Tag: fuel banks

Had throat cancer? Can’t speak? We expect you to look for work.

Dear readers and supporters I hope that you are all well and surving the best that you can. I know that lots of you are suffering, but remember I’m here for you to talk to as we are all there for each other.

Yesterday was a rather busy morning but once again I had to finish early again. We ran out of leaflets, I’ll hopefully have this rectified for next week.

We spoke to lots of people and helped lots also. We were also thanked by members of the public both for the help that we had given them previously or for advice that we gave them yesterday.

The most common sentences that we heard yesterday were ‘They never told me that I could do that’ ‘Thank you’ It’s crap and a pile of shite’.

As usual we handed out our food parcels and gave everyone that we spoke to help, advice and signposting if needed. Of course the DWP should be doing this but they aren’t so we have to do it.

We do all this because we can’t stand injustice, we also hate the fact that so many of you are suffering and if we can alleviate this a little its the right thing to do.

As I arrived outside the Jobcentre I spotted a woman walking in and out of the Jobcentre and council offices which are next door.

I approached her and asked her if everything was OK and could I help her.

Her story is this. She’s a single parent and works part time because it’s the only work that she can find that fits around her children. She is claiming universal credit and is struggling to survive.

Whilst she was waiting for her universal credit to be processed she accumulated rent arrears that she’s offered to pay off by paying a bit extra rent every month. Her landlord refused and has started the process of evicting her and her children.

When I say that she’s doing everything to rectify her situation I mean it, she’s really trying but to no avail.

As a direct result of universal credit she’s going to loose her home, and you can bet that our local housing options will tell her that she’s made herself intentionally homeless.

No person in this situation wants to make themselves homeless but universal credit ensures that almost everyone finds themselves in rent arrears.

Does the government care? Not one bit. But many people in the same position as her voted for the Tory party in the general election. Shame on them

I had a conversation with a 65yr old man who was told to attend Ashton Jobcentre to see an advisor. Upon seeing his advisor he was then told that he had to travel to Hyde Jobcentre for another appointment.

He asked them if he could see someone at Ashton Jobcentre instead but they refused. So he had to travel to Hyde which isn’t exactly near Ashton.

This happened twice yesterday, also with a younger man that had been told that he had to attend Hyde Jobcentre at 2pm making him late to pick up his kids from school. He asked if he could have an earlier appointment but they refused saying that he had to attend.

The DWP were responsible for him being late collecting his kids from school. The DWP doesn’t regard children and childcare as being important, nor do they care a bit about a child’s safety.

It wasn’t much later when I had a conversation with an older woman who asked for a leaflet. She told me about her experience with the DWP when they phoned her up recently.

The whole experience was awful for her, she told me that they were literally shouting to her and they made her cry. She’s disabled and already suffered from anxiety. This experience made her ill with worry.

I then was stopped by a woman that gestured towards me, she wanted to ask what we were doing. She couldn’t speak because she has had throat cancer and lost her ability to speak.

Luckily I lip read myself quite a lot so it could understand what she was saying. Her story is this.

Because she can’t speak she can’t make phone calls, she also finds the whole process of being forced to look for work very stressful. She had been told that not being able to talk shouldn’t stop her from applying for work.

Her advisor had also told her that she had done something wrong but she denies this.and is trying to fight it.

Even though she found it hard to explain what she had done wrong it was very obvious that she shouldn’t be forced to go through this rigmarole. But she is. The DWP don’t give a toss about anyone or anything.

It’s blatantly obvious that no one should be suffering like these people are. It’s such a cruel, horrible system that is determined to make everyone suffer regardless of age, sex and disability. Don’t let them tell you otherwise.

Needless to say we will be back next week to help people.

Thank you so much for all your support, when I say that it means the world to me it really does.

Please read, share, tweet, email my blog. The more people that reads it the better. Unbelievably there are still people out there that are denying that this is happening.

For anyone wanting to donate theres a PayPal button at the top and side of my blog. Thank you so much xx.

Forced to attend DWP course dispite having multiple disabilities.

Dear readers and supporters once again I have to apologise for publishing this blog late. I’ve been out campaigning for my local Labour Party.

Anyway today was pretty dire, it was raining, in fact it still hasn’t stopped.

It was also cold, deadly weather for street homeless people and anyone that can’t afford to heat their homes.

