Osteoarthritis, can’t walk up 4 flights to the flat – and no lift. How many disabled people are trapped like this?

Update Monday 6 August:

Am a little tired of being ignored by councils, so I tweeted the Islington council leader and the member for housing, and asked them to look into Ann’s situation:

The member for housing said he would:

I understand that the council has called Ann today. That’s a start, at least. We push on.

I am still waiting for responses to other questions I asked – for example, I want to know how many disabled people are stuck in flats they can’t easily leave and are waiting for accessible housing.

More updates soon.

Original post (Friday 3 August):

Islington woman Ann Sparling, 47, is trapped in her fourth floor council flat.

Ann has serious osteoarthritis in both of her knees. There is no lift in her building. She must walk down and up four flights of stairs if she wants to leave her flat.

Ann says that she finds climbing the steps impossible. So, she is trapped.

She lives in fear of fire. Ann says the fire alarm in the building went off recently, and “I was terrified about not being able to get out.”

Ann’s been asking the council to move her to an accessible flat for three years. Nothing’s happened. I asked the council for comment on this situation on Monday. Nothing’s happened there either.

The council hasn’t even sent me a general statement.

I want to know how many sick or disabled people are trapped in this potentially lethal way and what is going to be done.

Ann relies on her two adolescent children to bring the shopping and run other chores. I guess it will be up to them to get Ann out if there’s a fire.

Ann’s own doctors insist that she be moved. They say she can’t cope with the stairs and must be rehoused. Her surgeons even delayed knee surgery last year, because Ann didn’t want to return to her fourth floor flat to recuperate.

Here’s an excerpt from a letter written by Ann’s doctor this year:Letter advising of required flat move

Ann reports that the council has told her there are no suitable properties available.

Ann also says communicating with the council is a pain. Emails go unrecorded and calls to housing options go unanswered.

I know that feeling. I asked the council about Ann’s situation and council communications on Monday. I’d heard nothing by Wednesday, so called the press office again. An officer said the council had to check that Ann would permit the council to discuss her details with me. The officer said a general statement might be forthcoming. It hasn’t been. I’ve heard nothing.

I am sick of this.

I say it again.

How many disabled people around the country are stuck and isolated in unpleasant and downright dangerous situations like this?

Have we learned nothing from fire disasters such as Grenfell – you know, making sure that people are safely housed and can get out?

Why do councils refuse to respond?

Somebody at Islington council needs to get in touch with me.

171 thoughts on “Osteoarthritis, can’t walk up 4 flights to the flat – and no lift. How many disabled people are trapped like this?

  1. I’m pretty sure I’ve got Osteoarthritis in my foot, got a GP appointment in 2 weeks time but I bet they won’t give me a sick note for it even though I’m hobbling about in some pain and having difficulty walking but have to walk everywhere because I can’t afford buses, and I have to get out & about to go to Library to do jobsearch several times a week, and get to the Jobcentre etc. Apparently it’s quite a common complaint (HALLUX RIGIDUS) more prevalent in older men –

    but what can you do? It just means I can’t apply for jobs that involve being on your feet all day.

    • They might give you an x-ray or an anti-inflammatory medication. I guess they could give you a sick note so you can stay home and rest, probably for 2 or 3 weeks.

      “Doctor” Sourchimp no doubt “prescribes” cannabis.

      • You can have 2 x periods of sickness in any job seeking period which essentially means each year if your long term unemployed by filling in and handing in or posting a JSA.28 without the need for medical evidence.

        If you continue to need time off you can apply for extended period of sickness for up to an extra 12 weeks but will require a accompanying fit note from the doctor.

        And at any time during this period you can go back to JSA.

        Then you can either apply for ESA if your still ill but if your in full UC area then if you fail your assessment you will have to claim Universal Credit.

        If you do have a medical issue you can ask for them to take that into consideration and make changes to your claimant commitment / jsag the trick is to ensure your illness does not preclude you from all work, so reduced hours or jobs where sitting are still possible.

        As for your health trev I need to do an examination and full assessment of your circumstances and lifestyle before I can provide you with a roadmap towards recovery it should only take a few hours or so.

        If it is what you suspect then yes as Alison suspected in some cases cannabis can give relief for that condition.


        • Cheers! I’ll see how I go on and what the doc says. It makes it awkward though, on the one hand I need to walk about to literally get from A to B, and also for exercise, but it’s hard getting around when your foot hurts. It’s a bugger getting old.

          • It is indeed a bugger Trev. Pity you don’t live in Wales, where, at age 60 we get a bus pass that entitles us to free bus travel. I have a problem with my right knee, (I suspect arthritis, but need to see doctor for confirmation) but it’s not yet so bad that it stops me doing anything.

          • It must be absolute hellish to be trapped in indoors especially during this heat, anyone with a modicum of intelligence or even a smidgen of compassion can see they need ground floor accommodation but costs covering asses and passing the buck always come before others lives.

            In other news Ether McVey has JUST spent £200,000 pounds to find out if Universal credit is having a negative impact.

          • There’s a scheme for free travel over 60 in London, but it’s a nightmare to apply. You can only apply online. I know someone who was put off applying because it’s so difficult. It’s a shame really. If a scheme is available, it should be accessible to the people it is meant to help.

          • Wha t planet is McVey on?

            She might as well have stood outside a Jobcentre or foodbank and just handed out a Grand each to the first 200 people.

          • Same planet as neil couling director general of UC who just tweeted this,

            ” UC claimant on work experience in job centre tells whole of DWP, UC is better than JSA”

            Seriously taking the piss this language is intentional and inflammatory.

          • Exactly, Trev! Plenty of high quality studies have already shown the impact of Universal Credit and made lots of recommendations.

          • I’d suggest you tell the GP how it is difficult for you to get about. A sick note might give you time off from going to the library. In the long run, they might be able to get you some home help if the pain persists, but medication may reduce the pain before that becomes necessary.

            It might be worth looking into local charities that could give you a little help. My church supplies meals to people in a situation of crisis in the local community. If you were living round here, I’m sure we’d be happy to supply one meal a week to help you cut back on your shopping for a little while. Someone might be willing to shop on your behalf or set up a home delivery for you.

            Perhaps a neighbour might be able to do a few errands for you? I often do shopping and collect prescriptions and things like that for my neighbour. It’s no trouble because I’ll be going out anyway.

          • Well I’m not quite tha t bad yet, I’m managing but hobbling about but it’s is a bit of a scary prospect what the future might hold. Some decen t footwear might help, a pair of Doc Martins If I hadany money. Maybe when I’ve repaid my curren t DWP Budgeting Loan in about 6 months.

          • Someone at my church has osteoarthritis. It’s especially bad in his back. His NHS medication helps. He gets phases of bad pain and phases when he’s feeling better.

            Maybe you’re going through a few painful weeks with your foot. Then it might get better.

            Also, the GP may be able to help.

          • A alternative route would be to consider at this stage Cannabis based medication. Many people with osteoarthritis have found Cannabis to be useful treatment without the worry of side effects, overdosing,the long term health implications or becoming dependent on cheap nasty profit making toxic pills.

            Just saying not selling !

          • It is complicated, I resisted until I was 28 to have children as I did not want to bring someone into the world the way it was, everyday during that period in time Nuclear holocaust was never far from the mind.

            Then as the wall came down and it looked like there was a future I met someone who had 3 children from a previous relationship, 1 girl aged 3, and two lads 5 and 7 and took them on as my own.

