Universal Credit, not allowed to use jobcentre phones to secure work, sent on a course called Changing Attitudes…

Here’s another example of farcical jobcentre operations. How many of these have I got:

I recently attended another leafleting sessions at Stockport jobcentre with Stockport United Against Austerity.

I spoke at length outside the jobcentre with Mark, 46.

Mark had been on Universal Credit for two years.

Mark was fuming.

Mark had been given a number to call about voluntary work at a Stockport Homes cafe – but the jobcentre wouldn’t let him use the jobcentre phones to call the number to arrange an interview. He couldn’t believe it. Well – he could believe it, because being told to get lost is par for the course at jobcentres, but you know what I mean.

Said Mark:

“I can’t get even get a fucking job as a fucking roadsweeper… do you know what I mean? Volunteering… I thought that having that on my CV it would be better than [nothing]…[but] they won’t even let you use the phone…”

There was more.

Mark said that the previous week, he’d had been sent on a course called something like Changing Attitudes, or about changing attitudes. Something cute like that.

The course was about changing Mark’s attitude to unemployment. It was not, alas, about changing the DWP’s attitude to unemployment. Stories about not allowing unemployed people to use jobcentre phones to set up voluntary work suggested the DWP was in urgent need of its own course. The DWP does get these things arse-about.

Still, Mark decided to enter the spirit of the course. He decided to ask around for voluntary work. Unfortunately, the DWP’s rigid refusal to provide the most basic services had turned Mark’s morning into a trial.

I find this so often at jobcentres: people wandering around outside, trying to understand what just happened, or didn’t happen, inside the jobcentre and why they are no closer to work, or even solutions to basic problems, than they were when they went in. They are told to Go Away as soon as they step in – to go away and find their own phones, or to go away and get another bank statement, or medical certificate, or piece of paper to prove an address, or to go away and look online for answers to their problems.

The DWP does not prioritise sorting people’s problems out. The DWP prioritises pushing people out the door. The DWP is good at that part.

Mark said:

“They put us on the training course last week… it was changing attitudes to it all [laughs]… [They said] instead of thinking outside the box, think inside the box – so I’m thinking I might just become a volunteer instead of signing off. Everything has been for nothing.”

Never was a truer sentence spoken. Everything people do at the jobcentre is for nothing. If you’re wondering why the average bloke in the street is so pissed off at the world at the moment, it is because everything people are told to do is for nothing. I gave Mark my phone to use for his call. It turned out the number that he had was wrong as well. What a circus.

Let’s hear from Mark in full:

“I put in a for a volunteering position… now [the woman], who is interviewing me there last week, initially she was looking at my forms and let me down a bit there, but another one of the girls who works in there, she’s put in a word for me – another girl who runs the cafe. He’s [sic] got back to me – [here’s] the girl’s number on the cafe there.

But they won’t let me phone it [in the jobcentre]. They went and texted me the number last night and I left my phone at my mate’s last night. I’ve been over this morning to try and get my phone back from my bloody mate’s, but I haven’t been able to because he’s at bloody work.

…and I had to go to the housing to get the number again… I can’t get even get a fucking job as a fucking roadsweeper, do you know what I mean? Volunteering… I thought that having that on my CV it would be better than…[nothing] [but] they won’t even let you use the phone… I think I will go down to the housing office and see if I can use the phone there.

I am going to complain about it. Come back at half four today and I’m going to complain to my adviser about it…won’t let anyone use the phone. How are you supposed to get a job out of there?

I have to ring them to set up my interviewing.

[We tried the number on my phone but it kept ringing off].

Bit of a joke, isn’t it.

“I’m getting agitated… been signing on in there for too long. I’m not proud of it, but I’m not ashamed of it. It’s the way life is. Long-term unemployment – it’s bollocks…I can’t get a job at the moment and they’re not letting us…[use the jobcentre phones]…

Generally in there, I think they just make it up as they go along. Everything’s online. That’s what they say now – just go online.

