All hail the DWP – actively making it near-impossible for people with no money to start or keep work

Talked to two people about the above while leafleting with Stockport United Against Austerity at Stockport jobcentre today.

The first woman had just got a job as a careworker – but the jobcentre wouldn’t pay £60 for the fastrack CRB check she needed. With that fastrack CRB check, she could start work in about a fortnight. Without it – she wasn’t sure what would happen.

That £60 was a lot to her – “it’s about a week’s JSA,” she said. That kind of money is make or break for a lot of people. This woman was heading into the jobcentre to argue the toss again.

The second woman was in part-time work. She needed Personal Independence Payment for support because she had severe epilepsy. She was finding it impossible to get PIP, though. She’d had a lifetime Disability Living Allowance award, but government, of course, cancelled lifetime DLA awards and forced those DLA recipients to apply for PIP.

She made a PIP application – and had been waiting three months to find out whether or not she’d receive PIP. She was still waiting. The DWP had told her the wait would be longer. The stress of the wait and not having enough money was making her epilepsy worse. She’d had to cut her hours down, because her health was deteriorating badly.

So it goes at this end of austerity. Government likes to say that anyone who signs on is a loser and a wastrel by definition. In fact, government and the DWP play an active role in making sure that people who have nothing crash out entirely. It really does feel like that.

229 thoughts on “All hail the DWP – actively making it near-impossible for people with no money to start or keep work

  1. The DWP are useless on providing courses now, it’s all been cut back to the bone. In my local jobcentre they are advertising Taxi-driving jobs, but refusing point-blank to provide any sort of training towards getting a driving licence.
    Same with HGV driving. You can apply for all the truck-driving jobs you want.
    But the only training courses are basic IT, food hygiene and of course Active Plus.
    The military motivation course. Otherwise it’s fund your own training, or get stuffed. Pure DWP.

    • Yes I’ve found the same recently with people having to pay to get their CRB checks and badges to work as security guards… that comes in at around £250 or something like that. These things should be paid up front by the jobcentre as a matter of course. Are they actively trying to exclude people from the workplace. There are times when I seriously wonder

      • Kate, they would much rather people went round to the local supermarket for a zero-hours contract. This is the way it’s going on Universal Credit. First shove off and take any rubbish job, then you can get something better later on.

        • Paying £250 for the prospect of a job is a rip-off, really.

          Try your local adult college for courses. I went on a start-your-own-business course free of charge at the local college because I was on benefits. In my view, the quality of the courses at the colleges tends to be better than what you can get through the Jobcentre.

  2. Free crb checks, photo id , and free public transport within 90 minuets travel as required by the DWP criteria with a month run on once secured employment would be more help than those pointless CV factories, they get funding why not divert it to real help.

    A lot of people who have been unemployed for a year or more live hand to mouth and find the first month difficult to get through when starting work but DWP stop support immediately and folk find themselves back to square one when they have no wash powder, toiletries, bus fares, food to keep up with the increase in activity.

    Any interview I get due to my location will always involve at least £5 travel costs and that is 2 days food for me, jcp will reimburse the fare but I need it ASAP and it costs a further £5 to get to the JCP for the reimbursement, so I have to wait until my next signing on period which is no help at all.

    Like Jeff said they will not invest in money in help towards gaining extra or new skills, especially if you are over 24.

    Took me months to finally get a provisional driving licence to increase my range and opportunities but it is financially impossible to pay for the test and loan of a car, all the pleading in the world for that one bit of real assistance I know would me get off the merry go round falls on deaf ears, but “would I like to improve my CV we have a course for that”

  3. I’ve experienced this kind of “Penny-wise, pound-foolish” attitude from the DWP myself. After I became jobless, I needed to pay my subscription to a professional society in order to keep my professional accreditation (acquired after 3 years of very difficult exams). The subscription fee was approx. £250. I was told it was not DWP policy to pay this type of fee. I lost my accreditation, which ultimately means I can no longer label myself by the official chartered professional designation, and can therefore no longer get the type of job I used to have.

    • Dumbing-down is another major factor with the DWP. And it is blatantly used as extra pressure on the jobseeker.
      Educated, professional claimants, whose unemployed misery, is made even worse by having to attend courses alongside people who are effectively illiterate. So the maths graduate finds himself on some providers course where he is counting little cartoon sheep in a field.
      All to answer the question, a test of numeracy, ‘How many sheep does Farmer Jones have in his field ?’

      • I’ve seen graduates, and older claimants, virtually in tears with some of the stuff they’ve had to do. Like junior school all over again. The Work Programme was one of the worst for this. Lots of stupid, pointless so-called courses, all totally dumbed-down. But the providers got money for every course they could get people to do.

      • I’m told it’s the same if you’re on probation after prison. Everybody must go on a basic literacy course, whatever their previous qualifications.

        • I’ve been forced to do Basic Skills Assessment time & time again over the years, at various so-called ‘Training’ centres that the DWP have mandated me to attend, New Deal & A4e (Arse 4 Elbows) were the worst during the days of New Labour, all despite having 7 O-levels, 2 Diplomas and a Degree.

  4. There’s a lot of claimants already up to their ears in debt. Where are they going to find the extra cash for these courses ? But as Jeff has said, the whole idea now is not spending anything on claimants. Just chuck them off the dole, one way or another.