            I became the home maker and my partner went to work, so I spent more time with them than my partner, I loved cooking,gardening camping learning and teaching and all that stuff and they did too.

            Then 2 years into the relationship I had my son, this was not planned from my side I was happy with the 3 we had but my partner felt I should have one of my own and made the choice for me without me knowing.

            We had great times as a family and though my partner broke up from me after 20 odd years by that time they had all left home.

            They all still see me as their only dad and have never seen their natural father since they were little.

            I have always told them that I would be happy for them to do so but they made their mind up years ago and not changed it.

            So I have been there when my partners waters broke, my daughters water breaking and other 2 grand kids from one son and 1 from my other son.

            Got 4 children and 6 grandchildren.

            I had a close relationship with my sons partners and they trusted me and wanted me to be there during the late stages of pregnancy and moved in until they gave birth.

            I took bringing up 3 children that were not my own seriously and they all have worked since leaving school and doing good for themselves, my own son however is the complete opposite and more like the chip off the old block.

            I am more happier and more liberated being on my own and would not swap it for another relationship.

          • Living on one’s own is indeed very liberating. I have only cohabited for a very short period in my adult life, and to be quite honest, it was the most claustrophobic feeling. I was very glad to get out of that situation. I just enjoy my own company so much, and always have had, even as a small child.

            I enjoy the company of friends, and some do visit and stay, but I find if they stay more than about three days I start to get extremely crabby and wanting my own space back.

            I’d love to be in a relationship, but I doubt that I’ll find anyone who matches my needs for time alone, as I tend to attract what appear to me a s quite ‘needy’ people, though I guess that’s just my subjective take on it, and in reality they are probably quite normal in that need – and it’s me who is a little bit different!

            My closest friend, in both terms of being a friend and in the close proximity in which we live to one another lives in a flat in the same building. We don’t see each other every day, and sometimes weeks can go by and we won’t see one another, but we both have a set of keys to each other’s flats and are just a phone call away in an emergency.

            @Alison – that process for applying for sounds quite nightmarish. No doubt designed to put people off applying – a bit like UC.

            Whilst people can apply online for a bus pass in Wales, people can also apply by post, or in person, which is what I did – it took about 10 minutes at one of the local council hubs. Most of that time was spent waiting for the pass to be printed out and laminated. I haven’t used my pass very much locally, as I live pretty centrally and I can walk into the city centre in a leisurely 15 minutes, but I did recently use it to go on holiday to North Wales using buses, as it’s accepted on most services, including the long distance TrawsCymru buses – well worth thinking about if you ever decide to holiday in Wales, as they are cheap at the best of times, and completely free at weekends!


            And that’s free for everyone, not just Welsh citizens.

          • I am the same paddi, very much prefer my own company and can only put up with visitors for short periods of time.

            Christmas is the worst time when everyone thinks your lonely and invited everywhere for dinner I just polity refuse.

            There is a minister for loneliness but I do not see it negatively I embrace it .

      • It might actually be better than ‘conventional’ treatment, which as Rev Sourchimp says, often causes nasty side effects and can be pretty toxic if taken in large doses, as well as sometimes addictive. Cannabis isn’t a cure all, by a long measure, but it has been used for the effective treatment of many ills over thousands of years in many different cultures. Not only is it a very versatile drug for the treatment of many conditions, it is a great source of fibre for clothing etc, as it needs little water, compared to cotton, for example. It can also be used to produce oil in sustainable way, replacing fossil oil, though the economics of this are probably dubious – it’s better to get energy from things like hydro, the sun, or even, as a last resort, from the wind.

        I don’t see what your opposition to cannabis is Alison, apart from the fact that it’s ‘illegal’. I’m not trying to claim that use of cannabis is risk free, and certainly smoking it, (or anything come to that) isn’t going to do one’s health much good. But the drugs that cause most harm in our society, as well as the most deaths are two perfectly legal substances, alcohol and tobacco. Many prescription drugs are also pretty suspect in the harm they do to people.

        I’m not advocating one health regime over another, but I think we need to be pretty suspicious when anyone claims that one system is better than another, and also be open that perhaps the most conventional methods aren’t neccesarily the best. Many treatments aren’t available because merely because of cost, whilst millions, if not billions of pounds are wasted because expensive and ineffective drugs are being used when those conditions could be far more effectively, both in terms of cost and in terms of health outcomes from using treatments derived from cannabis. Also, if opiates are regularly and widely used in medicine, (indeed, there are no synthetic alternatives anything like as effective in terns of pain relief) why not the cannabinoids?

        • I can only add to what paddi says by saying it all boils down to choice.

          If folk want to take toxic addictive medicines whose side affects can cause MH problems and dependency and kills millions globally then be my guest, but do not stop me from making my own choice.

          8/10 Drugs prescribed on the NHS for MH issues only work due to the placebo effect anyway so if I think Cannabis is a holistic safe medicine and it works for me after 40 years then who is to argue any different ?

          • Sourchimp, cannabis is a toxic, addictive medicine whose side affects can cause MH problems and dependency and kills millions globally.

            Medication for mental health has a mechanism of action in some ways similar to cannabis. If it is a placebo, so is cannabis.

          • Just where exactly are you getting your evidence to make these claims from ?

        • Padi, the problem with pure cannabis is that it causes mental health problems. Our hospital wards are full of people suffering the consequences. Medical cannabinoids are already legal and on sale in several shops near me. They have the psychoactive components reduced or removed.

          I’m not in favour of tobacco or alcohol. Smoking is already banned in public places and cigarettes can’t be advertised or displayed in shops. It seems bizarre to legalise cannabis if we’re already so concerned about people smoking tobacco.

          Alcohol is difficult to ban because a drink here and there is central to European life. However, I am not in favour of pubs and clubs staying open all night. Binge drinking is a big problem and we could do more to tackle it, starting with a ban on alcohol on flights.

          • There is still a lot ignorance surrounding Cannabis but dictating what other can and cannot do is causing deaths.

            For every million people in the UK 60 died as result of overdosing due to prohibition while in Portugal it is only 6 per million…. this is due to relaxed sensible drug laws.

            Road traffic accidents due drink driving go on the decline where countries have legalised Cannabis.

            It is not just CBD that has beneficial effects the whole spectrum of Cannabinoids found in Cannabis can play a part in keeping one healthy and happy and thankfully the medical profession are waking up to the facts.

            The correlation between the use of Cannabis and mental health is simply not true anything can trigger mental health problems.

            If Cannabis did cause mental health issues then we would see a rise in mental health issues parallel to the rise in Cannabis use.

            But the statistics show that as the use high strength Cannabis has risen the incidence of psychosis is falling so it is simply wrong to say that.


            Thankfully the medical profession are now also waking up to the evidence.


            If you ever met me and I had just taken high strength Cannabis you would never know I had, I operate and function normally after taking Cannabis.

            Our bodies have what is known as Endocannabinoid system if you understand that then your part way to understanding why Cannabis is so beneficial. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endocannabinoid_system.

          • Sourchimp, the incidence of mental illness is indeed increasing.

            However, as I said before, I think we need to leave cannabis for now.

          • As with many things, it’s the misuse or overuse to things that causes harm. Many legal pharmaceutical drugs have some nasty, and harmful side effects, and chemotherapy usually uses cocktails of some really toxic drugs to kill the cancer cells.

            I would suggest that you’ll find far more people on mental health wards who are there because of the stresses of modern life than because they use cannabis. The vast majority of people who use cannabis recreationally remain just fine.

