Link to download of my book

People have been asking for copies of my book as the previous pdf link has expired.

Have set the pdf here for download. Many thanks to everyone who has downloaded and read it. The response has been incredibly encouraging.

The book collects interviews with people who have relied on the benefits system in austerity and goes behind the scenes to jobcentre & homelessness meetings to show people’s experiences of the austerity state.




92 thoughts on “Link to download of my book

  1. I had already sent the link, a couple of weeks ago, to my MP and he thanked me for the recommendation. He’s Labour but I thought he could benefit from knowing the truth and extent of the effects of Austerity measures and Welfare reforms on the most vulnerable as he is wealthy and somewhat cushioned and detached from the grim reality of life for the poor.

      • Interesting post that by Beastrabban. Though I would disagree on some of the points made in it, in general I think the post hits the nail on the head.

        However, it’s important to stress that the European Convention on Human Rights has nothing whatsoever to do with the EU, and I don’t think that’s stressed anything like enough in the post. Though I doubt that the Take Back Control morons clamouring for the removal of human rights legislation will take much note of that – it’s got ‘European’ in it , innit?

        The ECHR was a convention drafted in 1950 and came into force in 1953. Perhaps ironically, given that the UK government is now trying to pull out of the ECHR, Britain in was a primary mover and shaker in getting the Convention established, with Churchill being particularly enthusiastic. One of the main reasons for the establishment of the Convention was so that no European would have to face the kind of abuses more or less certainly planned by the current government. It’s also interesting to note that Churchill was very much in favour of a United States of Europe – something that we don’t hear a lot about from our present day Tory overlords.

        As for Cameron volunteering at a foodbank. What can one say? Next he’ll be finding someone to teach poor single working class mothers how to make nourishing meals out of fish heads and potato peelings…

        I’m just coming to the end of reading Victor Grossman’s ‘A Socialist Defector: From Harvard to Karl-Marx-Alee. (Victor Grossman defected to the Soviet Bloc whilst a drafted GI in the early 1950s and ended up in Berlin, GDR) He is critical of the lack of freedoms in the GDR, and mentions that sometimes exotic food was difficult to come by, but also that, after about 1950, everyone had enough to eat, somewhere to live and a job. And whilst he doesn’t claim that the GDR was any kind of paradise, he does ask important questions about the position of workers, especially the poorer ones who don’t have freedom from homelessness, job security or even food security – foodbanks were unheard of in the GDR.

  2. The DWP are now advertising for JCP Work Coaches:

    “Make a difference – become a jobcentre Work Coach”

    If you scroll down to the bottom and click on Applying for the role it takes you to:
    where it goes on to list the DWP “Responsibilities”, amongst which it actually states “getting people with ill-health into work” !
    That’s right, they openly admit that. All concerned will know that over the last decade the Tories have tried to make it a crime to be sick, with their Work Capability Assessments and changing Sick notes to “Fit notes”, they have waged war on the sick and disabled. I can scarcely believe their gall in openly stating that as one of their “Responsibilities”.
    Scroll down further and it lists their “Priorities”, which includes, astonishingly, saving children from poverty! The very same poverty that they have caused with their Austerity, Welfare reforms, Benefits Cap, Sanctions, etc. UK child poverty is the highest it’s been since Victorian times.
    I wouldn’t work for them for all the tea in China.

    • It seems that many of those jobs are a bit of a poisoned chalice anyway as they’re fixed contract for 12 months, though the pay rate is £27.5k which is about a thousand more than what was being offered when I received the notification on my UC diary at the end of June.

      The local Jobcentres here still haven’t reopened and I’ve not heard anything from the DWP since July 1st so I don’t know what’s happening and now Cardiff is back in lockdown.

      The Tories just don’t get it, do they Trev, and it seems that the current recruitment scheme might be linked to Sunak’s promise at the Tory conference that they’re employing more dole clerks to deal with the increase in claims for UC.

      There is also this, highlighting what the Resolution Foundation has said:

      Hope you’re okay and hanging in there Trev, and hopefully there’ll be some brighter news before too long, but I suspect that it’s going to have to get a bit worse first, sadly.