I’m on Universal Credit … it don’t, you get your money all in one lump sum, so all your bills, you’ve got to pay everything in one lump sum. I was paid yesterday and I’m down to about £20. I’ve paid the rent out of it… It’s like £380 and I rounding it up because it’s about £40 for the water it goes on the household bills….

Been on the Universal Credit a couple of year now. Not helping you find work or anything… I went on mandatory work…just doing the gardening for people. It’s just hanging out doing the neighbour’s garden. For the girls, they seemed to have a homecare team, helping folk with the shopping…

No work. That’s not worth it.

They put us on the training course last week – it was changing attitudes to it all [laughed]. Yeah, the business card… I am changing attitudes. One thing I thought I would know about – they might as well have put a black and decker into my head and whisked it all out. [They said] “instead of thinking outside the box, think inside the box,” so I’m thinking I might just become a volunteer instead of signing off. Everything has been for nothing.

It just seems to be that way, everything for nothing. What can you do about it? Nothing you can do about that situations is there, so I thought I might as well go and volunteer. There’s volunteering at the art shop, yes. From what I’ve heard it’s pretty much slave labour, but if you do any form of voluntary work it’s slave labour [laughed]. It [volunteering] does defeat the object of going to work…

99 thoughts on “Universal Credit, not allowed to use jobcentre phones to secure work, sent on a course called Changing Attitudes…

  1. Changing attitudes?? Fuck off. They won’t change my attitude, unless they mean my attitude towards low wages, unrewarding depressing jobs, crap public transport, inadequate housing and high rents, dysfunctional Social Security, inequality and greed.
    Who do the DWP think they are? How about changing the attitudesof the rich psychopaths that are bleeding the country dry in every way they can?

    • And badgering folk into doing unpaid ‘voluntary’ work, then not allowing them to use the phone! It takes the piss.

    • Mark like countless others make the same mistake over and over again they fear reprisals for not complying so tow the line but once you do that your led down a rabbit hole of frustration and a step closer to sanctions and the consequences of a sanction are far more difficult to overcome than making a phone call.

      He should have the DWP remove his phone number from the system and refuse to attend these courses and manage his own affairs his own way and understand that putting voluntary work on his CV is not ideal and could have a negative impact for future employment.

      Be interested to know what exactly ” I went on mandatory work” was for there is no mandatory work scheme at present so again it suggests to me he has been coerced and deceived into believing their was.

      • There was MWA years ago, I did it in 2013, and more recently there was the doomed-to-fail Community Work Programme, both of which are now defunct as you say. I also was mandated to do an unpaid Work Placement as part of a scheme called Skills Conditionality in either 2015 or 2016 (Can’t remember which) after I got kicked off of the Community Work Programme (before I’d even properly started!). So dunno which one he got put on or conned into doing.

        • Yep community work placements as part of Osborne’s so called Help To Work scheme. What a pile that was. They stopped it as it was useless.

          • Kate,
            the work placements, unpaid “voluntary” (forced) work were all scams to humiliate the unemployed and provide free labour for the perople who fund the politicians.

        • Even back then trev it was never really mandatory, the only aspect that was was actually mandatory was turning up to the opportunity that is technically participating however you could lawfully leave at anytime once you had done that and anytime during the work activity.

          The only time you could be “lawfully” sanctioned was if you committed gross negligence on the premises but not turning up to work or being lazy is not gross negligence.

        • THere was also something called Work Experience, which wasn’t mandatory but JCP Adviserspressurise(bullied)people into doing it. I did it in @ @ (bloody phone!) in 2/0!6….2016…but I opted to do it at the Oxfam sorting depot rather than at Poundstretcher, and I got a free overcoat out of it.

    • Well said this is why we need to smash the box.

      ESA under regulation 29, which states that a claimant should not be found fit for work if such a decision would pose “a substantial risk” to their mental or physical health.

      I think I could argue successfully that most low paid work does pose “a substantial risk” to mental or physical health the evidence is clear in that regards, so I think I and others should be allowed to claim ESA instead of being a jobseeker if choose to do so.