Once their clothes become wet, they can’t dry them so they become very cold and hypothermia can set in. This can be deadly so please spare a

thought for people in this situation.

As usual all the food parcels were gone as soon as I handed them out. Most of them were needed by people having problems paying their council tax and extra top up rent. If they can’t pay the council will take the money directly from their universal credit payments. Their social housing landlord will also threaten to evict them even though the person that I spoke to owed less than £100.

New Charter housing certainly don’t give a toss about their tenants but that’s another story.

We spoke to lots of people today but sadly we had to end the demo early because we were drenched and cold.

I had a conversation with a man that has several disabilities which prevents him from applying for many of the jobs on offer.

Dispite this his job coach has told him that it would be in his best interests to attend a so called wellbeing course.

Wellbeing is the latest buzzword being used by the DWP. They like to pretend that these rubbish courses will help people, especially disabled people.

They don’t however tell the person being forced onto these courses that they (the DWP) gain financially from sending people on these courses as do the course providers.

We are seen as a pound sign, a number of which they can profit from.

What they forget is that most people have enough commonsense to realise that no one can ever be cured by attending a course. They’re another reason to harass a person more, to sanction them if the course provider advises them to.

The whole system is crooked, people are being harassed so much by the DWP that they can’t see a future for themselves and they take their own life. Meanwhile the DWP will still send letters out to the families of the deceased.

It’s Orwellian in nature, they control a person’s life to the extent that they can cut off their very means of survival with the click of a button on a computer.

I spoke to three people that are having problems with their housing benefit claims. Our local housing benefit department at Tameside Council aren’t the best.

Please can they start talking to people as if they’re human beings, with respect and not disdain? It’s not too much to ask is it.

I spoke to a single parent that had been asked to attend their first back to work interview because their child is now two years old.

They were understandably nervous and had no idea of their rights regarding job searching etc. Thankfully we were able to help them and we handed them a copy of our survival guide.

Call me old fashioned but I’m a firm believer that a parent or carer should be able to stay at home with their child until their child reaches school age or older. Obviously parents that want to work should do so but the option should be there.

Children need their parents, it’s vital for their development.

Children also need to be able to eat good, healthy food and live in a warm house. These very basic things are denied by this cruel government.

I write this on the eve of the general election, the most important General election in many years. Let’s hope that we get a good result. If we don’t many of us won’t survive another 5 years of this cruelty. I can’t stress this enough.

We will be back next week for our annual Christmas Demo. I will be making a wreath unless I can get a volunteer to help me. I’m also needing to buy non alcoholic mince pies and other Christmas foods to hand out to the public.

We will also be handing out extra Christmas food parcels so if you need one please contact me so that I can save one for you. If you don’t it’s a first come first served basis.

Also please come and join us it’s at the same time 10-12 outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre. Please come and say hello and maybe sing an appropriate Christmas Carol or two.

Aged 65 and hounded by the DWP to find work. Universal Credit strikes again.

Dear readers I’m back after last weeks absence. I apologise and I hope that it never happens again.

The weather was cold but sunny definitely hat and winter coat weather. My thoughts always go to those that are homeless or can’t afford to put any heating on.

As usual the food parcels went straight away which is awful in itself. A terrible indictment of how the government regards the working class.

As I was walking towards the lift to the Jobcentre I was greeted by a friend from a local town, he noted that I was walking quite quickly. I told him that I was cold and I was trying to get warm. We both laughed at that.

He then went on to tell me that they’d recently found a rough sleeper sleeping in the lift recently. I replied saying that I was surprised that it hadn’t happened sooner. Whilst I know that there’s organisations that he could go to for the night but some people either aren’t ready for that or they fall between the gaps of society. When that happens it’s not easy to find the help that they need.

The first thing that I noted and I do so every week is the complete lack of signing outside the new council building of which the Jobcentre shares. No one knows where they are going, they only know when they’ve visited once before. Tameside Council please can we have some outdoor signing upstairs on the plaza? Also the steps are very dangerous and even I struggle climbing them.

I know that it sounds petty but for anyone suffering from anxiety related conditions will panic when they can’t see where they’re going. Some won’t want to ask for help and will most likely go home in a state of panic.

We can do better than this can’t we.