      • Hi Padi,
        Thanks for that Graun link, it is right, the middle classes (and/or ‘Middle Englanders’) who are now forced to use Social Security for the first time are in for a rude awakening to what the rest of us have been suffering for years. The Social Security system and the whole DWP is entirely dysfunctional and unfit for purpose due to the Tories deliberate vandalism and shredding of the safety net. They belong in jail for what they have done, the poverty, suffering and deaths their Austerity and welfare reforms have caused, and the lies they have peddled all along to a gullible electorate. Fucking Tory scum. Covid might make it all unravel. Hiring thousands of extra JCP Work Coaches will do fuck all to deal with mass unemployment and no jobs.
        I’ve heard bugger all from my Jobcentre, which is still closed, apart from they had the nerve to email me the Work Coach vacancies! We’re still in some sort of semi-Lockdown here too, under some sort of further restrictions that keep changing and no one understands. I’m still applying for whatever jobs I can and saving the confirmation emails just in case anyone ever asks, but I doubt they will. All I am seeing is the usual agency shite, fast-paced Production /Warehouse jobs, awkward shifts, miles away. I applied for one decent sounding job today (not agency for a change) at a recycling company but it’s right across the opposite side of town from me and even though I could bus it in about an hour they ask what postcode you’re in, wanting people in their actual postcode for some reason so probably don’t stand a chance, plus my age might go against me. Other than that I’m struggling to survive on just £65 p/w JSA as the DWP have just resumed taking deductions for a Budgeting Loan I had to take out in April to have my cat put down. Got my Pension statement yesterday, it’s an old Private Pension from when I was working years ago, haven’t paid into it for years so it isn’t worth much, but it usually gains about £400 – £500 in value each year, this time it’s lost £530 in value instead of going up, probably due to the effects of Covid on the economy and stock market, though I read on BBC news that Billionaires have increased their wealth by 27% throughout Covid. Doubly pissed now 😒

        • Yeah Trev, it really does take the P big time when you read of the wealth of the rich increasing by over a quarter in such a short space of time.

          Most of them seem to be in a no lose situation, well, that is until they’re faced with someone like Jeremy Corbyn who they then try and characterise as some kind of latter day Pol Pot when in reality the Tories in the 1960s had far more radical wealth redistribution policies.

          I’ve still not heard anything from the Jobentre either, and the job situation just looks bleaker by the day. As that Grauniad article noted, an increase in Jobcentre work coaches isn’t going to create jobs. And with the kind of attitude shown towards those who work in the arts, I don’t think things are going to get any better before they get somewhat worse.

          But I plod on, as there isn’t really anything else to do. I have been attempting repairs on obsolete electronic devices in my possession. I’ve also been trying to rid myself of accumulated junk, which is a bit of a challenge when you’re a bit of a hoarder. But never mind, I’ll get there. I have a few computers to rebuild, and once that is done I’ll be finding new homes for a couple of them, but I have others that would struggle to run Windows 98! I think the council will have to come and collect those.

          I’ll be pretty much dependent on the state pension, though i do have a small amount in a council pension scheme that will pay me a small amount. It goes up every year, but not by much. I did have a little in another pension scheme, but I cashed that in a couple of years ago as it was only about 3 grand.
          Fingers crossed that your pension fund recovers it’s value before too long.

          • My Pension isn’t worth much, I haven’t contributed to it for 30 years as it was frozen when I was made redundant in December 1990, but it continues to make interest (in theory, usually). If I cashed it in now it would be just enough to live on for one year, and I would lose my Benefits so it’s not worth it.
            I’ve just been offered an interview and have to reply. I don’t know what to do. The job itself sounds ok but it’s 11 miles away and pays min. wage. There is a bus but it takes forever. Train would be best option but that costs £44 per week (bus £20 p/w). I would also have to pay my own rent and full Council Tax. All in all I reckon I’d be about £25 per week better off than on the dole for a 40 hour week if I caught the train. Jesus, what a choice.