  2. I do all my stuff with the DWP on-line if they say ring this number I just remind them that they lost a case and paid compensation to someone last year for not allowing contact by email, If they want the same happening again then so be it. I’ve given up been nice with these c*nts most of them deserve all the aggravation they get and more.
    Job centres as the wording suggest is a place where jobs are advertised but they are anything but job centres. The word plus means addition and in this case it means sanctioning. So they don’t have any jobs but will sanction claimants for the slightest thing like the claimant not receiving a letter they claim to have posted to them or handed to them.

        • I’m old enough to remember when the Jobcentre was the place to go, to look for jobs. The DHSS office was the place to go, if you had problems with your benefit claim.

          Then they combined them and called it Jobcentre plus. Over the next few year it became the last place you’d want to go for anything.

          • Ha yep good old days of supplementary benefits the golden years of benefits sign on grab your giro and go no hassle but then they started posting Giros instead then rot started to set in.
            A system like that would seem radical nowadays !

          • I remember when they first introduced Jobcentres, mus t have been around 1980 , we still signed on a t the Unemployment Benefit Office but were required to register with this new place called the Jobcentre, no one knew why or what it was for, but we certainly found out!

    • I recently got £25 compensation after JCP lost a JSA28 I handed in so I made a formal complaint.
      They also now have to give me a complimentary slip for evidence when I hand anything in whereas before they would refuse to do that.

  3. Sorry to go off topic quite so early in the thread, but I just found out my local Council-run Community Library is finally closing on 2nd Nov. It’s been under threat of closure for last couple of years, and now the Council are appealing for any local shop/cafe/community venue to provide shelf space for library books to be borrowed & dropped off for collection. It must be over a century since the Mechanics Institute & such started public libraries & reading rooms, and now it’s come to this. If only I could change my attitude….

    • Same here shut many of libraries and my local library is facing closure.

      They serve a community in more ways than just books, there has been more uproar and campaigning that the local pub closing down with flyers posters and door to door campaigning driven by the tory who represents this ward than the library closing down which barely gets a mention

      • yes more than books, it’s the internet access I need. I have borrowed a couple of books from there & browsed thru them but there’s not many that are of interest to me personally in subject matter, but I’m sure others do benefit from the books they do have. Shame it’s shutting, it is a well used facility.

          • I’ll have to walk into town centre to the CentralLibrary, about 30 mins.walk,not fun inWinter when it’s raining/snowing,plus everyone else isalso inthere using computersfor jobsearch,could also go to Jobcentre eitherbbut I try avoid the place.

    • Very sad. I think we’ll look back on library closures as bizarre! No sooner will they close than the local do-gooders will start their own library, with books they bought from the closing library!

  4. I’ve let people use my phone on the bus, and I’ve borrowed a phone in a pub. So it seems very mean that the Jobcentre declined to let Mark use a phone, especially as they are BIG, with MANY staff and MANY phones.

    Attitudes are formed by experiences. If the Jobcentre won’t let someone use a phone, it’s no wonder that person feels helpless. If the Jobcentre gives out incorrect telephone numbers, it’s no wonder people feel frustrated. If people get turned down for jobs as roadsweepers, it’s not attitudes that need to change. It’s facts.

    There was an old Native American saying: “Never judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his mocassins[shoes].” It seems apt.

  5. So now Fester McVile is telling porkies at Conference, describing Benefit cuts as “fake news”. Well my JSA hasn’t gone up for the last couple of years and there’s nothing fake about that. And how many people have been declared fit for work and had their sickness Benefits stopped, isn’t that a cut? Then there was the Benefit Cap too, all “fake”then, never even happened.

    • It sounds like they find another word to describe every benefit cut they make: “cap”, “freeze”, “sanction”, etc.

      I wouldn’t believe much of what they say about benefits anyway because several times they’ve had to stand up and apologise for misleading Parliament.

        • As though the Tories aren’t dangerous? Ranting, spewing out hate speech against the vulnerable?