I had a brief conversation with a heavily pregnant woman who was going to the Jobcentre. She had just claimed the steps and was exhausted. When I told her that there was a lift that she could use she replied saying that she didn’t know that there was one but she was glad that I told her. It’s things like this that can make a massive difference to someones life.

This week we had extra bread to hand out as well as food parcels, they were taken by anyone that needed one. Can you imagine not being able to afford a loaf of bread?

It was then that I stopped to speak to a chap that I have spoken about before. He had been promised that his first universal credit payment would be made on the last week of September. He’s still waiting for that first payment, it’s the 31st of October.

Understandably he’s furious about this but he is also upset. As I was advising him I could see tears in his eyes. Life is shit for him he said saying that he’s got absolutely nothing to look forward to because ‘That lot’ (The DWP) keep lying to him.

How on earth does the government expect people to survive on a zero income? The honest answer is that they don’t. They don’t want us to survive, they want us to disappear off the system or die.

The government doesn’t give a stuff about us and never forget this. Never forget the cruelty that they’ve inflicted upon the poorest and most vulnerable. We can never ever forget and I’ll certainly never ever forgive them either.

I had a chat with a woman who is constantly being hounded to go on the pointless, basically rubbish DWP courses. She has to sign on every week and they never miss this opportunity to tell her about another course.

Last week she was told that it would ‘be good for her’ to go on the latest course offering. When she told them that it wasn’t mandatory so therefore she wasn’t going to attend they replied saying something along the lines of ‘oh but it would have helped you’ Yep right.

I was then asked to speak to an older chap who is finding it hard to cope with the DWP.

He’s 65 years old and has been told that he has to be online for 35 hours a week looking for work.

We all know that there certainly isn’t enough jobs advertised out there to fulfil their expectations of him. He’s been told that if he doesn’t do this then he will be sanctioned.

I always take issue with this. He’s 65 years of age, who in earth is going to employ him. Its hard enough trying to find work when you’re young. There just isn’t enough jobs to go round.

Of course the DWP know this but they’ll take great pleasure in sanctioning a 65 year old man. Speaks volumes doesn’t it.

I spoke to a chap who had been told that he had been given ‘too many’ food parcels and was refused a foodbank voucher. He’d already had three foodbank vouchers.

Luckily I was there to advise him, to give him food etc.

It angers me so much when I hear of people being turned away from foodbank voucher providers because of this. Do they think that poverty ends after three food parcels?

It’s absolutely ridiculous to think so. Some people have a swinging rock in place of a beating heart.

I had a conversation with a woman who was struggling to contact the DWP via their freephone numbers.

Not all mobile phone providers regard the freephone numbers as free making it impossible to contact them.

This needs to be sorted out now.

We ended todays demo knowing that we had helped lots of people. We had given hope, solidarity, food, and a shoulder to cry on.

It’s not been easy doing a continuous demo for as long as we have but helping people makes it all worthwhile.

You might also be aware that we have a general election coming on the 12tb of December. Please can I urge you to use your vote and vote for Labour?

Labour are committed to stopping universal credit, the constant ESA and PIP examinations, sanctions and much more.

As you might hve already heard the Tory government have also got plans in place to sell the remaining parts of the NHS to firms in America.

This will leave us without an NHS and we will be forced to use an insurance based system.

I know that I certainly won’t be able to get or pay for medical insurance. Many of you won’t be able to either.

This is literally a fight for our life’s and we have to win this fight!

We have also made plans for our Christmas demonstration which will take place on Thursday the 19th of December between 10-12. It will be outside of the Jobcentre and we hope to have some speakers, some festive food on offer and hats, gloves and scarfs to hand out.

Please come and join us we would really like to meet you.

I will be making a Facebook event for it but if you don’t have Facebook then feel free to email me.

We’ll be back next week between 10-12 outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre. Come and say hello!

Please read, share, email, tweet etc my blog. Please subscribe also.

A huge thank you to everyone that supports out demos and who supports my blog.

Without you I couldn’t be able to continue so thank you so much.

For anyone wishing to donate there’s a PayPal button at the top and side of this blog post. For anyone that can’t see this my PayPal address is seercharlotte@gmail.com Thank you so much in advance.

DWP refuse to pay for DBS check but will pay over £200 for a course.

Dear readers I’m extremely sorry for the delay in publishing my blog.

This weeks demo was extremely busy, as usual the food parcels were taken as soon as they arrived. I really wish that this wasn’t the case but it will be for the foreseeable future.

