Tag: housing benefit

Laughed at for wearing a face mask.

Dear readers it’s Thursday once again. I hope that you are all as safe as you can be.

Good news! So far I haven’t rebounded again and I’m praying that I’ve seen the end of my Covid 19 battle. However I am aware that I can potentially catch it again.

My daughter came home from school last Friday with a virus. Thankfully it wasn’t Covid-19 but it quite easily could have been.

Viruses are free to travel around the school corridors and classrooms. There’s no way that schools can contain it.

Yesterday I spoke to one of my daughters teachers and she was very worried about working in this environment. It’s hard getting the balance right.

Children need to be educated, they need that contact with their friends at school but they shouldn’t be at risk of catching covid 19 and passing it on to family members and friends.

There’s no ideal solution, I wish that there was. So many people are at risk of catching covid 19 and I’m sure that I’m not the only person to be concerned about this.

Yesterday I had to go to my local town to do some errands. It exhausts me, but needs must so off I went.

I would do online shops but I can’t afford to do this.

I was happy to see more people wearing masks, but so many wernt. It’s so frustrating.

A friend of mine said that it’s good manners to wear a mask and it also shows consideration for others.

I have to agree, it is and more need to wear them.

As I was walking towards a shop that I had to go into a man looked at me, laughed and said that I was an idiot for wearing a mask because they do nothing.

I didn’t get the chance to reply because he walked off pretty quickly and I’m not exactly going to go chasing him down the street. I don’t have the energy.

This persons attitude isn’t unusual though. So many people are saying that covid 19 is a conspiracy, that masks don’t work etc.

I’m sure that you’ve all heard and seen comments like this.

I wear a mask because I’m bloody petrified of catching covid 19 again. It’s taken me months of struggling to get over it and my long covid battle isn’t over yet.

I also wear a mask because I don’t want anyone else to catch any viruses that might be walking around with me. I want to be responsible and help as much as I can.

I also wear a mask because Tameside is now in the double red zone and is heading for another lockdown.

Now going back and to the man that laughed at me for wearing a mask. I’m certain that he will change his mind about wearing one of he catches it.

It’s impossible to get a covid 19 test at the moment. The government has completely failed everyone. The testing process is a shambles and don’t get me started on their rubbish track and trace scheme.

We have all been failed by the government, I and others expected this though.

In other news, my local hospital Tameside Hospital has been in the news again.

Sadly its a hotbed for covid 19 and patients on non covid wards have died from it.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/sep/16/tameside-hospital-covid-deaths-are-canary-in-the-mine

Maybe this was caused by people not adhering by the government guidance for wearing masks and keeping hands clean. Who knows but I’m sure that they’ve played a part in this.

My thoughts and prayers are with everyone that has died from covid 19 and their families. It’s heartbreaking especially when so much of this was completely preventable.

Yesterday I cut my hand on a tin in my rubbish bin. It was totally my own fault, I wasn’t paying attention.

It looks like it could do with a couple of stitches but there’s no way that I was going to go to the hospital after this weeks covid 19 news.

I cleaned it and have bandaged it and I’m sure that it’ll be ok.

This did get me thinking though.

How many people are choosing to stay at home rather than seeing a doctor when they need to?

It’s a scary thought.

How many people have absolutely no support and are trying their best to get through this nightmare which is covid 19?

The government has been extremely negligent in providing support for people. They don’t care and it appears that they’re quite proud of their attitude regarding covid 19.

This leaves us living in some kind of limbo waiting for covid 19 to catch us.

All I can suggest is to keep yourself as safe as you can do. You know yourself better than anyone else.

Don’t let anyone else judge you for the decisions that you have been forced to make to keep yourself safe.

I really hope that you all manage to keep safe and as well as you can be.

Please read, share and tweet my blog.

A massive thank you to everyone that supports my blog and my campaign.

I couldn’t do this without you. Your support means the world to me.

I receive no funding for anything that I do and it’s a struggle to say the least.