            If you re-read my comment you will see that I didn’t actually recommend that people smoke cannabis, and indeed cautioned against it. Smoke inhalation is never good, no matter what the substance.

            Cannabis can be taken in many different ways. Smoking will provide a very quick ‘hit’ but by far the most enjoyable way of consuming it is to eat or drink it in some form, hash brownies being a favourite of many, or mixing melted chocolate with some well pulverised resin and letting it set and then eating it. In those forms it’s pretty much harmless and can be very enjoyable, if you’re into that kind of thing.

            Banning things doesn’t really work, just look how successful the War on Drugs has been. It’s cost taxpayers huge amounts of money for no tangible result, and the drug barons are winning. The present situation is exacerbated by the fact that people have to turn to turn to criminality to afford to feed their addiction, (not that cannabis any more addictive than coffee, and the come down from cannabis is much milder than it is with coffee). A sensible solution would be one like that being taken by Portugal. Heck, even Iran has a more joined up and pragmatic approach to dealing with drug addiction than the UK or most of the western world.

            Education and sensible rules, such as banning people who are obviously intoxicated from flights would be a far wiser policy. As for actual drinking whilst on a flight, well that can be controlled through restricting sales and prohibiting the opening of Duty Free alcohol whilst on the flight.

  2. My next-door neighbour was housebound for a week because the lift broke down. She pestered the managing agent about it until it was fixed.

    The fire brigade would say we should all stay in our homes if there’s a fire. We had brushes put in around the edges of our doors to give us extra protection.

    • I think in the wake of Grenfell the advice to stay in our homes could be quite a concern. Who knows how long the fire brigade will take to turn up, though they are usually very prompt where human life is concerned. I’d be more inclined to be concerned about the standard to which the fireproofing works had been done, and whether the work was checked by a fire safety officer after it had been done. SImilar work has been done where I live, plus the installation of very annoying emnergency lighting that seems to be always on, thus causing considerable light pollution. Granted, we need emergency lighting that comes on when needed, but it’s overkill that it’s on all the time, plus it it costs us money for the electricity used and the added pollution as a result. Also, as a result of this work, the fire extinguishers that were in place previously have been removed, thus making us feel more unsafe. All such works should only be undertaken in my opinion, with substantial and meaningful consultation taking into account the concerns and worries of the most important people in the equation – the tenants. Perhaps if this had been done the terrible tragedy of Grenfell wouldn’t have happened?

      • Yes, we also have lights on all day and night. We also lost all our fire extinguishers, on the basis that no one was trained how to use them, even though most of us have been trained at work.

  3. I would like to know how many disabled people are trapped in unsuitable accommodation or housing that is too big for their needs? I think I might ask my local council that question to see if they answer it.

    • Good luck with that, Terminator! Most councils won’t answer anything unless they’re dragged kicking and screaming.

  4. Along with asking my own local council people should install a program called MailChimp, it’s totally free then ask their council direct how many people in the local borough, with a disability are in accommodation that is unsuitable for them due to medical conditions or the bedroom tax? then the sender will know when the council reads the email and they then have a record of it as you get an email to inform you it has been read.

  5. With osteoarthritis in both knees you will be in a lot of pain & obviously need to be in a groundfloor flat/bungalow with disabled access, and probably also need a mobility scooter to get out & about. They might still say you’re fit for work though, incredible as it sounds, and have to sign on & do jobsearch etc. I’ve seen people in wheelchairs or on crutches attending my Jobcentre, there is even one woman with Turret’s who signs on, shouting obscenities as she waits, “SHE’S A LESBIAN AND SHE FUCK’S HERSELF UP THE ARSE WITH A DILDO”, I heard her shout recently at the top of her voice!

    • Perhaps she’d like a job. Perhaps she’s a skilled, intelligent woman. She could work in an office or as a cook or cleaner. I know of a guy with Tourettes who works as a builder. There’s also a guy with Tourettes who comes into my local cafe often. He does no harm with his tics.

      • Yes or maybe as a doctors Receptionist or on the checkout at Tesco, or as a Librarian or maybe in a callcentre. The possibilities are endless. A classroom assistant perhaps?

          • I don’t mean to be facetious but I would have thought the job prospects and career options of a Tourette sufferer would be severely limited,and there aren’t many jobs available anyway.Town Cryerperhaps.

          • Where I worked before, someone with Tourettes could have done filing, computer work, stuffing envelopes, distributing post, writing papers… All that’s needed is a change of attitude among wider society. Why exclude people from the workplace?

        • Well obviously librarian, call handler and classroom assistant wouldn’t be the best fit.

          She might be between jobs and claiming her contributions-based JSA. Some people want to keep working and I don’t see why she’d HAVE TO stop.

          • True,but I have met some people with disabilities who don’t want a job,not that I blame them. A couple of people I met in recent years had epilepsy, one a young man in his early 20s who thanked his lucky stars tha t he didn’t have to sign on and have to deal with the Jobcentre and all tha t entails like his mates did, Sanctions etc. “I’m so glad I’ve go t epilepsy”, he said. Another older guy in his fif ties constantly appealing WCA, on & off ESA/JSA all the time, sick to death of the Jobcentre & just wants to ge t on permanent sick & be left alone, no interest in work a t all.

          • Yes, the benefit system is a problem.

            There was a guy in an office where I worked who had epilepsy. When he had a fit, he’d start saying swear words.

            It’s good if employers have an open mind about disability.

        • That’s quite a lot of veg. 11lbs for 30 Bob. Not bad. There’s a Lidl about a mile away, I’ll have to check it out. I normally do Aldi cos that’s nearer.

          • Yep good price if there’s a decent mixture of fruit and veg. shapes not important only end up in soups stews and casseroles fruit pies and freezer.

            Aldi will probably follow suit cannot remember if its a urban myth or fact but from what I remember wherever there’s a lidl store there’s a aldi close by something to do with sibling rivalry.

          • Well I’ve got an Aldi about 3/4 mile away on the way into town and there’s a Lidl just passed the town centre about a mile & 1/4 from my home, neither are tha t far but it makes a difference when walking& carrying heavy bags & with sore feet. Nearer the better.

          • Yep it is worrying when health has an impact on living.
            Last thing anyone needs to worry about is going through the DWP minefield just so they can eat and have a roof while ill.

            Seen a lot of photographs recently of people rough sleeping next to wheelchairs

          • That’s 10 minutes’ walk versus 20 minutes’ walk. I agree it makes a big difference when carrying shopping. There’s a big shopping precinct 20-25 minutes’ walk from my flat. It’s a nice walk home, but a fair old trek, all uphill. Then there are smaller shops only 10-15 minutes away. I use them much more often.

      • Been a hectic few days getting them there hastags to trend globally I can tell thee.

        I enjoyed the moments and the comradeship against a common enemy.

        The BBC due to bias are next in the twitterstorm as far as I am aware so roll up your sleeves.

        As a lifelong practising Anarchist Labour under Corbyn is the closest I can hope for and the closet leader to hold views which chime with some of my own.

        So without a mass global extinction or global revolution in my lifetime anyway Anarchism will never be mainstream until socialism has its foot in the door.

        I still hold the view that technology will eventually realise my dream but sadly for me anyway not in my lifetime.

        So #WeAreCorbyn

    • But Fred, why would you want such a treacherous shit-stirring back-stabbing trouble-maker as Tom Watson to stay? Isn’t it better that Labour be rid of these Right wing traitors?

