Tag: Greater Manchester Poverty Action

Universal Credit guarantees poverty, hunger, debt, homelessness and despair.

Dear readers, its Thursday again and for a change it’s a lovely warm and sunny day. This gives many of us a huge sense of relief because we won’t have to put any heating on.

Today was a busy but quiet day. I know that this doesn’t make any sense to you, but its a bit difficult to explain.

When I arrived at the Jobcentre there was already a queue for the food parcels, amd Gordon had already arrived and was unloading the car.

Everyone that I spoke to today was hungry, fed up and wanted things to change. No one wants to live like this. It’s exiating not living, and it’s cruel and demanding. I wish that I had a magic wand to change this system and devise a replacement that’s fair for everyone.

I’ll list the conversations that I had this morning. Real names etc won’t be divulged either.

I spotted Chris as he was walking away from the Jobcentre, clutching a piece of paper in his hands. The same piece of paper that’s handed out to everyone that makes an enquiry.

Chris is a young man, very thin and pale. He was wearing thin clothing and looked downtrodden. I asked Chris if I could help him.

To break the Ice I handed him one of our leaflets, he looked at me and said ‘It’s not f#####g fair you know.’ I asked him what had happened. Chris told me that had an appointment early this morning but he was unwell and couldn’t leave his home until he felt better.

Chris had no money except the money that I gave him to buy a bit of food and a brew. He didn’t have any phone credit so he had walked to the Jobcentre to speak to someone.

Chris was told that he couldn’t have another appointment and that he had to wait for two weeks for his next Jobcentre appointment.

Chris was visibly upset, he knows that the reality of him being sanctioned are high and he didn’t know what to do.

I gave him some advice and told him that I’m there for him if he needs any help at all and he left a little happier than he was earlier.

I don’t need to tell you that even the threat of being sanctioned is enough to push people into a downward spiral of depression and panic. Many give up altogether, many never get over it. Sanctions traumatise people beyond belief

Sanctions need to be abolished because they do kill people.

I spoke to a young woman who was making her first claim. We advised her, gave her copies of our survival guide and leaflet. She appeared to be more confident when she walked away.

It was then that we were heckled at from a car that was passing by. Not one of us could decipher what they said, but they drove off feeling rather happy with themselves.

I then spoke to a young man how’s being made redundant after working at the same company for seven years. He’s never claimed any type of benefit before so I advised him, handed him our leaflets and had a nice chat with him.

June is an older lady trying her best to navigate the awful universal credit system.

June doesn’t know how to use a computer. Her son tries his best to help her fill in her job searches etc every week..

To make things worse June also has another problem with the universal credit system. Every month since she started to claim. Universal credit the computer system blocks her payment. Every month June has to telephone the DWP waiting over a hour and a half to speak to the right person.

The reason for this is that the system says that June had previously claimed incapacity benefit. June doesn’t even know what that is nevermind claimed it. So every month she has to fight to get her rightful payments.

No one should have to go through this. June suffers from various ailments and helps to look after her disabled daughter.

June feels like totally giving up. Luckily we were there to provide some support and advice.

I hate universal credit.

Meet John. John has had his wallet stolen. John is also very thin, looks unwell and was wearing unsuitable clothes. John has no money.

Thinking that the DWP would show some comlassion for his situation, he went to the Jobcentre for some advice. He was told that they wouldn’t help him, basically they didn’t care.

My heart went out to him. In the good old days people in his situation were able to get a crisis loan to see them through to their next payment day. This used to work well, and I’ve had a few crisis loans in the past.

We helped and advised John, I wish that we could do more but we can’t.

I spoke to another man who has also been made redundant. We advised him about what to do etc.

Meet Jenny, a young woman who works as a teaching assistant.. Jenny has children but has been forced to claim universal credit due to a relationship breakdown.

Needless to say, Jenny is struggling. She’s got a mortgage to pay, children to feed and to say that she’s unhappy with the system is an understatement.

Basically Jenny is being punished by the cruel universal credit system even though she’s working. Only a cruel Tory could devise such a cruel and heartless system.