  5. People are so poor now on benefits, that what you actually get, instead of the 35-Hour a week Jobsearch crap. Is a sort of cycle of survival, with some jobsearch thrown in. Against a continual background where people can’t afford to keep charging their phone, for example. So stuff it then, no phone until the next giro. They reach a point where they have just enough money for food and electricity until the next sign-on. Who is going to cut into that paying bus fares to go round employers and agencies, and leave their kids without food ? Or risk going to an interview that they know is probably not going to get anywhere, when this means the foodbank for the family ?

    • Yes, high travel costs are a big problem. There are free passes for children, teenagers, over 60s and some medical conditions, but unemployed people doing the right thing looking for a job get hammered with full-price fares. It’s not really fair.

    • That is so true Kathy. There’s just this gap where nobody says anything about these facts. How can you keep yourself for the first month if you go back to work after a long time out of work ?
      All the old grants and payments have been scrapped. I think you can get a couple of weeks housing benefit paid now after all the recent fuss about Universal Credit. But basically there’s nothing. You might get the job interview costs back, but then there is nothing.
      No money for a month’s travel to work, your food & electricity, or any clothes you might need. Nothing at all. So how are you supposed to do it ?

      • I went back to work part-time a few years ago (which was too much for me, alas). We were paid monthly in arrears,but of course I lost my ESA and council tax rebate immediately. No savings, obviously. After 4 days I had nothing. My landlord kindly waited for the rent, but it took me ages to catch up. For food I started going to university seminars and scarfing the veggie and cheese platters that were left over. I lost a lot of weight that month.

  6. The DWP continue to deliberately ignore the financial realities of taking up new employment. Particularly for long-term unemployed people, who may well have absolutely no savings of any kind. If they do get a job, how are they going to manage until the end of the first month, when they will be paid ? There is no real help for any of this now. It was all scrapped in 2012, along with the original £200 payment to new job finders. So how would someone pay for their month’s train or bus fare, to this new job that could be up to an hour and a half away ? Or do they just walk it ? The Jobcentre won’t pay.
    How do they pay for their month’s food during this time ? What if they need clothing or shoes or work-boots to do the job ? How do they find the money ?
    Beg for it ? Steal it ? Borrow it ? Or do they find a strangely generous employer, who says, ‘Don’t you worry about that Mr. X, we’ll pay you half your first month’s salary up-front. Even if you haven’t done a day of work for us. How’s that ?’

    • Very true John. And they are doing it quite deliberately.
      I know people who have been put off applying for things, when they are flat broke. Because they think, even if I get this how am I going to keep it going for a month until I get paid ? It’s no good shrugging your shoulders. It still comes back to the question how are you going to do it in reality ?

      • The Tories have attempted to address this by making people wait months for their benefits. However, in reality, making people broke in or out of work does not resolve the problem.

  7. Oh Jeremy Corbyn please do something,
    For the poor are calling you,
    They are lost and have no money,
    And they don’t know what to do.

    They are homeless, they are hungry,
    They are living in despair,
    Oh Jeremy Corbyn please do something,
    For the poor are calling you.

    All the years of deprivation,
    Tory cruelty in this land,
    Children homeless and crying,
    Why can’t you understand ?
    Oh Jeremy Corbyn please do something,
    For the poor are calling you.

    Hearts are breaking,
    Widows grieving,
    People dying by the score,
    Tory cruelty presses onwards,
    And then they die some more.
    Jeremy Corbyn please do something,
    For the poor are calling you.

    When you sit there in Parliament,
    Opposite Tory sneers,
    Ignore their selfish braying,
    And all their cruel ideas.
    Stand up for what you know is right,
    You know what you must do,
    And remember Jeremy Corbyn,
    That the poor are calling you.

    • Oh Theresa May please do something,
      For the poor are calling you,
      They are lost and have no money,
      And they don’t know what to do.

      They are homeless, they are hungry,
      They are living in despair,
      Oh Theresa May please do something,
      For the poor are calling you.

      All the years of deprivation,
      Tory cruelty in this land,
      Children homeless and crying,
      Why can’t you understand ?
      Oh Theresa May please do something,
      For the poor are calling you.

      Hearts are breaking,
      Widows grieving,
      People dying by the score,
      Tory cruelty presses onwards,
      And then they die some more.
      Theresa May please do something,
      For the poor are calling you.

      When you sit there in Parliament,
      Among the Tory sneers,
      Ignore their selfish braying,
      And all their cruel ideas.
      Stand up for what you know is right,
      You know what you must do,
      And remember Theresa May,
      That the poor are calling you.

    • Great poem Alan, I see that hysterical millenial is still posting.
      As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

  8. Corbyn thou liest sleeping,
    While the world around thee turns,
    Stand man, be up and ready,
    Before the taper burns.
    Strong opposition confronts you,
    Now without delay,
    Rise up, set forth, gird on your sword,
    Go forward to face the day.

  9. All,

    You’re all adults here and I don’t want to have to moderate more often than I have to because I’d rather not moderate grownups at all BUT it is time that I asked if people could try to stick it to the topic rather than each other.

    A lot of you do, of course.

    I genuinely appreciate you all coming here. Your comments on your experiences of the appalling social security system we’re having to deal with are a vital part of this site and an extremely important record. Long may that continue.

    I have no problem with people expressing views which are different from my own and/or anybody else’s. I simply ask that everyone who visits and expresses an opinion keeps the personal invective down to a dull roar.

    Otherwise, I’m put into a position where I have to referee and that is ridiculous.

    Cheers, Kate.