As usual I will list some of the conversations that I had today, identities won’t be revealed either.

As I arrived at the spot where I pick the food parcels up from I was greeted by a chap who I had a conversation with last week. He had followed my advice and as a result he managed to get hold of some much needed work boots etc.

I’m so happy that I can signpost people, remember we don’t leave anyone in the lurch we always do our best to help everyone.

Here’s a typical example of DWP logic it’s obvious to me that they don’t really want people to find good positive employment.

Jenny spotted us she was leaving the Jobcentre, she asked me if she could have a leaflet. As I handed her a leaflet she expressed her disgust of the whole DWP system. Here’s her story.

Jenny told us that she’s a qualified nurse and she would like to return to work. She asked the DWP if they would pay for a DBS check. You’d think that the DWP would agree to this because they apparently help people into work……

The DWPs answer was this, no they wouldn’t pay for a DBS check but they would pay over £200 for Jenny to attend a door persons job.

If course we advised that a future employer should pay for the check but as we know not all employers will do this.

As I’ve said before claimants are nothing but a number to be bought and sold at the DWPs whim. They profit from sending claimants to these often rubbish courses and until this stops they won’t stop.

I was then stopped by a woman who’s being forced to attend what seems to be endless pointless DWP courses. She told me about the latest course that she was forced to attend.

She told me that she was told to attend an effective job search course for people with arthritis. Telling me about her experience she said “I was stuck in a room with lots of other people. They tried to tell us that we shouldn’t let arthritis prevent us from finding work. Easier said than done when you’re in constant pain.”

If this wasn’t enough enough she was also told that she had to attend a job fair in Ashton as well. The DWP advised her that if she didn’t attend they would sanction her.

The word on the street later was that the job fair was rubbish. Potential employers telling people that they were either too old or unsuitable for the work that they were offering. This didn’t surprise me because I’m told the same every year that they hold this event.

A little later I had a conversation with chap that I’d had a conversation with a few weeks ago. He’s been waiting for over 3 months for his first universal credit payment. He told me that the DWP have informed him that he should receive his first universal credit payment on Saturday. Let’s hope that they do.

Last but not least we spoke to a woman who was very quick to tell us that she was over £600 worse off since claiming Universal credit. She’s gone from being able to being able to cope on the benefits system to not coping at all.

Her story is that she had previously been homeless and she had been rehoused to a three bedroom house. She only needed a two bedroom home but she couldn’t refuse the offer of this property. If she did they would refuse to help her.

As a result shes now forced to pay the bedroom tax and top up rent as well as the council tax supplement. She’s applied for a help with this but she keeps on being refused. She’s also asked to move to a smaller property but this is refused also because she owes rent.

It’s absolutely shocking that local housing providers refuse to help people find smaller properties because they owe rent. Of course they’re going to owe rent they need a smaller home so that they can pay back this debt.

The whole system is geared against the poorest people in society. At every turn they get the door slammed in their faces, are told that they’re not good enough and are used by companies employed by the DWP until they burn out, become ill or disabled and are then left with no support at all.

Poverty is isolating which helps the DWP to abuse these people in whatever way they see fit. Like I said earlier we’re a commodity and we’re bought and sold at the DWP and governments whim.

We spoke to lots of people yesterday and offered help, advice, signposting, food, support and solidarity. We will return next week to help even more people.

Please read and share this blog thank you. Tweet it, email it etc because everyone needs to know the truth behind the DWPs false advertisements claiming that universal credit is the best thing ever.

For everyone who supports my blog thank you so much.

For anyone wanting to donate there’s a PayPal button at the top and side of this blog.

£213 a month to live on, and also have to top up rent payments with that. People are struggling to survive on universal credit.

Dear readers, today was grim and the weather didn’t help anyone, let alone the people forced to use the Jobcentre. Yet again we encountered numerous people with all sorts of problems ranging from universal credit, ESA and PIP, housing problems etc.

We handed out all of our food parcels, most were taken by single parents with children and working families. They rely on foodbanks to survive, it really shouldn’t be like this.

Thanks to Gordon for joining me and also Jack. Your help is invaluable and it’s appreciated by everyone.