  6. I know one thing, Sherlock Holmes couldn’t do without his Watson.
    And Jeremy Corbyn is no Sherlock Holmes, that’s for sure,

  7. I signed on this morning & things have changed, they are doing quick signings on paper, old style, instead of on those electronic pads. They don’t ask about your jobsearch or want to see your evidence (so that was a waste of time!), just sign you on quickly then give you a folder of job vacancies to sit and look through for 5 or 10 mins. after you’ve signed, print outs of the same jobs that are online. They are calling this bullshit “Job Shop”, and it’s set to continue for the rest of Summer, and the reason for it is because they’re short staffed! Jobcentre seems as busy as it always has been, lots of people signing on, and very few jobs that are actually in this town or that many people can do. Just shows that the “low” unemployment figures are entirely fabricated.

    • Just about to go to sign on here is the FOI I put about it but we got all four walls plastered with A4 printouts instead of folders and a form to fill in to show which vacancies you have written down then allowed to sign on.
      Nothing ,ore than a sanction trap imo


      Note how they brag that it is at zero cost and uses no real staff time.
      And the only vacancies to be found that are not available online are from shop windows.

      Wonder who also goes to source them ?

      • It is true that most shops, restaurants and pubs advertise in the window. Often, they only put management vacancies on the internet. So it stands to reason that the Jobcentre might want to bring the shop windows closer to the jobseeker.

      • Yes, the folder also contained shop window adverts. I wasn’t given a pen & paper to make note of any of these jobs, or told that I could take any of these prints,from the folder, but presumably not.

          • Why would they expect us to do that ? The only reason why the hadn’t gave any pens out was they had not sent one of the claimants on work experience to the bookies to grab some.

          • I usually carry a pen in my jacket pocket but not been wearing a jacket lately.

          • That’s one of the advantages of being female: carrying a handbag (cost £2).

            You could carry a pencil behind your ear, like builders do.

        • Yep they take the piss if they can makes me so fucking angry they even had the gall to use that as an excuse.

    • The unemployment figures are funny things.

      It sounds to me like there’s a problem with the computer system at the Jobcentre, so they’re doing everything on paper.

      • My usual adviser/Work Coach/Dole Clerk mentioned something about all this last time I signed but I wasn’t quite sure what she was on about because she was also trying to refer me to attend a Group Session on the top floor and confused me by talking about two different things at the same time, but she did say it was because they’re short staffed, and I informed her that I have already done the Group Session that she was going on about. Anyway, this morning I saw someone different and my next appointment iswwir *is with* yet another dole Clerk. I dont think they know their arse from their elbow tbh.

        • Well I managed to shut the Job shop down in my job centre it no longer exists and rightly so.

          so went straight through to see work coach this time blah blah your over 50 you have to go on this and handed me a piece of paper to sign.

          It was a jobseekers direction to attend a group information session off site at some shit provider and I will be excused from signing on at the regular job centre and they have make me an appointment for a months time.

          LOL yeh rite sorry I refuse to sign and I refuse to attend

          “You have to attend you have no choice or you will lose your money”

          Well first it is an inappropriate use of a jobseekers direction for group information sessions which voluntary.
          Secondly I refuse to be in group session and request to sign in private on a one to basis.
          Third you have not convinced me it will be of any benefit.

          “Oh its to help you understand UC works”

          FFS lol ok call the manager please.

          Manager was again called this is the fifth time I had seen him in 10 weeks of singing.

          Spent 2 hours arguing with him about the state of the welfare system how forcing help on someone that does not ask for it can been seen as bullying,I have no need to know anything about UC how these providers are nothing more than parasites etc very cathartic for me must say.

          This is due to like you trev seeing a random work coach each fortnight and they do not know me and I simply cannot allow my principles to be abused.

          I actually really honestly cannot stop myself so this is why Group sessions and me do not get along I end up taking a stand when I hear bullshit

          • OI’ve already attended two Group Sessions but both inthe Jobcentre andby JCP staff, and both a waste of time. One was clearly designed to push the Work & Health Programme, and that’s what shewas trying send me on again. They are bullies and incompeten fuckers. God I hate the Jobcentre.

          • Yep last ones I was thrown off was at the Job centre first time it has been off site at some third party provider it is all very worrying and another step that it is heading towards privatising the welfare state.

            work coaches want to thank me for trying to protect their future I want help not policing and most of would rather help but they do not have the time funding or contacts like old advisors use to.

            Many older advisors of years gone past had contacts with businesses and could find vacancies found no where else that matched your profile.

            Work coaches of today have no contacts with anyone they just tick boxes.

          • Sourchimp, I think you ought to consider this Jobseeker Direction very carefully. If you do not obey, it is likely that you will lose your benefits. Once you lose your benefits, it will take months for them to even consider your appeal. Meanwhile, you will have nothing to live on.

          • Yes Alison you are correct. I should think carefully about my options, I always do, if should I ever receive a sanction it would be catastrophic as I have no other means of income nor rely on family or friends. I would never even dream of mentioning it to anyone I knew.

            The only food bank in the city is 8 mile walk round trip there are no home deliveries as far as I am aware and you can only be referred once or twice.

            Begging is an option my rent will still get paid and I have seen an idea that sort of legitimises begging and provides interest and entertainment.

            You get a board and in the middle attach a set of scales with buckets on each end,

            Then write on the board some question like Brexit YES or NO as people put money into the bucket the arrow swings to the answer, this obviously encourages people to put more change in to get the arrow to swing in their favour and also allows people to have a conversation about the topic, Tories out YES or No etc.

            But more than the hunger and suffering and hassle a sanction would bring, I would come through it eventually. The hardest part for me would to know I have failed and gave them the pleasure.

            So I choose my battles very carefully.

  8. Got to say Corbyn has made another cock-up over this Jewish business.
    What did he think was going to happen ? But he just seems to shrug things off as if its not important. And now a load of his own MPs are going to some secret meetings in Sussex about leaving the party !

    • But there isn’t any “Jewish business”, that’s the point, it’s all being fabricated by the Rightwingers in an attempt to undermine Corbyn when he hasn’t even done anything wrong!

      • “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

        When the expenses scandal broke in 2011 and everyone eyes were off the ball Jeremy Corbyn’s expenses came last out of 600 odd MPs. Integrity and honesty spring to mind.

    • The Rightwing are trying to force Corbyn into a corner over the IHRA definition of antiSemitism which he quite legitimately doesn’t accept, and neither do a great many Jewish groups & organizations around the world, because it makes it impossible then to be critical of the actionsof the Israeli State without being branded an antiSemite, which of course Corbyn clearlyisn’t. As a Socialist he hasopposed Racism, Fascism and injustice all his life. The whole thing is absurd, andthe Rightwing know it, but that doesn’t matter to them because it’s not reallya about antiSemitism, they are so low as to use that as a cover for their anti-Leftwing agenda, which is trulya dispicable but if there’s one thing the Right don’t have it’s morality.

      • Exactly trev although I think no one is fooling for it this time Labours membership has increased since the dirty tactics started to emerge.

      • I think I posted on another thread, that both Labour Friends of Israel and Conservative Friends of Israel emanate from the same source – the Israeli embassy in London.
        Jeremy Corbyn has never shied away from the fact that he supports the cause of the Palestinian people, and he has rightly criticised the actions of the IDF and the Israeli governemnt.
        The people who are attacking JC are all Blairites and are all members of the Labour Friends of Israel.
        Margaret Hodge should be expelled from the Labour party after her disgusting tirade against JC, calling him a f—–g anti Semitist.
        The Israeli state is interfering in our politics and the media have to acknowledge that fact, instead of spreading all these lies about Anti Semitism.

