A record level number of Universal Credit (UC) sanctions has recently been published by the Department of Work and Pensions on the 22nd May 2022.
It is reported by the DWP that the amount of UC sanctions had reached a record high in January 2022 this is according to statistics released by the DWP in May.
This follows the restrictions during the the pandemic when the DWP had been pressurised to remove work search and availability requirements for UC claimants also suspending face-to-face interviews due to the health risks involved. Work search and availability requirements were reintroduced gradually and are now fully implemented.
According to the latest figures released by the DWP UC sanctions prior to the pandemic consisted of 2.51% of UC claimants being sanctioned. In February 2022 sanction levels had risen dramatically to 3.90%.
According to the report in January 2022 there were reported 38,200 adverse sanction decisions showing the highest number of adverse sanction decisions on UC full service ever recorded, leaving many claimants dragging claimants further into poverty.
According to the DWP statistics released in February 2022 36.3% of UC claimants were in the conditionality groups that could be subject to sanctions, this includes claimants in the “searching for work”, “planning for work”, “preparing for work” or “unknown” conditionality groups.
It appears that the DWP have wasted no time in hitting claimants with sanctions and this is what they do best. Instead of helping claimants they find it more beneficial to unfairly sanction some of the most vulnerable people.
The conditionality requirements are confusing especially after the pandemic with many claimants not realising that their requirements had returned to normal. It’ll also be interesting to find out how many of them were affected by long Covid or indeed Covid itself and of course they wouldn’t have been able to reach out for sympathy from the DWP.
Not only will these sanctions have a terrible affect upon a persons health and well-being they will also put even more pressure upon already over subscribed food banks that were already struggling before the pandemic.
Whilst the nation is supposed to be celebrating the queens jubilee, a woman with an immense amount of privilege and wealth, thousands will be left suffering in extreme poverty unable to afford even the most basic things. It’s time that we should highlight their plights instead of celebrating the jubilee.
Once again thanks to Benefits And Work for inspiring this weeks blog.
Please share it really helps massively to raise awareness about the suffering of many people totally abandoned by the government.
I receive no payment for any of the work that I do and to say that I’m struggling is an understatement. Every penny donated helps me to continue blogging and campaigning and I would really like to be able to do so.
A huge thank you to everyone that has and does support the blog and campaign. The past two years have been a nightmare for me and I really couldn’t have done this without you.
With much celebration yesterday evening the DWP announced that their plans to start migrating people from all legacy benefits to Universal Credit (UC) with a commencement date being May 9th. Their target completion date being December 2024. This will leave approximately 900,000 of households worse off whilst claiming UC.
Not only will thousands of claimants previously claiming legacy benefits be hit with lower payments they’re set to also face a benefit freeze leaving them in a much worse financial situation they are already in. They will also be faced with the distress of being forced to accept this whilst struggling financially to cover the basics.
The DWP claim that legacy claimants will be sent a ‘migration notice’ with a three-month deadline to make a claim for UC. If they don’t accept the migration notice or don’t receive it as is often the case with letters from the DWP their benefits will stop. This will undoubtably leave thousands of already vulnerable people not receiving any help to do so with the majority of people claiming legacy payments being disabled and ill people already struggling with day to day costs.
The DWP are quoted saying that legacy claimants will receive transition payments to ensure their income does not drop, however how many times have we heard the DWP make statements like this and don’t fulfil their promises.
As a direct result of this migration previous legacy benefit claimants payments will be effectively frozen every April with no end date given. This is because their transitional payments will abrade each year as UC rises with inflation whilst waiting for it to match up with what they’re being paid.
This is very concerning especially because 500,000 claimants forced to migrate claim ESA and are disabled and ill, causing extreme distress and worse with predictions being that they will face being much worse off financially.
We already know that UC is a cruel, harsh system that deliberately punishes the most vulnerable leaving thousands in extreme poverty and distress. UC benefits the government alone giving them the perfect opportunity to punish working class people for simply existing.
Whilst the government and the DWP are rubbing their hands in glee we must continue to support each other and campaign against the governments cruelty, it’s the only way that we will survive this.
Combined with the energy price crisis and the ever increasing cost of living I have no doubt that thousand will die as a result of this forced migration.
God help us all.
