

I’ve had a busy week, and combined with not feeling well it’s been tough. I made a short appearance on The Victoria Derbyshire programme yesterday morning (25th Jan 2016.)  Discussing the need for free school meals for all children, not just years 1 and 2. A doctors appointment has also been made for tomorrow so hopefully all will be well soon. Anyway enough about me.

I arrived slightly early because I was expecting a visitor at the demo. A lovely man named Stuart who wanted to come and help out. I jumped at the chance, its lovely meeting new people and he didn’t hang around, he got stuck right in and started to help. He has knowledge of where some work is available locally so he informed suitable people.

As soon as I arrived near the Jobcentre I was stopped by a lovely couple whom I have mentioned in previous blogs. Their run of bad luck never ends and even though they now have somewhere to live they had no money for electric. They had asked elsewhere but no one could help but I did. So they got food and electric which at the moment is all I can do for them.

The food parcels arrived and as soon as they did most of them were taken. Various people took them all with various problems. One lady is working but is struggling to get by. This happens A LOT and it’s by no means unusual. I referred her and everyone else to local organisations where they can receive extra help.

I spoke to a young man and his father. He had been refused his Universal Credit claim because he hadn’t responded to a letter that they had sent. The problem here is an old one, he didn’t receive a letter, nothing arrived. He challenged this and his advisor told him that it wasn’t their fault, it was his fault he should have somehow known that a letter was going to arrive on a certain day. He didn’t so now he’s having to go through the rigmarole of appealing etc.

I spoke to a man who had failed their ESA assessment. To be honest this is very common, hardly anyone passes their assessment these days. It was in the news recently that ATOS ‘Don’t mind” if recording interviews was permitted again, and equipment is easily available to do so. This then leads me to the question ‘Why aren’t you implementing this then?’ They aren’t and I think that they are just playing lip service, thinking that we are fools.

We spoke to several gentlemen who are finding life hard, they can’t cope really but carry on not knowing what for. They come for a chat and its lovely seeing them. Remember a kind word can make all the difference to someone’s life. We should all try to do this more.

We spoke to a man who is struggling with a previous employer. He had been working for a local factory through an agency. Why on earth they can’t just employ people themselves? It’s a ploy to enable them to pay employees less and dodge paying tax.

Anyway, the agency have told the DWP that he has earnt more than he actually has, and they are refusing to provide him with wage slips etc. The DWP will not tolerate anything that he tells them so now he has to appeal this. He’s frustrated, and understandably so. He was signposted everywhere suitable for help etc and I wish him all the luck in the world.

This is another reason what I don’t like agencies. Many exploit people and they often get away with it. Shame on them.

It was cold and busy today outside the Jobcentre.

I was talking to the man who arrived early on his mobility scooter. JC+ staff sent him outside to wait on the pavement in the cold wind as is their practice. He told me that he’d worked all his life and never been interested in politics. He’s changing his mind now I think.

We spoke to lots of people today, helped lots and handed out Survival Guides, food parcels, solidarity, help and advice. Please don’t underestimate the amount of work that we do and we help people when they are feeling at their lowest. Seeing people overcome their problems is the best thing in the world.

Apologies for the short blog, I’m tired, not feeling great and need to get some rest.

Thank you to EVERYONE that came and helped, you are all brilliant. I really do appreciate you all. Roy it was lovely to see you today, and thank you to Stuart andthe gentleman who reads this blog and came along. I really do apologise for forgetting your name, I’m hopeless with names and I really do apologise. Thank you so much.

A massive thank you to everyone who reads, shares, and supports the campaign and this blog. Thank you so, so much. If I could give you all a hug I would do.

Thank you!

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Christmas is cancelled for many claiming benefits at Ashton Jobcentre. Abusive passers by, DWP advisors knowingly giving out incorrect information. Advisor refusing to give food bank referral for vulnerable person. Welcome to Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre.

Well what can I say, today’s demo was busy hectic and stressful and just about anything that could happen did happen. Ashton Jobcentre is certainly getting into the festive spirit in their sadistic way.

As I arrived at the Jobcentre a man was already waiting for me. We had spoken on the telephone the previous evening and he needed some advice, so thats what I did I gave him some advice. He requested that I accompany him to his appointment at the Jobcentre, but I couldn’t they won’t allow me inside the Jobcentre on Thursdays to represent people, even though I’m not a threat to them at all. Luckily a friend of mine arrived who said that she would gladly do this and accompanied with notes thats exactly what she did.

The gentleman that she was helping had been claiming ESA, but hadn’t received a letter notifying him of his medical. The DWP basically called him a liar, that they had no proof that he didn’t receive it so therefore they were stopping his payments. He had made a claim for a mandatory consideration but like readers will know many people get refused this also, so he is now appealing this decision.