          • Hi Trev, did you get the job or were you deemed too old? It’s a bugger, and sounds like a hard slog to be just £25 a week better off after having effectively worked at least a 50 hour week, (work + related travel). At least it’d get you out of the house a bit, which could be good.

            Just found this article in the Guardian, seems that there are some Tories with something approaching a heart…


          • I gave the job some serious thought but in the end concluded that it just wasn’t feasible considering the commute and travel costs so I let them know and they were understanding about it. The Jobcentre probably wouldn’t have been had they known, but they don’t take such things into account. The bus journey is a nightmare (done it before) and takes far too long but is cheaper than the train, which is much faster and less of an ordeal (if the train turns up on time) but costs way too much considering job pays min. wage. It’s just hopeless. If that job had been closer and easier to get to, or paid more, then I would have given it a go. Still beating myself up about it a bit though.
            Still doing unpaid voluntary work at the foodbank. We’re being featured in a report in the Graun in a couple of weeks, watch out for yours truly! There was a photographer snapping away whilst we were working.

          • PS.
            Regards UC, I heard IDS crawled out of his hole and said give me £430 million and I’ll deliver Universal Credit Phase II. Apparently he wants to target those with mental illness and addictions and says this is the right time to do it – during a pandemic/lockdown with mass unemployment looming?! He’s a fucking maniac.

          • You seem to have made a wise decision there Trev, I was thinking that with all the travelling it might be a bit much.

            Ugh, IDS. The notion that the mentally ill should be caught up even more than they are in the farce that passes for a social security system in the UK is an obscenity. Many people are already off sick because of stress they’ve suffered in work, either because the work is stressful, or increasingly, because the work is so precarious and badly paid that workers are worrying about whether the job will last, and whether they’ll be able to make ends meet. I have a couple of friends with quite severe mental health issues who would find that kind of regime very unsettling indeed.

            It’s not all bad, it would seem, as in today’s Guardian I found this:

            All in all I don’t think the Tories are having the best of years, what with them wrong footing themselves over ensuring children are being fed, but also the complete mess they’re making of Brexit, plus, it appears, sending themselves into a blind panic now because it looks likely that Trump will lose the forthcoming US election.

            I’ll keep an eye out for that Guardian article!

            Meanwhile I plod on in ‘firebreak’ Wales where I’m supposed to be shielding – I am taking good care, as I think Cardiff has a very high R rate – not that I’ve checked, but I do take all the precautions, and have only been going out when I absolutely need to – I haven’t been in to the city centre (15 mins walking, 5 mins bus) since early March when I last visited the Jobcentre – I believe it’s still there, as I read they’er thinking of uncovering the canals that run through the city centre that got covered up in the 1950s. Cardiff, twinned with Venice, or St Petersburg…

  3. Thank you so much for writing your Book. It has helped me see that what I have suffered for over 20yrs with my local Council et al here in Wales (Labour) and their abuses of power. Clearly I am not alone even if I have felt I was. Politics is rotten to the core. If you ever decide to write more on matters I would be happy to assist you with information and/or give you my story.

    • Yeah but I doubt it somehow. This is the Tories we’re talking about. I think it’s possible they may give in to pressure on making the UC increase permanent, maybe, but I very much doubt they will give it to JSA, they will probably stick to the script and say if you want an increase you can apply for Universal Credit. And why do they keep calling it an “uplift” instead of a rise or increase? It’s an increase to Benefits not an uplift in handouts.

    • Note that Tory MP David Simmonds seems to think that the problem is all down to “troubled families”, nothing to do with a decade of Tory policies of austerity cuts and welfare reforms, totally ignoring the fact that a broad spectrum of people are relying on foodbanks, unemployed, sanctioned, recently redundant, waiting for UC or having money deducted from UC, as well as other people pushed into poverty by a wide range of different circumstances, women fleeing domestic abuse, people with sudden health problems that stopped them from earning a living, people in work on low incomes, Council Tax arrears, Rent arrears, etc.etc. No it’s just “troubled families”.

