“[MPs] don’t worry about money. They don’t worry about where the next electricity is coming from. You never see anyone like that knocking down at foodbank.” #UniversalCredit

Have posted below a longer transcript from recent interviews at Oldham foodbank with Michelle, 38, and Jeanette, 53 (I published excerpts earlier here and here).

Like so many interviews I post on this site, this transcript highlights two important points:

1) Political and press obsessions such as government, voting and Brexit barely register in many lives.

I asked both woman for their views on government and Brexit.

Michelle said:

“I ain’t got a clue me, I don’t understand it. I really don’t.”

Jeanette said:

“Neither me…You never see anyone like that knocking down at foodbank…They don’t worry about where the next electricity coming from.”

2) The benefit systems that people in poverty rely on are in tatters, but that fact is ignored. Nobody cares.

Politics refuses to intervene, or to offer constructive answers. Mainstream politics is fixated on Brexit and central politics to the exclusion of everything. Meanwhile, people in poverty are being dragged down by failing state bureaucracies. Online benefit application forms fail. Helplines are hopeless. Claimants go months without money, which makes debt inevitable. The idea is, of course, that anyone who has ever received a state benefit deserves the worst. Dependence on the state justifies aggression from the state.

Michelle had rent arrears, because the DWP took ten weeks to make her first Universal Credit payment. She was also repaying a tax credit debt that she disputed and an advance loan that she took out to buy food during that ten-week wait for her Universal Credit:

“Oh God – it were a nightmare signing on for Universal Credit. You have to do it online and I had to [keep] ringing the jobcentre. I had to keep ringing them, because it were so hard.”

Jeanette had had a stroke in 2009. She struggled with balance and speech. She’d recently applied for Personal Independence Payment application, but missed an award by five points. She’d decided not to appeal that decision, because the appeals process was too complex and wearing:

“Too stressful. I’ve got to think of my health. Just rely on family and friends to get me around.”

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: no part of this mess helps people find stability, or work. Quite the reverse. Any stability people had has been torpedoed. Prevailing government theory is that destabilising people by throwing them off benefits motivates them (whatever “motivates” means). It does not. These broken, maddening public sector bureaucracies mire people in debt. Unfortunately, that fact is below the radar.

Transcript: Oldham foodbank, 7 March 2018.

Michelle:

It hasn’t been this bad before. [They] moved me over [from Employment and Support Allowance to Universal Credit] in October last year. They made me do it, yeah.

They told me… I applied for ESA again, but they said because I was in the catchment area for Universal Credit, that I have to have that instead…but I went for [an ESA face-to-face] assessment on 25th of October [2017] and I’ve still heard nothing…nearly six months. [The assessment was at] Albert Bridge House, yeah.

I don’t sign on. I just have to go and see my advisor at the jobcentre every few weeks.

Oh God – it were a nightmare signing on for Universal Credit. You have to do it online and I had to [keep] ringing the jobcentre. I had to keep ringing them, because it were so hard.

[I] could do one bit of it, where they told you to do your details, but then it told you to do something else – a separate thing which is a new ID thing what they’ve set up. You’ve got to do that to prove your identity. You’ve got to choose which company to do it with.

I did mine with the Post Office. Got to set that account up and then go back to Universal Credit [with the registered identity details] Oh, it is horrible. Then, you’ve got to get an appointment to go up to the jobcentre to do the rest of it there…

You just do it [the identity proof] online while you’re filling your form out. It just takes you to another site and it tells you choose which one you want to use, so I clicked Post Office. Then you have to like create an account with them just to prove your identity, because they’ve got more information on you then – so that they know that it is you, because there are a lot of people trying to claim benefits under different names, so to try and stop that basically.

Had to give my passport, yeah, because it was online…

I had no money for about eight, ten weeks. They let me have an advance payments, but it were only for £200. I’ve got two kids and got behind on all me payments and everything. It were horrible…

Jeanette: It puts you behind with your rent.

Michelle: Yeah, I’ve been having to pay extra each month, because of my rent was in arrears and it wasn’t my fault. It was horrible. [I] rent with First Choice Homes…arrears, about two months, about £700 I think. I have to pay about £20 every month on top of the rent, because the rent’s £330.

They [the DWP] are deducting [money from my monthly Universal Credit payments] for advance loan – about £40 a month. They are taking [repayments for a] child tax credit [overpayment], because when I went onto Universal Credit, the child tax credit stopped, because it all goes in with that. Then after I had been on Universal Credit for a few months, [the DWP] decided to say that they had overpaid me [tax credits] and I owed £300. So now, they’re taking £49 a month off me for that as well.

[So that’s] £49 [taken out each month] for child tax credit debt, £40 for advance payment and £20 for arrears. Not much left at the end of the month once I’ve paid my bills and gone shopping. Only have a little bit left. If my girls need anything, I can’t…do it. Once that little bit of money has gone, I’ve got to wait another month again. The only other thing I get is child benefit, but that is £34 a week. That goes on the stuff like I need like the gas and electric. I can’t give it to my girls. Girls are [aged] 17 coming up and nearly 13.

[The DWP never contacted me to negotiate deduction amounts I could afford]. Oh, no, no, no. They just tell you. They don’t ask. They don’t discuss it with you. They just tell you.

They offered me more money [a bigger advance loan] but they said they would take more back every month, so I had to go for the lower option, because then I would have been less off every month. [With the tax credit debt], they sent me a letter telling me I had to pay it. Then they sent it over to Universal Credit… and the next thing you know, they had taken it out.

[I haven’t tried to negotiated lower repayments] Not really, no. Just don’t think it’d make a difference really. It would just make me worry more…And I suffer from stress and anxiety and panic attacks so…it’s just hard. It might seem like a lot of money when it goes in to your bank at the end of the month, but once you’ve paid your bills and you’ve paid your rent and you’ve got your shopping, that’s it, it’s gone.

Jeanette: It’s a long time to wait for a month – especially when you get used [to more regular payments]… like I’m on fortnightly.

Michelle: I just can’t get used to it [being paid once a month]. It’s just so hard. They should tell you they’re going to do it [deduct money from each Universal Credit payment for debt], but they didn’t… because a week before you get paid, you can go onto your journal and it tells you how much you’re getting that month. I went on that month. It just told me they were taking it out.

Do you think anyone in government cares?

Michelle: Do I think anyone cares? Oh no. No. Not at all.

Jeanette: They’re not struggling. They don’t care, do they.

Michelle: I have lived in Oldham all my life…I’ve never struggled this much. It is just since going on Universal Credit, it being monthly. As I say, you’ve got to pay a month’s worth of bills. When you get paid fortnightly, you pay a fortnight’s worth of bills. When you get that in your bank, it might seem like a lot, but once you’ve paid all your bills and you’ve got all your shopping and everything else, it’s gone. Another month then with nothing.

You can’t get a month’s worth of shopping, because it just doesn’t fit in your fridge, or your freezer or whatever. It doesn’t last. It’s horrible.

[I want to go] back to fortnightly [payments] or something like that. Universal Credit – get it gone, definitely.

Jeanette: Scrap it. I bet that before this Universal Credit, there wasn’t as many using this foodbank as much.

Michelle: I don’t get paid for another two week [that’s why I’ve come to the foodbank]…

I’ve got scoliosis and anxiety. That’s why I went for the medical, to get back on the sick, but I’m still waiting…for the results…even me advisor at the jobcentre says there is still no decision been made and he don’t understand it himself…I take sick notes into the jobcentre every time I go… my advisor’s all right. Oldham jobcentre.

Jeanette: I’m on sick [so I don’t sign on]. I’m not on this Universal Credit yet. I’ll emigrate before I go on that, me…

What are your views of Brexit?

Michelle: I ain’t got a clue me. I don’t understand it. I really don’t.

Jeanette: Neither me…

Michelle: It confuses me, so I can’t watch it.

Did you vote [in the EU referendum and last year’s election]?

Jeanette: No

Michelle: No, because I don’t really know what it [Brexit] means. I don’t know what it is for. I don’t really understand politics. I know, obviously, about when you’ve got to vote normally for the prime minister and things like that, but [not Brexit and referenda]…

Jeanette: You never see anyone like that… knocking down at foodbank. They [MPs] don’t worry about money. They don’t worry about where the next electricity coming from. That’s what annoys me.

Michelle: [the energy bills] – that’s what worries me, the gas more than anything, because my daughter, she’s got Raynaud’s disease. I can’t afford to let her get cold, so at the minute, it’s been costing me a fortune.

They’ve just given me a voucher today [the foodbank], a fuel voucher. [Fuel] costs me a fortune, because with it being so cold, I can’t turn it off. I have to have it on when she’s at home, because if I don’t and it does happen, she ends up going to A&E with all her hands swollen up. She gets a rash all over. All her eyes, her nose, her lips all swells up and she gets a rash everywhere and it’s horrible. It’s painful for her, so I have to try my best to not to let her get cold.

This past week’s been awful. That’s why I’ve run out of gas [money]. I’ve had to keep it on, because it’s been that cold.

I put £40 a month on [the gas metre] when I get paid – sometimes extra, if I can’t. Like I say, when I get my child benefit on a Tuesday, sometimes I top it up with that. But at the minute, this past week, I’ve had to keep it on, so this month it’s been very expensive.

Jeanette: With PIP – I didn’t get enough points on me medical [for a Personal Independence Award]. I had a stroke in 2009 [and I was on Disability Living Allowance]. Last medical – I didn’t get enough points. I only missed out by five points.