The Jobcentre had called him in to make a claim for JSA but his advisor had told him that he was too ill to claim this so he must wait for his appeal… without any money. This happens a lot folks, but the DWP do not care, they are happy to send vulnerable people off into the world with no means of survival. He didn’t have any food, so we gave him a food parcel and referred him to other organisations in the area. I also gave him money for electric because without it he couldn’t cook the food that I had given him, nor keep warm. We are expecting some very cold weather so this is vital.

Upon attending his appointment with my colleague, he asked for a food parcel referral. He was refused on the grounds that they don’t do them. I know this to be a lie and so did my colleague so she challenged this. They repeated this on more than one occasion. They also refused to help him with much more except to give him a telephone number to phone, a number that the advisor was quite able to telephone herself. I know that this is the usual way of doing things but the system is disgusting and to deny a vulnerable person a foodbank referral is beyond disgusting and will be challenged further.

I then spoke to a man who wanted to sign our petition. He had waited 9 weeks to receive his first Universal Credit payment and he told me that he went through hell, and that he doubts that he will ever recover from this. Starving people into finding non existent work really does not work, although it does make people ill and could eventually kill them.

I spoke to a lady who was lodging with friends. She is an older lady and would love her own home but in her own words said ‘It’s not possible for me to do so. I couldn’t afford to keep my own home and at least my friends will feed me if I’m short of money. Without them I would be on the streets’

Shes been forced to sign on weekly whilst awaiting her claim for Universal Credit to go through, and she knows that this can take a long while. She was obviously distressed at having to sign on weekly and told me that she felt persecuted. Her advisor has no understanding that she cannot access a computer every day and when she does she struggles to use them. Regardless of this she still has to comply with a eight hour a day job search.

It was at that point when I was told to ‘Get a job” for the first time and that I am a scrounger. Lovely eh, but that wasn’t the only time that this happened today.

I then spoke to an older man who told me that he was having a horrible time whilst waiting for his Universal Credit payment to go through. He told me that he felt humiliated, depressed and a failure. Having to depend on foodbanks for help is the worst thing thats happened to him in his life he said. He had preciously worked and had never been unemployed before.

I was then told to ‘Get a job again, and to stop helping benefit scroungers. Why should you help them when all they need to do is to get a job. Don’t help the homeless either because they are scroungers as well.’ He then went on too say that he was unemployed but that didn’t matter, he is different. He applies for work.’ This is sadly the attitude of many and it’s not pleasant to hear. I spoke to him and gave him my opinion on the subject which I hope that he listened to and absorbed, but I doubt it somehow.

A claimant then told me of his friends experience of being sanctioned because he was having a pacemaker fitted on the day that his Jobcentre appointment had been made. He had informed them of his urgent operation, but they told him that his appointment was more important. He was sanctioned, he appealed and he won. It’s a way of punishing people and its cruel beyond measure.

It was then when an elderly lady marched over. She started shouting at ourselves and the claimants going into the Jobcentre, telling them that they were all scroungers, and that I was one as well. I asked her politely to stop shouting and to move away because she was upsetting people. She said no, she wouldn’t she wanted to have her say. A homeless chap that I know walked over and asked me if I was ok, I said yes and he gave me a hug, I really needed that. I then told her to move away, that we wern’t listening to her abuse any longer and she eventually left. We’ve met her before and she said exactly the same things that time as well, except that time her so called scrounger neighbours were the problem.

It’s important to challenge these attitudes peacefully all the time, however I can never condone violence.

As we were handing out leaflets I saw an older man trying to cross the road. He was very thin, was using a walking stick and nearly fell twice. I dashed over, helped him across the road and helped him to catch his breath. I asked him where he was going and he told me that he was going to do his shopping but had taken ill. He was really struggling. So I asked him if he would like to go home if I paid for a taxi, he said yes so I helped him into a taxi.

This all happened in the space of two hours, the weather was cold and people are really suffering out there. I wish that I had a magic wand so that I could change everything, give everyone a decent quality of life, make sure that everyone has a home to live in, food to eat and a nice warm home. It’s appalling that more and more people will be denied this before Christmas, thousands of children also. I always think about everyone who is suffering because ‘But for the grace of god go I’

A massive thank you to everyone that came to the demo today I know that I expect a lot from you.

A big thanks to Roy for bringing the next batch of leaflets.

Thank you to everyone who reads, shares and supports my blog. The past three weeks have been extremely busy and the work certainly does not end on Thursdays, for myself that is the start of yet another busy week.

Please donate if you can! Thank you so much!

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Sanctioned pregnant lady, disabled man told to travel miles to travel to his ESA assement. Today’s demo. 