EDIT: FROM PAULA PETERS. Also will add the UC regs for legacy benefit support group claimants are not in place yet and still being discussed the white paper on work and disability is important to Keep an eye on.
Huge thanks to Dan Bloom over at The Mirror for being the inspiration for this piece and a Twitter follower rooneygmusic for sending me the info over last night.
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Half a million Universal Credit claimants will soon be forced to apply for jobs from every sector or risk being sanctioned.
Government ministers are today announcing a new scheme to supposedly get more people into work under the pretence of helping claimants and their families. Apparently this will supposedly ‘help’ them cope with the cost of living crisis.
Government ministers are also announcing major plans today to change job searching rules to toughen up the already harsh rules about searching for work. They say it will supposedly help more people secure jobs.
“Under our new plans, jobseekers will be supported to find any job in any sector within weeks not months, putting them on the path to better jobs and progression in a career.”
This will be soul destroying for people having worked hard to gain their qualifications and work experience.
It appears that whilst the government is announcing their new job searching scheme they’ve forgotten that we are still living in a pandemic which is leaving people open to infection regardless of being vaccinated which can then put their families at risk.
Universal Credit claimants, working and not working and disabled people are already being hit the hardest with the rising cost of energy bills and taxes that are going to be introduced in April. Indeed, energy costs have already risen leaving many with having to make the terrible choice of heating or eating or neither.
It comes as no surprise that this could be the reason why the government has lowered the quarantine regulations. In their eyes everyone should be working regardless of their ability do do so.
The government also announced ‘We’re using the strength of our jobs market to tackle supply challenges and get employers the people they and the economy need’. This will be done regardless of a persons needs therefore once again putting their ‘friends’ in business first without a thought for claimants.
Ministers are also planning more intensive face-to-face meetings for claimants which will undoubtably cause distress for claimants and will also take time away from actual job searching.
As I’ve already said in previous blog posts, finding a job isn’t as easy as the government would like you to believe.
Not everyone can apply for every job for various reasons and employers often won’t employ everyone either. There are various reasons for this ranging from the ability to undertake the work and being overqualified for the job. Not everyone has access to the internet either.
However as part of the DWPs new plans claimants will be told to look for and find a job within weeks not months. If they fail to find employment they will face being sanctioned.
There is no way that a minimum wage or zero hour job will cover the costs of living. The price of food, energy and housing is increasing every day which leaves the poorest paying the highest cost for this.
I can envision that these new rules will cause a whole new level of suffering, forcing claimants to undergo more compliance and burdening them with more pressure to find work that’s suitable for them.
Instead of challenging the minimum wage and abolishing zero hour contracts there is no way on this earth that it will benefit anyone. Instead the government and the DWP have seen the pandemic as an excuse to punish the poorest and this is unforgivable.
How am I? Stressed as per usual. Financially I’m really struggling, this blog being my main source of income. To say that I’m struggling is an understatement.
I’m worried about the health of everyone forced to undergo this new regime and the effects of it.
So many people are already stressed, forced to live on the bare minimum but the increased threat of being sanctioned for not finding work in weeks will cause an immense amount of mental distress.
I will be there to help people as will many others, and I will continue to do this however hard it is for me.
If you would like to get some support and solidarity I can’t recommend Disabled People Against the Cuts enough. If you live in the Greater Manchester area you can find them here at https:\\manchesterdpac.com
If you would like to donate to keep both my blog and campaign going there is a donate button at the top and side of this blog post. Every penny makes an enormous difference as does sharing my blog.
A huge thank you to everyone that has and does support my work. I really couldn’t do it without you.
It has always been known that the DWP (Department Of Work And Pensions) surveil benefit claimants who are suspected of committing fraud. This is often based upon their opinion and reports made by members of the public, but how in depth their surveillance is was previously unknown.
In 2019 the DWP published their two part staff guide on conducting fraud investigations. Thanks to Privacy International who went through the 995 pages of the report to help people understand how these investigations happen and how the DWP is surveilling claimants suspected of fraud.
Here are some of their findings.
They found that the DWP do conduct physical surveillance of benefit claimants.
The DWP can ask private companies such as Paypal, supermarkets etc to hand over any data that they might have on benefit claimants to them.