[I didn’t appeal that decision, because] I find it more stressful. If I get more of the stress, then I’m likely to have another one [stroke] …I lost the DLA money…It’s a big drop, because I only get now £200 a fortnight, so it’s a hell of a big drop. That’s the only money I rely on…too stressful [to appeal]. I’ve got to think of my health. Just rely on family and friends to get me around…since my stroke, I’ve found it bloody hard to walk, so up and down my right side. It’s affected the right side of me and the speech, that goes.

Michelle: You’ve got your bills to pay and everything…It’s not enough, is it.

Jeanette: [Government need to] scrap that thing, that Universal Credit. I find it embarrassing going to foodbanks. I’ve been once. I would starve myself to death, me.

Michelle: When you’ve never been before. You’ve never had to.

Jeanette: My kids are grown up and they’ve got their own families. I’m not going to palm myself off onto them… it’s not happening.

Everything is online [Universal Credit claim forms]. It’s ridiculous. I don’t know what to do. [I can’t use a computer].

Michelle: I can use a computer, but even I struggled. I would start crying…because it was frustrating me that much. It were that horrible, but I were at the point where I was panicking. I had to do it, because I won’t have no money. It was scaring me. I had to keep ringing them up…Then I’d put the phone down and then I’d keep doing it… it took me hours. It took me four hours, if not longer, but I did it. I kept going, because I knew I had to for my kids, so I did it.

[Universal Credit helpline officers] just kept telling me – “we can’t help you until you fill that form in.” I’m saying – I can’t fill it in. That’s what I’m struggling with…I rang back, [and they] give me an appointment to go in and they helped me with the rest of it when I were there, but certain parts of it – they can’t do anything until you’ve done it.

Jeanette: When I went for my [PIP] medical, they ask you a question and then you get it through on the paperwork, it’s totally the opposite… they used to say I could get on the bus and go into town… I never go anywhere. If I leave my flat, I make sure I’ve got Michelle with me. I make sure I’ve got somebody with me because me balance is not 100%… and this is what I’m saying I’m capable of cooking for myself, basic stuff, yeah, but when you come, me hands start shaking because the strength… me body’s is not the same as it used to be. They turned it to the opposite…

Michelle: I’ve got tendonitis. My daughter, she’s 17, she does a lot in the kitchen. I told them that on the phone, so they said, “so you can make yourself a meal.” You explain to them that you can’t, only now and then, because I have a lot of pain in my hands, lot of pain and sometimes I can’t pick the kettle up… you tell them all of this. Like Jeanette says – you get the form and get a copy of the report and it’s totally different isn’t it?

Michelle: [Life was easier in the past] because you got paid weekly or fortnightly. You don’t have to wait as long. Since this monthly [payment system started] it is horrendous. It needs to be stopped. It’s not helping people.

Jeanette: You used to go and sign on in the jobcentre and you used to have a giro. They’ve altered it so that you have to have a post office account. Now they’re not they’re not satisfied with that. They have to disturb it again and now you have to have a bank account.

Michelle: Jeanette does not have anything like that – no picture ID – to open a bank account. She’s going to struggle. It costs money to get a picture ID – a passport or something like that.

Jeanette: I have got a post office account… they want me to change it [to a bank account]. I’m not doing it. It’s disturbing [things] all the time. It’s so stressful.

Michelle: You don’t get letters on Universal Credit. You’ve just got your journal. It’s all right. It takes a while [to get a response] but every time I message my adviser, I do get a reply back. It takes a couple of hours, but it is the same day. He’s really nice [Michelle’s adviser]. Normally, they move you to somebody else. I hate change me, because of my anxiety, I like to stick with who I know, so touch wood I hope they don’t change me to somebody else.

I’ve had two [advance loans for Universal Credit]. You don’t just pay one at a time. Because I’ve had two, they’re taking out [repayment money] so much for one and so much for the other…

Do you vote at all?

Jeanette: No. Can’t be bothered. I don’t think it would do [make a difference] so that’s why I don’t bother. They all say they’ll do things – this will change, that will change – [but you] don’t see anything. Talk and no action.

[Jeremy Corbyn]He’s a knobhead [laughs] He is though, isn’t he?

Michelle: They don’t see it from our point of view. They’ve not struggled.

Jeanette: They can go to sleep at night with a clean conscience… they’re not, they’re not tossing and turning thinking where’s their next meal coming from, are they.

Michelle: Far from it.

279 thoughts on ““[MPs] don’t worry about money. They don’t worry about where the next electricity is coming from. You never see anyone like that knocking down at foodbank.” #UniversalCredit

  1. All these changes, the hardship, leaving people with nothing, it’s all absolutely deliberate and has been from day one. And one of the most insidious aspects of all of this is the way that, little by little, it is becoming the new ‘normal’ for benefit claimants.
    People aren’t shocked anymore by disabled people dying, or the terminally-ill forced out of their care homes and into work.
    The government don’t care, they want you to stop claiming benefits. And they don’t want to pay any out unless they really have to.

    • 100% right Jeff but, what I want to know is when will the people of this once great country ALL get together & say enough is now enough. We’re human beings & not pieces of Shit which is what this government & no doubt a Labour government would treat us as. So we all need to make a stand as a whole country & say NO MORE!!!

      • Yes, we need to use our democratic processes to make a difference, instead of stooping to this ghastly apathy that has largely replaced a strong tradition of voting Labour.

        • Apathy, that’s it Alison ! When it was Poll Tax or free trainers, they were out on the street. But it’s all been so cleverly manipulated by the Tories.
          Skiver or Striver, dodgy disabled, foreign holidays on benefits etc. So many people have given it up, just shrug their shoulders and say that’s just how it is. Anything good on TV tonight ?

        • Straightforward divide and rule of the Working Class.
          Make them look round and see people on benefits as skivers, people on disability as suspicious.
          Lot of Working Class support even now for what has been done. Most of them far more concerned with the Royal Wedding and what’s on TV.

    • Totally agree Jeff. Universal Credit was a nasty system from the first. Duncan-Smith and his friends trying to get at the unemployed and make them work. The whole thing, the sanctions, the long waiting times. Just obstacles of misery and difficulty put up to discourage people from making a claim. UC was designed to be harsh on people, otherwise they might not want to work.

  2. Kate.

    First of all THANK YOU!!!!
    Thank you for you being you Kate & those like you bringing so very many inhumane realities such as this plus very VERY many more to the public of this “ONCE GREAT Country” that is no longer, that has become a complete joke & a total embarrassment for me to say that I am English. I really do feel embarrassed to admit that I am English & totally ashamed also.

    I couldn’t give a flying FCUK about Brexit, I really couldn’t as that’s all we hear about now, day in day out, day after day after day!!!
    We never hear about the REAL things that are causing REAL problems to REAL people day in day out in this Pathetic useless country of ours such as these ladies you’ve spoke about!!!
    When did this country turn into the complete & total shithole it has now become!!!
    The ladies you have mentioned are just a sad state of what this shithole embarrassing country has now become!!! And there are very many thousands just like them that the MSM never show or talk about!!

    Brexit for me? Was just people of this once great country saying we’ve had enough of everyone being let into our country to blow us up & that is basically it. I’m all for letting people in but, it has to be controlled & properly vetted. And I am not Racist!!

    Theresa May, for fear of being called a Racist, dare not do or say anything against illegal immigrants. We have around 3,000 Jihadi terrorists that are Known, KNOWN to the government walking our streets, preparing for the next attack. WHY??????After Manchester our PM said “enough is enough” and what has she Done? Absofuckinlutely Nothing, NOTHING!!!!!!

    Apart from this useless government that don’t give a shit about poverty, about these lovely ladies who struggle day after day & worry how they’re going to feed their kids & pay the next bill, along with very very many 1000’s like them in this useless Country, about the many homeless dying on our streets, about the many thousands of grooming gangs that they dare not touch, for fear of being called Racist while they RAPE our children & send people who actually DARE speak out in the name of “FREE SPEACH” & wanting JUSTICE get sent to Prison for “Hate Speach”. About the NHS on its knees, about the Police who’ve been cut back by so many thousands. It’s ok for our PM to say the Police response time “was fantastic” to the terror attack in London, what about if they attacked a town like mine who haven’t seen a Police officer in the town for over 8 years? What would that response time be???
    About the many thousands of disabled people who fail these inhumane assessments by unqualified inhumane Robots to try to force them back into work that they cannot do, that have actually committed suicide as they no longer see a way out or a way forward!!! What a lovely, caring country we all live live in!!!

    I’ve said enough Kate but, there is so very much more that needs to be said. This government is totally destroying this once great country that my great grandad gave his life for, fighting for freedom.
    Is this country we now live in “Freedom” for the “English People”???? I know he will now be turning in his grave after giving his life for something he & this country once believed in, yet this Pussy PC government believe in the total opposite & God help those who actually dare to speak out against this Corrupt Government, of which are either so very Corrupt tax dodgers who get away with it & claim £££££’s in expenses for their 2nd homes when 85% of this country can no longer even afford to buy ONE!!! Are Perverts that spend most of their day looking at porn sat in their lavish office at the expense of those paying for these Perverted corrupt politicians to represent them that do NOTHING!!

    Hopefully we, the people of this once great country will soon wake up & make it a great country once again, I’ve said enough as it is but i just hope a prey that this country & the people of it soon wake up, before it really is too late.
    Take care Kate & keep up the great work!!!
    Ritchie xx

    • When did our country turn into a sh1thole? When we let in all the people from the other sh1tholes of the world to come over here and do the same to our country as they did to theirs.

      • The demise of Industry, the lack of gainful employment, shrinking incomes (StateBenefits & wages), available technology being used to maximize profit instead of to improve peoples’lives, the widening social divide between rich & poor, shortage of housing, growing population, and 40 years of neoliberalism, have turned this country into a shithole. It’s not fair to pin the blame on foreigners or ethnic minorities from poorer countries. Foreigners have alwayscome to Britain, for centuries. We need a more equitable distribution of wealth, and all the things that make for a functioning Society.