          Did you see on TV about President Macron telling a protestor he could easily get a job in a hotel or restaurant, even across the road? In the subsequent media spotlight, the protestor revealed he was an unemployed gardener and he had handed out loads of CVs but got no response. He offered to take Macron job-hunting with him!

          I think it’s dangerous for a political leader to make out that people are being lazy and haven’t tried this or that when in fact they have. It feeds a popular prejudice that a country is full of shirkers and skivers when in fact employment opportunities are not there. That in turn feeds dangerous cuts to social security and a dangerous culture of judgement and hate.

          • No,i didn’t see Macron do that, sounds like something Trump would say,they’re all the same these world leaders aren’t they,completely out touch,most don’ t know the price of a bottle of milk.

          • They develop peoples prejudices with propaganda from an early age but I think now the conservatives god bless them are bringing in the workers under Universal Credit and for the first time ever workers above 16 hrs could be at the receiving end of a benefit sanction and are therefore joining the ranks of us jobseeking scroungers that narrative will now change I am sure.

        • P.S. “Ugly”? Who cares? I want someone I can trust to run the country! I’m not voting for a beauty pageant!

  6. Last Friday I attended a Helping you prepare for work in the future meeting, at the Jobcentre. During the meeting I told her that I had a Spastic Colon. She didn’t know what it was. So I explained to her that it was a form of IBS. At the end of the meeting she said I should apply for a job at the new McDonald’s that was opening soon. She obviously hadn’t listened to a word I said.

    A 61 year old man with a Spastic Colon, preparing and serving food.
    Not the best idea anyone ever had.

    • It would have been a shit job anyway . Not as bad as that Curry restaurant in Ilkley just a few years back who employed illegal immigrants in the kitchen, one of whom it turned out had a rare form of amoebic dysentery, the first ever case in UK, and 90 people were hospitalized, some with permanent kidney damage. The restaurant owners narrowly avoided jail. Bon Appétit !

  7. This so disgusting want is happening can’t use the job centre phone I have been on this terrible universal credit for 7 months I am 60 years old woman always work I suffer from depression but these people treat you like you nothing they got me in rent arrears I feel so sad when you see so much homeless people living on the streets this is Britain I been off work for 19 month’s and I can’t wait to go back to work these the groverment don’t care I am 60 just hope I get one these jobs I apply for
    Harriet mulcare x

  8. All this stuff about Citizen’s Advice helping people with Universal Credit applications is just damage limitation for the Tories.
    The more moderate Tory voters have become increasingly concerned about what is genuine cruelty inflicted on the unemployed and disabled.

    • It’s interesting how few have turned up for the main speeches at conference. Or for anything. John Crace was right yesterday – anyone with an iota of self respect left has left the building.

      • It begs the question how they managed to stay in power without any real grass root support apart from dominating the main stream media I am sure many supposedly Labours with their damn working class aspirations to be hero’s are secretly voting conservatives in the deluded hope that one day tory policies will benefit them.

      • Some slightly cheering news, with this piece in the Guardian online today telling us about how the Tories have managed to radicalise at least one person who voted for them in 2015.


        I’ve also managed to get My5 working on Linux so have been binging a bit on some of the documentaries, and whilst I know that Channel 5 has been notorious for the poverty porn it has produced, it has, somewhat surprisingly for me also produced some films that are challenging of the current status quo.

        ‘Slum Britain: 50 Years On’ is a film about people who were photographed in 1969 and talking to them about those times today, as well as outlining the problems faced by today’s homeless people.

        Social Housing:Social Cleansing is about the situation regarding social housing in London, and its severity, seemingly complicated by a widely held belief that many local authorities are conniving with developers to socially cleanse people from homes that would be much cheaper to repair and upgrade rather than sell to private developers for demolition and rebuild with a much reduced social housing element.

        Finally there’s ‘Michel Portillo: Out Housing Crisis Who is to Blame?’ which is an interesting delve into the history of social housing in, largely, London, and the problems we’re facing now. It’s interesting, but I totally disagree with Portilllo’s prescription as to how we get out of the current mess.