Not surprisingly, because we have all seen the tabloid newspapers reporting stories focussing on benefit cheats and clamping down on them. This is because the DWP actively works with tabloid newspapers to share this narrative, which then creates a hostile environment that legitimises this narrative and creates a constant fear for vulnerable claimants.
The DWP are only authorised to conduct directed surveillance. and are entitled to surveil claimants in order to obtain information without contacting the claimant involved first.
How do they do this?
The DWP can claim papers, handwriting and departmental system prints.
Interviewing witnesses and obtaining witness statements.
Interviewing claimants under caution.
The DWP guidance states that they can examine mobile phones and tablets because of the amount of information that’s stored on these devices.
DWP officers are encouraged to approach third parties to get information.
On page 316 of part of one, the guide reads: “The Criminal Procedures and Investigation Act (CPIA) Code Of Practice (COP) makes it clear that to establish the facts about an offence you can question any person, whether suspected or not, who you think might have useful information. If a person, including a third party, has useful information you should ask for it.”
So basically a claimant is guilty before being found innocent.
The guide contains some instructions as to how DWP officers should go about approaching third parties. These instructions include that they have to be clear that they are from the DWP if they are questioned, they should also remember that the person they are investigating may be innocent. They are told to not reveal the source of the suspicion, remembering that the third party may also be involved in suspected fraud.
The guide quotes Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights which is the right to respect for one’s private and family life. It is quoted on page 316 of the report and is immediately followed by an explanation on the specific circumstances in which the DWP may legitimately interfere with it.
“If DWP are to interfere with this Convention right it must be proven that all other avenues to obtain the evidence have been explored. However, in a case, which consists of various circumstantial evidence, it may only be possible to bolster the evidence to the criminal standard by providing evidence from third parties. Additional justification may be on the grounds that it would prevent or detect a crime”
Physical surveillance is also used by physically watching an individual and also using CCTV footage that can be obtained by the DWP without requiring PIPA authorisation.
The surveillance team can gather photo and video evidence.
The DWP also encouraged to use open source information such as social media, internet use, internet chat rooms, forums and websites to gain information regarding benefit fraud.
DWP officers are advised to cautious about gaining information in this way. They are told that they still need to give a claimant some expectation of privacy regardless that this very act takes away a persons privacy. This in turn causes distress for the claimant that they’re investigating.
The following advice is given: “If officers consider that there is a need to view material over a protracted period of time to accumulate private information or monitor the individuals activities, i.e. anything thing more than twice, then they should be considering an authorisation under Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA), as repeat viewing may constitute directed surveillance. There is a professional responsibility for individuals to ask themselves why they want to look at the material, and what they will do with the information. Single use open source will generally not amount to directed surveillance but expectation of privacy still needs to be considered.” [part two, page 80].
The DWP uses this information to;
Obtain information about a claimants activities
Obtain information to be used in a future interview
To observe a claimants movements or work pattern
To establish where a claimant lives
To obtain evidence for a possible court case.
How does this affect disabled people?
The DWP assesses if someone claiming disability benefits is disabled. They often use physical surveillance to do so. They can also use a claimants social media to assess their mental capacity too.
They do this without any medical qualifications and often without any knowledge of a persons disability and how it affects them.
The DWP are supposed to take psychological distress component into consideration whilst at the same time not describing how to do this, thus not taking it into consideration at all.
The DWP have always used used surveillance to check upon a persons relationship and to see who a claimant lives with to see if they’re claiming the correct benefits. The DWP reminds their employees that living together as a married couple is not in itself an offence whilst at the same time financially punishing them for doing so.
The DWP also has the authority to contact third party organisations such as
banks (including credit unions),
credit reference agencies,
money transfer companies,
water and sewerage undertaker or authority,
gas and electricity providers,
educational establishment or institutions,
The Student Loans Company.
banks (including credit unions),
credit reference agencies,
money transfer companies,
water and sewerage undertaker or authority,
gas and electricity providers,
educational establishment or institutions,
The Student Loans Company.