  4. The good news is my neighbour is back from Pakistan, he’s recovered from Covid, lost some weight, his whole extended family caught it all his brothers and wives, only ones who have died were his mother and his father in law. I thought I would never see him again. So relieved he’s ok.

    • That is good news Trev. Always good when someone gets through it okay.

      I’m just gobsmacked that there are so many idiots still denying that there is a pandemic and that the virus is dangerous. We’re facing another lockdown here in Wales as soon as Christmas is over due to the sheer numbers getting Covid. Apparently Cardiff is a particular hotspot, but I’m keeping as safe as I can and don’t go out much apart for exercise and the odd bit of shopping – usually quite late as the buses and supermarkets are much quieter then.

      • There’s talk of another lockdown here too, and a ‘Third Wave’ of infection. But also been announced that they are bringing in the army to do mass testing here sometime soon, not quite sure what that achieves but there must be a reason for it. Maybe to identify those who are Asymptomatic. I’ve not been going out more than necessary, just for shopping etc. I go to Home Bargains at about 9.00am when I’m on the way to the foodbank on Fridays, miss the rush and queues. I saw people queuing round the block to get in Primark the other day at 8.45am, desperate to get cheap undies. We’re mega-busy at the foodbank right now, it’s getting a bit insane. I need to go out today though, to the laundrette, but I stand outside whilst it’s washing to be on the safe side.

    • Always a nasty piece of work out there with no concept of human compassion.

      It’d be nice if there were such a thing as karma, but his sort usually end up living comfortable lived into their dotage.

  5. The Lie of The Year: The Downplay and Denial of Coronavirus

    And it still continues, elsewhere on the net on a well-known unemployment blog the comments have been taken over all year by Covid-deniers, anti-lockdown, anti-vax, conspiracy morons, and the blog owner, a Labour party stalwart, doesn’t remove the comments or block the culprits, despite the fact that the origins of such dangerous and irresponsible nonsense is the America Alt-Right.

  6. Would this be a better alternative to forcing 60+ year old unemployed people to sit in a classroom rewriting their CVs on the Restart scheme, whilst living on unemployment benefits under constant threat of Sanctions?

    Let the old retire early, former minister urges as state pension age rises to 66

    Baroness Ros Altmann is leading calls to let people access their state pensions early

    State pension age freedoms: Rishi Sunak urged to offer early access to payments

    Out of work older Brits should be given early access to state pension

    “People nearing state pension age but who are unable to work again should be given early access to the state pension, a charity suggests.

    A ‘perfect storm’ is on the horizon for older workers in their 50s and 60s, as the coronavirus pandemic amid a backdrop of caring responsibilities, disability and long-term joblessness spells an uncertain future for the next generation of pensioners, according to charity Age UK.

    More than 340,000 people aged 50-64 are now unemployed and with the short supply of vacancies, the pandemic could spell the end of their working lives.”

    • I think they are probably aware of the pressure to do something to rebuild it given the number of organisations there are about becoming equally vocal about it. It might also not have escaped them that a majority of the electorate now favour a better system too, so there is the pressure out there, but I guess the political class will remain their usual tin-eared selves.

      Glad to see that you’re still here Trev, and I hope that lockdown isn’t affecting you too badly.

      Don’t know if you’re into Adam Curtis’ stuff, but his latest 6 part documentary series is on BBC iPlayer at the moment. It gives some insight into why we are where we are now.

  7. So Boris has laid out his ‘road map’ for leaving lockdown and ultimately emergency regulations, but where does that leave people like me? I know many have suffered, and died, and lost their jobs, or missed seeing friends and relatives, etc. but I personally have found lockdown sort of comforting in a strange sort of way. Having a year off from the dreaded Jobcentre has been blissful, like being Retired but with less money, but it’s more than that. I think I found it comforting that everyone else in the country was to some extent experiencing what is normal for me, sharing the common experience of spending most of your life sat in a flat alone, watching daytime tv, having no social life whatsoever, never going to pubs, cafes, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, etc. And pretty soon everyone else will return to enjoying themselves living life to the full whilst I’ll continue to watch American Pickers and Ice Cold Killers on freeview every day, in between trailing to the library to do pointless jobsearch for the sake of it and of course going to face the executioner at the Jobcentre every fortnight. I guess I’m a bit disappointed that all the talk about the ‘new normal’ turned out to be a lie, and it’s going to be business as usual, nothing new about it, my hopes for real change have been dashed.