        I think any government with genuine will could get some pretty radical legislation through to start to solve the crisis, as it’s not just the poor who are having to endure the housing crisis.

        However, no-one in politics seems to want to get really serious about dealing with the housing crisis, as it would likely upset the financial elite and homeowners who have come to look upon the houses they own as financial assets rather than as homes.

        • I went to a (free) exhibition of photographs of people living in the slums of Britain in 1969. It was held at the Science Museum in London a few years ago. I expect they may have been the same photographs you saw on TV.

          • Sounds like an interesting exhibition Alison,from a photography point of view. I don’t watch Ch.5 though.

    • That is the problem, to limit damage we need a welfare advisor in every JCP to be on the scene and proactive informing poorly trained staff (3 weeks training for UC) and not in some office somewhere being reactive and just mopping up the mess after the fact.

      CAB have sold out to the DWP for the lure of money was too great and they cannot be impartial any more.

      I do not trust most supposedly helping/caring organisations most are poverty pimps CAB are no exception.

      • Well the CAB have helped me with sorting out my debts so I can’t complain, but I don’t think it’s their job to be helping with UC claims, I blame the government & DWP for passing the buck and heaping all this extra work onto the CAB, they are using Charities to take up the slack & bear the brunt of their failed policies, same with Austerity/Welfare Reforms and the foodbanks. The Tories have been disastrous in Government and they are going to leave one hell of a mess for Labour to eventually sort out.

        • Yes, it is unfair for the government to give so much more work to charities. My local CAB has become appointment-only. You have to book by phone and there are stories of people waiting on hold for 45 minutes! No good at all.

        • Using the Third Sector (voluntary/charitable) was what Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ was all about. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with people doing voluntary work until it comes to replacing people in paid work, which is what Big Society was all about, and many charities took the government’s bribe money and as a result many charities are now struggling to find people willing to volunteer because of the behaviour of so many of them that colluded with the government’s Work Programme that saw so many people unlawfully sanctioned and pushed into destitution. It was quite disgusting to see charities such as British Heart Foundation using slave labour, frequently risking the health of those workers. Ditto with the Salvation Army, which also used slave labour and was instrumental in people being sanctioned. The Tories want to push all ‘welfare’ onto the Third Sector as, even with the government bungs, it’s much cheaper than providing a decent safety net.

          CABs are still the go-to place, but they have blotted their copy book in cosying up to the government too much. However, like Trev, they once helped me sort out my financial pickle. for which I will always be grateful. However, as CAB is very much a franchised kind of operation, it varies from branch to branch, some are good, and some, like my local branch, became so bad that it was taken over by a CAB from a different town. I don’t know what it’s like now, and I last used it some 15 or so years ago, when things were quite bad, with long waits to see anyone and hard pressed volunteers.

          UC just needs scrapping, and it wouldn’t surprise me that something pretty radical will happen to it once it sinks in that everyone currently on Tax Credits is going to be moved over onto it. The system is at breaking point, (not just welfare, but policing, education, the NHS and local government) and more and more people, even moderateTories, are realising that ‘austerity’ has gone way too far.

      • CAB aren’t perfect, but just yesterday another person told me how helpful she found them. They went through her finances with her and helped her to claim Pension Credit. She trusted them with her personal information. She couldn’t have claimed Pension Credit alone and she doesn’t share her personal information with other people.

  9. It is apparent to me that the Jobcentre are obviously struggling to cope and it seems to be all starting to unravel & fall apart. I just got back from signing on, I saw a different Adviser that I’ve never seen before, who was very flustered. She was nice enough, didnt give me any grief, but was struggling to keep up. She said she’d already seen 30 people that morning, several were late which had messed up her appointments, and she broke off to talk to 3 different people whilst dealing with me, & kept apologizing. I added to the fluster levels, which were clearly rising, by sticking loads of paper work under her nose, saying “do you want to see my jobsearch evidence? This is this fortnight’s and here’s the previous fortnight’s that no one has looked at”, she just said “Oh”, didnt have time to read it properly, didn’t want to see it, just quickly glancedat it & added her initials at the bottom. Then before she could do or say anything else I started telling her about my voluntary work & that I’m now doing an extra day, then before she could even take all that onboard started telling her about some upcoming medical appointments, she was really flustered by now and just said ” right well let’s see if we can sign you now when It’s loaded…and give you your next appointment”. That done I was out of there, leaving her to the remainder of her stressful day. Meanwhile, another Adviser on the next desk was doing the ‘Job Shop’, which I have ascertained is due to staff shortages. It seems like the boot is now on the other foot, and the Jobcentre staff are more stressed than we are!

