New changes to Universal Credit roll out.

The poor side of life

Today I learnt of some new developments in the universal credit roll out. These changes are devastating and they left me lost for words. I’ll explain now but please share.

When universal credit first came out you could not apply for it if you were already claiming housing benefit. There was a glitch in the system and the computer said no. They’ve sorted this so here goes.

They are now transferring people onto universal credit from JSA. There’s no option to say no, they are simply changing their claim. Their existing claim will be shut down, as will their claim for housing benefit. The claimant will also have to go to the local council offices to sort out the council tax payments, if not they will be left with a massive bill.

Why am I so worried? If you are already in debt with your rent due to the bedroom…

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A victim of domestic violence? Don’t worry you will get sanctioned too. 

Once again, Charlotte wears her heart on her sleeve, as evidenced by the genuine distress she feels at the plight of the poor souls she encounters during her weekly vigils outside the Ashton under Lyne DWP offices.

The problem, for me; when trying to understand just why such obvious and deliberate cruelty is inflicted upon some of the most vulnerable people in our society, is that we attempt understanding from the perspective of ‘normal’ decent citizens. The rules created, however, are indeed deliberately designed to make the experience of the average claimant as unpleasant and difficult as possible. The potential consequences of such a draconic regime SHOULD be entirely obvious – and most certainly, with regards to those who drafted the legislation that set the whole foul system in motion, would have been extensively set out for them during the initial drafting stages.

So, why, in the light of the knowledge that must have pre existed the sanctions regime, would any reasonable human being consider such a system to be either acceptable or desirable within a civilized society?

To answer this question, we must first of all understand what motivations might lay beneath the surface. When Mrs Thatcher first entered Number 10 as Prime Minister, British Government still operated within the terms of a political consensus brought into being with the election of the post world war two Labour Government under the leadership of Clem Attlee. This Government sought to implement policies based upon Keynsian economics (the mixed economy) and to bring into policy the main thrust of something called the Beveridge report – which amongst many things, saw it a duty of the State to bear down on the evils of pre war society in the form of ill health, hunger and want. This was achieved through the creation of the welfare state and of course, our National Health Service. All subsequent British administrations, both Labour and Conservative, made policy within the confines of this consensus.

Thatcher, however, supported by a combination of shadowy super wealthy individuals and corporations (including certain media interests), and justified through the writings of Milton Friedman and the associated Neo Liberal Free Market schools of economics, had no intention of allowing the post war consensus to continue. Instead, she laid the groundwork for the consensus we now live under – one based upon the dogma of the market and laisez faire free market economics. This, incidentally, just so happens to be the very same consensus that existed pre 1939. All subsequent British Government administrations have operated under and made policies according to the auspices of this neo liberal contemporary consensus.

One important part of this whole nasty system remains absent, this being a form of poor law work house system. In order to re-enact such a system; however, given the decades that have passed since we last saw the unfortunate consigned to virtual open prison for life, a sufficient majority of the wider population must be brought to accept the need for such a system. The wider population must also see those who end up being drawn into these modern day workhouses as “deserving” of such a loss of personal freedom. Witness the drip, drip of “benefit scrounger” stories planted within the popular media. Witness the terminology and descriptives routinely applied to the jobless and poorest – Chavs, wasters, hooligans, workshy, feckless etc.

I believe that we are witnessing this very process, the deliberate creation of a crisis of homelessness and destitution; for which “work centres” or “community hostels” might seem a reasoned and almost merciful response. No doubt, such places would be run by one or other large outsourcing company (insert your guess here).

We should not allow the political class get to away with this outrage. There is an alternative to this, but we MUST be willing to stand up and FIGHT.

The poor side of life

Today at our demonstration I was approached by a young woman who had a baby with her. She was clearly distressed and she had a very sore black eye. I asked her what was wrong, she was quite literally a bag of nerves. She went on to tell me that she had just escaped from the clutches of her very violent boyfriend. The police had to rescue her from her home. She left with her baby, his clothes and the pram. She was shaking. She is now staying at the local women’s refuge, a haven for women escaping violence. She should be able to recover now, you would think. No she couldn’t . She went on to explain that she had previously been attending a Jobcentre in another town, and was supposed to attend an interview at that Jobcentre. She couldn’t attend. Why? Because it’s the town where her ex…

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Commit a crime and get treated far better than you do by the DWP.