Airlines, which can hand over names of passengers and dates of travel (EasyJet is listed separately, as it falls under the “abroad fraud desk”. They can hand over passenger and booking information)
Bingo clubs, which can hand over membership details
The BBC, which can hand over TV licence holder name, method of payment and date of expiry
Sky, which can hand over Sky Broadband and Sky Talk subscriber details
Estate agents, who can hand over owner details, purchaser details, price, dates, method of payment and lettings
Golf clubs, gyms, leisure facilities and sports club, which can hand over membership details and activities undertaken
Harbour masters, who can hand over details about boat-ownership, boat-movements, dates and berthing fees
Legal Aid Board, which can hand over details of Legal Aid claims.
National Health Service Counter Fraud, which can hand over GP registration and checks of medical cards
National Health Service Trusts, which can hand over next of kin details and declared addresses
National Health Service Trusts & Hospitals, which can hand over details of admission and discharge and registration documents
Universities and Colleges Admissions Services, which can hand over university details and college placements
The DWP also have singled out PayPal as an organisation that is willing to provide information in response to a standard data protection letter but only if they say that the information is requested for law enforcement purposes.
The DWP also relies upon credit reference agencies for their investigations regardless of the fact that people being investigated are more likely to be in debt and have a poor credit rating. Regardless of this it’s yet another avenue for the DWP to exploit.
This is an extraordinary abuse of power given to the DWP too often target innocent people. Benefit fraud levels are 3.6% of benefit expenditure whilst many claimants are being underpaid by the DWP due to error.
Whilst claiming any type of benefit from the DWP a person also waves goodbye to the right to privacy that they should be entitled to. I’ve seen DWP officers check a claimants social media before their appointment, thus unbeknown to the claimant they’ve lost a part of their privacy.
If this was happening to a person not claiming benefits they’d quite rightly be an uproar about it. For this to happen to a claimant it’s regarded as being ok. None of this is ok and we must continue to oppose the shocking treatment of benefit claimants.
If you have a social media account make sure that it’s set to friends only. Check any friend requests first and be wary that some so called DWP help groups are used to survey people.
Thanks given to @mrfrankzola over on Twitter for sharing this information and making me aware of this report. Also thanks given to eerie.org for their hard work producing this report.
This Monday was the funeral of my dear friend Karl who was also a member of my group Tameside Against The Cuts. Karl provided lots of hot drinks, lifts for claimants needing help and much needed support on our weekly demos. He was a wonderful person with a very kind heart, he will be sadly missed.
If you live in the Greater Manchester area and you are disabled please join Manchester DPAC where you will find support, solidarity and the option of joining in any activities that they are doing. You’ll find them over at https:\\manchesterdpac.com
Please can you read, share, tweet, email my blog and this post. Sharing helps enormously to raise awareness and it actually helps people.
I don’t receive any payment for the work that I do and it’s a struggle. If you would like to donate to keep my blog and campaign going there’s a donation button at the top and side of this blog post. Thank you.
A huge thank you to everyone that has and does support my blog and campaign, You have literally kept me going through this very tough year and the loss of my son. I’m not sure if I can celebrate Christmas this year.
I will be blogging next week and hopefully it will be a festive version.
The DWP are rather unsurprisingly refusing Benefits and Works request to see a copy of a report undertaken that looks at 120 claimants’ experiences of receiving PIP, ESA and Universal Credit. Benefits And Work have now appealed to the Information Commissioner but this process could take many months which gives the DWP chance to find more reasons not to release the contents of the report.
The DWP have also declined to let the work and pensions committee see a copy of the report, even under conditions of complete confidentiality which leaves many to ask why this is happening and what are they trying to hide.
Benefits And Work have however viewed documents which show that either the report interviewees were knowingly misled about the research being published. It could be the case that the Secretary of state was being dishonest when she told MPs “Publication decisions are always taken upon completion of research.”
Rather interestingly Disability News Service have been contacted by a whistleblower that told them that they had been shown the first draft of the report and the DWP had ordered the authors to reduce the number of references to “unmet needs” and to delete some of its analysis.
So even the diluted final version of the report is apparently too scandalous to see the light of day.
The government have also recently published a Green Paper in order to consult on ‘how the welfare system can better meet the needs of disabled people and people with health conditions now and in the future’.
It’s debatable if they will actually take note of the needs of disabled people and to treat them fairly. They haven’t so far and I’m not expecting them to either.
