Tag: fuel poverty

Benefit Deductions Causing Financial Hardship

Deductions from benefit payments is causing financial hardship pushing people into poverty and resulting in food bank reliance and inability to pay for everyday living costs.

A survey conducted by the Trussell Trust reveals that nearly half of those being referred to its food banks are experiencing deductions being taken from their benefit payments despite the government saying that they’ve twice cut the amount that can be deducted.

The government states “We recognise people are struggling with rising prices which why we are protecting millions of the most vulnerable families with at least £1,200 of support.” Whilst at the same time failing to address the reality that being repayment amounts are still too high proving that the ‘support’ being offered by the government being not nearly enough.

Once again making statements that portray themselves as the next saviour, whilst at the same time pushing policies and failing to address already existing policies that cause hardship.

The survey goes on to reveal that almost half of respondents reported deductions from their benefits to recover overpayments, sanctions or arrears, with the amounts already deducted from monthly payments before they arrived in the recipient’s account.

To put it in layman’s terms very few people manage to receive their full payment allowances and are drastically reduced before reaching them.

Meanwhile MPs on the parliamentary Work and Pensions Select Committee have said this practice needed to be paused during the cost of living crisis, as it was during the pandemic.

Thousands were already struggling to put food on the table each day before the cost of living crisis which has undoubtably made their situations much worse.

This is worsened by having to repay the advance payment loan whilst waiting for a universal credit claim to be processed. This debt on its own can cripple a person financially. Many would agree that the advance payments shouldn’t come in the form of loan to be repaid.

In July, the Work and Pensions Committee of MPs said the repayments, taken from more than 2 million claimants, were pushing the most vulnerable into destitution.

Sir Stephen Timms, Labour MP for East Ham and committee chair, said: “We think the problems are sufficiently acute now that they should be suspended again, it’s clearly not working.

“There was a university research report which made the point that the social security system is acting not so much as a safety net but more as a debt collector at the moment.” 

In a statement, a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spokesperson said: “We have reduced the maximum amount that can be deducted from a Universal Credit award twice in recent years. 

“We’ve also doubled the time period over which they can be repaid and claimants can contact DWP to discuss deductions if they are experiencing financial hardship.”

In conclusion the cost of living crisis and resulting job losses has left many reliant upon credit card borrowing which has reached it’s highest level in 18 years. Combined with benefit loan deductions has created a tsunami of debt and poverty which will undoubtably put pressure upon already struggling food banks and organisations.

Not forgetting that this will also cause irreparable damage to the economy resulting in increased inflation levels and an increase in the everyday cost of living.

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I’d like to wish all readers and subscribers a happy new year and I hope you enjoyed the festive period in whatever way you chose to. Here’s to another year of campaigning and blogging, love and solidarity to you all.

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Thousands Unable To Go Into Work Over Hygiene Poverty Shame.

A recent report undertaken by the charity Hygiene Bank shows that approximately 3.2 million UK adults are affected by hygiene poverty, 12% of these stating that they have avoided going into work because of this.

In the original report published by the BBC, Hygiene Bank chief executive Ruth Brock said it was a “hidden crisis”.

“It’s much more widespread than we feared, it’s increasing, and it’s disproportionately impacting the most vulnerable,” she said. 

Hygiene Bank is one of many charities that supplies food banks, homeless shelters, schools, and other organisations with personal hygiene products including but not exclusively toothpaste, shampoo, soap, deodorant, nappies, period products and laundry detergent. 

Hygiene poverty often falls under the radar with issues such as fuel and food poverty coming first leaving many unable to access essential hygiene products. The reality is that once a person is dependant upon food banks they have already stopped being able to purchase said items with priority going to heating and eating. 

“I think it just doesn’t occur to people in the same way that fuel and food poverty do,” said Ms Brock. 

In a survey undertaken by Hygiene Bank that questioned approximately 2,200 people, with the assistance of polling company YouGov it suggests that the amount of people impacted by hygiene poverty equated to 6% of all UK adults, rising to 13% from lower-income households and 21% of disabled people. 

People experiencing hygiene poverty are most likely to go without shaving products, laundry detergent, household cleaning items, and deodorant, the survey found. The survey also reports that a quarter of respondents said they had gone without toilet paper or soap or shower gel, while three in ten women did not buy period products. 

The survey also reveals that people are being forced to shop local thus costing more because they can’t afford to travel to a larger shop or supermarket.

A woman that the charity has worked with described how she is forced to dilute products to make them last longer. She also has resorted to tying up her hair in a certain way to hide the fact she often had not washed it for weeks at a time. 