      • That is the question I asked Alison!
        If you read it you see the following comment I made which is:
        “When did this country turn into the complete & total shithole it has now become!!!”
        So do you not believe this country is in a complete mess, on its knees, treating humans (apart from the Rich) like pieces of Shit & is indeed, as i believe, a total “Shithole””???

    • If you criticise some of them for coming here, they blame us for wrecking their country, even though we left 50 years ago, and they tell us how much they hate us and how they don’t think they should speak our language.

      • But we’re still the majority Alison!!
        And if people decide to come to this country then they abide by our countries rules, end of!!!
        NOT bring their rules & SCREAM RACISM if we defend what our grand father’s & great grandfathers gave their lives for!!!
        If we did the same in their country we would be beheaded, no question.
        So it’s time we stood up & said enough is now enough!
        Time to wake up FFS!!!!

  3. I CARE!!! My friend cares. Yes, people DO care!

    There is a big inconsistency between the public narrative about “motivation” and the fact these individuals are sick and disabled. Michelle gets a sick note every 2 months. So it’s not about motivation. She’s not well enough to work.

    I respect the fact that some people don’t know or care about politics, but they only have themselves to blame when politicians see benefits as a soft touch. I really do not appreciate their apathy because my circumstances would be better if the Michelles and Jeanettes out there could be bothered to participate in the democratic process.

  4. MP’s just put everything on a credit card and claim expenses. Mortgage, gas, electric, water, food, electrical good, furniture. You name it they put it on expenses. They even get the beer cheap. Most other workers pay for all the things MP’s get on expenses, some even get expenses for using a bicycle in the Capital or use ministerial cars for very short journey’s.
    Claimants should always appeal if they are not awarded ESA or PIP, tell the DWP and assessment company they want the Assessor or DM’s there to answer questions. If they don’t turn up ask for the report to be thrown out, then go to work on the medical person on the panel if they say that person will be able to answer any questions you have. How could they say how long the HP has worked for ATOS/ CDHA or Capita as an assessor? Their field of medical expertise? If they read any websites prior to the claimant entering the room? What makes their opinion take precedence over that of an expert in their field of medicine?

    • Sound advice, Terminator. I challenged them and won a payout before the tribunal hearing.

      I would prefer if we just believed our GPs. Surely they would do the job much better than all these foreigners without qualifications.

      • There’s an awful lot of anti-foreigner sentiment being expressed on here today. Personally I’m neither nationalistic nor xenophobic, but I do despise the Rich and have a pathological hatred of the Tories, both of whom I blame for the majority of our current predicaments.

    • HPs and DMs don’t come to Tribunals; apparently it’s a policy of both ATOS and Capita.

      You don’t get to ask the doctor at the Tribunal questions; they ask you questions – a lot of them.

      In order to get the assessment report thrown out, you have to show why it isn’t for for purpose. In some cases it’s pretty easy (my current one is so bad that I have 30 obvious errors which I can prove are wrong using my further evidence). For others it’s much harder (you can’t really prove that their observations were biased).

      Getting to Tribunal takes forever. It took 14 months a few years ago, during which time I had no money, was building up debt, not eating properly, was incredibly stressed, and both my mental and physical disabilities got much worse. That happens every time (I’m currently waiting for my 6th Tribunal in 8 years – I’ve won them all so far), but when the waits are so long I’m so bad by the time I get to Tribunal that it takes months to over-a-year to recover to the level I was at before the brown envelope came through my door.

      This time I lost my PIP in late October. I’ve done the Mandatory Reconsideration (they did it without waiting for my submission of evidence) which rubber-stamped the original 0 points decision, and have applied for Tribunal – it was accepted a couple of weeks ago. I’m looking at a 7-8 month wait. By that time the award I’m appealing will have ended, so the whole thing will start again.

      My mental illnesses have gotten so much worse that I’ve spent much of the past 5 months hiding in bed, unable to eat, sleep, wash, or leave the house, and often unable to communicate. I’ve also not been doing my pain management or physio (for chronic pain due to scar tissue wrapped around spinal nerves after surgery for a slipped disc), because when you can’t even motivate yourself to eat, doing exercises isn’t going to happen. My pain levels are way up, I’m having far more back spasms, and I’ve lost a lot of muscle mass.

      As I type this, I’ve been up for 55 hours due to anxiety. I’ve lost 3.5kg in the past few months (I was already skinny). Since I received the questionnaire in August, I’ve had 8 colds, the flu, 2 doses of vomitty/diarrhoea illness, multiple migraines (I usually get 2 or 3 a year), and shingles. Shingles! I’ve had to take so many pain meds that my stomach is a mess – nauseau, vomitting, terrible heartburn and GERD.. I’ve been suicidal enough that I’ve had to call someone to stay with me 3 times, and I’ve self-harm more in the past few months than I had in the past 2 years. My therapist and GP are in contact on a regular basis, as they both feel the need to keep a close eye on me. I’ve drinking booze way too much to get to sleep, although I can neither afford it nor deal with the effects on my stomach. Unfortunately, Me in Crisis doesn’t care, and goes to the shop across the street to buy cheap vodka, then drinks it all. I hate myself later, but I’m not in my right mind when I’m like that.

      I want to work, desperately. I had a part-time, flexible, mostly from-home job a few years ago. I lasted 1.5 years before my health degenerated enough to land me in the hospital. I need time to work on my mental health through meds and therapy (well, the one therapy I still go to – I’m too anxious to attend my NHS outpatient programme, and had to stop group therapy because I can’t afford it). I need time to build my body up with physio, and to change the ways I think and behave using the pain management techniques I learned last year. I need time to sort out my problems with sleeping, eating, etc.

      I have a plan to become self-employed from home, but until the above problems are sorted, that ain’t gonna happen. To sort those problems out I need a break from the constant anxiety about what the DWP will do next, from the everpresent worries about being able to pay rent, buy food, etc., the fear that I’ll never be able to pay back the loans that my partner, friends, and family have given me, and the sense of degradation, humiliation, and complete lack of any value that the benefits system engenders in claimants. But no breaks are available.

      The constant reassessments have made my health worse over and over again. Each time I struggle to recover, and make it back to a point only a little worse than before, but it gets harder every time. At this point, because of the DWP, I don’t have any hope for the future. I can’t see my life leading anywhere. All I see is this continuing to happen until I either get permanently sectioned or I kill myself.

      Sorry, it sounds dramatic, but it’s the truth, and I’m far from the only one.

      • I feel for you, Heather. I don’t know what to say to make it any better. I agree with you that fighting with the system becomes a full-time job.

        It sounds absurd, but I have found a few drops of lavender oil on my pillow really helps me to get to sleep! Holland & Barrett sell the best one and it’s often half-price, but you can also get much cheaper lavender oil from Wilko and on E-Bay.

        Celestial Seasonings “Sleepy-Time Tea” is very good for calming the nerves. It’s much more effective than alcohol. It’s £2.20-£2.50 for a box of 20 tea bags and one or two per day is more than enough. You can buy it at health food shops like Whole Foods and Revital. Sadly not Holland & Barrett. I have bought it at a huge Sainsbury’s in the past, but I’m not sure whether they still stock it.

      • I think Shingles can be stress-related too. I got Shingles (in my head, very painful) whilst I was on the Work Programme and was also stressed about the situation with someone where I lived.

  5. Hi Kate,
    I believe the Zionist Labour MP Rachel Reeves spoke for all Labour MPs when she said in 2015 “We are not the party of people on benefits. We don’t want to be seen, and we’re not, the party to represent those who are out of work”. From my own research after being targeted by officials of the DWP after almost dying of encephalitis in 2011 and framed for benefit fraud, the regime has its own version of the Nazi Aktion T4 programme which you can read about here: https://www.warhistoryonline.com/world-war-ii/action-t4-nazis-euthanasia-programme.html.
    Best wishes,
    Phil Grace

          • Sheep are wonderful creatures and I look forward to the next post from a sheep.

            However, it is really messed up to write everybody off who disagrees with you. What’s to say that the 99 people who resigned are a more worthy bunch than the 500,000 who joined? Democracy is about numbers. Trev made a very valid point.

        • Personally I would rather look at a picture of Jeremy Corbyn riding stark naked on a donkey, than read another of these articles about him.

          • Well you can always go join the Conservatives instead if that’s how you feel, you might like it there, perhaps Socialism’s just not for you.

          • I love donkeys, too. I know they would prefer if riders wore some clothes.

          • I’d rather just look at the donkey really.
            Like those ones in Blackpool/

          • Perhaps if you try a bit harder to undermine Corbyn with a variety of unfounded slurs Labour will go down in the opinion polls and lose the next election, if that’s what you want.

          • Liz Truss told them the Tories will win votes if they say socialists wear funny hats.

          • They should have an ‘On The Donkey’ competition. All the front-bench MP’s should strip off and have a go on the donkey.
            Winner gets to be leader.

          • By the way, David, none of these articles have anything to do with Corbyn. Try reading one and you’ll see.

        • Is that how many it is, I knew it was a lot, but 99 ?
          That’s almost a hundred people ! How could anyone still be leader of the party after so many people have walked out ? You can’t just sit there playing leader after that – can you ?

          • It’s huge compared to the membership of Stay in Labour. It’s a drop in the ocean compared to the rise in vote share and membership since Jeremy Corbyn came to power. It’s also tiny compared to the hundreds of suicides caused by the current government, about which Debbie Abrahams was known for speaking out.

        • When Labour moved to the right, no one counted the resignations.