I couldn’t believe that Thursday had arrived so quickly. I had spent all week covering the Conservative Party Conference and to say that I was tired is an understatement, but people still need help. 
I was met at the cafe by a lady that we had helped a while ago. Her life is back on track now and she is doing well. She likes to come and have a chat with me, and I like it to. I regard her as a friend and we sat and put the world to rights. 
I arrived at the Jobcentre and set everything up. Thank goodness I wasn’t on my own this week, last week was awful. People soon arrived, arriving at the Jobcentre for appointments many needing food parcels. 

The weather is getting cold now, although it wasn’t raining. My thoughts go out to everyone living on the streets. 

We spoke to a young couple who even though they are working they are struggling. Because they don’t work full time they are on Universal credit and they don’t have a penny to spare. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Universal Credit is hell on earth. 

We spoke to a lady who was rushing out of the Jobcentre. I asked her what was wrong, was she ok? She told me that she was pregnant and they had sanctioned her. She couldn’t stop though because she was in a rush to collect a bank statement. I gave her a leaflet and told her that we would be here next week if she wanted to talk, and for her to read the advice on the leaflet. 

We spoke to a lady who had just been informed that she had been sanctioned for not answering a telephone call from the DWP. She had already told them that her mobile phone was broken, but they ignored this fact and sanctioned her anyway. She will be appealing. 

For those thinking that the DWP are lovely, are nice and they have sympathy you are very mistaken. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Apart from the odd nice advisor who never stays employed their long, its generally a soulless, heartless organisation where not a care is given to any claimant. 

I spoke to an older, disabled gentleman who has to use a motorised scooter to get around. He had recieved a text to inform him that he had missed his ESA medical assessment in Huddersfield. Huddersfield is miles away, a train ride away and he would have massive problems being able to make this journey. I’m not sure if he had recieved a letter from the assessment centre informing him of this, but I told him that even though it is scary he must open the brown letters that come through his letterboxes. Many people are scared of opening them, the whole system makes you scared because they hold your future in their hands. 

We gave him some good advice and helped him. 

We spoke to a young couple with a young baby and a toddler. Both the children were ill, and they had a sickness bug. Even so they had to attend their appointment even if that meant that one of them had to keep running out of the building with a child that had been sick. Why can’t they just leave people alone. The mother of the children is also disabled, and in my opinion she shouldn’t have to attend a Jobcentre appointment. 

I overheard a young man talking to a colleague saying that it is scary, that they have no power at all and the Jobcentre and a computer controls their life. This is the reality. A person’s life really isn’t their own is it. 

I spoke to a homeless man who I like to talk to. He’s a lovely man and is looking much better this week. I really hope that he stays this way. 

Thankfully I was joined by my colleagues this week, and some extra colleagues who come along when they are able to. This cheered me up no end. There was a good atmosphere outside the Jobcentre this week which was fantastic. 

Remember, the DWP have no sympathy for anyone. A person might find a sympathetic advisor but the next week they can, and often are replaced with an unsympathetic one who will do their best to overturn the good work already done by their colleague. 

It’s a system that is controlled by targets and figures, every person entering that Jobcentre has a value to them. If they can’t see a person having a value then they will be tossed to one side. Their life will be made very hard. 

I can never, and will never condone the behaviour of the DWP. Nor will I ever sing their praises like its a celebration when they manage to treat one person nicely because this is what they should be doing to everyone all of the time. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect, a person is not responsible for their own poverty. The system is and we need to change it. 
A massive thank you to everyone for coming along to support the demo today. You all cheered me up, even though we are all suffering with various aches and pains helping people makes everything worthwhile. 

Please share my blog, tell your friends also. Thank you! 

There is also a donate button also below for anyone. My paypal add is seercharlotte@gmail.com For everyone who already supports this blog, and who has done in the past thank you! 

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Claimants 3 times more likely to be sanctioned under UC than JSA.

MANY THANKS TO BENEFITS AND WORK FOR THIS
 Created: 03 October 2017The sanctions rate for universal credit (UC) claimants is three times higher than it is for jobseekers allowance (JSA) claimants, according to the latest report by sanctions expert Dr David Webster of the University of Glasgow.
According to a review of benefits sanctions statistics published last month by Dr Webster, the sanctions rate for JSA claimants is 2.5% per month. But for UC the rate rockets to 7.4% per month.
The rate for employment and support allowance (ESA) sanctions is much lower, at 0.32% per month.
However, the length of ESA sanctions is very concerning.
25% of ESA sanctions lasted for more than 3 months. And a shocking 16% of sick and disabled ESA claimants were sanctioned for more than 6 months, a rate that is far higher than for UC according to Dr Webster.
The harshness of the current sanctions regime is underlined by the fact that, between the years 1913 and 1986, the longest a claimant could have their unemployment benefit suspended for was 6 weeks and most sanctions were much shorter.
You can download Dr Webster’s full 22 September 2017 report from the CPAG website.