It is also rumoured that the government might propose to reduce financial support to some disabled claimants in their forthcoming white paper. Taking this into account it makes sense for them that they don’t want evidence published that shows that there is already a high level of unmet needs.
Watch this space I will report on any future updates concerning this.
From years of past experience we know that the DWP don’t put the needs of disabled people first or even anywhere. Their target is to force people into work regardless of them actually being able to do so.
In the past I’ve seen disabled people forced onto Universal Credit by deception and then forced onto DWP courses with the aim of getting them ‘ready’ for work.
Remember that claimants are still forced to undertake unpaid ‘voluntary’ work which is unfair to say the least and can cause distress too many.
We can’t let the government and the DWP get away with ignoring report requests and also implementing rules that are at best cruel.
We need to remember that the government and the DWP are masters of deception and we must continue to see past their lies. There’s more of us than there are of them and I alongside others will continue to hold them accountable for their actions.
If you live in the Greater Manchester area and would like to get involved please join Manchester DPAC over at https:\\manchesterdpac.com You will find likeminded people and you will be given opportunities to join in activities.
Unite Community is a trade union organisation specifically created for people that aren’t working. It’s well worth joining however there is a small payment to join. You can find them over at https:\\join.unitetheunion.org
A huge thank you to Benefits And Work for sharing this information and for the hard work that they do.
My sincere apologies for the delay with this weeks blog post. I was unwell due to a migraine and was unable to concentrate on much.
How am I? Not brilliant to be honest. One of my dearest friends recently died and I’m mentally preparing for his funeral.
As you will realise Christmas is quickly approaching and we must be aware that so many of us aren’t going to be able to celebrate Christmas for either financial or other reasons. It’s a distressing time for many and we must keep that in mind.
A huge thank you to everyone that reads, shares and supports my blog and campaign. You have all kept me going when I was at my lowest especially when my son died. I’m amongst the many that won’t be celebrating Christmas this year.
For anyone that would like to donate to keep my blog and campaign going theres a donate button at the top and side of this blog post. Thank you!
As many of you already know the DWP never miss an opportunity to sanction claimants, however it was much harder to do so whilst the country was in lockdown because of the pandemic.
The drop in Universal Credit sanctions was as a result of changes to the conditionality rules that were implemented in March 2020 because of the pandemic.
Normal service seems to have resumed sadly with the rate of Universal Credit sanctions rising 15 fold in four months according to Benefits And Work.
This all changed in April 2021 when face to face meetings returned thus causing sanctions levels to rise. This proves that the decision to sanction claimants lies firstly with Job Coaches and often is influenced by their opinion and not fact.
Theres no other reason for this when online claimant were seen to meet the expectations of their claimant commitments, yet now they apparently don’t.
Benefit sanctioning is an extremely cruel way of punishing someone for apparently not reaching the DWPs expectations. Taking away a persons financial means of survival is wrong on all levels, it’s hard enough trying to survive on the meagre amount of monies given in the first place.
I’ve blogged about benefit sanctions for many years now, and I’ve also had articles published in newspapers etc.
My opinion is this, and it will never change.
No one should be punished financially by sanctions. Sanctions do not and never have encouraged people to find work or look for work more diligently.
When a claimant is sanctioned they can only focus on keeping warm, being able to eat and how they’re going to pay their rent.
Being sanctioned and refusing to pay ESA and PIP claimants their rightful payments directly causes mental and physical distress, often leading to long term illness and depression.
Whilst quite rightly we are told to leave an abusive relationship for our own safety a person can’t leave the DWP and everything that comes with it. It’s obscene that people are treated in this manner, being guilty before being found innocent. It’s gaslighting at its worst.
Prior to the pandemic the highest sanctioning levels happened back in July 2019, when 22,566 claimants were hit with a reduction in their benefit. I have no doubt that this figure will be surpassed if it hasn’t already.
We must continue to hold the government and the DWP responsible for their actions.
Many thanks once again to Benefits And Work for their hard work for researching and gathering the data. They work extremely hard to help others.
If you want to raise awareness about these issues and more there are several ways that you can do so.
You can share blogs such as mine and likewise online of your preferred social media platform. You can also email blogs and articles like mine to MPs and other important people and influencers.