    • It seems to me your JCP is slightly behind mine trev and yep staff shortages due to sickness/holidays and staff training for UC (lasts 3 weeks) .

      My JCP has 200 plus Work coaches so it has taken nearly a year for them to start back to the old regime of seeing a regular work coach and I have probably seen each and everyone of them.

      I have been given the name of my next victim who I will be seeing on my next work search review and they will now become my regular Work coach from now I just hope they hope they live up to the high standards I expect from a civil servant.

      And yep the tables have turned their workload has increased from 70 plus claimants to 300 Plus claimants recently so be wary of them making mistakes they are under stress under paid and under fire from both sides of the desk.

      • I don’t know what it’s like upstairs on the UC floor but down on the JSA floor it’s as busy as it ever was and does seem to be more shambolic & farcical lately. No one ever has the time to properly look at jobsearch evidence like they used to, or find some inappropriate job for you to apply for. They just want to get you out of the way ASAP, suits me! 🙂

  10. “What kind of benefit is Universal Credit, that people need a support group to cope with it?”

    “This is Tory Party insanity at its height.

    They keep telling us Universal Credit is the best thing that ever happened to the benefit system – yet now people in Portsmouth are being directed to charity support groups, simply in order to survive it.

    That’s not social security – it’s a crime against humanity.”



  11. UN Secretary-General endorses Universal Basic Income

    “The Secretary-General of the United Nations endorses UBI on 25th September 2018.

    António Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, urged world leaders to consider Unconditional Basic Income in his speech at the General Assembly of the UN.

    After drawing the audience’s attention to the consequences of current technological innovation for the labour market, Guterres said:

    The very nature of work will change. The governments may have to consider stronger social safety nets, and eventually Universal Basic Income.”




    Four Ontario Mayors asking the Federal Government to take over the Basic Income Pilot


  12. And yet there was an article in the Independent the other day about a single father with one child, who had been transferred to Universal Credit. He was absolutely destitute after weeks without money either for himself or the child. If it hadn’t been for the local food-bank they would both have starved. Yet he admitted he had always been a Conservative voter, and despite everything that had happened to him and his child, he would never vote Labour ! So what can you do ?

    • Last night, on TV, Chukka Umuna said he wants Labour to “return to…the value of work”. That sounded to me like code for welfare-bashing.

      Andrew Neill, Chukka Umuna and others described President Macron as a “moderate” and a “liberal”, and as being in the “centre ground”, but I don’t think he is moderate at all! He is very extreme when it comes to welfare-bashing and he wants to be the first to remove France’s long-established workers’ rights.

      It’s amazing how the political classes completely overlook these extremes and potential dangers! So often, the word “liberal” is used to describe politicians who are a danger to those of us who rely on the generosity of the state to help pay bills and to protect our conditions at work.

      I agree Labour could do much more to stand up and say no to welfare-bashing and the injustices of welfare reforms including Universal Credit. Nevertheless, I’d rather vote for Corbyn and McDonnell than for characters like Chukka Umuna and those who want to align themselves with the so-called “liberal”, “moderate”, dangerous policies of President Macron.

      • Yeah well Chukka Ummuna isn’t a Leftwing Socialist, he’s a Rightwing ‘Blue Labour’ type. I wouldn’t vote for him.

      • Chukkas is not sure if he is a Tory or Labour.

        One could be cold hearted and say the best thing Jeremy Corbyn could do at the moment to help his party get in power is die

        It seems to unite the separate factions within Labour as happened with John Smith and Blair and earlier Hugh Gaitskell and Wilson.