  10. Am 59 years old always work on till 20 mouths ago because of my depression the doctor’s sign me off I was in medication still on them the my esa stop on the 4 of December 2017 I was told to claim this terrible universal credit since then for 5 months nothing but hell my benefits now have cut down to £190 per month people losing homes not eating properly for heaven sake this is England I cry most days I can’t pay my bills etc we need help my depression has got bad my attacks has gone a lot worse we need help scarp this terrible benefit
    Harriet mulcare xx

    • Sorry to hear this Harriet, the Universal Credit system is a total disgrace. Very wrong that someone like yourself is left to suffer like this, after years of working. Hope things get better for you.

  11. There is a strange sense of unreality about the current benefits enquiry in parliament. Frank Field looking on with that pained expression that he puts on.
    Like a vicar forced to hear something unpleasant.
    The system is sanctioning people who have had an epileptic seizure and missed an appointment to sign-on. there have been thousands of similar cases, including actual suicides. What did Frank Field think was going to happen in such an outrageous and cruel system, where even disabled people are deliberately punished with hunger and destitution ? It’s no good wringing the hands and looking pious now Frank, you and your mate Lord Freud were at the very centre of all this.

    • Pathetic, this false regret from Field & Co. Who was in charge in the Work & Pensions Committee when all this went down ? Who said okay to Universal Credit and all the sanction regulations, which were examined in great detail ? It was you Frankie boy.
      Who sold out every principle of compassionate socialism ?
      You again Frank. So it’s no good sitting there now pretending to be sorry. At least Lord Freud had some excuse, he was always a merchant banker.

      • So many people are in favour of a stricter benefits system until they realise that it catches out the wrong people.

        • Alison I do not think that we should judge who is worthy and not worthy when it comes to determining someone’s entitlement a basic income.

          There is just too many variables to factor in to make a accurate judgement.

          When do a few crumbs become a pile ?

          It only pushes the problem elsewhere and at far greater cost to the the public purse in the long run.

          If the humanitarian argument fails then also consider the financial costs.

          But I do not think that this present regimes nastiness is down to weeding anyone out it, I would say it is far bigger than that.

          • In a civilised society, everyone would have enough food, and somewhere decent to live.
            Be they employed, unemployed, retired, disabled, or whatever.
            Without any need for Christian moralising about who is, or is not, ‘worthy’.

      • And then some Ken ! The so-called Work & Pensions Committee is just a rubber-stamp for all of this Tory cruelty.
        Where was Frank when they were talking about punishing disabled people and the terminally ill ?
        What did he think it meant when they would have no money to live on for months ? No money for their care ?

      • Frank long ago swallowed the whole neo-liberal creed.
        Work as the great redeemer. Punishment for the idle and undeserving. He would have made a good priest. I can just see that pale mournful face, climbing into the pulpit to deliver
        a sermon on the moral virtues of work.

    • Yes, Lord Freud has a lot to answer for. He even swapped sides (from Labour to Conservative) so he could continue doing the same job! An unelected bureaucrat messing up the lives of millions.

      • No great loss to the Labour Party! He wants people to work for £2 per hour because the employer contends they have a disability. Dreadful. I can imagine my work would have tried that one on me. Employer-funded occupational health. An incentive to claim your disability affects your ability to do the job, regardless of how well you actually do it…

        McD’s employs people with learning disabilities to wipe tables. They would love to pay those people a third of the minimum wage. But why should they? It doesn’t take a genius to wipe a table! If the table is wiped, the minimum wage should be paid.

  12. DWP spends millions on luxury travel while cutting benefit claimants’ mobility

    “The DWP spent £5.2million on taxis & nearly £333,000 on business class flights between April 2013 & March 2017. They also splashed out £33,500 on 1st class rail travel. In other news, the Tories have forced 75,000 disabled people to give up their adapted Mobility cars.”

  13. Tories have set a benefit trap for carers because they hate the sick and disabled

    “The Work and Pensions Select Committee has warned that many of the UK’s 6.5 million carers face losing almost £65 a week under Universal Credit, with MPs urging the UK Government to remove the “cliff-edge” that will deter carers from looking for work or increasing hours worked.

    Under the new system, which sees a number of existing social security benefits and tax credits replaced with a single payment, family carers face losing eligibility for Carer’s Allowance if they earn more than £120 a week.

    MPs claim this is “a clear contradiction to Government’s stated aims of ‘making work pay’“, with those affected immediately missing out on £64.60 per week in Carer’s Allowance as soon as they exceed the £120 a week earnings threshold.

    Those affected also face the enviable decision of having to choose between losing Carer’s Allowance or losing free childcare for their three or four-year-old, the cross-party Committee says, because Universal Credit rules require them to work a minimum 16 hours a week.

    The Committee argues that whilst the roll-out of Universal Credit still has a way to go, it may disincentivise work for carers unless ministers recognise the problem and make changes.

    It is believed that carers save the UK economy an estimated £132 billion a year, due to providing unpaid care for family members and love-ones which would otherwise have to be paid for by the state.”

    • When I was caring for my late mother, she wouldn’t let me apply for Carer’s Allowance because it would reduce her Disability Living Allowance. For many families, it’s just the same money going in and out of different places.

      There was also a rule that you had to be caring for someone for at least 35 hours per week or you didn’t qualify. Of course, that’s only 5 hours a day, but I dare say the government has by now found a way to turn down claims on the basis that the care could be done in a shorter time.