Every share, tweet, conversation etc helps to raise awareness and this is extremely important to do.
If you live in the Greater Manchester area and you’d like to get involved please join https;\\manchesterdpac.com You will find likeminded people and will be given opportunities to join in any activities that they are doing.
Unite community is another trade union organisation that is well worth joining. There is a small payment to join but you can get help and advice from them also. You can join them over at http:\\join.unitetheunion.org
Please read, share, tweet and email my blog posts. Like I said earlier every share helps enormously.
Huge thank you to everyone that has and does support my blog and campaign. Without you I really couldn’t do this.
How am I doing? Not good unfortunately a very good friend of mine died this week, and I’m struggling to cope with it because I’m still grieving for my son.
Financially I’m also struggling. I’m having to make the choice between heating and eating. I know that so many of you are struggling with this as well.
If anyone would like to donate to keep my blog and campaign going or to help me put some electric on the meter theres a PayPal donation link at the top, side and underneath this blog post.
I am trying to update my blog more than once a week as you might have noticed this week.
DWP SET TO INTRODUCE NEW TAILORING UP APPROACH FOR DISABLED PEOPLE.
The DWP aren’t known for their sympathy towards disabled claimants so it comes as no surprise that they’re now experimenting with a “Tailoring Up” approach to sanctions for disabled claimants.
Their new “Tailoring up” approach will now allow job coaches to make activities such as training or work experience either voluntary or mandatory, entirely at the discretion of the coach.
You might think that this is a good thing but sadly I fear it isn’t. The DWP aren’t doing any type of monitoring of this new programme therefore the risk of disabled people being discriminated against is high.
This will put disabled people in a terrible situation, leaving them at the hands of a Job Coach that might be sceptical of a persons disability such as mental health issues and other invisible and visible disabilities,
This will leave them at a very high risk of being sanctioned at the whim of a job Advisor based upon their personal opinion. After all theres no monitoring of this scheme leaving Job Coaches apparently answerable to no one.
Also being introduced as part of this scheme is for disabled claimants to attend meetings with job coaches will be a mandatory activity under the scheme. This is being piloted in sixteen areas but we all know what that means.
From years of experience with the DWP and they’re so called pilot schemes I fear that this will be the start of the rollout of this new scheme.
As soon as I hear more about this I will publish it in future blog posts.
It goes without saying but it is very important that you keep a good record of all communications going to the DWP and from them. Having a good paper trail helps enormously to overturn sanction decisions, as does involving a local MP if of course they aren’t a supporter of the whole sanctioning system.
Also very handy for support if anyone is sanctioned are local law Centres, online groups such as Benefits And Work, DPAC and Citizens Advice if you can access them.
DWP GETS BILLIONS FOR FORCED MOVE TO UC AND ONLINE CLAIMS
It also appears that theres always a big pot of money for the DWP to cause more suffering and distress.
The DWP has been given £2.6 billion between now and 2025 for “digital activity to support the delivery of benefits and transform how customers interact with the welfare system.”
They haven’t released any further details of what this transformation will be and what it will entail either. From past experience it’s likely to be spent upon moving as much as possible online, which in itself will cause many problems for claimants.
In the quest to make disabled people now claiming legacy benefits the DWP are set to recieve over half a billion pounds to “support the transition of legacy claimants onto UC” which as it stands will apparently be completed by March 2025.
However DWP will be focusing trying to make disabled people to move “voluntary” from legacy benefits such as ESA onto UC throughout the rest of this year and 2022. This will probably entail putting a lot of pressure onto disabled people to move their claims over, also possibly lying to disabled claimants to force them to move over to Universal Credit.
Unsurprisingly from 2023 onwards the DWP and government will be focusing on forcing the remainder of legacy benefits claimants onto UC, most likely by any means possible.
I know that this is easy for me to say but if you are told that you have to move your claim over to Universal Credit under the guise of it ‘being better’ for you stand your ground and refuse. In absolutely no way would this be beneficial for you at the moment.
No matter how much glitter Job Coaches and the DWP try to throw on the shite that is Universal Credit it will not make it shine.
The DWP are becoming more brazen with their obvious hatred of disabled and poor people. We must try to hold them accountable at every single opportunity that we are given.