        • I think Corbyn could well get bumpedoff. There are powerful Establishment forces who have a vested interest in preventing a LeftwingSocialistgovernment – the Americans, Israel, the British Rightwing, Freemasons, CIA, MI5, Mossad….he might not make it to No. 10

          • Imagine having to live everyday like that under the spotlight knowing some lunatic could have a go at you covertly or not and he seems well relaxed to have no security with him when he is out and about.

            To be honest I could not cope with that……. I would want a wall of steel around me, but I can understand why he and those of his ilk choose not to.

            Violence will never solve anything it hasn’t so far but I suspect if JC died in suspicious circumstances then a lot of people would get very angry very quickly.

          • IDS had to have armed guards everywhere he went, don’t know if he still does.

          • Haha yeah 🙂 but judging by those G4SS twa ts in the Jobcentre they don’t have any Class loyalty, or a brain, theyre like robots.

          • That’s what they want us all to be, Trev. Just robots. Mindlessly doing anybody’s bidding for any pay, no matter how unethical it may be.

          • I hadn’t realised that Corbyn was advocating a Left Wing Sociallist government Trev, just a decent humane government. None of Corbyn’s policies would have looked out of place in a 1960sTORY manifesto, (okay, maybe I exaggerate a bit, but not by much). Compared to a 1960s Labour manifesto, Corbyn’s demands seem moderate in the extreme.

            However, Chukka Umunna needs to join the Tories where he belongs.

        • No call for yet though for scrapping the welfare reforms let alone the JSA act.

          Labour could make a few changes if in power and continue migrating legacy JSA to the revamped payment system with a new name but still underpinned by welfare reform regime still underpinned by benefit sanctions.

          Welfare,Reforms V JSA
          Moving from a 3 step pw based regime to a 35 pw hour regime
          Loss of 14 day holiday entitlement
          Reduction in the number of days self certified sickness from 28 to 14
          Hardship payments have to be paid back
          12X more likely to receive a benefit sanction

          So in reality there is no reason at this moment for me to vote for Labour in relation to anything to do with benefits not impressed at all !

          Just politricking smoke and mirrors from sides.

  13. At last some action from Labour on Universal Credit – not before time. But still the difference between a formal commitment to abolish it and a general statement by McDonnell. A step in the right direction at least. The whole thing is a political minefield for the Conservatives, and some of them are already starting to get nervous about it. Millions of working people, many of them low-paid Conservative voters, being sanctioned and bullied by the Jobcentre. Seeing for themselves the reality of the 35-Hour Jobsearch, the endless stupid Jobcentre courses , workfare and crap zero-hour work they will be forced to do. As they say, you haven’t seen anything yet.

    • This what confuses me people seem to think UC is the source of all the ills but the reality is , it is just a payment system that rolls all the benefits into one simple payment.

      The real culprits are the welfare reforms the jobseekers act and work capability assessments that existed before UC.

      If I have misunderstood then I really would like to be corrected.

      • By lumping Housing Benefit in with JSA your accommodation is at risk if you get Sanctioned and Rent arrears are caused by long delays in UC payment. Payments are too little to live on once they do start because of deductions for DWP advancements and any alleged Tax Credit overpayments that are difficult to challenge. It also means that vulnerable people are expected to manage a monthly lump sum without spending the rent money, when they are already in arrears & up to their necks in debt, and/or may have a drink/drug habit, or the kids need new trainers or school stuff, so the money gets spent on other stuff. Then there’s the ludicrous jobsearch rules and people being forced totake crappy part time work that makes them no better off. UC is disastrous for most people.

        • Yep good points trev and agree on what your saying, but you can have your UC paid fortnightly and have your rent go directly to landlord.

          As for the payment timings etc they can be fixed but from a social security point of view as long as sanctions are in place all that can tumbling down.

          Also scrapping UC does not fix the WCA and all the problems that comes with that.

          I have no problem with scrapping UC but I just feel it is the wrong target.