      As for childcare, I believe that a child should be cared for by his/her mother, not placed in an institution for extended hours. Therefore, I am opposed to current government policy of requiring single parents to seek work. However, I do appreciate there is massive potential for abuse of the system if people from all over the EU can come over and claim British benefits, with no interviews or conditionality, on the basis that they look after a child.

      • Only 5 hours a day ? Who would want to be staring at a computer screen for that time, making 1-Click Applications one after another. And people have had to do this, thanks to Duncan-Smith and his ‘supervised jobsearch.’ This had to be scrapped after it wasted huge amounts of money to no apparent effect. This is all part of an attempt to normalise these oppressive conditions for the unemployed.

        • Gerald, if you read my comment again, you will see that I was talking about caring for another person for 5 hours a day, not using a computer.

      • I agree, look at all the crimes that have been committed over the years by so called professionals. Would only add that Grandparents can play a major role in a child’s development and it makes far more economical sense imo if they were allowed to take on child caring responsibilities if they so wish while the parents are free to work.
        A younger faster fitter workforce is far more productive.

  14. You know when you’re waiting in the Jobcentre and an argument starts up ? Voices are raised, and everybody looks round to see what’s going on ?
    In my JC recently, an older man who can’t have been far off retirement age, versus one of the stricter female advisors.
    Man: But I’ve come in here to claim Unemployment Benefit !
    Advisor: But Mr.X you don’t have any evidence of jobsearch.
    Man: No, you don’t understand ! I’ve just come in here to sign-on
    for Unemployment Benefit.
    Advisor: But you have not provided me with any evidence to support
    your claim.
    Man: Are you refusing to let me sign-on for Unemployment Benefit ?
    Advisor: Mr X, you have come in here asking for benefits, yet you are
    unable to provide me with any evidence of your jobsearch
    Man: I’ve had enough of this. I’m going to make formal complaint !
    He gets up and walks out, clearly angry. The Advisor, just smiles and goes to speak to her supervisor. One less to pay for.
    Never saw the man again.

  15. And it’s disgusting how they are still holding down the benefits rates for another year. Another cut in real terms. But with Brexit and everything else going on, who cares about benefit rates ?

  16. There is a leaflet you can get from my local Jobcentre, its got all the details of local soup-kitchens, church halls etc. Where you can get food. Originally it was meant to be for the homeless, but now it’s for people who have been sanctioned.

  17. Completely wrong that someone can miss a Jobcentre appointment, through no fault of their own. Get sanctioned. Have no money for food for weeks at a time, perhaps be evicted as well. It’s totally without any justice. How have they managed to do all this ?

    • Because of —-s like my neighbour who stands outside my window calling me lazy. He still hasn’t got his head round the fact I’m on SICK not UNEMPLOYMENT benefit, so he says it’s “appalling” that people like me live on benefits for years, while in his native France [unemployment] benefit ends after a year or two. (My internet says there is a subsistence benefit that goes on forever in France, but what do I know?) I submit a sick note from my GP every 2 months and I have been assessed as not fit for work and placed in the Support Group, but this neighbour of mine still believes I’m not “really” disabled.

      As a result of all this prejudice and misunderstanding, people clamour for more and more crackdowns on UK unemployment benefit, under the mistaken belief that it’s too generous.

      • Damn cheek ! I wouldn’t take that from a cheese eating surrender-monkey. He needs to remember who is was that won at Agincourt, at Crecy, at Waterloo and at Trafalgar.

        • ”We always have been, we are, and I hope that we always shall be detested in France.”

          Arthur Wellesley – 1st Duke of Wellington

          • I suppose words like Racist and Xenophobic weren’t used in the early 19th Century.

          • ”Racist ? Xenophobic ? Sergeant call the men to attention, and have that man flogged for insolence ! Good God I never heard the like. This is exactly what happens when you allow indiscipline in the ranks.”

          • And bear in mind that if we hadn’t won at Waterloo, (and Trafalgar), we would have been speaking French. After the Norman Conquest of 1066, French was imposed on this country for the next 300 years.

    • How have they managed to do all this? By stealth, over a period of time, the steady erosion of Rights, stricter rules, undermining of Unions, demonizationoof Benefit claimants, and an ever widening social divide, the old trick of divide & rule, the promotion of Individualism, all as a result of nearly 40 yrs of neoliberalism, has lead to this. A fragmented Society in a broken Britain, the war against poverty became a war against the poor while the rich got richer and nobody noticed because they were alright Jack.

      • Very true Trev. Classic divide & rule, with a compliant media to back it all up. Just look what they’ve done !
        Margaret Thatcher would have been amazed to see it.

      • It’s easy to take a tough, intolerant view on a principle of politics. Once people experience the system for themselves or through a loved one or by working with others, it becomes more personal to them.