This week I helped four families.

For anyone that would like to donate there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog. Thank you x.

DWP nudging claimants into looking for non existent jobs. We need to see an end to expensive school uniform policies.

Dear readers its Thursday once again and once again I’m unwell.
After my last admission to hospital I’ve now got another dose of pleurisy thanks to long covid.
I really want to be well again I hate feeling like this.

In other news fellow blogger  Frank Zola has published his blog stating that the DWP have been nudging claimants into finding none existent jobs.
Read it here

https://mrfrankzola.wordpress.com/2020/08/26/millionsofdigitalnudges/amp/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=email_subscription&__twitter_impression=true

If this link doesn’t work I’ll try and sort it out.


It’s absolutely ridiculous to be putting such pressure upon claimants whilst we are in the middle of a pandemic.

There’s hardly any jobs out there at the moment.
It’s also extremely worrying that many of these people will be recovering from covid 19.

Where are people going to find these none existent jobs? Zero hour contracts? Self employment?

Believe me when I say that the demand for employment is far higher than the actual jobs available.

You can also bet that the DWP will sanction people for not finding non existent work even though they claim to be using a ‘light touch’ admin at the moment.

I predict thousands more people becoming homeless in the near future.
The government isn’t offering and substantial help either. They just don’t care.

It’s extremely worrying. You’d think that the DWP would understand this but it appears that they don’t.


The demand upon food banks and outside help is going to become much higher and independent food banks and organisations are really going to struggle to survive.

If you can please support your local independent organisations. They usually receive no funding and they rely upon donations.


School uniforms once again.

I can guess that you’re fed up with me talking about school uniforms now but I have an update.
This morning I was interviewed by ITV about the cost of expensive school uniforms.

Having to pay for these expensive uniforms puts immense pressure upon parents and children.
All parents want the best for their children but they just can’t keep up with the ever increasing cost of school uniforms.

I’m in the fortunate position to be able to campaign against the need for these expensive school uniforms.
As I’ve said before they don’t make a child learn more, it’s just an added burden upon parents and children.

Whilst I think that it’s brilliant that charities are doing their best to support parents with school uniform costs, I want to challenge the need for them in the first place.

Charities and organisations are already under immense pressure to help people.
I prefer to end the need for expensive uniform in the first place which will in turn help the charities and organisations.

That said if you know of any charities that are helping parents with the cost of uniforms and uniform pieces please comment below. I want every parent that are struggling to get the help that they need.

I’ll have to sign off now because I feel awful but I will be back again next week.

Please keep safe and wear a mask etc when going out.

For everyone struggling, I hear you, I’m in the same position as you. We can get through this.


Thank you so much to everyone that reads, shares, tweets and supports my blog.
It’s been a tough year and I really appreciate your support.


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

Too soon to re open schools? I have concerns.

It’s Thursday yet again, it appears to creep up on me far too quickly. I really hope that you are OK, well and safe.

This week has been a mixed bag for me, some good days mixed with some awful ones. I bet that you can relate to this.

Being poor and recovering from Covid 19 is no joke. Suffering from long covid is no joke either, especially when the highlight of the day is beans on toast when you can muster up the strength to make it.

We struggle on though. There are some fantastic Long Covid groups on Facebook and we support each other. It’s a good job that we do because not many other organisations do.

I am worried about a second wave coming in September when we have been told that we have to send our children back to school.

So many people still believe that children can’t catch Covid 19. They can and they do. Many unknowingly will be symptom free and will be at risk of passing the virus onto their loved ones.

Are our children going to be used as some type of sick experiment by the government?

My daughter attends a secondary school, her school has decided to keep lesson time to the very basics therfore her hours at school will now be from 10 until 2.40pm.

This won’t stop the spread of covid 19 though. Her school is a new school but they don’t turn the air conditioning on and many of the teachers don’t open the windows either.

Children will be stuck in this hot, sweaty environment at a very close proximity to their friends.