          I’m sick of all this. We don’t want to wash our hands of people on benefits. It was an appalling stance to take and I’m ever so glad Jeremy Corbyn has finally put an end to it. If you can’t see this, surely you must be as heartless as the Tories. Perhaps you ARE a Tory?

    • I believe ‘Ruthless Reeves’ has re-invented herself now as the Angel of Kindness. But then Kylie Minogue is doing country music, so you can never tell.

  6. Brexit is not something that Iworry about. It doesn’t cause me any anxiety or keep me awake at night, but the Jobcentre does. I never sleep right before signing on day, the thought of going to the Jobcentre makes me feel sick, worried, afraid, anxious and depressed, as do all those dreadful back-to-workschemes. The entire process of living on Benefits,along with the poverty, makes me look forward to

    • ….to old age, to Retirement and death, because life on the dole is no life at all, and the misery is unending, the harassment continuous, the pressure relentless. I could just about handle the poverty if the Jobcentre would just leave me alone, or if there was no Jobcentre, no DWP.

  7. Some things in life are bad
    They can really make you mad
    Other things just make you swear and curse
    When you’re chewing on life’s gristle
    Don’t grumble, give a whistle
    And this’ll help things turn out for the best
    And always look on the bright side of life
    Always look on the light side of life
    If life seems jolly rotten
    There’s something you’ve forgotten
    And that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing
    When you’re feeling in the dumps
    Don’t be silly chumps
    Just purse your lips and whistle, that’s the thing

    • Thanks for that pertinent advice Fred. I shall have to remember that next time my Benefits have been stopped, I have no money, a pile of unpaid bills, and am queueing at the foodbank. If only the poor could remember to whistle, who’d have thought it.

    • Cute, but trite. That doesn’t help when you’re living like we do. Thanks for trying to cheer us up, though.

  8. Labour MP Frank Field, a former welfare minister and now chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, said: “Once, we had a universal safety net protecting everybody from destitution.
    “Then we moved to discretionary payments which might prevent destitution. Now, that even more crucial safety net is being hacked away.”

    • Destitution by design, courtesy of Ian Duncan Smith , (or plain old George Smith as he used to be known prior to having an ego transplant. (Pity it wasn’t a heart/brain transplant.)

      • You know why he can’t have a heart or brain transplant? Because there was nothing there in the first place!

    • Frank is good at looking vaguely sorry for himself, but less good at standing up to the Tories. It wasn’t so long ago that he was enthusiastically supporting Universal Credit.
      Now we have the sad face of woe and the bleary eyes of repentant misery. Like some unhappy disciple who has seen it all go wrong.
      Frankly, if you had made some effort to oppose Universal Credit, Frank, we wouldn’t be in the situation we are today.

        • I’ve never found him even remotely funny, they should have got Alexei Sayle or Ricky Tomlinson, both suitably Leftwing.

          • No matter who we have, you’ll abuse them senseless until they turn into a Tory.

          • I’m surprised we have no moderator on this forum. Surely this is crossing a line?

          • The Tories are not funny either, rather they are Masters of Tragedy – creators of truly tragic circumstances for others that is, like Universal Credit. The only way to get rid of them is by supporting Corbyn.

      • Wrong. The disabled and chronically ill have been suffering from benefits “reforms” (PIP, ESA, bedroom tax, cuts to care, loss of Independent Living Fund) since ~2010. The rest of the UK just didn’t care, no matter how much we protested, wrote, gave speeches, etc. Universal Credit is just another in a long list of things this government has done to us. UC gets rid of the severe and enhanced disability premiums, so when we go onto UC, the most severely ill/disabled among us lose hundreds of pounds per month. The public generally doesn’t know or care about this, tho. Now that cuts are affecting WORKERS, people are starting to pay attention, but they still don’t pay attention to us…

  9. The MPs really are detached from our situation. I remember when I was sent on a computer course last year & was sat outside the training place on a ledge next to the pavement to eat my meagre lunch as there was no break facilities provided & I couldn’t afford to go to cafes. The local MP came by & started telling us about some caff in the market that does big slices of pie or cake or something for £2 & a cuppa for a quid, he was really raving about how great it was & we (me & another bloke) tried explaining our circumstances, we didnt have 2 or 3 £s, we cannot afford to go to cafes or we’d have nothing for our weekly shopping if we spent £

    • ….phone crashed again!

      …if we spent £3 a day, or say £5 a day if we bought teas/coffees, thats gonna be like £20 to £25 a week, it just can’t be done on the dole. But the MP just didnt seem to get it, he looked rather blank at us then shuffled off.

      • How can he not understand? He must have no brain! Maybe he couldn’t make out the Mancunian accent. Was he from down South?

    • It’s good you educated your local MP. We can’t have politicians thinking people on the dole can pay £2 for a coffee.

      • I’m sure he meant well but he clearly was unable to comprehend that some of ushave absolutely no money until the next JSA, which might be the best part of a fortnight away (or even worse for Universal Credit) and even then it’s all spoken for and quickly gone. MPs on 78 Grand p/a + expenses cannot relate to someone living on 70 quid a week. I took a flask of coffee with me on that training course, &aa bottle of tap water, & lunch would consist of a couple of Aldi cheese&onion rolls (85p for pack of 6) & a bag of crisps (from a £1 multipack), maybe an apple. Loads cheaper than cafes. If I see a penny on the pavement I pick it up. There’s no way they can understand how we live, and I’m not even Sanctioned or waiting for UC like others are, but even full JSA goes nowhere, its not enough. He was a local Labour MP btw.

        • As a Northerner himself, he should understand these things. Down South, you could get away with a bit of ignorance, living in a thriving market town in London’s commuter belt. But the North has a long history of the ups and downs of employment in industry, with recessions, strikes and workhouses. The North is also considerably poorer than the South.

        • Please don’t forget the apple, Trev. An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

          I know someone who was on the dole. He ate no fruit, veg or whole grains. Just juice and white bread. He developed diabetes and then ended up with bowel cancer. He had to have half his colon removed and was very lucky not to have to wear a bag for the rest of his life. He’s finished his chemotherapy now, but he’s stuck with pins and needles all over his body, which will probably last for the rest of his life.

          In the summer and autumn, there are all sorts of apples, pears, plums and blackberries to scrump off the trees and hedges in heaths and parks. Walk along a tree-lined street and nick a few fruits from the millionaires’ gardens. Apples can keep for months in a fridge or a box in a cool room or shed – sadly my only room gets very hot in summer.

          Don’t forget the hazelnuts and sweet chestnuts as well.

          Round here, so much fresh fruit goes to waste because people don’t pick it. The millionaires let it rot on their trees. Nobody walks 5 minutes from the foodbank to pick the blackberries, so they decompose on the bush. Councils don’t harvest fruit from trees in parks.

          I went on a computer course a few years ago. Like you, I brought a packed lunch: sandwich, apple/pear and tap water in an old bottle. One day, I sat in a park to eat. The park was full of cherry trees. When I had finished eating, I filled my plastic box with cherries!

          Whatever the lawyers say, wasting food is a crime.

          • Oh yes I agree about not wasting food and taking advantage of Nature’s harvest, I used to pick Bilberries on the moors & Blackberries in the woods in Autumn. Trouble is I’m not supposed to eat much fruit now, the doctor told me to avoid it as it is too acidic for my stomach as I have a Hiatus Hernia & have to take Esomezaprol for the rest of my life (plus Gaviscon on pres cription) and watch what I eat generally, also I have to eat less fruit because of the fructose sugars as I am on the verge of Type 2 Diabetes (classed as being “prediabetic”). I’m due for another blood test in 2 weeks time.

          • At the weekend, I bought 1kg of carrots for 15p in Sainsbury’s. I find that a raw carrot with the skin on makes a good snack. It contains lots of fibre, which is digested slowly and fills me up.

            I heard a rumour that you don’t have to wait very long if you apply for an allotment nowadays. As you’re keen on gardening, you could apply for a new allotment and grow some veg again. Failing that, a few pots in the window would grow you some free vegetables. I’m always finding old pots in skips and things. I have too many now!

          • Nuts are also great for a snack, but I do find them very expensive.

          • @Alison Price – “you don’t have to wait very long if you apply for an allotment nowadays.” Ha! Not here in Newcastle-upon-Tyne ! They are all taken by middle-class tossers who are friends with local Labour councillors. 22 new half-allotments half-allotments built on land 50yds from my flat. Locals can’t get one because all promised to people from outside the council estate!

      • Not if they are sitting in a private house they own, with electricity bills etc. coming in.
        I imagine the MP meant the unemployed living in single room bedsits. It sounds to me as if he was only trying to help.

        • I live in a single-room bedsit and I live on benefits, but I have to pay £90 per week towards the rent because of the government’s cuts to Housing Benefit.

          • So £90 is only PART of your weekly rent?! Wow. You should move up north, it’s far cheaper. Round here you can get a bedsit for £60 – £65 p/w, or a one bedroom flat from £80 p/w, that’s what mine is and HB pay full amount. I have to pay £18 per month Council Tax as I’m on JSA, but don’t have to pay anything towards the rent.

          • Wow! Yep, it’s cheaper up North.

            My full rent is £180 per week, but Housing Benefit onlys pays half. You can get something poky for a little less and then spend everything you saved on rent at the laundrette. It’s difficult to move at all on benefits.

    • Hi Trev.

      Just to reiterate your point about them being out of touch, aswell as not being on the same planet as us also I might add, I think I told you this before mate but, when I went to my ESA appeal (which I won!!!) I had just finished telling the judge how i couldn’t even afford to pay 47p for some milk, when the lovely lady representative from the DWP actually said: “If your back is as bad as you claim it to be, then why don’t you get a taxi to take you everywhere you need to go”
      As i said mate, totally different planet these robots!!!