As usual I won’t divulge the names of anyone that I spoke to this morning. The DWP snoop everywhere and I don’t want anyone that I spoke to being targeted by the DWP. This does happen, but not on my blog. I value everyone that I speak to unlike the DWP.

 

John walked out of the Jobcentre clutching the usual list of phone numbers that they hand out to everyone. I handed him a leaflet and asked him if he needed any help. John told me that he was ok, but thats only because he’s living with a relative that can feed and look after him whilst he’s waiting for his universal credit claim to be processed, saying that the alternative is to horrible to think about.

 

I then spoke to Gemma. Gemma has struggled almost all of her life, she’s 19 years old and to be honest isn’t enjoying anything about her life at the moment. In her short lifetime she’s been homeless twice and has been rehoused not long ago.

Gemma is claiming universal credit and is finding it almost impossible to manage. She receives in total £513 a month total to live on after paying her rent payment. Out of this she has to pay back her rent arrears that she keeps accruing because she’s finding it hard to pay her full rent. She also got into rent arrears whilst she was waiting for her universal credit claim to be processed, “What are you supposed to do, just pay your rent with the loan that they give you? It was impossible for me to pay my full rent because I needed food to eat, and gas and electric to buy. I’ve got no one to borrow money from, and that’d have to be paid back as well.

To make the situation worse Gemma also has to repay her universal credit loan back at £100 a month. There’s absolutely no regulation concerning the repayment of loan debts. No set amounts that people have to pay back, sometimes I think that they pick a number out of thin air and decide thats how much they should pay back. It’s ludicrous

Basically after all of her above debts are paid back Gemmas left with £213 a month to survive on. She’s got to buy gas, electric, food and transport costs. She’s a broken woman at 19 years old. Huddled up in the cold, Gemma muttered “It’s almost as if they’re trying to destroy me. I’m 19 years old and I’m worn out because of the stress and worry. There’s a good chance that I’ll become homeless again, and I’m doing my best. Universal credit is destroying me. They look at me (DWP staff) as if I’m stupid, like I’m something on the bottom of their shoe. They don’t want to help me”

Gemmas 19 years old, at the start of her life and should be enjoying life. Instead she’s worn out, depressed and feels like giving up. This, my friends is what universal credit does to people. It eats you up, totally consumes you until eventually you give up. That’s exactly what its designed to do.

 

Sarah is a single parent and is also having a difficult time. She’s claiming universal credit and to say she’s struggling is an understatement. Here’s her story.

Sarah was instructed to attend an appointment, which she was ready to do but unfortunately one of her parents suddenly fell ill and was rushed into hospital by ambulance. Sarah was with her relative when this happened and from the ambulance she telephoned the DWP to try and rearrange her appointment. The person that she spoke to said that this wouldn’t be a problem, and they’d phone her later with another appointment.

Only the DWP phoned the wrong number. Not the one that’s registered online, an old number that isn’t used anymore, and Sarah had already informed them about this.

Sarah also couldn’t remember her 16 pin log in details. How on earth is anyone supposed to remember this, its impossible. Even if people write it down its easy for it to get lost. If they put it in their mobile phone (if they have one) and the phone breaks, then the numbers missing.

Sarah phoned the DWP to tell them that she’d forgotten her PIN number. The DWP then told her that she had to go online to get the number. Sarah couldn’t access her online account because she didn’t have her pin. Basically they gave her an impossible task to complete.

Upon attending her next DWP appointment she was told that the DWP were deducting her universal credit payment by £200 but don’t worry, we’ll give you a LOAN for £150 that you have to pay back. Are the DWP getting their ideas from illegal money lenders or something? This is atrocious.

Basically Sarah was fined £200 for missing a phone call that she never received because they phoned the wrong number, and for loosing her PIN number. You really couldn’t make this shit up could you.

Sarah is also in rent arrears now because she was unable to pay her full rent because she was sanctioned. She now has to top up her rent payments and repay two DWP loans back.

Don’t forget Sarah is a single parent with a very young child, she didn’t have any food in her cupboards and didn’t know what to do. Luckily I gave her a food parcel and advised her on what to do. Hopefully she will access local services and she will appeal her sanction.

It’s despicable that people are treated in this manner, not only are the parents suffering but their children are too. The DWP just don’t care. It’s no coincidence that more and more children are being put into the care system is it. Many parents can no longer provide food, heating, clothing etc for their children and it’s not their fault. The blame lies purely at the governments feet.