        • The mainstream media aren’t reporting both sides of this very truthfully either, they keep saying phrases like “anti-Semitisim within the Labour Party”, when really there isn’t any. There’s a big difference between being anti-Semitic and being critical of the actions of the Israeli state. The media aren’t reporting about RACIST the Tories are. First Windrush and now Boris. They also don’t report that many Jewish organizations also do not subscibe to the IHRA definition either:

          This is an extract from a recent article published on the website Jewish Voice for Labour’ (https://www.jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk/blog/global-jewish-statement-on-defining-antisemitism/) and signed by,

          Academia4equality (Israel)
          Boycott from Within (Israeli citizens for BDS)
          Coalition of Women for Peace (Israel)
          Collectif Judéo Arabe et Citoyen pour la Palestine (Strasbourg, France)
          Dayenu: New Zealand Jews Against Occupation (New Zealand)
          Een Ander Joods Geluid (A Different Jewish Voice) (The Netherlands)
          Een Andere Joodse Stem – Another Jewish Voice (Flanders, Belgium)
          European Jews for a Just Peace
          Free Speech on Israel (UK)
          Gate48 – critical Israelis in the Netherlands
          Independent Jewish Voices (Canada)
          Independent Jewish Voices (UK)
          International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
          Italian Network of Jews Against the Occupation
          Jewish Anti-Fascist Action Berlin (Germany)
          Jewish Socialists’ Group (UK)
          Jewish Voice For Labour (UK)
          Jewish Voice for Peace (USA)
          Jewish Voice for Peace members in London (UK)
          Jews Against Fascism (Melbourne, Australia)
          Jews for Justice for Palestinians (UK)
          Jews for Palestinian Right of Return (USA)
          Jews of Color & Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews in Solidarity w/ Palestine (USA)
          Jews Say No! (USA)
          JIPF – Judar för Israelisk Palestinsk Fred (Sweden)
          Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden im Nahost e.V. (Germany)
          Junts, Associació Catalana de Jueus i Palestins (Catalonia, Spain)
          Los Otros Judíos (Argentina)
          Manchester Jewish Action for Palestine (UK)
          Quebrando Muros – Judeus Brasileiros Pela Descolonização da Palestina (Brazil)
          SEDQ Network- A Global Jewish Network for Justice
          South African Jewish Voices for a Just Peace (South Africa)
          South African Jews for a Free Palestine (South Africa)
          Union des progressistes juifs de Belgique (Saint-Gilles, Belgium)
          United Jewish People’s Order (UJPO)-Canada
          Union Juive Française pour la Paix (France)
          Workman’s Circle, Boston (USA)


          • Trev, there was a Labour councillor who was expelled for putting anti-Semitism on the internet. Anti-Semitism does exist in the Labour Party.

            Sadly, anti-Semitism pervades our society. If we say it doesn’t exist, we’re clearly turning a blind eye. The key is to acknowledge it and take action to reduce, limit and drive it out.

            What we need are:
            – formal anti-Semitism policies with the support of all parts of the Labour Party,
            – formal procedures for dealing with complaints of anti-Semitism,
            – complaints procedures to be followed in a timely and effective manner.

          • I support the right to offend anyone, free speech should be the right to use all 27 letters of the alphabet plus punctuation marks in any combination one wishes.

            Anything less is oppression.

        • If I support Jeremy Corbyn, I don’t want to be seen to be supporting Palestine over Israel. The situation in Israel/Palestine is bad and both sides are victims as well as perpetrators. As the Labour Party, we need to be impartial and inclusive.

          I fully support people’s right to freedom of expression, but people need to express themselves without causing offence. Surely it can’t be that hard to find a solution that pleases both Margaret Hodge and Jeremy Corbyn?

          • Alison, I think you may need to read up on the history of the Israel v Palestine conflict, because it simply is not as subtle as people causing offence.
            When in 1948, the Israelis were alloowed to have their “chosen place”, they immediately started to steal Palestinian land.
            The United Nations has tried to pass numerous resolutionions against Israel, which would have resulted in sanctions being placed upon them, but every time the US used their power of veto at the UN to block them.
            The Palestinians have no army, air force or navy, and they are being kept in virtual concentration camp conditions by Israel. who can cut off their power supplies at will.
            The Israelis on the other hand, are being sponsored by the US (and the UK), who supply them with the latest military weapons, so that they can slaughter more Palestinians.
            It is a shameful situation, where the rest of the World has just shut its eyes and let this abuse continue. The same is now happening in Yemen with the Saudi Arabians (backed by the US and UK) using their 21st century killing machines to slaughter innocent ciivilians.

          • Yes but Andy I hope you aren’t advocating Labour takes a pro-Palestinian stance? We are a broad church and cannot go wading into foreign affairs on one side or the other.

            Margaret Hodge and Luciana Berger have been offended. They are not using weapons against anybody. They don’t live in the Middle East. They are long-standing members of the Labour Party whose views ought to be taken into account, not dismissed as an Israeli plot.

            I think we hold Israel to a higher standard than most Muslim countries of the world. I never hear complaints of Islamophobia dismissed as some sort of Saudi plot, in spite of the involvement of Saudi clerics at British mosques. Hypocrisy?

          • So your basically saying we should idly sit by and say and do nothing ?
            No one is wading into anything apart from supporting a oppressed minority that are being murdered, I sort of have some empathy towards that myself and care not if black yellow brown Muslim or Jew.

            I see youths throwing sticks and stones and snipers shooting children what do you see?

          • No I don’t want to go to war against Israel. Have we learned nothing from foreign wars? I thought you didn’t approve of foreign wars anyway, Sourchimp.

          • Alison I am not saying we should be attacking Israel with bombs and bullets.Yes I am a pacifist but that does not mean I will not defend myself and others from being attacked.

            I am appalled by anyone who wishes to cause harm to others mental or physical violence whoever they may be.

            I am sure you, out of most who visit this forum, have sympathies with those whose homes and lands are being taken.

          • What is it that you would like us to do about it exactly, Sourchimp?

          • I would ban the manufacture and sales of ALL arms and help in any way we can with the peace process, and continue to condone and seek justice for those on either side of the divide who cause harm to others.

            What I see is two establishments fighting and innocent peaceful human beings (Arabs and Jews) caught in the middle.

            If I could wind back the clock me thinks not having borders, not having religion, and not producing arms we would not be where we are now.

            If I took my pacifist anarchist hat off for one moment then peacekeeping can cause more death and destruction in the long run by artificially prolonging what would have been a swifter natural outcome I would say we should keep out of the fight altogether and let nature take its cause.

            And putting my pacifist Anarchist hat back on rather than a 1 or 2 state solution I would say a No state solution.

          • Sourchimp, I agree with you about arms dealing. I have long supported Jeremy Corbyn’s stance that we need to cut down on arms sales, rather than blindly plodding on with the status quo. People say, “It will never happen,” but they said we would never vote to leave the EU and Jeremy Corbyn would never become Labour Leader.

            However, were we to adopt the international definition of anti-semitism, it would not prevent us from pursuing our own policy on arms dealing.

            I don’t think it’s practical to remove borders altogether, although there probably could be scope for relaxing them in the state(s) of Israel/Palestine, were the security situation ever to improve.

            I doubt religion could ever “not have happened”. There have been gods worshipped by people all over the world since the beginning of time. I respect your preference not to follow a religion, but, equally, I think you need to respect other people’s freedom of belief.