          • I wasn’t aware of fortnightly UC, tha t must be special circumstances? It undermines the whole point of what they were originally saying about emulating work with monthly salaries, though I’ve never been paid mon thly in my life, was always weekly wages when I worked, or daily if cash in hand.

          • I’ve heard ministers on tv saying, “You can ask for fortnightly payments.” I believe the rules were changed and fortnightly payments were allowed “in exceptional circumstances”, following public outcry.

          • Just had a quick check my apologies re fortnightly payments in England I wrongly assumed they were available here as well.

            In Scotland you can request 2 payments per month.

            And NI UC is normally paid fortnightly and you can request to have them paid monthly instead.

            I was sure you can get UC paid fortnightly in England also I will dig deeper at some point but if it is possible at all, it is hidden away.

            I have tried to avoid getting to grips with UC and the welfare reforms so my knowledge of both is fairly limited until it affects me then I will jump on it.

            But the difference between the payment systems shows that with a few changes UC can be fixed and that is my point UC is a payment system that need fixing.

            WCA and the welfare reforms benefit and the sanction regime are the major issues in my view and cause most of the problems, scrapping UC will not scrap those.

      • Monthly payment mightnot be sobad IF Housing Benefit was kept out of it and IF the JSA part was being paid at the right rate, ie. 40% more than it is now. But you know that Benefits are not enough to live on, it’s hard enough trying to survive fortnightly, but monthly with deductions, delays, & impossible terms & conditions? I say increase JSA by 40% and pay it weekly, and leave Housing Ben. separate.

        • Yep the rate of JSA or UC is to low.

          I am in the process of having a variation made to my claim so I can postal vote and limit the range of job search to 3 miles (1 hours walk) again due to low rates and unable to afford public transport.

          I can prove beyond doubt in my circumstances that my income makes it almost impossible to be a jobseeker and many others are in the same boat.

          • I justsearched on Find AJob for jobs within 10 miles, posted in past24 hours, and after entering all the irrelevan words to exclude in the ‘AdvancedSearch’, it returned just two results, both for part time Cleaners.

          • Yep I get no jobs at all in my area and if I set my range to 5 miles or more it means I have to use 2 buses which then outstrips any gains made.

            Imagine being a cleaner working 5 days a week for 5 hours a day at 2 different jobs and spend 1 hour a day walking between locations and then faced with DWP threatening them with sanctions and forced to spend time looking for even more work shit low paid work…..just put feet up to put kettle on and briiing briiing its the JCP.

            No chance of a holiday for this worker they will lose money if they do not keep up with the work search conditions.

          • Is cleaning suitable for your current state of health? It’s a very physically demanding job.

          • I wasn’t searching for Cleaning jobs Alison, that’s all that came up in the results once I had excluded everything else in the search terms (ie. Nurse, Plumber, HGV, CSCS, Hairdresser, Executive, Welder, Driver, Interpreter, Developer, Electrician, Beautician, Astronaut, Brain Surgeon, etc. etc.)

    • Yes, Labour have really dragged their feet over this, and still seem to believe that UC was basically a good idea just administered wrong. It is a very BAD idea indeed, fundamentally flawed cockeyed policy dreamt up by a clueless millionaire who thinks he can help poor people by making their lives poorer and more difficult. But I think it’s worth voting Labour and taking our chances just to get rid of this shower of shit.

    • As if they actually believed that the threat of Sanctions would enable workers to increase earnings, that’s some warped Tory logic – “try harder to work your way out of poverty or we’ll make you poorer”. No wonder they wanted to hide evidence to the contrary. The entire Tory cabinet, past and present, are a danger to society and ought to be put in Broadmoor.

  14. Now Gordon Brown is joining the fight against Universal Credit, warning of widespread civil unrest (riots?), and the Mirror have started a petition. According to the Ipswich Unemployed Action blog, which I seem to be unable to post a link to.

    • Yep the calls are getting stronger to scrap Universal Credit now workers are realising they will be joining the ranks of us scroungers and face the same conditions with sanctions as punishment.

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