I spoke to another woman thats struggling with the universal credit system. Please remember that not everyone can use a computer. Many find it hard.

I advised a woman who’s caring for her disabled daughter.

I spoke to another woman struggling on universal credit even though she works. She’s also finding it hard to pay her mortgage payments.

I spoke to a young man who’s making his first application for universal credit.

I spoke to another man who’d just been made redundant.

We also spoke to a couple who are experienced in fighting the system. They’ve self taught themselves and know their stuff. Well done to them. Having confidence or the appearance of confidence really does help. Advisors don’t see them as easy targets and are less likely to target them.

Yet again we helped lots of people, provided food, advice and comparison to people. We’ll be returning next week to do the same.

Many thanks to everyone that came to the demo today.

Massive thanks to everyone that reads and shares my blog. Also massive thanks to everyone who supports my blog.

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Universal Credit promotion continuing and DWP involvement with The Poverty Agenda Group Oldham And Tameside.

Well, well well it seems that the DWP aren’t giving up as Teresa May suggested. My instincts were right in thinking that they would continue the planned roll out, after all they had just employed new staff especially for this purpose at a Jobcentre in a nearby town. 

Today I received a rather interesting email. It was from an organisation called Poverty Agenda Group Oldham And Tameside They work closely alongside several networks and organisations to provide resources and help to raise awareness, and to also provide practical help to those living in poverty across the Greater Manchester area. 

In this email that was sent out, it included a selection of roll out tools for the promotion of Universal credit. 

Now I found this extremely interesting as Universal credit has been proven to not make work pay. The waiting time for a Universal Credit claim to be processed at its quickest is six weeks, the longest period of time that I have heard of is three months. So why are The Poverty Agenda Group Oldham And Tameside Group  communicating with the DWP? 

Now included in this email is a complete tool kit which will give organisations everything that they would need to promote Universal Credit. So I have had a good look, and have picked some of the misleading information out to highlight to the readers of my blog. I do know that what I am about to show you is nothing new, but it does no harm indeed to show you again. People forget quickly. 

Now take note. This is the propaganda. Below is an image of the reality.

You are not better off in work whilst on Universal Credit, you are actually worse off. As from April 2016 the back to work bonus was taken away, leaving claimants with no benefit at all. Quite simply you end up worse off. It seems that the DWP has failed to correct their promotional material. 

Also in the material given, the DWP tries to pursuade organisations to ensure that claimants tick the boxes on the Universal Jobmatch job search account that claimants are forced to sign up to. 

Now if a claimant does this, they loose all privacy and their unreasonable job searches will be monitored at all times. I’ve seen cases of when a claimant was ten minutes short on their job search and they had their Universal Credit payments sanctioned. The amount of time that claimants have to search for jobs is entirely individual, for some claimants they have to job search for 35 hours a week. 

However in a recent freedom of information request it shows that legally you have no obligation to tick that box at all, and indeed the accompanying box next to it on the form. I always inform claimants that this is the most important thing to do. 

You can imagine how alarmed I was to see that The Poverty Agenda Group Oldham And Tameside are in communication with the DWP. They are supposed to be helping people out of poverty rather than dragging them into even more poverty. 

You also might be interested to learn that Universal Credit has lead to an increase in domestic violence incidences. The lack of money, and one person controlling the household income has had a detrimental effect. People are suffering, that I and others have no doubt and the suffering will indeed continue. Universal Credit was created to cause suffering I’m sure of that. 

Update: I have been contacted by a member of Greater Manchester Poverty Action. This has absolutley nothing to do with their group. The group involved is The Poverty Agenda Group Oldham And Tameside. An email had been sent to Greater Manchester Poverty Action and the sender from the Poverty Agenda Group had included them without their knowledge. 

I have therefore amended my blog but I will not change my opinion that the original sender The Poverty Agenda Group Oldham And Tameside really need to think about their actions. Associating with the DWP is in my eyes morally wrong. 

I find it very disturbing that they are in communication with the DWP.