The school hasn’t suggested that children should wear a mask, but I’d challenge anyone to get all of the pupils to wear a mask all day. It’d be a challenge to say the least.

I am very concerned though. I don’t think that the government has thought this through, just like they didn’t put enough thought into pubs reopening.

As we’ve seen in the news lots of people have contracted Covid 19 from a visit to a pub. I’ve no doubt that it’ll be the same when our schools reopen.

I, like most parents want the best for my daughter. I want her to be able to have all of her lessons, to he educated and to do well in life.

Sadly, it looks like she doesn’t stand a chance of that the way that things are planned at the moment.

Educating children online isn’t the answer either. Thousands of families don’t have the Internet or don’t have a device to watch the online lessons on.

So what’s the solution then?

I do think that having a dedicated television channel for lessons would be beneficial. Children can often learn more visualy and some good results could come from this.

We could also learn alot from the parents of home educated children. They’ve been doing it for years, and so many home educated children go to college and university.

They rock this!

But I’m aware that I’m missing one important point.

I’m sure that my daughters school isn’t the only one that will be reducing their teaching hours and lessons.

What will the parents of these children do when they have to go to work? You can’t just leave children to their own devices, to rely on them to go to school without prompting.

I know for a fact that I wouldn’t have gone into school if my parents weren’t there to make sure that I did.

This puts parents in a very difficult situation. Childcare is expensive and not everyone has family members that they can ask to help.

People are desperately trying to hold onto their jobs if they’re lucky enough to still be employed. They can’t rely upon their employers to be sympathetic either.

What I do know is that if their children are absent from school, their school will soon be chasing them up and threatening them with legal action.

This isn’t at all fair though. Those making these decisions have absolutely no idea about what life is really like.

Then we have school uniforms to buy.

School uniforms are very expensive,

I know that I can’t afford to buy my daughter a new uniform this year. Thousands of parents will be in the same position as me.

My daughter has sensory issues so buying her school uniform is difficult at best.

To say that it’s humiliating and depressing to not being able to provide necessities for our children is an understatement.

Hopefully my daughter will never experience this when she has children.

When you’re left with no choice but to have beans on toast once a day how on earth can they demand that you buy a school uniform as well?

In my area there are no school uniform grants available which is shocking.

My daughters school, and most secondary schools send home pupils that aren’t wearing the correct uniform.

Once again discriminating against children living in poverty.

We will try but it’s not going to be easy.

So whilst it’s easy to congratulate the fact that schools are re opening on September, please consider the above.

I don’t want my daughter to catch Covid 19, I don’t want her friends to either. I also don’t want to catch it again.

I want my daughter to have a good education, but the very idea of that is seemingly impossible at the moment.

Will the government give out children time to catch up with what they’ve missed? I doubt it. Working class children aren’t high on their priority list, if at all.

Will the government give parents free access to online and in print learning materials?

Will the government push to dedicate a TV channel in the daytime for the visual education of children?

I doubt this very much.

Once again it’s left to us, as parents and carers to do the best that we can under very tough circumstances.

I do think that schools are re opening too early.

It’s easier to distance primary school age children from each other than it is a group of teenagers.

This is also going to be very tough and challenging for teachers.

Teachers in America have been advised to make a will just incase they catch covid 19 and die.

I’m certain that many teachers here in the uk will be doing the same thing.

I can’t imagine what could be worse than stuck in a hot, sweaty classroom with children for hours knowing that viruses, germs and bacteria thrive in environments like this.

How many teachers and children will become ill or worse because of the government’s decision to re open schools?

Will the government make the decision to shut the schools again if mortality rates from Covid 19 increase?

I doubt it, once that open they’ll be expected to stay open.

We have a government incapable of putting any positive plans into action. They blatently show their hatred of the working classes by the actions that they’ve taken and not taken.

The government has blood on its hands for more than one reason. They’re up to their necks in it.

It’s up to us to keep reminding them that we are important, that our life’s do matter and our children are valuable.