      • Congratulations on winning your Appeal Ritchie! But it’s stupid that she said that to you, what an idiot, taxis indeed, as if. I can’t even afford buses. It really does often come down to having a few pence to your name, I know only too well. I got my JSA today and have already gone thru sixty quid this morning, and haven’t even paid Water, phone, & Council Tax yet, all of which will come to around another forty quid together. It goes nowhere!

        • Yep, I agree. I don’t know where the money goes. My savings have pretty much gone now. Every time I shop, it costs a fortune and I seldom buy anything fancy. Everything goes up except benefits. Now my ESA is going up £2 per week and my Housing Benefit £3 per week. Shelter is singing its own praises for persuading the Chancellor to raise Housing Benefit, but it’s only up by £3! What a p-take! I was getting double under Labour.

          • I know Alison, everything is creeping up except for Benefits. My Council Tax has increased by 6%, Water by 3%, but no increase to JSA.

        • Thank you Alison.

          Forgive me as since I almost died from all the Oxycontin my GP put me on, my memory has totally gone.
          47 or 49p I honestly cannot remember.
          The main point was the preprogrammed robot from the DWP thought I could afford to pay for taxis everywhere after I explained I was struggling to even buy a pint of milk.

  10. The problem with Universal Credit is that there is no real political will to oppose it.
    And as far as the Tories are concerned, they are not doing anything wrong by introducing UC. They are making people work, who might not otherwise have done so. In their view this can only be a good thing for society.
    Assuming the Tories stay in power until 2022, Universal Credit will have been introduced right across the whole country. A massive system for 7 million claimants. It has taken 5 years and £16 Billion so far, and many millions more will have to be spent completing the roll-out. To replace an operating IT system of this complexity, while retaining the simultaneous ability to pay current benefits, during the change-over period, is going to be an extremely difficult and expensive undertaking. It will take years again to undo what has been done.
    These factors lie at the heart of the Labour reluctance to call for UC to be scrapped. This calls into question the reality of the idea that as soon as they sweep into power, UC will be immediately scrapped.

    • This is true Howard. A lot of these people calling for Universal Credit to immediately scrapped don’t realise what they are asking.
      In cost terms, the write-off of what has been spent, the cost of developing, testing and installing a replacement.
      Once Universal Credit has totally replaced the old systems, and it is all running on new hardware, replacing it is not going to be easy. A new government would have to be totally committed to abolishing it regardless of cost. As a sort of national priority.
      I just don’t see that level of determination from Labour, or anyone else for that matter.

      • That is true. where is the urgency about replacing Universal Credit ? I don’t see it. We are not having any speeches about it or plans produced. Debbie Abrahams spoke out against it, on her own much of the time it seemed. And now look what has happened to her.
        More realistically, Universal Credit might be modified a little to make it a bit less harsh. Reduce the waiting times, reduce the sanctions maybe. But in the end I think they’ll mostly just leave it as it is.

        • Leave it as it is? Thomas, you sound like a Tory.

          Debbie Abrahams spoke out against Universal Credit because it was her job to do so as Shadow Welfare Spokesperson. However, I have listened to a lot of Parliamentary debates and just about every MP on all sides has a dossier of cases of constituents in dire straits as a result of Universal Credit. BBC Parliament is worth watching now and again if you want to find out who’s saying what.

          Mind you, most people don’t need to be educated by politicians in order to understand what’s wrong with welfare under the Tories. Just about nobody thinks Universal Credit should stay as it is, except the Tories themselves.

    • Howard, Universal Credit never was really about getting people into work. It’s about preventing people from claiming any State Benefits by making the process as difficult as possible whilst simultaneously destroying the Social Security system. The Tories hate the Welfare State. It was also about Ian Duncan Smith’s ego, making a name for himself as some sort of ‘Great Reformer’ whilst really punishing the poor Working Class. Universal Credit is an act of Class War.

      It’s also about hidden spending cuts that the general public wouldn’t stomach if applied elsewhere:

      https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/universal-credit-tax-cuts-real-reason-it-hasnt-been-cancelled-a8112096.html

      The only way forward is to scrap it and replace with a Universal Basic Income (which the Green Party have in their manifesto and Labour have been studying the feasibility of):

      http://basicincome.org/

      • Trev, there is very little real chance of UC being scrapped.
        Altered maybe, modified in some simple ways. But scrapped, not really very likely. Plus the whole replacement would be political chaos for whoever takes it on.

  11. You know that’s really good advice – ‘When you’re chewing on life’s gristle, don’t grumble, give a whistle.’
    There is a lot of gristle about these days, that’s for sure.

  12. Yeah. Is it likely that student grants are going to come back ? Or the railways and utilities re-nationalised ? Not really.

        • Yes but massive amounts of wealth have been transferred to the Rich and to the Private sector under the guise of Austerity, which can be taken back by a real Socialist government. Plus the Tories were miraculously able to find £16 Billion to spend on Universal Credit even during Austerity! If the public are financialy better off because of nationalized energy for example, all that money that would have gone into the pockets of the Private companies & shareholders will flow back into the economy. It makes economic sense to Nationalize essential services as well as improving them.

        • These things haven’t been private for very long. Vast sums of money are being lost to excessive pay.

      • You are talking about something that would take years to complete. Legal actions fought against it all the way, by the companies operating the railway lines and water /gas .

        • The courts and tribunals have yet to stop these punitive benefit decisions. This government has form when it comes to ignoring the courts.

          Nationalisation couldn’t take longer than introducing Universal Credit. Nor could it cost any more.

      • A word about tuition fees: I don’t like the idea of taxpayers funding excessive pay for Vice Chancellors while students start out in life with 5-figure debt. I think university should be free for British students. Not just because of social mobility but because it is a better way to run the country. Education should be a public service.

    • I expect the students have more common sense than some people on this forum. Most of them vote Labour already.

      • I’ve just been reading about Tory membership falling dramatically as lots are leaving their Party. They might have to call an election sooner or they won’t have enough members left. Meanwhile Labour membership is soaring. It’s on Mike Sivier’s blog, Vox Political.

  13. ‘The Archbishop of Canterbury has said “austerity is crushing the weak and the sick”. The leader of the Church of England is attacking the government.’
    Is it ? High time the church did more to combat this deliberate cruelty.
    I haven’t heard the Archbishop put in his poundsworth on Universal Credit either.

    • I would expect the CofE to avoid showing support for the unemployed as a fundamental part of the Establishment belief in the PWE, i.e. the belief in attaining Ascension through Work in the Light of Knowledge, which is actually Luciferian & Heretical, the notion that Man can raise himself to Heaven.

      • They won’t go too far, that’s for sure. But then look at their position. The C of E is desperate to remain the established church, in a post-Christian world.

        • Why don’t you criticise the Tories, who created this stupid system, instead of asking the Church to sort it out?

      • If you don’t think the churches are supporting the unemployed, you must be walking around with a blindfold on. Who do you think runs the food banks? Where are they held? Where do the homeless sleep all winter? In churches, of course.

        I’m Church of England and we often speak about the evil treatment of poor people under this government. Nobody that I know has ever uttered anything like what you just wrote about our beliefs.

        • And you could ask, what is the Church Of England doing about Universal Credit ? If anything ?
          We hear a good deal about sin, but what about sanctions ?

          • Like the Church is running the DWP as well!

            The Tories will blame anyone except themselves.

        • Sorry no offence intended. I have studied a lot of esoteric spiritual teachings and was addressing the situation from that point of view, having read about the deeper origins of Protestantism from its proto-Masonic roots in Rosicrucianism, Alchemy, Hermeticism, where all Knowledge stems from Lucifer (or the Lucifer S pirit, Samael, who imparted knowledge to Eve). I come from a Non Conformist background myself but after years of research lean r more towards the Salvation through Faith approach favoured by the Catholics, as opposed to Ascension through Work/Knowledge.

          I realize individual churches support the poor/unemployed on an individualb

        • Phone crashed…

          …was just going to say I realize that individual churches support poor/unemployed people on an individual basis via foodbanks/soup kitchens etc. but the church organization as a whole (which is a fundamental part of the Establishment) does not support the idea of unemployment, of people not working. You must work, you should work, you will work. Hence the PWE, which is at the heart of Western industrial development, and the reason we have Jobcentres and Benefit Sanctions and Universal Credit and back-to-work schemes, even though (confusingly) IDS hides behind the mask of Catholicism, and that’s the reason I attempted to ask the Pope to excommunicate him but the British Embassy will have clocked what I was up to and undoubtedly blocked my email from getting thru to the Holy See.

        • I also realize that what I have said will sound like the ramblings of a madman to the uninitiated (and I’ve barely scratched the surface!) but if there any 33 Degree Masons or 9th (i.e. “18th” 😉 ) Degree Rosicrucians out there reading this then I’m sure they’ll know what I’m on about.

          • Trev, there’s a big difference between valuing work and wanting the poor/sick/vulnerable to suffer.

            Fact is, the Church and the Bishops have been speaking out against the current benefit system for years. They do so in the House of Lords all the time. (I know because I listen to the Lords on BBC Parliament.)

            The clergy I know are very concerned about the system as well. So are the non-clergy who have responsibilities at church. Being a Christian is about finding value in everyone and helping those in need on a regular basis. So people who work at the church are busy helping individuals access benefits and mental health care and housing, just like Kate Belgrave at the food bank.

            I don’t know why there are so many people cursing the Church today, but I suspect they’re Tories trying to shift the blame away from themselves. Maybe it’s Liz Truss’s idea. Her uncle works for the Church.

          • Advance to the square, and through the upper portal see the light of creation.