She also reported that she feels that she has to keep a distance from people for fear that she smells with many unable to afford to buy period products thus making them feel ashamed to go out

Hygiene Bank’s Ruth Brock is quoted as saying said that such accounts of peoples experiences may “seem counterintuitive” to some also saying: “But it’s so insidious, you kind of cut yourself off.”

The report found that 62% of people experiencing hygiene poverty with dependent children said they have had to choose between buying products for themselves or their children. 

It’s a choice that shouldn’t have to be made, families are made to feel ashamed to leave their home and avoiding social contact at schools because they feel ashamed because of their situation. 

“This is why we have mums telling us about being ashamed to leave the house and not seeing anyone for weeks on

It’s important to remember that the data in the report draws on surveys conducted between October 2021 and February 2022, before the recent surge in the cost of living. As a result the everyday pressures upon those in need are undoubtably going to worsen with more people being forced into this situation.

According to data from the Office for National Statistics the price of shampoo has increased by 8% in the last year and shower gel is up by 11%.

The price of toothpaste has risen 6%, and the price of deodorant is up 5%.

Hygiene poverty is also affecting students such as Adam, a college student whose attendance had fallen to 18%, in part because he could not afford basic hygiene products. This inevitably resulted in his grades suffering as a result. 

According to the original report by the BBC his support worker approached Hygiene Bank in the summer of 2020 and they were able to provide deodorant and shampoo. Adam’s attendance rose to 100%, and he is now attending university. 

“Hygiene is important enough,” says Ms Brock. “But the follow-on effects of making that change for people also mean that they can then start to access their life chances.”

Undoubtably hygiene poverty is having a detrimental affect on many and at the time of writing it appears to be unspoken about by many. We need to make this a very important topic of conversation both with the public and opposition MPs, after all Tory MPS are very unlikely to do so.

For anyone that can afford to as well as donating food products to food banks it’s also important to remember that donating hygiene products is also vitally important along with pets food and suchlike.

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British Pound Drops To All Time Low Against The Dollar

Rule Changes For Working Universal Credit Claimants To Start Next Week

***Mention Of Suicide***

As from next week the DWP are set to make changes for working Universal Credit claimants These rules if applicable could well see already working claimants being forced to undergo more job searching commitments and to look for a better paid job.

From the 26th September 2022 onwards there will be an increase in the Administration Earnings Threshold (AET). This threshold ultimately decides which work search group people that claim Universal Credit are placed in. This then results in decisions being made as to how many hours they are required to look for work whilst already working. This also applies to job seekers not working but placed in the intensive work search group.

It is estimated that around 114,000 people will be moved from the ‘light touch’ work search group to the ‘intensive work search’ group. From September 26, the earnings rate is being increased from £355 to £494 per month and from £567 to £782 per month for joint claimants

If their working income total is above these rates the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) will move working claimants into the ‘light touch’ work search group.

If a claimants working income total falls below these thresholds, they will be placed into the ‘intensive work search’ group. Whilst in the intensive work group they will undoubtably be put under more pressure to find more work and ask for more hours, if they don’t do as is asked of them this can result in their Universal Credit payments being sanctioned.

Each person that is moved into the intensive work group will then be informed about the amount of hours they will be expected to search for more work and they will also be asked to show evidence of their job searching and what is expected of them

Then Work and Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey said the new approach will “help claimants get quickly back into the world of work while helping ensure employers get the people they and the economy needs”.

Unbelievably Coffey makes the above statement ignoring the fact that these working Universal credit recipients are already working extremely hard, often with more than one job. They don’t need introducing to the ‘world of work’ they’re already aware, they’re in it.

Coffey went on to say “Helping people get any job now, means they can get a better job and progress into a career. Way to Work is a step change in our offer to claimants and employers, making sure our Jobcentre network and excellent work coaches can deliver opportunities, jobs and prosperity to all areas of the country.”

Her statement proves that she has absolutely no idea of what the ‘world of work’ is really like. Employees can’t ask for more hours and receive them easily like she says.

Most low paid work is now part time, full time work is very hard to find. This inevitably results in people forced to work two or even three jobs to get more hours to reach the targets expected by the DWP. Coffey also omits to say that many employers also can’t afford to increase wages and employees work hours.

Universal Credit claimants are paid poverty wages hence why they have to apply for Universal Credit to top their wages up in the first place, they do essential jobs that the rich wouldn’t do and are often overlooked. Most are already working the maximum amount of hours that they already can work and to expect them to find more work immediately is completely unreasonable and is unrealistic.