Don’t get me started on this idea. Covid 19 tests are very unreliable and weekly tests are just not doable. No doubt they’ll expect already hugely burdoned teachers to do this as well.

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog. I really do appreciate everyone that does this for me.

I don’t get paid for anything that I do and it is a struggle. For anyone wanting to donate there is a donate button at the side and top of this blog.

Thank you so much to everyone that does support my work and campaign. I really can’t thank you enough xx.

Covid 19 Cummings and Track And Trace. What does this mean to us?

Dear readers it’s Thursday again and here’s this week’s blog instalment.

Two days ago I managed to go downstairs for the first time in ages and spent a few hours with my daughter. It absolutely exhausted me but I did it.
I just want my life back I’ve got so much that needs to be done and I can’t do it.

Post Covid 19 fatigue is awful it completely takes over your body but I believe that it does go eventually.
So many people are suffering from this fatigue and I doubt that they’ll be fit to return to work when the government demands it.

So many people think that you get better straight away after having covid 19 related symptoms. Hardly anyone does though.

Developing bacterial pneumonia was very scary for me and my daughter.
I couldn’t breathe, every small move hurt and made me out of breath.
Apparently lots of people develop this after having COVID19 and thousands have died.


Meanwhile Cummings is allowed to spread the virus And have absolutely no repercussions for himself.

The repercussions of his actions however will continue for a long time though.
People will have caught Covid 19 off him. All it takes is for him to touch something, to walk down a street etc.. 
Some people will now copy his behaviour thinking that it’s ok for them to do the same.

So yes I’m very angry at him and his lame excuses and I’m even angrier at the people defending him.
They know that he shouldn’t have done this but they carry on supporting him because they don’t care if we die.
We are all surplus to requirements, expendable.
They don’t grieve if we die. They just don’t care.


There will be a  second wave coming because this country and especially our prime minister haven’t done anything really to  protect  us against this virus.
Meanwhile  the government wants to ease the Covid 19 restrictions whilst once again doing nothing to protect us.

I see their #HerdImmunity plans are continuing to me its pretty obvious.

Yesterday the government announced their track and trace solution. It sounds brilliant doesn’t it but dig below the surface and you’ll see that it isn’t.
The system hasn’t been completed yet, it’s not fit to launch, theres no reassurance that our data will be safe.

It’s also worrying that the government is only pushing three or so so called symptoms of covid 19.

The symptoms  vary, not everyone has a cough, not everyone loose their sense of smell or taste.
Regardless of this almost everyone that catches it cannot recover quickly.


Unless you are extremely unwell a hospital wont admit you. You have to go home and manage it yourself.


You can only test positive for covid 19 within around 5 days of contracting it. This ensures that the amount of positive test results are massively underrated.
Lots of us caught it before the government was testing everyone.

The tests are also unreliable. Don’t think that you’ve tested negative that your safe from contracting the virus your not.

You can catch it from any public area straight after having a negative test result.
So even with the so called track and trace system people will still be spreading it unknowingly.
The only way to stop this virus is to have a proper lockdown.

I’ve read  countless posts online  saying that if you eat healthily  you’ll recover quicker.

You can’t go out to shop whilst infected or recovering. You become reliant upon online shops and food parcels.

Your income is vastly reduced also so buying the basics and making do is a priority. 

Being  physically able to cook a big meal is another problem.
The fatigue is unreal and your muscles ache all the time. But we do our best with what we’ve got.

It’s all we can do. It’s bloody scary yet so many aren’t taking it seriously at all. 

This is most likely because of the government’s complete lack of direction about anything.

Their priority is to get people back into work regardless of the risks. They worship at the feet of money amd commerce, the publics safety means nothing to them.

The government also wants schools to go back yet it still isn’t safe.
The government doesn’t want to listen about safety. They’re willing to sacrifice our teachers and our children in the process.

So what do we do now?
We still need to follow the social distancing rules despite what the government says.

Covid 19 is life changing and not in a good way.