Please read, share and email my blog to help raise as much awareness as possible. Remember there are more of us than there are of them and sharing online helps enormously to raise awareness.
A huge thank you to everyone that has and does support my blog and campaign. I really couldn’t do this without you.
It’s been a horrible year for me, my son died and both myself and my daughter have been ill quite a lot. I’m recovering from Long Covid and another bout of pneumonia. My daughter recently caught Covid and she’s now ill with tonsillitis.
This has left me struggling more than usual which is a complete nightmare as you can probably understand.
For anyone that would like to donate either to my blog or my campaign there is a donate button at the top and side if this blog post.
A huge thank you to everyone that has and does support my work. I don’t receive any payment for my work and I’m really grateful to you xx.
Well it came as no surprise to see that the government ignored the petitions signed by the public, demonstrations from DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) and pressure from MPs to end the £20 Universal Credit that was introduced during the pandemic.
I and many others expected this to happen because the Tory party is an evil, cruel machine that won’t stop until the poor and disabled are gone and destroyed. They want the working class totally compliant to their needs and not their own, this has been proven in the policies and decisions that they make.
Universal Credit wasn’t constructed to help people, instead it does the opposite. If you’re unemployed the payments given aren’t enough to live on let alone survive. If you’re working you can never satisfy the system and are put under immense pressure to find more working hours.
As well as the reduction of monies given to claimants money for debts is also garnished and taken away before their payments are received. This leaves the claimant with virtually nothing to live on after paying their rents which are constantly increasing.
Some people. say that you can get these payments reduced, when in reality it’s either impossible to or at best extremely difficult to do so. The debt repayment amounts are usually implemented without consulting the claimant and they aren’t taking their income, or lack of it into consideration.
DWP and council tax debts amongst others have been the cause of people taking their own lives and attempting to do so. Having no money to provide for yourself and family members makes you feel worthless and its very understandable that people can’t see the point of being alive anymore.
Feeling like a failure to yourself and your family if you have one is soul destroying, it leaves you questioning what have I done wrong to deserve this? In reality they’ve done nothing wrong at all. The fault lies totally at the governments feet and their cruel and heartless polices.
Once you step back it’s easy to see why the government does this. They do it because they see disabled and poor people as surplus to requirements. If they can’t make a profit out of you then they’ll persecute the hell out of you. They do this until a persons on their deathbed and beyond and no apologies are given for doing this.
Then the pandemic arrived and at first the government tried to ignore it, they tried to downplay it until they could no longer do so. When they did start to address it the measures that they took were far from adequate and damn right dangerous. Basically they didn’t care if the working class died because they are surplus to requirements anyway.
After much pressure being put on them by the opposition, campaigners like myself and even Tory Mp’s they reluctantly introduced the £20 uplift Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit claimants which was virtually their admission that the monies being given weren’t adequate.
For some the £20 uplift might appear to be nothing, some still think that everyone has this amount of money to hand when in reality they don’t.
When you have nothing, no money at all £20 makes a massive difference, it made the difference between eating and not eating, heating and not heating and it greatly improved the quality of life of thousands of people.
The uplift has proven too greatly improve a persons and their families life, it was an extra buffer that they could rely on and it made a big improvement in their lives. It also improved the economy because people had a little bit more money to spend.
As soon as the first date was given we campaigned hard to prevent it from happening and it worked. The government withdrew their plans and moved the date until October and this is where we are now.
I’ve had many phone calls and emails from people asking me what will they do next, is there any more funding that they can access and sadly the answer was no, no there isn’t. It’s gone and theres nothing that can be done about it.
The governments decision to end the uplift has caused and will cause great distress and illness for many. Trying to feed yourself and your family will be back to near impossible forcing them to go back to food banks for help.
Foodbanks rely upon donations of food though, and many of the people that donate food are poor themselves so I expect food donations will decrease making it very hard for the to continue with their work.
The governments answer to this is to find more work and to ask your boss for a pay increase and more working hours. This is extremely hard to get though because There might not be any extra hours available and jobs can be hard to get.
Theresa Coffey also announced that she’s going to target disabled people who think that they can’t work because in her warped world they can. To say this is cruel beyond belief is an understatement. They know that they can’t work, they know that its impossible for them to work and it’s extremely hard to find an employer that is willing to make their business premises disabled friendly and be understanding of a persons disability.