          • I am not against anyone following their own beliefs it is when it becomes organised into a religion the troubles start.

          • You seriously want to ban Star Wars fans from meeting? Or is that the weed talking?

          • Alison, both Margaret Hodge and Luciana Berger are prominent members of Labour Friends of Israel – they have an agenda, to attempt to remove Jeremy Corbyn from the Labour leadership, on fabricated charges of Anti Semitism.
            I would support Jeremy Corbyn all day long, in his criticism of Israel, and his unwaivering support for the plight of the Palestinians.

          • @Alison, we are already at war against the Palestinians, because we, the UK and US are supplying arms and ammunition, cutting edge 21st century military technology to Israel, which they in turn use against the Palestinians.
            The Palestinians do not have tanks, howitzers, ships or aircraft, but Israel do have that and a lot more, including nuclear weapons, which is ironic because they have not signed up to the IAEA non proliferation treaty.

          • Andy, all far from ideal.

            So how is the “freedom” to call a Zionist a Nazi going to achieve anything towards peace?

            I don’t think anybody in the Labour Party should stray into calling people Nazis, unless they are from the Far Right. It is better to use moderate language.

          • @Alison, have you actually heard anyone from the Labour party calling Zionists “Nazis”, because I haven’t and I doubt that anyone else has.
            It was a Jewish Holocaust survivor who compared the Israeli state to Nazis – and he should know. His name was Hajo Meyer.


            “The Auschwitz survivor speaking at the event was the late Hajo Meyer, a well-known Jewish anti-Zionist who frequently compared the Israeli government to the Nazi regime. His talk was titled “The Misuse of the Holocaust for Political Purposes.”

          • Margaret Hodge talked about the “Nazi” thing in her article in the Guardian.

  9. Another Benefits related death:

    “‘Universal Credit killed my dad’ says grieving daughter”

    “A grieving daughter has hit out at the Universal Credit benefit system, claiming that the pressures that it put on her father led him to take his own life.

    Grimsby man Brian Bailey, 59, tragically took his own life on Tuesday, July 17, after allegedly “becoming overwhelmed” with the pressures that the new benefit system had put on him, feeling that he could not cope with the uncertainty regarding his payments, and constantly fearing being evicted from his home.

    His daughter Leann Bailey has now hit out at the “complete mess” that she thinks Universal Credit has become, feeling that if changes are not made soon, other vulnerable people could find themselves in the same position as her father.

    Leann is now calling on the Department of Work and Pensions to create a welcome pack or information leaflet that would help vulnerable people who are not computer literate properly understand the new benefit system that they are using.”



    • I’m very sorry to hear of this man’s death. My condolences to his family.

      It is unacceptable that the government is pursuing a benefit policy that is pushing so many vulnerable people into destitution and death.

      Yes, a leaflet about Universal Credit would be a good idea. However, I think more needs to be done to ensure everybody in need receives enough to live on every week, regardless of administrative errors and delays.

      There is an old man with dementia on my road who says young women don’t work nowadays, on the basis that he sees them walking up and down the street during working hours. I find it very frustrating that so many older people cannot comprehend the difference between slacking off and being unable to work due to illness and disability. I am sick of suffering judgement for showing up in public during working hours.

      However, what is even worse is that most of the people he sees during the working day DO have jobs. They have days off mid-week to make up for working during weekends. They have shifts that start and finish early or late. They walk up the road during their break from work. They finish work early and walk down the road to collect children from school. They work in education and have holidays this time of year. They have to go to the shop/cafe/bank as part of their job.

      I expect that politicians have heard retired people (who always vote) complaining about young people showing up on the street in the middle of the day. I expect the politicians try to appease these retired people’s concerns (to secure their votes), yet it is causing serious hardship and death to the working-age people on the receiving end of this idle scapegoating from retired people. I think retired people have a responsibility to speak up for the younger generations, not slag them off.

      However, one of the features of cognitive decline is the loss of empathy. We cannot entirely blame people with cognitive decline and dementia for these shortcomings. It does fall to the politicians to separate idle scapegoating from reality and stand up for all generations of British society, not just those with the highest levels of voter turnout.

      • It’s terrible what’s happening and the Tories and their brutal Benefits regime are to blame (and I also blame Labour for allowing the Welfare Reform Bill to go through unopposed!). I don’t feel fit to work myself, but I can’t get a sick note to say that because I’m just about coping with the Benefits system, BUT if I ever did get a job I don’t think I would be able to cope. I become Depressed and feel suicidal when I am in work. My best hope is to just somehow stick it out on JSA for as long as I can until I can Retire, but eventually I will get put on UC before that so don’t know what I’ll do then. If I did get a job it would have to be something with no stress and something that I found interesting or personally rewarding in some way otherwise I would lose the will to live.

        • Having been out of work for so long, it would probably be best for you to transition back to work gradually. Try volunteering an extra day each week. Start paid work part time, perhaps one day a week. See how you get on.

          My friend, who has Borderline Personality Disorder, started teaching language classes for just a few hours a week. She found she worried too much and couldn’t sleep.

          • Nobody’s diagnosed you with anything yet! Save your outrage until they do. You never know. Maybe they’ll decide you’re right and authority is wrong!

            More likely, you’ll get the same treatment as me: referred for diagnosis but no appointment for 6 months till you make a formal complaint, then blamed for not answering the phone, then you get an appointment and a verbal diagnosis, but your paperwork SITS IGNORED until you start chasing and complaining all over again. It’s a joke. It feels like how dare I have the audacity to go for diagnosis? I’m just such a drain on resources. I don’t deserve my diagnosis or my report. I’m a scrounge for even getting this far…

          • I hope you read the link and can grasp the implications of what it is saying.
            That to reject authority implies some sort of mental health issue.

            You seem to be the polar opposite to me where you seem happy to accept all authority, you might complain about it, but you sure accept it.

            And finally a criticism of the NHS from you, well done.

            Your problems are not isolated many people find going through the NHS mental health service end up in far worse state than they would have if they did not engage at all. It seems like to get any satisfaction from any government department you have to be prepared to fight both tooth and nail.

          • Why self-diagnose with something you don’t even approve of?

            ODD gets diagnosed in school children. Do you believe in discipline and authority at school? Or do you think it’s normal to swear at the head and run out of the classroom?

            The whole class sits at tables doing sums, but one child kicks off and runs off and causes havoc. Clearly not the same as the rest.

            ADHD is inability to sit still. It’s very difficult to behave at school if you can’t sit still. It’s not about anarchism or questioning authority. It’s about low levels of dopamine in the brain.

            There are so many myths out there about ADHD. Too many people just blame the parents. I feel sorry for people with ADHD because their condition is so poorly understood.

            Most “medical” opinion on the internet is absolute tosh. Please go to the doctor if you think you have ODD.

            Yes, I began reading the article. It’s absolute drivel. I’m not reading any more. I’m sick of all these myths demonising legitimate medical conditions. It helps nobody.

          • Alison generally schools are just places where humans are sent to be reared as workers so yes I can see why some children would behave like that.

            If it is indeed a chemical in-balance It could be that their Endocannabinoid system that all humans and some animals have that needs replenishing a peer reviewed paper here explains more.

            “Cannabis appears to treat ADD and ADHD by increasing the availability of dopamine” It also a natural SAFE treatment for suicide and depression.

            Thankfully I keep my endocannabinoid system topped up to the point of saturation.