Please keep safe folks I worry about you all. I’m going to continue to fight against this virus and hopefully get better soon.

Love to you all xxx.

Please like, share, tweet and email my blog. People really need to know exactly what it’s like for us.


I run this blog and my campaign on next to nothing. There’s a donate link at the top and side of my blog. Every penny helps. Thank you.

A huge thank you to everyone that supports my blog and campaign.
Thank you all so much xxx

Government eases covid 19 lockdown conditions whilst mortality levels are rising. Complete madness

Dear readers I hope that you are well as you can be and I hope that you’re safe.

I thought that I was getting better but now I’ve developed a chest infection probably as a result of having covid 19 symptoms. I’m sick of struggling through this but I’m also angry, well very angry to be honest.

Why am I angry you might ask. I’m angry because the government is easing the lockdown conditions whilst giving not one ounce of clarity whilst doing so.

I’m also angry because he’s doing this whilst the mortality rates of covid 19 related deaths are rising. Indeed they’ll increase again and most likely will cause a second wave of this awful disease.

Thousands of people could die, many of them will be known to us, our friends and families.

We have a prime minister who appears to be unable to do his job properly, even turning up for work is a massive effort for him and I’m sure that he’s resentful for actually having to work.

When the Prime minister does turn up for work and attempts to give a speech he makes a complete mess of it and no one really knows what to do.

His guidance is abismal, even fellow politicians are left puzzled yet some people have had to return to work with little or no protection from catching covid 19.

The government issued a statement saying that public transport should be monitored to ensure that people adhere to the quarantine conditions. This isn’t happening though and the government doesn’t care.

The government also said that people shouldn’t use public transport but they failed to realise that many low paid workers don’t have cars because they can’t afford the upkeep.

But still the mortality rates are rising and the government doesn’t care.

Covid 19 is deadly, if you are lucky enough to survive from having it you are almost always left with the side effects that last for ages.

I can attest to this myself. I had all the symptoms of covid 19 at home. I self isolated, I thought that I was recovering well.

But I thought wrong. I had accepted that the breathlessness and tiredness would stay with me for a long while but what I didn’t count on was developing a chest infection. So I’m now once again unwell.

But I’m lucky, many people have had far worse side effects of contracting covid 19.

Pneumonia, heart problems, eye problems all sorts of health issues can develop as a result of developing covid 19.

It’s no joke but the government is guilty of not taking it seriously enough. They don’t appear to care as long as they’re OK.

Boris Johnson denied that he was pushing forward with his herd immunity plans, but here we have a prime minister easing lockdown conditions whilst the mortality rates are still rising. Any concerned prime minister certainly wouldn’t be doing this.

You see in his mind commerce comes first before the well being of the people of the UK. They regard working class people with enormous disdain and if we die it doesn’t really matter to them. The less of us the better.

Herd immunity is a very attractive option to them meanwhile in New Zealand they’ve done the exact opposite. Their prime minister actually cares about the people of New Zealand and I wish we had the same over here.

So what do we do now?

Well the best advice that I can give is to continue self isolating, if you have to go out wear a mask and use hand sanitizer etc. You can never be too careful.

Check in with friends and family, keep to the social distancing rules and keep safe.

As for me I’m much the same as I was last week. I’m taking each day as it comes but now with a chest infection I feel awful.

I’m hoping that soon I’ll be back to normal because I hate complaining about myself on here and I apologise for doing so.

I’ve been doing what I can at home but with limited health and funds I’m stuck waiting to get better.

Please keep safe everyone, I’m thinking of you all. We can get through this together supporting each other.

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog.

I run this blog and the campaign on a very low income. There’s a donate button for anyone who would like to donate at the side and top of this blog post.

A massive thank you to everyone who reads, shares and supports this blog. I can’t thank you enough for this. It means the world to me. 1

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.

Suspended payments for 6 months because they were seen carrying a food parcel.

Dear readers it’s Thursday and blog day. Please may I start by thanking you all for your support for my blog and my campaign.

