Thinking of applying for Britain’s Hardest Grafter? Read this first.

This is NOT what the BBC should be carrying. Some might argue that it is just entertainment – BUT – it is “entertainment” that invites ridicule for vulnerable people. Basically the nature of this show, if it gets to air, runs entirely against the BBC charter. Watch out for the petition and campaign I intend, with help from friends, to get up and running soon.

Cooking on a Bootstrap

TwentyTwenty productions are looking for applicants for a new television show that has been described as ‘Benefits Street meets The Hunger Games’. Are you thinking of applying for the chance to win that staggering £15,000 sum? Here’s what you should know first – and I am probably doing myself out of ever getting another job in television by writing this article but you know what? Fuck it. Because I wish someone had told me.

1. Only one of you will win that £15,000. It’s also classed as ‘earnings’, so you will have to pay tax on it, and National Insurance contributions.

2. The rest of you will be ‘recompensed’ ‘not less than the National Minimum Wage’ for your time on the show. Bear in mind that the people you will be surrounded by, the presenters and camera crew and the ubiquitous ‘celeb’ they’ll roll out here and there, will be…

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Important Information: DWP Finally Admits To ESA Sanction Safeguarding Policy

the void

esa-sanctionsSickness benefit claimants with a mental health condition who have been forced to attend the Work Programme should not have their benefits sanctioned without a face to face meeting first the DWP have finally admitted.

This important clarification, which could mean many people have been wrongly sanctioned, was finally published in an amendment to the Work Programme Provider Guidance.  This is the rule book that companies running the Work Programme must follow and last week a new chapter was added detailing the procedures for safeguarding so-called vulnerable claimants.

According to the guidance, claimants of the main sickness and disability benefit Employment Support Allowance only, who have “mental health conditions or learning disabilities or conditions affecting communication/cognition” must not be referred for a sanction without safeguarding activity being carried out.  This means a home visit if necessary to establish a face to face conversation to ensure that the participant understands…

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Five more years of tyranny. 

The poor side of life

Shocked could be a word that I could use, but I won’t. Thatcher got voted in for a second and third term in parliament despite much opposition. So then the Tory party got re elected it wasn’t so much of a shock, it felt like something had died in our country. Yes the Tories have regained their power and will no doubt use this power, unopposed by anyone to inflict the worst damage that has ever been known to the poorest in society.

I was interviewed by a local paper whilst at the election count and the reporter said to me “How would you feel if the conservatives won the election?” I said that I would feel sick, I would cry. I would not be crying for myself I would be crying for the people of this country. A country that will be systematicically destroyed and taken apart by the…

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A Tale Of Two Daves (the full response to Cameron thinking he’s a firefighter).

This just about say it ALL REALLY …..

Cooking on a Bootstrap

When I was a little girl,I would sit waiting near the front door after I finished my breakfast, waiting for my Dad to come home. A key in the lock,and I would run to hug a man whoreekedof smoke and petrol and boot polish, aman who sometimes came home quiet and shaken, and didn’t often talk about his working days and nights.

I overheard glimpses of conversation,tinybabies carried lifeless down ladders,a mum found dead in bed with her childrencuddled incloseand anashtray on the bedroom floor.A man trapped in a burning caravan, his charred corpse found huddled and clawing at the door.The burning buildings loomed large in fitful nightmares, and to me, my dad was a hero. As were his watch, a loud group of muscular men who we would visit on weekends, share…

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B&M and workfare!


Please keep annon
Was talking to a manager of B&M stores today
Each new store hires a huge number of staff at first once the store is set up the managers are instructed to start sacking up to 75% of staff ( hired on 12 week trial ) he openly admitted after this they use workfare people for busy periods and in last two years they have not hired a single workfare staff as its cheaper to let them go and train a new set to work for free.

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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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