Whilst Coffey was singing about having the time of her life on Karaoke at the Tory party Conference, thousands of people were and still are in distress and falling deeper into poverty because of the decisions that she’s made and is making.
I’ve never had any illusion that the Tory party would care for the working class. I grew up under the shadow of Thatcher and I lived in poverty then, having holes in my shoes was a regular occurrence. I knew that they’re cruel and have swinging bricks where their hearts should be.
This Tory government has taken cruelty to a whole different level though, they’re monsters and we must keep campaigning against their evil plans. There are more of us than them and we will never forget their cruelty.
A big shout out goes to DPAC for their amazing week of action against the withdrawal of the uplift, and also campaigning to get it given to those on legacy benefits also. To say they’re amazing is an understatement.
I have some bad news though. My yearly payment for this website host and my domain name is coming up in November. In total it comes to £115 and I just don’t have the money to renew it.
I hardly have enough money to live on as it is and I’m reliant upon food banks and kindness. £115 may as well be a million pounds to me because I just can’t afford to pay it.
I really don’t want to loose all of my work which totals to about eight years of writing, campaigning and raising awareness. To put it bluntly I will be devastated and heartbroken.
I don’t want to change website hosts though because I don’t like change and this payment gives me the add ons and features that I need to keep it going.
My dream was to pass this blog down to my children and The Working Class Movement Library in Manchester when I’m long gone.
I really don’t want to stop blogging.
If anyone would like to donate to keep my blog and campaign going theres a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.
A huge thank you to everyone that has and does help to keep my blog and campaign going. I honestly couldn’t do this without you.
I’ve spoken to many people and helped hundreds of people over the years since Universal Credit was first implemented in my local town, which incidentally was one of the three ‘trial’ areas for Universal Credit introducing it to an unbeknown community.
Out of all the people that I’ve spoken to throughout the years, not one of them has told me that their payments provided them with a large enough income for them to survive, indeed the opposite applies.
Everyone that I’ve helped or spoken to were and still are living in poverty, unable to provide the very basics for themselves and their families.
Then the pandemic hit us, killing thousands and resulting in survivors battling with Long Covid. The government decided that they’d throw a lifeline to Universal Credit claimants which was an extra £20 a week uplift to help them through the pandemic.
The uplift was and is providing Universal Credit claimants the means to actually survive, to buy some food or to pay a bill that they were an unable to do before.
Whilst £20 isn’t a lot to some people, indeed it isn’t a lot of money at all, it has enabled people to survive.
This lifeline will be taken away in October if the government don’t respond to calls from campaigners, politicians, and even some Tory party politicians.
Universal Credit was created under the guise of making claiming a benefit easier, to help more financially and to make it easier to find work whilst claiming Universal Credit.
It wasn’t long before myself and others saw the reality of claiming Universal Credit, the poverty that it forces upon people and the punishing regime that they are forced to comply to.
The truth is the system was designed to be unfair and designed to be cruel. I have no doubt that it was introduced to force people to comply otherwise loose everything. I’ve been documenting this for years, I’ve seen the terror in a persons eyes when they’ve just been told that they’ve been sanctioned and didn’t know why.
With Universal Credit came cruelty like I’ve never seen before. Claimants being gaslighted by so called work coaches, being spoken to as if they’re the worst thing in the world and that nothing that they do is ever good enough.
I’ve seen people loose their homes and families because they can no longer afford the rent or provide for their children. I’ve helped hundreds of people throughout the years dependant upon food parcels to survive, all of which is documented in this blog.
I cannot see any justification in removing the £20 uplift, we are still living during a pandemic, still becoming ill with Covid 19 and people are still dying from it. The £20 uplift is literally the choice between living or dying. Only a sadistic government would do so.
To put it bluntly Universal Credit doesn’t provide enough to live on, it’s highly prejudiced against claimants and it certainly doesn’t help anyone to find employment. What is needed is a system that actually helps people instead of making them much worse off.
We can only pray for the government to give in to demands to cancel the cut and to continue giving the uplift or making it permanent.
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A huge thank you to everyone that has and does support my blog and campaign. I couldn’t do it without you.