 

I asked an older man how was he coping with universal credit. He looked at me and said ‘Just about. Now I’ve got to pay my council tax”

 

I spoke to a young woman working a zero hour contract at a local cake factory. When she started her job she was told that if she worked hard she might get a contracted job. She worked hard but never got the contract. Now she has no job security at all.

 

Gordon spoke to an older woman aged 62 who’s claiming universal credit, she’s struggling but then again nearly everyone claiming universal credit are aren’t they.

 

We then had a conversation Brian with an older man, he claims ESA and was told to phone an 0845 number recently. He wasn’t very clear about why he was told to phone this number up. He’s confused because the system is extremely confusing.

Brian has a contract phone and his phone bill per monthly is £15 a month. Brian tried phoning this number numerous times, each time he was placed on hold for great lengths of time. When he received his bill it was £54.

Of course he was angry, he shouldn’t have cost him  this much, all calls to the DWP should be free, but many still aren’t.

Brian was angry, frustrated and echoed concerns for those without a mobile phone contract saying ‘How the hell are they going to pay that? They’ll never get any help if they don’t have a phone will they’ He realises the systems rotten, and wondered why the government are allowed to do this ‘It’s criminal’ he said, and he’s not wrong.

 

Jack, a local councillor  represented a claimant whilst they had an appointment, this helps a great deal and I can’t recommend this enough. More should do this if they’re able to.

 

We left todays demo cold and a bit downhearted, but knowing that we’ve helped people makes everything worthwhile.

 

Please read, share and tweet my blog, also subscribe to it, it’ll save you from having to look for it every week.

There’s also a donate button at the top of this blog and at the side. I’m a skint single parent just trying my best to help people, through my blog I’ve managed to reach thousands upon thousands of people. As a result of this and other campaigns, more and more people are aware of the cruelty of universal credit and the heartless state of our government.

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I used to donate to foodbanks now I rely on them. Had to finish work because of childcare costs. Universal credit at it’s worst.

Dear readers I’m back! Thankfully I was able to attend this weeks demo. Last week was extremely busy but very productive. Before I start writing this weeks blog, please can I send get well wishes to Roy and extremely valuable member of the team. Get well soon!!

If I said that today was busy that would be an understatement. From the minute that I arrived it was unbelievably busy, hampered slightly the weather but we’re used to it. If you can guarantee anything about Manchester and the surrounding areas it would be a given that it’ll rain sooner rather than later. Anyway enough about that.

As I arrived a man was waiting for me. I call him a regular because he likes to stop and chat and keep me updated on his situation. He’s recently been rehoused and hopefully hes managing his tenancy ok. He’s a lovely chap but he finds life difficult. There just isnt the amount of support that he needs out there although local organisations do their best. The government have systematically starved outreach organisations of any funding and many of them have closed. Those that remain open do so by sheer determination and the goodwill of others.

Not long after, I asked a young woman if she was ok and I handed her a leaflet. She told me that she regarded universal credit as being crap and after paying her rent and loans that she had taken out whilst she was waiting for her Universal Credit to be processed she’s not left with enough money for food.

She’s now reliant upon food banks and the goodwill of friends. Her life won’t be getting better anytime soon. How can anyone productively look for work when they are hungry? They can’t. Hunger takes over everything, all of your senses and instincts are taken over by the need for food. Anyone that says otherwise obviously hasn’t been hungry like this.

It was then when we ran out of food parcels. We handed six out, but a woman desperately needed food. Her situation is complicated and without food she could well find herself falling into a deep, dark spiral that’s hard to climb out of, so I took her to the shop next door to the Jobcentre and bought her some food.

I asked another woman how she was coping on universal credit. She told me that she’s ok for one week of the month, but after paying her rent, universal credit loans and debts she can’t afford food. Shes disabled but has been placed in the work related group.

The DWP have been very consistent with their hate for disabled people, and every week I find myself helping people with disabilities the most. The DWP cares not about disabilities only the potential amount of money that they can make out of a person.

A young man then stopped me, took a leaflet and asked me what we were doing outside the Jobcentre. I explained that we were there to help people, to advise and signpost people if possible. He then opened up and told me his story.