          • Luke 18.22:

            When Jesus heard this, he said to him, ‘There is still one thing lacking. Sell all that you own and distribute the money* to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’

          • Luke 16:19-25:

            19 ‘There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham.* The rich man also died and was buried. 23In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side.* 24He called out, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.” 25But Abraham said, “Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony.

          • Luke 6:20-25:

            20 Then he looked up at his disciples and said:
            ‘Blessed are you who are poor,
            for yours is the kingdom of God.
            21 ‘Blessed are you who are hungry now,
            for you will be filled.
            ‘Blessed are you who weep now,
            for you will laugh.

            22 ‘Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you* on account of the Son of Man. 23Rejoice on that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.
            24 ‘But woe to you who are rich,
            for you have received your consolation.
            25 ‘Woe to you who are full now,
            for you will be hungry.
            ‘Woe to you who are laughing now,
            for you will mourn and weep.

          • For those of you too cool to read a book, try:

            bible.oremus.org

          • Indeed Solomon. Thankfully, however (and as I suspect you will be aware), the nature of Truth itself is not only subjective but is *progressive*, as King Darius wisely demonstrated.

    • Harold, what would you like our Archbishop to DO? We are Christians, not warriors. We don’t ride around on horseback trying to conquer those we disagree with – that went out with the Middle Ages. The Church is currently running food banks and night shelters all over the country, filling in all the gaps left by the demise of the Welfare State. Show some respect and gratitude, rather than blaming the Church for the failures of the Conservative government. The Tories are responsible for their own behaviour, not the Archbishop of Canterbury.

      • He must take a lead in these matters. It’s not all about church services and wandering about with that staff thing he carries.

        • It’s a little difficult to take a lead when you don’t run the country!

          Who shall we criticise next? There are few rabbits in Kent who haven’t spoken out against Universal Credit.

          • But he is the spiritual head of the church. Surely it is up to him not only to condemn the welfare cuts, but all the other abuses suffered by the disabled and homeless ?

          • He’s always condemning all that, in the Lords and at the Synod. It just never gets a mention in the media because they’re obsessed with Russia and Brexit. Have a watch of BBC Parliament.

          • That is so typical of Kent Rabbits. Sit around all day eating grass, not the least bit concerned about anyone else.

          • Snoozing in their little warrens while working humans have to go to work to pay rent on their little blades of grass (probably worth a £million these days).

          • If Iain Duncan-Smith had his way, the rabbits would wait 10 weeks for a blade of grass.

          • Theresa May has not spoken out against Universal Credit – and she’s a vicars’ daughter.
            (Isn’t there a rhyme about that ? )
            But then again Duncan Smith was a practising Catholic.

          • I don’t understand how they can do these things to people and still consider themselves Christians.

          • Those of the Ruling Elite who outwardly profess to being ‘Christian’ secretly adhere to the Luciferian doctrine. We are all the unwitting subjectsof a huge Alchemical experiment stretching back over many centuries. The Vessel has been created, and is being Cleansed, the Wedding garment is under construction, for they know that the Bridegroom cometh!

          • I don’t think so, Trev. They’re just heartless and clueless.

          • Country run by a vicar’s daughter,
            But we can’t afford the water…

  14. A whole new group of humans has been sleeping in our church during the cold weather. It’s a bit concerning as we mice like to have the run of the place after dark, when the humans have usually gone. Then is the time to get out and scout around for any tasty morsels that may have been left about. But with these new humans sleeping here, frankly you have to keep one eye open, in case they wake up. But I do wonder, why are they left to sleep here in the church ? Have they done something wrong ? There are many mysteries in human behaviour I always think. Still must go, I think I’ve just spotted a small piece of bread.

    • Harold, don’t take it from me, take it from Churchmouse. The Church has been helping the poor and we’re all wondering why the government does so little to help and so much to make things worse.

      • Just wondered really. Am a believer myself, but have to admit I have never actually seen one. Have a friend who swears he saw something, then it went into cloud. He looked for ages, but didn’t see it come out again, weird.

        • I don’t want to elaborate too much as it’s wandering too far off topic and this is not a UFO forum, but yes they are definitely out there rest assured. I’ve had 3 sightings, all very different objects, all at low altitude, inc. 2 in one day about 15 mins. apart, one of which was huge and in the distance (in broad daylight) & another much smaller directly overhead no more than 100ft high. Unmistakable. And I don’t care what anyone else thinks, I know what I saw.

          • Too many foreign objects coming into our country. Let’s build a wall!

            (Joke – ha-ha!)

          • Haha yeah, Trump would like that. It would have to be some sort of Psychic firewall though, the sort of thing Gerald Gardner & his chums were doing against Hitler, as I think they (the UFOs) are coming from another Dimension, so conventional methods are useless, they run rings around our fastest fighter jets whenever they’ve been chased our fighter pilots are unable to get anywhere near them.

          • What do these UFOs look like? Perhaps God sent some angels to watch over you.

          • Ah well, maybe some of them are akin to ‘Angelic’ and therefore we don’t need to fear them as they are here to help and assist Mankind. But then there’s others who attack people and tear their trousers or abduct them. Their appearance varies.

          • Trev, are you asking me to believe that you saw a hand reach out from a flying saucer and rip someone’s trousers?

            The Hand of God ripped the temple curtain in two when Jesus was crucified.

          • Haha, no, it was a Scottish forestry worker who was attacked by a UFO in 1979 ,which rendered him unconscious & tore his trousers (Dechmont woods encounter aka Livingston UFO).

            You’re on to something with the tearing of the Veil though. My theory is that the UFOs exist in the 4th Dimension, we in the 3rd (ie 3D physical reality) & the two dimensions are merging since the Veil between them was torn, thats why we’re seeing the UFOs.

            The word ” veil” was also used by Rev. George Vale Owen in a series of books he wrote around 1918, published early ’20s, entitled ‘Life Beyond The Veil’, nothing to do with UFOS but about life after death, a similar concept though of worlds separated by a ‘veil’, well worth a read, you can get them in paperback on the net, I’ve got all 5 volumes, I’d lend u them if u lived nearby. He had to resign from the CoE after they were published.

  15. Jeremy Corbyn is plotting to ease the process of ousting local MPs who oppose his leadership and restrain the powers of unions, one of his closest allies has revealed.
    #StalinistPurge

        • Well, I think it’s just a question of approach. Sometimes the unions can be rather independent to say the least. Perhaps not always seeing the broader political situation in context as it were.

          • The fact is that our ancestors fought hard for the Right to form Unions, all the struggles of the past like ‘Peterloo’ and the Lister’s Mill Strike are the reason why we need to protect the power of the Unions and no Labour MP should ever forget that, otherwise there’ll be wage cuts, sackings, no Health & Safety, and a return of child labour like there was in my grandfather’s day – he worked in a mill from the age of 11, I still have a copy of his Labour Certificate dated 1902.

    • Well the right of the party have purged us of Christine Shawcroft and Debbie Abrahams already, and they still have their sights on Jeremy Corbyn.

          • Joke, Tony?

            Debbie is popular with the left. It’s the Tories who don’t like her for speaking out on suicides.

  16. ‘The best way to take control over a people and control them utterly is to take a little of their freedom at a time, to erode rights by a thousand tiny and almost imperceptible reductions. In this way, the people will not see those rights and freedoms being removed until past the point at which these changes cannot be reversed.’ Adolf Hitler – Mein Kampf

      • I think to the general way in which the Tories have used their austerity programme as a cover to reduce people’s rights and expectations across the board. The so-called ‘welfare reforms’, the imposition of Universal Credit. The cuts to Employment & Support Allowance, the whole Work Capability Assessment system. Legal Aid, now almost completely gone. The covert privatisation of the NHS, etc.
        In every sphere of life people have lost rights and entitlements that previous generations took for granted.

    • Exactly. That’s way Human Rights and Employment Laws are important & necessary, and why we need to guard against those who would restrict the power of the Unions. It’s also why there should be a robust safety net to Social Security and why Benefit Sanctions and Mandatory unpaid work should be scrapped.

  17. Unfortunately there still doesn’t seem to be any mass support for abandoning Universal Credit. Or for reversing the ESA cuts of £30 a week.
    It will be interesting to see how much support there is for the planned demonstrations against UC in April.

    • Agree. Maybe people are disillusioned with the whole process of demonstrations. It’s no good just a few scattered protests here and there.

      • April 18th isn’t it? Think I’ll go down the Jobcentre that morning & see if there’s anything happening.

          • So you’re expecting people to turn out in large numbers on a Wednesday morning? Trouble is, people work and have school.

            Also, how did you all find out about this?

          • It’s being organized by dpac (disabled people against cuts) with a demo in London and theyre urging others to organize their own demos around the country. I can’t post the link on this crappy phone but think it’s dpac.UK.net then youll have to find it on there. There’s a poster to download/print. If I can make it library this aft i’ll post a proper link. I don’t know where in London, think it might be Westminster? I also don’t know if there’s any demo organized at my job centre but there might be as SWP often protest outside.

          • Thanks for the link, Trev. Several pages in, it says meet 11am outside the visitor entrance to the House of Commons on 18th April.

            The publicity for this is really poor, it is in the morning on a work and school day, it isn’t a large march but a small gathering outside Parliament, so people MUST NOT judge public opinion based on something so small, poorly-timed and little-known.

            Personally, I have been on several large Saturday marches and one small Thursday-morning demo, but there’s a limit. I have another activity on a Wednesday. I missed this year’s NHS march because I had volunteering at the same time, even though it was a Saturday.

            If you’re free and motivated, please do attend. I’m sure you will make a big difference. But it really doesn’t compensate for the use of your local MP and the ballot box. There are a few noisy people shouting about things outside Parliament all the time.