          • I think they pay higher benefits elsewhere in the EU, but only for 2 years and only if you’ve paid into the system for a period of time directly before you claim. Therefore, school-leavers, migrants and the long-term unemployed find themselves outside of the system.
            The USA has long been known for its lack of health and welfare services. Things have improved with the introduction of Obamacare. However, there is no duty to house homeless families, so children grow up in cars, tents and motels. Food banks are a bigger part of the US welfare system than they are over here. There are also food stamps and they can be used widely to purchase a wide range of food. Unemployment benefits in the US are limited to 2 years.
            Take a look at countries like India, Pakistan, Brazil, etc. They have virtually no state welfare provision, although the family plays a bigger part of the social structure in India and Pakistan.
            Syrian refugees living in camps get no welfare unless the refugee agencies give it to them. There was a time when they were being stripped of welfare on the basis they hadn’t found a job fast enough and there was a case of a woman who committed suicide as a result. The refugee agencies started charging rent for tents and that drove many families to move to Europe. They said on TV that they couldn’t pay the rent, so the only option was to try their luck in Europe.
            In saying all this, I am not suggesting that our welfare provisions are adequate. It is important to remember that the circumstances people find themselves in differ from country to country. For example, many places are warm enough that families can live in tents on a long-term basis. In the USA, there is space for people to set up their own caravans. We don’t have much space for caravans in the UK. In much of Europe, people rely far less on shops because they can forage and hunt and fish freely, will little competition for nature’s bounty.
            Still, it is worth remembering that our welfare system is the envy of many countries in the world, where people still starve to death due to a bad harvest. The lack of affordable healthcare means that families pay thousands of dollars for dental treatment in the Middle East. That puts them at a big financial disadvantage because they end up in serious debt due to health problems. We are lucky to be able to access free healthcare here in the UK.

  18. It will be interesting to see what comes out of this Work & Pensions Committee
    inquiry into Universal Credit. Once again they’ve had a lot of evidence that would have made a marble statue weep. Sanctions, delays, hunger, despair and homelessness. But what will come of it all who knows ?
    Now there is also the problem of domestic abuse, with the payments made to the assumed male head of each household. The impossible difficulties for single parents claiming UC. The truly stupid situation for the self-employed on UC.
    When there are 7 million people on this, it is going to be absolute chaos.

    • “it is going to be absolute chaos”

      From chaos come order, a new order, a conservative dictatorship

    • it’s chaos already but yes there’s worse to come. The situation with Universal Credit CAN only get worse. It clearly needs to be scrapped, and those responsible kept out of government for ever and a day. If this shit had happened in France they would have burnt down the Jobcentres and brought Paris to a standstill, like in 1968. Here we just put up with it. Over 50,000 deaths due to Tory ‘Welfare reforms’ and still no riots. No massive media coverage, nothing much from the Opposition. No strikes. This whole Austerity thing in itself should warrant more of a response, Rebellion, besides thetrashing of our Social Security system. This country is fucked.

      • Trev, this is one of the worst parts of it all. The sense of apathy. Some people think it’s the British stiff-upper lip, not making a scene etc. We tend not to riot as much as the French for example, though we can do, as the Poll Tax showed. But then modern France was built on a people’s revolt, so their history is different in many ways.
        It’s an interesting point of national psychology. The wedding of a minor Prince and the whole country is engaged, the media, huge crowds. But the wholesale destruction of social security and benefits. The deliberate targeting of so many of the weakest in society, still goes largely unremarked.

        • You are so right Jeff mate !
          Strange really, all that’s been going on. Then suddenly its flags & beer.

          • And fair go to the Tories Jeff, they’ve almost managed to spin this cruelty so that it seems reasonable. Putting the sanctions up against fraud. So the public see some guy with a £20k fraud being sanctioned. And they think well, serve him right really.

        • Got to say the stop Universal Credit thing has not exactly caught on has it ?
          A lot of people are not on it, and they’d rather not think about it too much. Like borrowing from a loan-shark. You know some people do it, but you’d rather not get involved.

      • To be fair, though, Trev, we have a better welfare system than many other countries of the world.

        • Yes Alison it would NICE but obviously they have the wedding to contend with then all those weapons to peddle around the globe, they will not sell themselves you know.

          But yes if they said we are not amused by the way the plebs are treated I am sure the ill weak and disabled would appreciate the NICE gesture.

    • Knowing the Tories Graham, they will just keep denying everything they can. Then maybe make a few small changes. But make this out to be something really generous.

    • English En Francais

      Spotted Dick Dick Repere
      Roast Beef Roti de Boeuf
      Yorkshire Pudding Pudding du Yorkshire
      Chips (English ones) Frites Anglais
      Baked Beans Haricots Cuits a La Sauce Tomate

  19. I don’t know what’s going on here but it’s posting my comments all over the place in the wrong order! and I’m still not receiving any emails.

    • They post all my comments in the wrong order too, Trev.

      Did you get the email saying “Please subscribe” and did you then click on the link to subscribe (and let the webpage load)?

      I find I do need to see the emails to see who’s replying to whom.

  20. Labour are the only credible political opposition, and the only ones with a realistic chance of replacing the Tories in 2022.
    So it is up to Labour, however reluctantly, to get back into the whole welfare issue.
    Starting with a pledge to scrap Universal Credit.
    I don’t see any real urgency from Labour or Jeremy Corbyn about any of this. They just seem to be looking on, trying not to get involved.
    Just like Ed Miliband did.

    • Why are Labour still being so pathetic about this ? They can see from the harm Universal Credit is doing that it is no good. So why is Corbyn not making this a priority ? He’s not even trying.
      This is going to cost Labour in 2022 if they are seen to be doing nothing. Because by then the misery will be widespread.

    • I wish they would do something. I know it’s a risk politically, but things have got so bad now with Universal Credit, that Labour have a moral obligation to do something. Or at least say something about what’s going on !
      Jeremy Corbyn might not be in power, but there is absolutely nothing preventing him from speaking up about Universal Credit in parliament. He could make some strong arguments against it, if he wanted to. So why doesn’t he ? It’s really frustrating for people involved in welfare to see this apparent Labour disinterest about Universal Credit.