He had been claiming universal credit for a long while now, and was receiving the work related disability element. He had been asked to attend an appointment to transfer him over onto the new computer system. Unfortunately he became ill and was admitted to hospital. Because he was ill he had forgotten about the appointment, and anyway he was too sick to phone up.

Of course the DWP showed their distinct lack of understanding about this, they stopped his claim and ignored his reason for non attendance. He even showed them details of his hospital admission.

So he now he had to make a new claim, was now without an income, and the DWP didn’t  give a stuff.

As he was leaving an awful G4S security guard bellowed at him to go back inside the Jobcentre. Upon leaving the Jobcentre he was told that it’s now being sorted out. That’s brilliant however he’s had to go without money for a long while.

It was then that I asked a young woman if she would like one of our leaflets. She told me straight away that universal credit is awful. Previously she had worked but because she has twins and two other children she was paying more money out in childcare than she was receiving so she had to end her job.

Now she’s totally dependent upon universal credit and is paying back her universal Credit loan, buying gas and electric to keep her children warm and paying a top up on her rent.

To say she’s struggling is a massive understatement. She’s dreading Christmas, hasn’t got a clue how she’ll manage, but she does know that her children won’t be having much of a Christmas this year. Reliant upon foodbanks to survive its a complete nightmare.

I signposted her etc, and had a long chat with her. She told me that she used to always donate to food banks but now she’s reliant upon them. It’s a terrible indictment of how the government regards women and children.

I then spoke to a young couple with a young child. Whom I shall name Bill and Mary. Here’s their situation.

Both are on universal credit. Neither of them has a computer or the internet at home. Bill has Aspergers.

They live separately after living together and have told the DWP that they no longer live together. The DWP are ignoring this. Mary’s letters from the DWP are constantly being sent to Bills house, and they are constantly being accused of co habiting, and have even been told that they should make a joint claim.

Despite being a ridiculous thing to suggest, the reality is that they don’t live together therefore can’t make a joint claim. There’s two lots of rent to pay and a young child to look after, but the DWP reckon that its a good suggestion.

They’ve also been complaining about the letters being sent to the wrong address for a long time now but nothing ever gets done about it. Why? Because the system is crap, not one department communicates with another. They just don’t.

Can you imagine the implications of this if, say Mary’s partner was violent? Luckily he isn’t. If he was he would have details about her appointments, her finances etc etc. A woman’s safety is never a priority for the DWP, but this could result in something very serious happening to a woman.

So it looks like because not one DWP department adequately communicates with another there’s little regard for data protection laws let alone potentially a woman’s safety.

I then chatted to another woman with a young child. She told me that she’s having a nightmare with the DWP and universal credit at the moment.

She works part time and relays upon childcare to go to work. Every month the DWP expect her to upload her bank statement etc so that they can pay her childcare. Every month the system won’t allow her to upload this information, so every month she has to go into the Jobcentre to try and sort it out.

You’d think that a task like this should be easy to complete wouldn’t you, afterall they’re always banging on about how brilliant universal credit is, how it supposedly ‘lifts’ you out of poverty (it doesn’t) and how easy the computer system is to navigate (it isn’t either}.

It’s one big nightmare for her and she has to rely upon friends to survive, although shes worried that they’ll no longer be able to help her in the future.

It’s disgusting, degrading and humiliating. Anyone that believes that universal credit is a good thing and can be fixed needs a reality check. It’s got more holes than a fishing net and could they fix all the holes in one? It’s beyond repair and they need to wise up.

I spoke to the elderly father of a young man. He’s been supporting his son for around twelve months now. His story is a bit complicated, and from what I could make out he hasn’t received any payments for twelve months but they wern’t sure why.

I signposted them as a matter of urgency. They are struggling so much themselves and can’t afford to keep their son as well, but they also can’t leave him without. What a horrible situation to be in, it’s beyond cruel.

A young man then stopped me and old me immediately that Universal Credit is crap. I asked why and he told me that after claiming universal credit for a long while he now has to provide the DWP with all of his ID again. He wondered why he has to do this, they already have copies of everything and if they look they would easily find it. But no, that would be too easy wouldn’t it. So now, like many others he’s forced to start again and all because the DWP have created a system that fails to talk to the old one.

Wonderful and they wonder why suicide rates are rocketing.

In my living memory, the poor and disabled have never been persecuted as much as they have now, and this will get much worse next year.