            Politicians judge public opinion on the basis of numbers of people writing to them and visiting them about certain issues. They place far more value on a letter/email in your own words than an email from you but worded by someone else.

      • When and where were these supposed demonstrations against Universal Credit, David? We can’t show up to things if we don’t know they’re taking place.

  18. Yep, if it’s just going to be a few small demos here and there, the Tories will just do nothing. Look what it took to get even a week taken off the Universal Credit waiting times.

    • Well do us a favour, then, and post a few internet links and venue details with your comments, so that we have the opportunity to attend if we want to, are free and are feeling up to it.

  19. “The problem is the hovering suspicion that somehow the people behind Jeremy will take over the party and run it in a way which we find unacceptable,” Lord Hattersley said.

    • Ummmmm and I wonder why Trev??!!!!!

      Obviously if you have money my mate, you’re very well protected by the very very Corrupt government of this once great country as they look after “their” own & not those who they’re “supposed” to represent.

      How does that saying go?
      Oh that’s it – “Crime doesn’t pay” what a joke that is!!!
      Well it obviously does pay because I would say most MP’s & especially Tories, are all criminals that unfortunately for the likes of you, me & millions of those other disabled etc, in this “Shithole” of a country will never get to see the justice that I would soooooo love to see & that’s seeing every single one of these Bloody Bastards spending hard time inside behind bars!!!
      How fcuking very dare they claim expenses for a “second home” when there are people dying on our streets FFS, I would be not only embarrassed but totally ashamed To do any such thing!!!
      And apart from being dirty disgusting perverts, being guilty of sexual harassment, tax evasion etc, etc, etc, their biggest crime is the crime they’re committing against humanity!!!

      • I agree Ritchie, this government is very corrupt, taking big donations from Billionaire Russian Oligarchs up to their necks in money laundering, whilst Rees Mogg has £90 Million stashed in dodgy Russianbanks, and doing nothing despite their tough talk about stopping Tax dodging, then they have the cheek to smear Corbyn with false allegations!

        • Can I have some of your £90million, Mr Mogg?

          Too true that they smear Corbyn unfairly. I’m sure he’d share his fortune if he had one!

          • One of those Banks that Rees Mogg has Millions invested in is currently blacklisted & under EU & US Sanctions for moneylaundering.

          • As I said, nearly every single one of the current MP”s are just completely Corrupt & deserve to spend time inside for all of their crimes, especially against humanity!!!

            There should be something the great British public can do to send every one of these scumbags down for a very long time but we all know it will never happen!! It just shows how very Corrupt this once great country has now become.
            They should all be ashamed but yet again, they obviously won’t be, we all know that!!

            Hopefully one day there will be a political party that fights for the people that put them there & not for their own gains, as we currently have!!!! Hopefully it will be soon as the people of this once great country have now suffered enough!!

      • Yes, Ritchie. How are we to believe austerity is a necessity when they’ve been claiming “expenses” for moat-cleaning and duck-houses? What a surprise there’s no money left!

        Not to mention David Laws claiming £42,000 of “rent” to give his investment-banker husband and then blaming it on his gayness.

        • The MPs & their mates get away with fiddling thousands yet the law comes down hard on “Benefit cheats”. I know a guy who cashed in an old works pension, it wasn’t a fortune, he got £12000, but he didn’t tell the dole, anyway they found out a year later when it came to light through Tax records, he got Sanctioned, & prosecuted for Fraud, fined, & ordered to repay £10000 in Benefits, plus Community work, Probation and a Suspended jail Sentence – just for cashing his Pension!

          • So if he got that Trev, then what should all the MP’s avaiding tax get, I mean REAL cheats mate, those who take the Piss daily.
            I don’t know about you Trev but, I’m 50 & worked every single day of my life from aged 14 plus 7 days a week at times to make ends meet etc, but when I needed help when I couldn’t work, I was treated as a criminal!!!!
            I couldn’t understand why or how at first mate but, now I know exactly why!!
            It’s because this useless government led by a really Piss poor leader just wants rid of people who can no longer contribute to their own ideology mate. Even though I paid 40% tax for the late 4yrs I worked, that doesn’t count. I long for the day these idiots are just taken out & a party that actually cares & represents everyone is elected Trev!!!!.

          • I’ve had a chequered work history Ritchie, but have done my share of graft, 7 days a week on a fast paced production line, constant overtime, do the hours we say or you’re down the road, or my time in the mill, a 12 hour night shift in a weaving shed with no tea breaks, & on building sites mixing cement or concrete, digging holes & shovelling shit, up & down ladders carrying concrete blocks/bricks/stone etc. Bloody donkey work. Mowing lawns, painting restaurants, done all sorts. But those twats in the Jobcentre don’t have a clue. They send people like me on “work experience” schemes & unpaid placements like I’ma school leaver.

          • Yeah, the twats can’t work out if 12 hours night shift counts as experience! Makes their brains hurt… Their pens go on strike… I mean what do they do all day, except sit on their @rses making dumb rules?

          • The Weaving job was horrendous, both highly stressful AND boring at the same time! Plus anti-social shifts. Nightmare. Some people take to it, but I didn’t. I think I’d rather be homeless than have to do that again. I think I’m still traumatized by some of my past work experiences, probably a form of PTSD but there’s little point trying to get a doctor to appreciate that.

          • Managers should not be allowed to exploit their workers like that. There should be a law against it. What happened to our workers’ rights?

            Fat lot of good the EU did!

          • I know. 12 hour shifts with no tea breaks. That was in the 1980s, but the same thing is still happening in themassive Warehouses at Grimethorpe S. Yorks. which the agencies in my area are constantly recruiting for. You have to walk 10 miles on each shift whilst picking orders & pushing a trolley, and no tea breaks. People are literally collapsing on thej

          • I heard about what happened at Sports Direct: agency workers peeing in bottles and having babies in the toilet. It’s Dickensian.

            What also made me mad was the way the Polish people were made managers over the British people, so the Poles could fire the Brits and steal our jobs.

            In London, there was a high-end soap boutique that hired Bulgarians as “self-employed”. They worked long hours giving shoppers a free pampering, but they only made any money if they sold the luxury soap. The hours and conditions were set by the shop managers, so they weren’t really their own boss. They only earned something like £1 per hour.

          • I’ve never bought anything at Sports Direct since the scandal broke. Nor at Argos, which uses the same employment agency.

            I used to walk into my local Sports Direct, look at something and wonder if someone touched it after peeing in a bottle. Most high street chains are less than holy, but I couldn’t overlook what I’d seen/heard about Sports Direct. I couldn’t bring myself to spend any money there when I KNEW it would be paying for those employment practices.

            Now, that shop has closed down.

          • Those massive warehouses I mentioned in S. York’s. do work forASOS & Amazon. Conditions there are appalling. People are literally collapsing on the job, and are then fired. The Jobcentre sent me for an interview but thankfully I was rejected by the agency doing the hiring.

          • It is appalling, Trev.

            1) How did we lose our employment protections so fast?

            2) The government is fuelling this practice by using the Jobcentre to push people into these jobs. Otherwise, people wouldn’t take these jobs. The Jobcentre ought to take the view that these jobs are bad because they don’t give people better conditions. They should encourage people to wait for something better.

            3) I don’t use ASOS or Amazon for the very reasons you describe – and more:

            I’ve heard so much about ASOS being generally bad that I never buy from it.

            I see Amazon drivers working in my area and it is obvious that their employment is poor. Also, I don’t believe in competition with Royal Mail. I believe that post and parcels should be a public service, not a business with competitors.

            I want to support the good employment practices of Royal Mail. My local postman has been out of work with a bad back for months, but he still has a job.

            It is bad for the environment to have lots of different companies with different vans delivering to the same addresses. Royal Mail has one van for everything big and everything small gets delivered on foot.

            I remember when we had Whistle/TNT delivering letters in London. Staff were known to be on zero-hours contracts and some of them did a poor job, e.g. delivering to wrong addresses and leaving all our post in a heap on the ground floor instead of delivering to each flat. Somewhere in North London, two sacks of TNT letters were found at the bottom of a canal! You can imagine one of these fly-by-night temps signed up for the job, threw the post, took the pay and ran off.

          • From Mike Sivier’s blog, Vox Political, this:

            “Poor-quality jobs are bad for your health. Why are they the only jobs our Tory government can find for us?”

            https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2018/04/10/poor-quality-jobs-are-bad-for-your-health-why-are-they-the-only-jobs-our-tory-government-can-find-for-us/

            Taken from:

            The London School of Economics

            Is any job really better than no job at all?

            http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/is-any-job-really-better-than-no-job-at-all/

            “People working in poor quality jobs have higher levels of chronic stress than those who are unemployed.

            We followed up a cohort of over 1000 unemployed adults who were representative of the population of unemployed adults living in the UK in 2009-10 from the UK Household Longitudinal Study. We then compared what happened to the health and stress levels of those who remained unemployed and those who got jobs of both good and poor quality.

            Unsurprisingly, those who found work in good quality jobs had a big improvement in their mental health. Moreover, those with any job, whether it is a good or bad job, had a bigger increase in their household incomes than those who remained unemployed.

            However, contrary to the “any job is better than no job” assumption, we found that the improvements in the mental health of formerly unemployed adults who became reemployed in poor quality work (with two or more adverse job measures) were not any different from their peers who remained unemployed.

            More significantly… those who were working in poor quality work actually had higher levels of allostatic load (chronic stress-related biomarkers) than their peers who remained unemployed.