      • The Tories would just reply that UC is working because unemploymentfigures have fallen & it’s helping people back to work, no mention of the half a million that have disappeared unaccounted for or the 50,000+ deaths, or the half a million using foodbanks.

  21. Ken mate, Labour don’t want to get into it. They don’t want the Tories to start shouting ‘Welfare Party’ again, and start in about the economy.

    • Corbyn could reply that (regarding the economy) borrowing has increased to record levels under the Tories., & Productivity is flatlining.

      • But then for pity’s sake why doesn’t he do something ?
        It just seems to be a mystery as to why he is letting this all go past him.

        • God knows. I can only assume Labour are afraid of alienating middle-Englanders & “hard working families” .

          • Yeah but Trev, they’ll need some of the Middle-Englanders to win. That’s if they really want a working majority.

          • You’re right Barry. I just feel with Corbyn that it’s all going to be too late. Universal Credit is going to be harder and harder to replace the longer he leaves it. If the best he can offer is to just shrug his shoulders, it’s not good enough. Universal Credit has got to go, and this is important.

          • No idea either. Not heard an explanation.

            Don’t suppose the loss of Debbie Abrahams helps.

  22. There are rumours of a possible vote of no confidence in Theresa May over Brexit and a General Election, according to an article I just read on Vox Political that quotes from the Sunday Times, apparently.

  23. Meanwhile, yet another case of Death By DWP:

    “A disabled woman died from a “massive heart attack” after she was repeatedly refused vital financial support following assessments carried out by a private benefits firm, it has been reported.

    Sandra Burns, from Luton, was found dead at the bottom of the stairs at her home on April 16, surrounded by letters from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and over-due utility bills, having suffered what is believed to be a huge heart attack.

    Brother Ian told Luton Today: “She was found dead at the foot of her stairs, apparently of a massive heart attack.

    “She was surrounded by letters informing her that the gas, electricity, water, telephone and television were all in danger of being cut off.”

    “This debt and anxiety lay all around her on the floor”, he said.

    The 57-year-old, who had worked in retail for 30 years before severe back pain caused by five fused vertebrae in her spine forced her to give up working, had failed a number of benefit assessments over a five year period but successfully challenged each decision on appeal.

    The disability assessments were carried out by private firm Atos, on behalf of the DWP, who withdrew from a contract to carry out assessments for Employment and Support Allowance following a string of failures and mounting criticism.

    Each time she failed an assessment, Ms Burns found herself looking at a mountain of debts while she battled to have the harsh decisions over-turned.

    Her Brother said the difficulties of living with a chronic health condition, coupled with having to repeatedly fight for the benefits she desperately needed, caused her health to deteriorate.”

    • Very, very sad. Very, very bad. RIP poor lady.

      I feel like I’m going to pass out when the postman’s coming and I have to hold onto something. So I can imagine the stress of the post could be dangerous to someone.

  24. I hope you are right Kate. But this could be nothing more than a deliberate kamikaze threat from the hard-right Brexit or bust group, like Rees Mogg.
    Just a tactic to get no compromise on the customs union and the Irish border.
    After their last disastrous effort, it threatens the party with the spectre of Jeremy Corbyn in power. Political armageddon for the Tories.

  25. Even if May does face a vote of no confidence, and that’s not certain. She could just quietly stand down after the 1922 Committee have had a word with her. If there is a suitable replacement acceptable to the Conservative party, then they just carry on until 2022. With someone else as PM.

    • Very true Graham. The Tories are not obliged to hold an election.
      They can change leader and still stay as they are.
      If push comes to shove, May is far more likely to stand-down.

    • I don’t think anyone else wants the job. Mogg might step in for long enough to see through his Hard Boiled full English Brexit then step aside & call an election by the end of Summer. We’ll have to wait & see.

      • But they won’t want to give Labour any chance at all.
        Not after the pig’s ear the Tories made of the last election.
        It shocked them. Thought they were going to get in with more of a majority, not lose it altogether.

  26. Sooner or later the Tories always end by going too far up. Like they’ve done with austerity, Universal Credit and all the cuts.

  27. Corbyn is clearly determined to say next to nothing about welfare.
    Strangely convenient that Debbie Abrahams was taken off the case like that.

    • Very strange Malcolm. She wouldn’t be silenced more like. She was good. A determined, strong lady. You could see Corbyn & Co. didn’t like it, when she started in criticising Universal Credit.

  28. I am really struck by the plight of the homeless today,after walking through my town centre & seeing so many people sitting on the pavement begging, I feel so pissed off & angry that this is happening in 21st century Britain, so many people just abandoned by the State, unable to claim Benefits without an address, unable to get an address without Benefits, Catch 22. It’s not good enough and the MPs on their cushy £78 grand a year should get their finger out of their arse and fucking well DO SOMETHING! Why is there no fund to help people who need money upfront for Bond & Rent? People who can’t claim because they have no postal address, it’s hopeless, there’s no way out of the situation.

    • Or even at least some sort of post restente type of service whereby people can have a pigeon hole at the post office & use that as a signing address? Even that might help.

      • It is bad trev and those are the visible homeless, you can use any address as a care of address regardless if it is the same city or not, some Job centres will also allow you to have post sent there as will some charities/agencies.

        • The guy I was talking to in town said he can’t claim dole as he doesnt have an address ( & he’s not even getting Hardship payments either). He’s looking into using the Methodist Mission as an address (a charity), but I think the government should set something up so people don’t have to rely on the possibility of help via Charities. It’s unacceptable. Something needs to be done by those fuckers in Westminster who get very well paid to run the country.Someone should care enough to do something tangible.