I’m still here writing and it’s all thanks to you all.

Today was freezing cold and the crowd was gathered awaiting out food parcels.

This week we had a very kind donation of four extra food parcels from a friend.

It’s a good job that we had these extra food parcels because they were all taken.

I’m going to list today’s conversations. Please note that everyone was given appropriate help, advice, signposting etc. I even went to Wilkinsons to buy some dog food for a dog who’s owner needed a food parcel.

Many people either forget that people struggling have pets and they need to eat. Others reckon that we shouldn’t have any pets, we aren’t deserving of anything.

A much loved pet can be a lifeline for their owner and no one should be criticised for owning one.

The first conversation that I had was with a man who told me that his payments have been suspended for six months. He is claiming the ESA element of Universal credit.

I asked why and he told me that he had been reported to the DWP because he was seen carrying one of our food parcels.

I advised him to appeal this decision and he told me that he’d been advised that he can’t.

Luckily I have contacts that will be able to help him, but regardless of that he shouldn’t be expected to go without any payments for 6 months.

It’s absolutely ridiculous and is so punishing. It’s hellish and shouldn’t be happening at all.

I spoke to a young man that had to walk miles from his home to get to the Jobcentre. He told me that if he’s lucky a bus driver will let him get on a bus for nothing, if they won’t he walks.

I signposted him and bought him some dog food for his dog.

I had a conversation with a woman regarding self employment and universal credit.

Gordon spoke to two people that were making new universal credit claims and needed documentation to do so.

I spoke to a man that’s in the process of being evicted from his home. We advised him to the best of our abilities and I signposted him as well.

I overheard a man shouting ‘B####d sanctions.

I then had a long conversation with a young 18yr old woman that was crying when she was leaving the Jobcentre.

Her advisor had told her that she’s not trying hard enough to find a job, her efforts are rubbish etc. You get the idea.

The truth is that she is trying her hardest to do everything properly but it is a struggle.

No one has shown her how to find a job, how to apply for one and no one has given her any decent career advice.

Her advisor hasn’t told her about further education nor have they told her about apprenticeships etc. They refuse to help whilst criticising her to the point of tears.

Luckili we were there and I sat down with her and gave her some advice, but equally as important compassion.

For heavens sake she’s only 18 years of age, she needs guidance and hasn’t got a good family network to support her.

I gave her a copy of our survival guide and asked her to phone me if she needed my help or even just a cuppa and a conversation.

The advisor that upset her to the point of tears should be ashamed of themselves, but they won’t be. An 18yr old claimant is an easy target for them isn’t it.

I spoke to a chap that had just failed his universal credit esa element medical assessment. He is appealing this but as usual the DWP have zero compassion.

He’s been told that he has to agree to look for work whilst his appeal is being processed. If he doesn’t agree to this they’ll stop his claim.

The DWP don’t recognise that having a disability can and does prevent a person from working. Persecuting them for this won’t cure their disability it’ll make things much worse for them. Many die, some take their own life.

It’s sickening that people are being treated in this manner, it’s not getting any better it’s becoming much worse.

I honestly don’t know how we’re going to survive another five years of this.

Please read, share, tweet, blog, email my blog. It’s so important that we get the truth out there.

We will be returning to Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre next week from 10am to 12 noon. Please come and say hello.

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

Thank you!

Five year aniversary of blogging and the suffering continues.

Dear readers it’s been five years almost to the day since I started writing this blog although I’ve been campaigning for much longer.

A friend encouraged me to write it but I honestly didn’t think that anyone would read it. I was proved wrong though, it took off straight away.

Back then we were chosen to be a trial area for universal credit along with Oldham and Wigan.

Hardly anyone else was documenting the day to day cruelty that universal credit and the benefit reforms.Most likely because it wasn’t happening everywhere and lots of people weren’t aware of this

We were ignored and called liars and suchlike.

Myself and other groups continued to fight against it even though every door was being slammed in our faces. No one wanted to know.