            We also examined the possibility that the unemployed adults who subsequently were employed in poor quality jobs had worse health and more stress at the start compared to their peers who remained unemployed. But this was actually not true. As many others have found, there are strong selection pressures into employment, and healthier people are much more likely to find work (any type of work, whether good or bad) than unhealthier people.”

          • I love the picture of Jeremy Corbyn beside a rainbow at the top of the Vox Political article! It says everything, doesn’t it?

            (Progress/Stay in Labour have been quiet for a few days!)

            It is concerning to read that employment conditions have GONE DOWN since the 1990s.

          • You’re right Trev they don’t have a clue.
            As long as they tick the boxes mate, that’s all they’re interested in!

          • Too right, Ritchie, there should be a proper punishment for those who take the p daily.

            Bring on Prime Minister Corbyn!

          • He should have told the dole, but they’ll take any excuse to hammer the unemployed.

          • Yes, as the rules stand he should have informed them of a change of circumstances relating to the amount of savings he had, but I think money from Pensions from a job years ago ought to be exempt, especially for a relatively small amount. He had earned that money by doing a potentially dangerous job working with chemicals at ICI, which could still possibly affect his health in the future.

          • It’s the savings, isn’t it, Trev? If you have more than £16,000 in the bank, you can’t claim anything.

            I won a payout from my work a long time ago. I had to go off benefits until the rent had eaten up all but £16,000.

          • Last time I looked I think it said the savings limit is £5000 for JSA and £15000 for Housing Benefit, but they keep changing itand I have no ideaat the limits are under Universal Credit (not that I ha evany savings) pphones gone dicky again p aaaarrghh

          • Yes, the rate of dole/sick reduces above £6,000 savings, but you still get something.

          • You never know, Trev. A long lost relative might die and leave you a fortune. Or one of your extra-terrestrial/alien friends might send a tidy sum to you in the back of a UFO.

          • Haha yeah, I wish. I sometimes think it would be nice to receive an Apport, a gem stone or a gold chain or maybe a few old Sovereigns, simply appearing out of thin air & dropping to the floor at my feet. It does happen, but hasn’t happened to me yet.

          • God sent bread down from the sky when Moses was wandering around in the desert with the Israelites.

  20. Even now, with all the terrible things that have happened, there is still no great public outrage about these austerity cuts. Some regret perhaps, but not the real anger that there should be. It will be interesting to see what happens on the 18th April with the demonstrations against Universal Credit

    • well, sorry to be a party pooper but I doubt anything much will happen on the 18th, apart from a nuclear Apocalypse in the Middle East perhaps.

  21. Trev, interesting theory about the 3rd and 4th Dimension. But surely entities from the 4th Dimension would not be able to materialise here ?

    • Who knows? I think I read somewhere (some Spiritual teachings or other, can’t recall which) that they are able to slow down their vibrations to enter the world of dense matter that we occupy. A medium I talked to at the Spiritualist church told me that they are “higher frequency Beings”, and a nun at the local Buddhist centre said they are on a different plane or wavelength to us but not higher. So take from that what you will!

      • Why the Spiritualists? What’s wrong with a normal church? We believe in Heaven and Hell. No dimensions.

        • Oh well, each to their own. I’m not a member of any church as my views & beliefs differ from the official dogma.

          • I’m sure a lot of what we call ‘ghosts’ are cross-overs from another dimension.

          • Absolutely. I think the Tories inhabit another Dimension too, they’re certainly not fully human.

          • Definitely not human!!
            I have experience of that & I honestly
            believe they’re Robot’s. They cannot be anything else can they???

          • Maybe your UFO’s were from the Jobcentre! Maybe they hadn’t finished with you at your last grilling. Maybe they were coming to check up on you!

  22. An organization called The Welcome Centre that runs a foodbank in Huddersfield has released a statement linking the rise in use of foodbanks to the roll-out of Universal Credit:

    “How has the roll out of Universal Credit impacted The Welcome Centre?

    Since 1st January 2018 we have already received 469 referrals from clients on Universal Credit compared with 138 Universal Credit referrals in the same period last year. This is a staggering increase of 340% and places a huge demand on the food bank to provide the food required. ”

    https://mailchi.mp/a125f0fab185/food-packs-are-going-out-faster-than-ever-before-but-why

    • So our Prime Minister should spend OUR money on people at the Welcome Centre, instead of wasting it on missiles/foreign wars that only serve to massage Trump’s ego. We never even voted for Trump! I can’t believe she knows our democracy doesn’t want her to go to war with Syria, so she decides to act like a dictator! It takes the p really.

      IF WE DON’T HAVE ANY MONEY FOR OUR NHS AND OUR WELFARE STATE, HOW IS IT THAT WE CAN PAY FOR FOREIGN WARS??? We pay tax for OUR country, OUR welfare state, OUR healthcare….

      How can our Prime Minister go round the world advocating Western-style democracy if she ditches democracy at a whim in order to take us into a war she knows we won’t vote for? Anybody else angry about it?

      • Lots of convenient smokescreens to take up news space & distract attention away from failing domestic policies. They are not telling us the full truth of the Salisbury case either, I get the feeling there is a massive cover up going on. Meanwhile, the people in this country are poverty, hunger, debt; destitution, homelessness, and unbearable pressure & harassment from the Department for Worry & Persecution. When will this nightmare ever end?

        • It was a black day for this country when they started on this austerity crap. And what has any of it done except made things worse ?

          • @ Bert
            It has increased the wealth of the richest people in the country by 300%, that’s what it has done, and killed off at least 50,000 poor people in the process.

          • We were told there was no money left, so I lost half my Housing Benefit. But they found money for everything they wanted to do, from tax cuts to foreign aid. Now the economy is booming and debt is down. Do I get my Housing Benefit back? NO! Of course not! I get a rise of THREE POUNDS A WEEK!!! My rent is £820 a month.

            Long-term gain? Where? I have no savings now because I’ve been trying to pay the blasted rent. The only people who gain are the politicians and the rich.

            Government cut OUR public spending, but they never cut foreign aid, not even by a penny.

          • No money left, the country’s skint, but they somehow found £16 Billion to squander on Iain Duncan Smith’s over-ambitious and completely deluded vanity-project Universal bloody Credit. And I wouldn’t say the economy is exactly booming.

      • Absolutely!!!!
        I long for the day I see this PM & the rest of her followers spending time behind very thick bars for her & their crimes against humanity!!
        This country has now become a joke & I really am embarrassed to say that I’m English. Totally embarrassed by this joke of a country!!!!!! Ashamed is an understatement!!!

        • The country has gone to the dogs & Society is falling apart at the seams, all thanks to Tory policies. And it will be even more embarrassing when the truth about Salisbury comes out, if it turns out it wasn’t Russian nerve agent aND both May & Johnson are forced to apologize & resign. Whilst in the meantime people here are going hungry, unable to pay rent/bills, the homeless are dying on the streets & the crime rate is soaring. What a monumental mess this shambles of a government has created.

          • And yet so many working people read the Sun every day, and vote Tory on principle.

  23. There won’t be any real changes until either we start getting mass protest, like the Poll Tax days. Or the Tories lose the election.

  24. Rt Hon Frank Field MP, Chair of the Committee, said:
    ‘Sanctions are an important part of any benefits system but they need to be applied proportionately and fairly and to account for individual circumstances.’

    And this man is chairing the so-called enquiry into benefit sanctions !
    Routine sanctions have no place in a genuine benefit system, and for many years were practically unheard of under the old JSA regime. Only for things like deliberate fraud and violence against DWP staff etc.
    Frank sold-out years ago to neoliberalism and the new regime.

    • First time I ever heard of Benefit Sanctions was when Blair introduced the 13 week New Deal programme. Neoliberalism at its best.

    • David, I agree with you on this one. If you sign on, you should get your dole. Simple. It would be far cheaper for the taxpayer than all this recondider/appeal/apply for hardship. It would also save a lot of money currently spent on pointless back-to-work schemes, e.g. A4E. But the most important reason is that it is humane, a true safety net.

      • Very true. But this all goes to the real reason for a lot of these sanctions, and their sudden importance to the system.
        Command and control of the unemployed. Because under the new rules they will be forced to do a lot of things that they don’t want to do voluntarily.

        • I know Terry, at the moment they’re pressuring me to go on the Work & Health Programme for 15 months.. I’ve been resisting for a while but they won’t take no for an answer, and it becomes maNdatory this month so I’ll be forced to do it or get Sanctioned. If I had any savings or other source of income I’d tell them to fuck off & stick it up their arse.

          • Trev, you describe the ideal location for the Worry & Hell Programme.

            Alternatively, chop it up very finely, set fire to it, then eat it when your money stops.

      • The Tories don’t give a damn about the safety net. They’d much rather people walked a financial tightrope without one.

          • Tory types don’t have a good track record when it comes to animal welfare – Fox hunting, badger culls, grouse shoots etc. They’re not known for their empathy, for people or animals. I think it was Ghandi who said that a Society can be judged by how it treats its animals. Thank God Jeremy Corbyn is a vegetarian! Hope the poor dog is alright, and at least your acquaintance has quit the Tories, so there is hope.

          • Yes, the dog is OK. He just hacked momentarily. I’m sure it must be very distressing for him, though.

            You’re spot on about lack of animal empathy. I begged my acquaintance to be gentle with the dog, but he only responded by BOASTING about a series of animal cruelty things he’s done in his past!!!

            If he hits the dog, I’m sure he hits the wife and boys as well.

          • I wouldn’t associate with someone like that. He wants reporting to the Police or RSPCA. Sounds like a psycho.

  25. Another day, another Jeremy. Only this time it’s Jeremy Hunt.
    7 luxury flats that he suddenly remembered about, and should have declared.
    Question is what is going to happen now, anything at all, or just business as usual ?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.