The system won’t be able to cope, but the DWP and government will blame the claimant not themselves and they don’t give a stuff either.

A massive thanks to everyone that came along today, get well soon Roy and thank you to Pat for making us a new banner.

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Left without a penny thanks to Universal Credit and unhelpful DWP staff.

First may I apologise for the lateness of the blog. I had to attend an important meeting in London where I was representing the victims of universal credit, and the damage and pain that universal credit causes.

As you are already aware, universal credit creeps up upon people like a thief in the night, destroying every element of life as you knew it. Instead your future is often reliant on the network of foodbanks and the kindness of friends and family, thats if you have any of course.

It’s impossible to fix and has more holes than a fishing net.

As I know from experience poverty is very isolating and surviving becomes a priority, everything else seems to pale in comparison. Each and every person that myself and the team speak to are isolated in some way, and their struggles overtake their lifes.

 

 

Before I write the account of yesterdays events, please may I stress that everyone received help, advice, a copy of our survival guide and a food parcel if needed. Five food parcels were handed out to hungry people.

Also I need to thank every single  member of the team that attended the demo in my absence. Roy has given me a brief outline of yesterday’s events and I’m thankful of that.

 

 

 

The weather yesterday was terrible to put it mildly. It was extremely windy and the rain was bouncing down thanks to storm Diana, and it’s hard work standing outside for two hours in those conditions.

 

Gordon dropped the food parcels off and so the morning started. Because the weather was awful people were dashing in and out of the Jobcentre, heads down wanting to get their appointments over with as soon as possible. As a result it was hard engaging people in conversation, and I apologise for the lack of material in this weeks blog.

 

As usual, some people were waiting for the food parcels, albeit in different places desperate to find shelter.

It’s abhorant that people need to use food banks in the first place and we all need to campaign in whatever way possible about the very need for them.

Supermarkets set up boxes for people to donate food, and the poorest that have needed to use food banks themselves often donate the most. I argue that supermarkets should provide this food themselves, not the public. They can afford to do so, but hey my opinion means naff all in the world outside my blog and campaigning.

 

 

Roy told me of a man that looked distressed upon entering the Jobcentre. He apparantly left the Jobcentre in even more distress. He shouted ‘They’ve left me with nothing, I’ve got nothing, what am I supposed to do?”

Apparently he had made a claim for universal credit and was a chap about ten years older than myself. A man brought up in what seems like a different world, a world that cared for people, a world that had a good safety net that could be relied upon. Now the safety net has disappeared, gone, nowhere to be seen.

He was advised to take a food parcel and signposted to various local organisations that might be able to help. Will he contact these groups? Who knows. He might feel ashamed that his life has come to this, a bag of food and some kind words by strangers.

Universal credit, the benefit reforms and the governments so called austerity measures are responsible for the deaths of thousands, this we do know. People like this man are a high risk of becoming one of these deaths simply because there’s no real safety net at all, NHS services are cut to the very bone and trust in organisations such as Mind and Citizens Advice are low because of their involvement with the DWP.

The DWP has now become the enemy of the people, something to be feared. The DWP buys off charities and organisations and even has supermarkets like Sainsbury’s spying on disabled people for them.

Big brother is here in the form of the DWP.

Disabled people and many unemployed people are becoming afraid to leave their houses for fear of abuse by the right wing types, discriminated against because they have a disability, discriminated against because they are poor.

We know that this isn’t acceptable but to thousands it is. The tories have directed a hate campaign via the media and it worked, people have become even more isolated than before.

Like my friend Paula said yesterday, we need the left wing, especially the Labour Party to change the language that they use, lets stop pitching workers against disabled and unemployed people please, because thats exactly what it feels like.

 

Yesterday was tough, tough for many reasons and reality is tough. No amount of positive thinking can change this.

We will be back next week, and I will certainly be there, so come and say hello. We do important work and people rely upon us.

Know this, as you’re reading this, someone will be thinking of taking their own life because they can’t take any more persecution from the DWP.

Know that a mother or father or both won’t be able to eat today because they can’t afford to do so, but they will feed their children.

Know that a young person will be leaving care with little or no support, many becoming homeless.

Know that an individual or family will be made homeless today and won’t have anywhere to turn, many having to sofa surf or live in rat infested temporary accommodation.

I could go on for forever but you get the picture. People are dying and the government doesn’t care.

 

 

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