Universal Credit recipients can’t drop prior commitments whenever the DWP requests them to find more work, it’s an impossibility for them to do so. Commitments are largely based around care for children or a loved one and the physical ability to be able to work, they’re already doing as much as they can physically do for very little, if any financial reward.

Whilst typing this I’m reminded of a conversation that I had a few years ago with a man that was told to search for more work and to commit to the job search rules. He was working difficult shifts, both night and day shifts and was exhausted.

Sadly he fell asleep whilst sat looking for work on his computer and his work coach sanctioned him for being a hour short of his job search commitments. This resulted in him loosing everything and eventually his life.

I don’t need to tell you that this shouldn’t be happening. I fear that this is yet another tactic employed by the government to unfairly push people away from claiming social security, to punish them for being poor. After all they don’t have any regard for their wellbeing this has been proven time and time again.

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DWP Refusing To Follow Recommendations During Cost Of Living Crisis

Under the cover of Queen Elizabeths death the DWP (Department of work and Pensions) have been busy inflicting cruelty upon claimants. They never miss a chance to show their hatred of social security recipients, especially when they think it’ll be overlooked.

Once again the government and the DWP have refused to listen to and consider any recommendations that would help claimants financially during the cost of living crisis. Apparently even ignoring the fact that the said recommendations were made by the Commons Work and Pensions Committee.


Details included in the recommendations made by MPs are that there be a pause in the way that the DWP take deductions from social security payments, for example when a claimant owes the DWP money for loans or overpayments and suchlike.

As reported by Benefits and Work the DWP’s excuse for ignoring this request is that it is apparently ‘not in the claimant’s best interest’ to do so, stating that if the debt recovery system would be to reintroduced after next April’s benefits uprating, claimants ‘may feel no better off as a result’.

The mind boggles, they aren’t even trying to come up with half decent excuses are they.


The truth is that it’s in the DWPs best interest to make claimants repay debts at a time that they cannot reasonably afford to do so, and it comes as no surprise that they will refuse to do do until their social security have been increased thus resulting in claimants no better off financially.

Debt repayments either made by the DWP or other organisations are unfair. They take monies away from claimants payments leaving them unable to pay for even the most basic things. The repayment rates are decided with absolutely no communication with the claimant, even if they appeal the repayment amount they are likely to be ignored.

The cruelty of this decision cannot be ignored. At a time when thousands of claimants working and not working are dependant upon food banks and unable to pay the cost of heating their homes, it is vital that this help is given now.

Thousands of claimants are facing a long, cold winter which will undoubtably result in illness or even death and still the government are refusing to acknowledge their suffering, after all it won’t affect them so it simply doesn’t matter.



With Liz Truss at the helm of the government we are facing a more extreme right wing government that seeks to punish claimants even more than they do already. It’s a scary thought and one we can’t ignore.

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My apologies for the lack of blog update last week. with the news of Queen Elizabeths death it would have got buried underneath all of the other news leaving it likely to be ignored.

Thanks to Benefits and Work for bringing this to my attention. Keep up the good work!

A huge thank you to everyone that reads, shares my blog updates, and also everyone that has helped me to keep this blog and campaign going. I don’t receive any payments for any of the work that I do and to say it’s a massive struggle is an understatement.

Good Law Project To Sue Ofgem

I’m a bit late publishing this my apologies.

I wish the Good Law Project every success. Ofgem have acted terribly and have failed in their duty to protect the consumer and to file important reports that should have been submitted before their announcement last week.

Good Law Project To Sue Ofgem

I’m a bit late publishing this my apologies.

I wish the Good Law Project every success. Ofgem have acted terribly and have failed in their duty to protect the consumer and to file important reports that should have been submitted before their announcement last week.

Good Law Project To Sue Ofgem

I’m a bit late publishing this my apologies.

I wish the Good Law Project every success. Ofgem have acted terribly and have failed in their duty to protect the consumer and to file important reports that should have been submitted before their announcement last week.

Good Law Project To Sue Ofgem

I’m a bit late publishing this my apologies.

I wish the Good Law Project every success. Ofgem have acted terribly and have failed in their duty to protect the consumer and to file important reports that should have been submitted before their announcement last week.

Good Law Project To Sue Ofgem

I’m a bit late publishing this my apologies.

I wish the Good Law Project every success. Ofgem have acted terribly and have failed in their duty to protect the consumer and to file important reports that should have been submitted before their announcement last week.