          • This is a failure of democracy. We are are experiencing what it feels like to be in a minority.
            Fuck em all,only thing we can do is hope to survive, somehow, some way.

          • With you there Trev mate. It’s a total cock-up and the Tories couldn’t care less. What makes me angry is the way they twisted a lot of genuine concern by people to save money, to help the country. Into this war against welfare, and the working-class.
            I put my hands up to thinking there was a lot of benefit fraud and that going on. Only had to look at the TV to see it. Now it seems we we conned, and it was all so that they could destroy the welfare state and the NHS.

          • Agree Trev. Trouble is the Tories have got away with more than they ever dreamed they could. And they are determined to keep the advantage. Labour want to get elected, but they don’t want to upset the apple-cart by being too radical. And they are running scared of welfare.

          • Kate posted a piece about trying to apply for Universal Credit with a homeless person and the DWP wouldn’t accept the address of the Housing Options office. So it’s not as easy as Paul makes out.

          • Alison I was not making out anything was easy, it is practicable advice that could help someone who is homeless overcome a barrier to claiming benefits.

            I accept your point that it is not entirely ideal, but it can be a good first step.

            I also appreciate not everyone has the resources or will to fight back but knowledge is power and spreading that knowledge empowers others.

          • Nowadays, you have to prove your identity with utility bills, etc. That’s no good if you’re claiming with an address that isn’t your own.

    • They should Trev. Somebody, I don’t care who, should do something, and quick. Before any more people die.
      Or we are heading straight back to Victorian times.
      Never mind about accountants, or who doesn’t like Corbyn.
      People are living and dying in filth, on the streets of this advanced country. This wealthy country, the 6th richest country in the world !

      • And let’s face it, IF any of those homeless gys I saw today didi suddenly find themselves in the Benefits system no doubt they would get Sanctioned faster than yo u can say “Ian Duncan Smith”. The whole rotten system needs to be changed.

        • That’s right, Trev. What happens when the DWP send a letter to the address they gave with their claim? “Come to the Jobcentre” at 2.00 tomorrow or you’re sanctioned.” It’s no good if the letter goes to a building site in another town!

          Many charities have facilities for homeless people to receive their post, but of course they don’t check it every day, especially if they have mental health problems. Homeless people are disproportionately likely to be sanctioned for these very reasons.

          • Proof of posting is not proof of receipt and given someone only as a care of address and homeless it can argued on the balance of probabilities they might not have received the letter in time.

            What is lacking is there should be welfare advisors located in every JCP to prevent these issues from cropping up.

    • A deliberate situation Trev, created by people who knew exactly what they were doing. Slash and burn policies from Duncan Smith and Osbourne. Follow the American example, and reduce social security to virtually nothing. Now people are forced to work if they want to survive.

      • True, but I also think Blair has a lot to answer for as he set the ball rolling with conditionality & Sanctions with that New Deal bollocks years ago. The Tory psychos have made everything 100 times worse. And behind both New Labour & Tory welfare reforms was that twat Lord Freud. Why does Social Security have to be run like some punitive moral boot-camp iinstead of just actually helping people? All this behaviour changing ‘nudge’ bullshit, it’s worse than being at school, instead of lines & detention now you get threatened with poverty, debt, hunger & homelessness.Who do these bastards think they are? Why don’t they change their own fucking behaviour? Oh, I forgot, because they’re rich of course, so they can do what they like.

        • You’re absolutely right, Trev. People were sanctioned and starving as far back as 2007, and of course there were various conditionality schemes like the New Deal long before then. We mustn’t forget that the Work Capability Assessment was introduced in 2005/6/7, under Yvette Cooper, despite warnings about the damage it could cause to sick and disabled people.

      • The more desperate we are, the more likely we are to pay over the odds in rent and letting agents’ fees. The more likely we are to take bad jobs that make us work extra hours without pay and fire us for a bout of the flu.

      • Prison £100 per night hotel plus extras, be cheaper to the public purse to put them in a actual hotel, 2 million empty properties above shops, why not use some of the money to bring them into use.

  29. And another from the angelic Esther McVey:
    Esther McVey – who oversaw the closure of Remploy factories while disability minister then sold it off when Employment Minister – is now DWP Secretary of State and planning to means test employment support currently offered under the protected places scheme, which offers subsidies to employers who take on disabled staff.
    ‘According to documents seen by the Times newspaper, “ministers are working on a new scheme whereby disabled people would be means tested and interviewed to determine whether they deserve financial help.”

    • Yes, it’s not just about being disabled in the world of the DWP.
      It’s about being deserving disabled. Or you get no money.

      • Or, according to my French neighbour, it’s about whether or not you’re “really” disabled.

    • And remember Lord Freud thought that disabled people should be forced to work for £2 per hour. So now Fester McVile’s at it. What a shower.

  30. Who has been a naughty boy then ?
    Iain Duncan Smith to be questioned about Universal Credit by the Work & Pensions Committee on 23rd May.

    • Good! I hope he gets dragged over hot coals. I look forward to watching him squirming in his seat, breaking out in a sweat…

      • They need to have a full investigation into his personal role in all of this. And how he managed to force this cruel system on the British people. Knowing full well what was going to happen.