          • I’m glad you agree that there’s something not quite right about you, but you really need to get the opinion of a trained medical professional. Health conditions are very difficult to diagnose by internet alone.

          • One minute you want a sick note. The next minute you want to be “perfectly normal”. You can’t have it both ways.

          • SourChimp: “Hello Doc, I don’t want to go to Universal Credit seminar, so I want a sick note.”
            GP: “What’s wrong with you?”
            SourChimp: “Nothing. I’m perfectly normal.”
            GP: “Sorry. Can’t help you.”

          • Alison the Group information session I been given a jobseekers direction to attend I can simply ignore and not show up until the following fortnight.

            My money no doubt will be stopped but I can ask for mandatory reconsideration. Within 5 days my money will be put into my bank and the doubt overturned.

            Why am so sure is because internal guidance states that if your on JSA and asked to attend a group information you can ask for a private session instead and it should be honoured.

            I have obtained all my records form the JCP and 9 months ago I was removed from a group session as not being suitable. The manager has not only broke the civil service code he also is guilty of maladministration.

            I do not need a fit note to solve this one.

          • Sourchimp, I have asked for a Mandatory Reconsideration twice. It was also for failure to attend something for medical reasons and I had several sick notes and supporting letters. Once, the decision was overturned in 4 weeks. The other time they decided against me, after taking 8 weeks. Then I had to fill in and submit the Tribunal form before they decided in my favour. I went 3 months with no money. By not attending something I was told to attend, I had “failed to follow the rules of benefit”, so I could not get a Hardship Payment, nor any money while I appealed.

            I’ve never, ever heard of a Mandatory Reconsideration taking 5 days. It’s also rare for them to decide in your favour. The last I heard, there was a target not to decide in your favour in more than 10% of cases.

            If you want a home visit or a one-to-one seminar for medical reasons, your GP has to write you a supporting letter. If you want to go down that road, I recommend you go to a GP for an appointment first.

            I don’t know what a medical professional would decide about your situation. However, I’d suggest he/she might ask why you can wait to sign on every fortnight in a room full of people, but you can’t sit in a room in the same building with the same people for a seminar.

            Personally, I don’t understand why you wouldn’t just go to the stupid Universal Credit seminar. It can’t be THAT bad! Or can it? Enlighten me, Sourchimp!

            It can’t last any longer than your two-and-a-half-hour row with the manager. It can’t be worth losing your benefits over, surely?

            If it turns out to be too much, you can always leave halfway through. If they want to sanction you for it, you can deal with that then.

            I went to an (optional) Universal Credit seminar put on by floating tenancy support services in 2013. It only lasted an hour. They gave us a thick handout and did a Powerpoint talk about how sanction lengths would double, etc. I thought Universal Credit sounded inhumane. But the talk was OK. I didn’t freak out, even though it was all about money and threats to my benefits.

            You might find it very useful to attend the talk. Surely you will need lots of information about the changes they will make to your benefits? The new rules that replace your 3 steps, for example.

            It’s up to you what you do about it, Sourchimp. Just remember to “pick your battles”.

          • Alison I was not clear, if I decide not to attend and not get in touch and attend the following fortnight then I will go through the mandatory reconsideration process.
            And yes your correct it can be a long drawn out process accompanied by an anxious wait and scramble to survive.

            But if I do get in touch within 5 days of failing to attend then I can show where they have erred in Law and have the failure to attend removed and my benefit reinstated. It is not like missing a bus, being ill or had to attend a funeral or hospital whatever this is a error in procedure. I have all the information I need to present to the decision maker.

            But yes there is no doubt in my mind everyday decision makers get it wrong and I cannot afford that gamble.

            So this is why I tackle it head on and show them where they are going wrong in the internal guidance and DM guide etc so they can make the correct decision. So they cancel the Jobseekers direction.

            If they do not even after I have presented the facts. I can make a claim for maladministration leading to hardship again.

            This could build up into a case of harassment if they do not start to follow the rules.

            It sounds like you been through the mangle yourself Alison and I fully understand what you have gone through and appreciate it is a minefield and no wish to go through it myself.

            The reason I was throw off the last Group information was because I challenged what we were being told in relation to UC by the work coach and refused to let them tell me I was wrong.

            They did not like the fact I told the rest of the group that they would NOT be on UC in x months time as the work coach was telling them unless they had a change of applicable circumstances and managed migration would not be rolling out until at least July 2019 and not fully rolled out until 2024.

            I made a few people happier that day who had been convinced they were being moved over to UC.

            Pissed them right off so they sneakily put a note on my records that I was not suitable for GIS.

            The reason why I refuse to go to group session which is entirely different to signing on is because I am legally entitled to refuse if I request a private session and more impotently my bullshit detector fires off and I cannot sit idle I have to say my piece and stand my ground and that could lead me to being sanctioned for unacceptable behaviour.

            learning how to claim UC is not a job market related activity.

            Yes it would be a lot easier to tip my cap and say yes sir but a lot of people have have suffered and fought to enshrine in law principles of common sense and humanity and I would not only be letting myself down but those as well by not resisting and upholding those principles.

          • Well good luck with it, whatever you decide to do.

            I suppose we all knew UC wasn’t going to plan, but maybe this time just keep your mouth shut.

          • I probably have O.D.D. too, but the Doctors/Psychiatrists might not recognize that as a condition and would most likely see it as symptoms of other recognized disorders like Histrionic, Passive-Aggresive, Narcissistic, or in my case Borderline Personality Disorder, then they would either try to get rid of you asap or put you on meds & subject you to horrendous therapy designed to correct your thinking, But you’d be unlikely to get a sick note.

          • Trev, if they’ve diagnosed you with Borderline Personality Disorder, they would’ve already screened you for ODD and decided you didn’t have it.

          • In any case, a diagnosis would take Sourchimp at least 18 months to obtain.

          • Yep there also the danger of ending up like Mac from one flew over the cuckoos nest and end up having ECT then lobotomised.
            Which is a bit drastic to keep the JCP off my back long term. I would say that would not be a good be result.

            My main goal would be to find a practitioner ready to accept me as the authoritative source in all things related me.

          • SourChimp, getting a diagnosis involves:
            1) convincing a GP to refer you for a diagnosis
            2) waiting for diagnostic appointments, of which there are several, months apart
            3) waiting for your report, officially 3-6 weeks after your final appointment
            I’ve only completed steps 1 and 2, after 18 months and several chase-up phone calls.

            Obtaining ESA involves:
            1) convincing a GP to give you a sick note, making a case that you can no longer sign on and do the same job search you’ve been doing for many years now
            2) filling in a form and waiting 11 weeks
            3) waiting about 6 months for a face-to-face assessment
            4) attending said assessment at the specified time and place
            5) convincing someone to put you in the Support Group – not an easy task, when you consider all the stories of people declared fit to work despite having half a head, being in hospital, etc.
            If they put you in the Work-Related Activity Group, they will still require you to attend things like the Universal Credit seminar.

            Personally, I think you’re barking up the wrong tree on this one. A bit of self-discipline wouldn’t go amiss. Just drag yourself in and sit on a chair for an hour. Leave if it gets too much. Focus your mind on how soon you’ll be free again.

            But maybe I’m being unfair on you. Maybe it is really that hard for you to go to a stupid seminar. In which case, you really need to approach your GP as a matter of urgency. You can’t allow this situation to drag on or you may find yourself evicted, hungry and homeless. Sorry to sound drastic, but it really is that serious.

            Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

          • It is a terrible state of affairs having to go through that and fight the bastards while ill I am sure one tonic we all would agree on now is a Labour Government under JC.

  10. I’m not a Labour Party member, and no particular supporter of Jeremy Corbyn.
    But one thing I have noticed is the attitude of so many Labour people that JC is going to sweep into victory like Blair did in ’97. I don’t see this reflected in the polls. He should be well ahead of where he is now. The general public still don’t seem that keen on him as Prime Minister. A radical in his past, and now a bit of a bumbler. As shown by this latest Jewish episode. And if you take the simple issue of Universal Credit, of interest to readers of this blog, what has he done ? Nothing apparently. He should be personally leading the calls for it to be scrapped. It won’t be easy for JC to simply slide into Number 10 on the back of Momentum, Labour Party members and a few assorted political activists. He will have to convince the wider British public that he is their best option for Prime Minister. As yet I don’t see any sign of him doing that.

    • Alan, I agree that Labour have not done enough to oppose UC, and they should have never let the Tory welfare reforms be passed in the first place, but Labour actually supports UC, they think it’s a good idea. At least McDonnel is talking about Universal BasicIncome now though, so I think there is scope/hope of UC being transformed into something more equitable and less punitive. As for dealing with this “Jewish episode”, Corbyn is under attack by the Rightwing supporters of Israel and it is them (israel) and Mossad who are behind this smear campaign as they want to prevent Corbyn from becoming PM because he supports the Palestinians. Israel is interfering in British Politics and the Tory government are certainly not going to stop them. Hopefully, Brexit will be the Tories’ undoing and Corbyn will be in no.10 in the aftermath.

  11. Well here I am in my local Library trying to do jobsearch, but the place is full of noisy little kids as there is some sort of play-learning group going on, can’t hear myself think! plus I can’t find anything to apply for, there is naff all. Good job the Joke centre are running this “Job Shop” baloney at the moment and don’t seem interested in asking to see my jobsearch evidence as I doubt I will have hardly any to show them next time at this rate.

    • I have found a lot of auto responders when applying over the years and if I send a speculative email asking if they have anything suitable which is equivalent of applying for a Job as far as steps are concerned the response I get is always the same.

      Thank you for email however due to large volume etc etc etc.
      They never do get back as a lot of them are not even monitored or just abandoned.

      • Yeah that’s the sort of thing you need, counts as evidence with no fear of a job offer. I found just one job to apply for, some sort of car park/trolley attendant at a supermarket nearly 20 miles away, would take me best part of 2 hours to get there IF buses/trains are running on time, and of course it’s min. wage. Hopeless, but I applied anyway, and made sure I mentioned the fact that I have no transport but would try to get there within 2 hours if possible. Also told them I’m not available to start immediately as I’m in the process of applying for a D.R.O. and so cannot have any changes to my income until that is completed. LOL. Waste of bloody time but all I need isa confirmation that I’ve applied. What a charade just for the sake of avoiding Sanctions, and they probably won’t even ask to see my evidence anyway. Hasn’t anyone in the government realized yet that the Jobcentres are a total and utter farce, a complete waste of time and money and may as well be all shutdown?

    • Sorry to hear about the screaming kids. I thought libraries were supposed to be places of quiet, where people could escape into a book.

      Sorry there are no jobs on the internet. You could try looking in shop windows, if your foot’s up to it.

      • The shop window vacancies are mostly for part time shop assistants or chip shop staff etc. No good to me. If I work part time they’ll just deduct any earnings from my Benefits so I’d be no better off and would still have to sign on and answer to the Jobcentre, plus I would get transfered to UC. Not worth it.

        • Yep the economies fucked up McVey tweeted other day saying like 25,000 summer jobs but find a job only had 500.

          Still this breaking news about Boris’s extra martial child if true should ensure his plans are well and truly scuppered and a general election more likely than ever.

          • BoJo’s love child is old news. There are articles about it going back years.

            “Summer jobs” are what students get, but they don’t advertise them through the Jobcentre.

          • In that case, would you please provide us with a link to this “breaking news”? There’s no mention of it on the BBC website and an internet search only brings up articles from years ago.

          • No idea how these things work but the EX Mistress of the EX Tory Chancellor George Osborne and who also exposed Tory MP John Whittingdale Natalie Rowe last night tweeted

            “Boris has another Child out of his own marriage to his Wife, apart from the one we all know of in the Press, he made a deal with the Baby Mamma to pass the child off has her partners, a City Banker, a DNA was taken and Boris is the Baby Daddy
            has another Child out of his own marriage to his Wife, apart from the one we all know of in the Press, he made a deal with the Baby Mamma to pass the child off has her partners, a City Banker, a DNA was taken and Boris is the Baby Daddy”

            Then later clarified

            “Probably didn’t make this bit clear enough.. the Father of the Child is well aware of the foiled deception.. but let’s take note this is NOT #BorisJohnson’ first Rodeo and the Italian Banker isn’t a happy Bunny.”

            They have been asking Boris to confess before they spilled beans but due to the raciest comments the other day they decided to tweet it.

            I guess it might need verifying before it becomes news if indeed it is true but seems genuine enough. Was no really surprised there has been no mention so far on the main stream media but did expect to wake up to something.

          • Tittle-tattle, really. A moral outrage, perhaps, to a few “Daily Mail” readers, but most of us are neither surprised nor interested.

          • Sorry, that only applies to ESA and the figure has now been revised down to £125 per week.

            I can’t find the current amount you can earn while on JSA before you lose any benefit – perhaps the elusive rules can be divulged by the erstwhile Professor Sourchimp (formerly reverend, doctor and knight of the realm)…

          • £160 per week? Tha t’s news to me! I think on JSA you can earn a tenner a week and anything above tha t is deducted.

          • Oops! Sorry! “Permitted Work” only applies to ESA!

            The amount you can earn before losing any ESA has gone down to £125 now.

            It sounds like you know the rules for JSA. Quite mean by comparison, I’d say!

          • Yes it is a strange state of affairs when those deemed incapable of working can earn so much money without it affecting benefits yet those who get the lowest rate and are capable of working on JSA lose £1 for every £1 earned after earning more than £10 pw.

  12. If you’re a single person without disability or dependents you can earn £5 per week before JSA is deducted. If you’re part of a couple claiming JSA you can earn £10 a week between the two of you. That £5 ‘Disallowence’ as it’s called applied at least as far back as 1991… so much for inflation being taken into account, eh!
    Back in 1991 a loan parent could earn up to £30 a week before it affected their benefits. Now, according to the link below, it’s £20 a week. That’s a third less than in 1991 despite 26 years worth of inflation in the meantime.


    Admittedly this link id dated March 2017, but I’m sure if those disallowences had been up/downgraded in the meantime then those changes would be reflected on the governments own website.

    • Yes, Sandy, I agree that £5 is a very small amount of money to keep if you have the get-up-and-go to work a few hours a week, until you find something better. Compare that with Employment & Support Allowance: you can earn up to £125 per week before losing any ESA money (I’ve heard it can affect Housing Benefit, though). I would’ve thought keeping up to, say, £40 or £50 per week would be a better incentive for someone to take a job, after a long spell on Jobseekers Allowance. Once you’ve started work, it’s easier to increase your hours.

      Employers face uncertainty if they give a job to someone who has been out of work for years. The person might not turn up or might turn out to have problems/barriers to work. A few hours per week would give the jobseeker a chance to demonstrate punctuality and other soft skills, without sinking into destitution trying to live on just a few hours’ wages.

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