The poor side of life

A while ago I wrote about the governments war against the poor. Indeed, I said that they treat you worse than a criminal. Well I was right. I know people that I have talked to outside the Jobcentre who have said that they’ve had to steal to eat. Getting caught was a bonus because they would get a bed for the night and some food. And sympathy from the police officers. Compare that with the distinct lack of sympathy and compassion from the DWP. The polic aren’t happy with this either. The crime levels have risen as a result but police staffing has been cut to the bare bones. I speak to the PCSOs that sometimes attend our demos, and they say the same thing. They say that their workload has got much harder and they are dealing with alot more suicides and attempted suicides than they have ever known…

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Homelessness. An issue that needs addressing immediately. The hidden secret on our streets.

Once again, Seercharlotte77 hits the proverbial nail on the head with this great blog post. Here in Southport, in common with many other towns; large and small, we have our own community of homeless people. Many of these remain hidden, surfing between friends, doorways and passages. To add insult to injury, many encounter hostility towards them from passers by on a daily basis. By the same token, many passers by also try to help. Indeed, a group of students recently held a fundraiser for our local soup kitchen, I will post some Southport tales on this subject soon. In the mean time, Charlotte’s blog is well worth a read.

The poor side of life

lve been very concerned by the rise of homelessness for a long time now. It’s an issue that won’t go away, infact its increasing at such a rapid rate that is unbelievable considering that we are the 6th richest country in the world. What is astonishing is the fact that many local authorities including my own don’t even attempt to fix it or even attempt a temporary solution. This government has made a sustained attack upon the poor for such a long time now that the poorest in society are too weak to fight against it.

The way that local authorities count the number of homeless people is wrong. If you have a cardboard box over your head or a blanket, if you are sofa surfing then you are not considered homeless. If your a single man or woman your not a priority for housing or help. Finding has been…

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New tactics from the DWP workers. 

What follows would be beyond belief in any sort of civilised society. Sadly, this is happening in our society. Civilised is not a word that springs easily to mind, really, when thinking of the post Thatcher UK ……

The poor side of life

Every week we hear new stories of how the DWP workers try to trick people into receiving a sanction. We aren’t easily shocked anymore but if you haven’t heard of these tactics in your area please watch out for them. Here’s a few read and note. These aren’t unusual but it’s good to highlight them every now and then.

Only apply for jobs that you know you will be successful in getting on the universal job match website. Now we know that most of these jobs are fake jobs but yes this was a nugget of advice given yesterday. If you apply for jobs that you won’t get then we will sanction you. It’s a no win situation for the client and he got illegally sanctioned. Don’t fall for this one folks unless you possess some kind of clairvoyant ability then how would you know if you are going to…

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National day of demonstrations against sanctions and attempted suicide by man who attends Ashton Jobcentre.

What is the purpose of the regime of sanctions, workfare schemes and the whole punishing slant of the increasing conditionality attached to claiming welfare support these days? The mainstream press, in general, fill the canvass of public opinion with negative “benefit cheat & scrounger” stories; whilst trumpeting the favorite political mainstream mantra of the “hard working family” or hard working “tax payer”. But, what is all this about? Many of the stories you might find published in the press are fabricated, taken out of context and in any case, even where a grain of truth is present, only representative of a tiny minority of welfare recipient. Also, in comparison to the eye watering sums involved in Corporate tax avoidance and high level fraud, not even qualifying as a drop in the bucket. I grow sick of hearing normally reasonable and intelligent people parroting the right wing, divisive shite spewed from the bowels of the DWP and their numpty Ministers. I am not religious, but if I was, I would now be praying to the vengeful god of the fallen walls of Jericho fame to pay Westminster a visit real soon …..

The poor side of life

Yesterday was the national day of demonstrations against sanctions organised by unite. We of course have been doing these demonstrations every week since August. August was the turning point for us, we saw how inhumane these sanctions were and we were determined to do something about them. Sanctioning a pregnant lady for no legal reason and then saying when she asked how she would feed her unborn baby “tough your not Ill you are pregnant get on with it” still haunts me.Without the help that she got both her and her unborn baby could have been yet another statistic for this government to use in their “return to work” statistics. Make no mistake the Jobcentres aren’t there to find you work anymore. Unlike the old days. They are now used to take people off the unemployment register in any way possible. It doesn’t matter how. Then this cruel government can…

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