    • Don’t give up hope yet Trev. Let’s not forget that we have the Tories in government under Boris Johnson…

      I’m sure the will be attempts to return to normal, but I’m not sure it’ll work, as things have changed and I don’t think that what used to be normal will work any more.

      I can’t say that lockdown has changed my life much, as I have always been somewhat reclusive and often quite happy with just my own company – indeed, I become quite irritated if I have to spend too long around people.

      But as you say, whether the change that happens will be real change that delivers something better for the majority remains to be seen. Any change that does come from the direction of government is likely to be merely cosmetic anyway.

      However, I think we’re a ways off ending lockdown or at the very least substantial restrictions. The way that the government is going about it is likely to see Covid numbers increase once again, as we know their cautious approach is nothing of the sort.

      But I guess we’ll see.

      • I think my mood is fluctuating up & down from day to day. The thought of returning to the Jobcentre is depressing, and the possibility of being referred to the new Restart scheme is worrying. Also pissed off that JSA claimants didn’t get the extra £20 per week, it’s obvious that the Tories see long-term unemployed as the undeserving poor, left to rot on £74 p/w. The good news is I’ve had my first Covid jab about 4 weeks ago, no ill effects, due for second shot on April 15th. It was the Oxford Astra Zeneca vaccine that I had. I’m still doing voluntary at the foodbank, we’ve kept going throughout the pandemic, and that’s about the only time I get to see anyone and actually talk to another human being. Take care Padi.

  8. I haven’t heard about the Restart scheme, I’ll have to look that up online. No doubt it’ll be one of those scams run by one of the Tories mates. Could be fun watching them squirm to provide a Welsh language service….

    Yeah, the decision to not extend the £20 a week ‘uplift’ to those on legacy benefits was shitty, to say the least.

    I was doing some voluntary work, working on a history project for The People’s Collection Wales. I stuck the 3 months commitment they wanted, but ultimately didn’t find the project satisfying. If it hadn’t been for Covid and lockdown it’d have been better as I’d have been able to get out and about and chase up stuff in various libraries and archives.

    Being in a ‘ vulnerable’ group I had my first Covid jab three weeks ago – I got the Pfizer vaccine, mild side effects, but I’m told there’s a much stronger reaction after the second dose. Can’t wait!

    We live in a world gone bonkers Trev, take care.

  9. JCP+ is alive and well and doing telephone interviews on bank holidays! I got an e-mail yesterday telling me that I have a claimant commitment phone interview on Friday 2nd April – Good Friday! Obviously bank holidays are no longer sacrosanct! I’m wondering if it’s a mistake? Time will tell I guess.

    However, I have come across something that looks very interesting. According to theTurn2Us website, if someone is earning less than their ‘threshold’ (i..e. the minimum wage amount for a full-time job) but over £343, they don’t have to look for work, or be available for work:

    “If you are working but are earning less than your earnings threshold, you might be expected to do some activities at the Jobcentre. As long as you are earning more than £343 per month (if you are single) or £549 per month joint income (if you are a member of a couple), you won’t be expected to look for work or be available for work. However, you might be asked to take part in activities to increase your chances of getting a job.”

    It works out at just over 9 hours a week at the £8.72 an hour minimum wage rate, or 8 hours and 20 minutes at the real living wage rate. Given that going forward more of us are going to be unemployed, and the prospects of getting full-time work pretty much next to zero.

    In some areas there is one job vacancy per every 20 people unemployed and even in ‘good’ areas the ratio is one job vacancy for every five unemployed. It makes the 35 hours job seeking activity a week seem doubly absurd.