  31. First they came for the Communists but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists but I was not one of them, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews but I was not Jewish so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.
    Martin Niemoeller

  32. Brian Blessed unleashed a four-letter word rant at farmers and said he hopes they all died of TB in a rant about badger culling while he hosted a pig and poultry dinner.The 81-year-old actor and animal activist, who was dressed as a Tudor king, was asked what laws he would bring in if he really were monarch.
    The anti-badger cull campaigner said he would ban the killing of badgers being carried out by the Government in a bid to stop the spread of bovine TB.

  33. Haha, just seen this on a job description on Find A Job:

    …”hours and rates to be disgust”


    That’s why I got sent on Basic Skills Assessment by the DWP time and time again, then.

  34. The Work & Pensions Committee laughably soft on Duncan Smith, no real criticism of his part in all this. A few smooth put-offs from him, and he was done. Pathetic.
    He is able to get away with saying absolute tripe, such as that the ‘great’ thing about Universal Credit was that you had human contact right the way through your claim! But there has always been ‘human contact’, Duncan Smith old boy, they were called Jobcentre Advisors, and now are called Work Coaches. Naturally, he wasn’t challenged on any of this.

    • It’s clear that Labour would rather not talk about, think about, or do anything about welfare. This is so obvious now, that it is clearly a deliberate policy on the part of Mr.Corbyn.

  35. The Badger Cull is not even properly scientific. There is no control group to analyse the data against.
    In a properly conducted experiment, you would have to have four distinct areas.
    Each of comparable size.

    Area A – Where Badgers are shot
    Area B- Where Farmers are shot
    Area C- Where both Badgers and Farmers are shot
    Area D- Where neither Badgers or Farmers are shot
    ( Area D is the control group, allowing a baseline calculation for TB transmission
    in an area without these activities taking place ).

    • Professor, I can forsee a couple of possible problems with the practical implementation of this experiment, though I do entirely concur as to the scientific validity of your argument.
      It is neither logical or scientific to proceed to a conclusion based on compromised data, that merely sets out to support an existing hypothesis.

      • Would it even be possible to make an exact correlation in the methods used, between badgers and farmers ? For example, some of the target animals are being atttracted by artificial, decoy badgers. These are placed alongside known badger runs, and when the animal approaches out of curiosity, it is shot by a concealed sniper.

        It is difficult to imagine how this might directly translate to luring farmers in a similar fashion.
        Would a human-sized figure, perhaps dressed in the traditional rustic clothing of an agricultural worker, act as a suitable attractant for a human target ?
        And indeed what response could be expected from the farmer ?
        In some cases lures of food, such as earthworms, have been placed in an open area to attract badgers. The animals have a very keen sense of smell, so they soon locate these food items. At this point they are shot by the concealed sniper.

        It would be difficult, though not impossible to lure farmers using a similar method.
        Obviously earthworms could not be used as bait, as these would be unpalatable.
        However a human equivalent could perhaps be employed.
        A flagon of cider, with perhaps some cheddar cheese, a few pickles and some bread & butter, could be left on a convenient path. And might prove successful.

  36. I see that Jeremy Corbyn has committed to abolishing the House of Lords.
    It’s a pity that he won’t commit to abolishing Universal Credit.

    • I wouldn’t have thought abolishing the House of Lords was really a top priority. Still, I’m sure Jeremy has his reasons for saying what he says. I don’t know the context.

      • Alison, it’s bad. Even Labour supporters now are beginning to get restless about this. It’s not right just to do nothing.
        At least he should try. Even just that.

  37. I couldn’t care less about who is wearing a stoat waistcoat.
    What is Jeremy Corbyn going to do about Universal Credit ?

  38. ‘A Woman-Centred Approach – Freeing vulnerable women from the revolving door of crime’ – Latest report from Duncan Smiths Centre for Social Justice.
    If he hadn’t slashed benefits perhaps there would be less survival ‘crime’.

  39. It’s people who have been sanctioned, and are homeless and hungry, that should be Labour’s concern. Not who has got a peerage.

    • Right on Jack ! Got to say I’m getting a bad feeling about some of this. That Labour aren’t going to anything about welfare.

  40. Corbyn needs to be careful not to wrong-foot it on the Royal Family.
    He might not be a fan, but a huge section of his potential voters are.

  41. And Jeremy Corbyn would do well to forget all this republican stuff prior to the next election. Very unpopular with a lot of people. Easy for the Tories to paint him as unpatriotic. A certain vote-loser.

    • Now it’s Ireland. Corbyn is backing re-unification. Not a good look really. Brings up a lot more questions about his radical past. And what about dealing with things in this country, like the whole disability / welfare / Universal Credit scandal ?

  42. If Labour can’t hold the line with sensible policies, they are going to lose again.
    I don’t know why they’ve started going off in all directions. But it’s going to end up with them wrecking their own chances . Nobody gives a stuff about the House of Lords, compared with what’s going on at the moment. Same now with Ireland. Are we going to have all that IRA stuff brought up again ? Yet when it comes to taking on the Tories about Universal Credit, Labour are nowhere.

  43. It’s interesting how we hear so much venom directed against one individual trying to put things right, yet so little venom against those with the power to do anything! We know who created Universal Credit, who agreed to it and who insisted on pushing it through. It wasn’t Jeremy Corbyn!

    • I see no venom just incredulity that welfare is not top of the agenda.

      But the reality is why should it be, it is a cash cow for many and a political hot potato for labour when you consider the majority of the population still support sanctions.

      If conditionality was removed from the legislation Universal Credit after a few fixes could be a success.

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