Through perseverance and determination we continued, we weren’t letting this go. People were and are dying as a result and that was and is unacceptable.

DPAC have been consistently supportive and they’re amazing. The work that they have done and are doing is outstanding. I can’t thank them enough.

When I started this blog almost everyone that I spoke to outside Ashton Jobcentre was or had been sanctioned.

Pregnant women were being sanctioned for three years, suicides of people that we had spoken to were a constant worry. I’ve lost count of the people that we have lost.

It breaks my heart and I’ve always got them in my thoughts. Thanks to Black Triangle for their work collecting this info and publishing it.

At the the time the DWP were a law unto themselves, they still are. I’m certain that they were given orders to sanction as many people as possible (remember Sandra’s stars anyone?).

I’m certain that they still have these targets but they’re not so open and brazen at displaying them. People are still being sanctioned and it’s abbhorant that this is continuing to happen. Being sanctioned can and does kill people.

The suffering continues and every week I’m told yet more awful stories from claimants about their experiences whilst on universal credit and other benefits.

Today a man told me that he’d been barred from the Jobcentre for loosing his temper when he was told that he’d been sanctioned.

When he was allowed back into the Jobcentre he had a G4S guard to escort him to his appointment and to take him out again.

The stress of this took its toll on him and he started to pull his hair out. He can’t believe how horrible this system is. Thanks to the DWP he’s mentally scarred for life.

The system hasn’t got better the DWP and government have become more devious, constantly putting unrealistic demands upon people that they know won’t be able to keep up with it.

We’ve handed hundreds of food parcels out because people were and are literally starving. I’ve watched a family open the tins of food and eat it because they were so hungry.

It’s hard to tell you what the worst thing that I’ve seen is. Everything about this system is awful. It persecutes children, women, men, women who should be receiving their pensions but were conned out of them. The DWP won’t leave anyone alone.

The fight continues though. The Labour Party have at last commited to stopping, scrapping universal credit. They’re going to replace it with a caring system and I know that they’re going to do this. The Labour Party have been working very hard on creating the new system for quite a while now.

But the changes won’t happen overnight and until they’ve been elected nothing will change its going to become a whole lot worse.

Every week we speak to disabled people who have been found fit for work. They aren’t fit for work though and we help them to start the appeal process.

We’ve handed out thousands of copies of of our survival guides. They’ve proved to be invaluable and have helped a lot of people. Thanks to Roy for your help with this.

The blog doesn’t end after I’ve published the blog on Thursdays though. It’s become a full time job. Myself or members of the team don’t get paid by anyone either. We do it because we care.

The fight continues week after week. We’ve had abuse from G4S, I’ve been spat on called a scrounger and worse.

The DWP have unsuccessfully tried to move us from outside the Jobcentre. We aren’t going anywhere, we aren’t stopping until the suffering ends.

Whilst the suffering continues we will continue. I made this commitment all those years ago.

I want to thank you all for reading and supporting the blog for these last five years. Its been a massive comfort to know that you all support this blog and the campaign.

I’ll end the blog here this week. I know that it’s a bit different than my usual blog style but I really wanted to thank everyone that’s helped along the way whether it’s on foot at the demos or online. Both are equally as important.

To everyone that does come and help though thank you so, so much. We’ve had a lot of physical support from Stockport Against Austerity and I can’t thank them enough as well as Gordon, Roy, Carol and everyone else who I’ve met along the way.

My local Labour Party and my MP Angela Rayner have also been hugely supportive even though I’ve been a pain sometimes.

Can I ask you to continue to read, share, tweet and email my blog. Thank you to those that already do.

There’s also a donate button at the top and side of this blog. Every penny donated ensures that the campaign and blog can continue. A massive thanks to those that have.

I’ll be back next week with my usual blog. Thank you for the five years of support and thanks to Mike for persuading me to start this blog.

Don’t worry I’ll be writing next weeks blog in my usual style.

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.