    • They rang me out of the blue a couple of weeks ago and re-wrote my CC, which took about 20 mins. They’re due to ring me again for a 5 min. chat on April 13th at 10.20. But if they had said on Good Friday I would have complained, after all it was David Cameron, as Prime Minister, who said that we are a Christian country.

      • It was about my CC that they range me today. I mentioned to the woman that made the call that I was surprised that I was being called on a bank holiday, and she said that she was surprised too – but it seems that JCP+ is inundated with newly unemployed people and they’re expecting it to get much worse.

        Basically all that happened was agreeing that my previous CC was still acceptable and valid, which took roughly five minutes. I’m being called again on the 20th at 11.20.

        The worst of it is that I’m now going to have to spend 35 hours a week looking for the even fewer jobs that exist that I have little chance of even getting to interview stage unless I’m economic with the truth. And then, when I get to the interview and they see my white beard and hair, (especially now that I haven’t had a haircut since November) they’re mostly going to pass me over. Oh well, only another two years of this shit!

        Meanwhile I found this piece of light reading:

        • Have you heard about the extra temporary Jobcentres they’re opening around the UK? They’ve just opened one in my town in what was an empty supermarket, I think it was previously Iceland. I think this is intended to meet the extra demands of the newly unemployed, though why we need another Jobcentre in my town when we’ve already got a three-storey proper one that isn’t yet open to the public, I don’t know. Maybe it’s just to give the extra 13,500 Work Coaches somewhere to sit. I’d have thought that the obvious way forward is to shut all the Jobcentres permanently and pay Benefits automatically without the need for face-to-face interviews, just annual signing by return of a postal declaration form or online, that’s all is needed. The Jobcentres cost a fortune to run and serve no real purpose whatsoever.

          • To be honest Trev I haven’t been into the city centre for over a year so I don’t know if more JCP+ offices have been opened here. I know a lot more staff have been recruited, and even got an ad in my journal – offering nearly £28k!

            Agree with you over the way benefits should be administrated, but come on Trev, do you really think that would be accepted by the sadists in the DWP? Speaking of whom, I’ve just discovered this from an item on my Facebook timeline:


            The full report is downloadable too. Of course, most of us already knew about the sanction targets etc, but it’s good to see this kind of stuff confirmed. That way there is independent confirmation that the DWP can’t wriggle out of. Maybe, with a little hope, one day this kind of stuff will see the guilty pay. if there is any justice at all. Not holding my breath though.

          • The truth is coming out now but will it lead to action? Should be a public inquiry and a criminal trial but the Establishment will bury it under Covid news etc. And I can’t imagine Starmer saying fuck all about it.

            DWP deliberately conspired with Tory media to build a “hostile environment” against benefit claimants

            DWP staff encouraged to discourage sick and disabled people from claiming welfare benefits.

            Responding to the allegations set out in the report, a Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: “This journal article does not reflect the compassionate support offered by our jobcentres day in, day out.


          • Just looked at that article, and it seems that there is a new temporary Jobcentre in Cardiff.

            However, if the amount of unemployement is anything like as much as they seem to think it will be, I don’t understand where all the jobs are that we’re all supposed to be applying for, (and supposedly getting) when they simply don’t and won’t exist?

            Much of retail isn’t ever coming back, and I doubt that the city centre office buildings will ever be as busy again now that people realise how much they can save by working from home, and how much their quality of life is improved.

            Here in Wales the pandemic has occasioned people to not only start to get militant about the housing shortage in areas where second homes, (holiday homes) and holiday lets have become a plague which has pushed house prices up to way above what 60% of loacals can afford, but also started a conversation about overtourism. If there are going to be jobs, the governments in all the UK countries are going to have to start thinking very seriously about rebuilding the economy, and about the only option that really exists, short to medium term, is to invest in infrastructure and social homes. Brexit has made a mess of the economy, and you don’t need to be a genius to see that, but I don’t think too many people are aware that the exports that aren’t doing too well at the moment come from a sector that represents only 20% of the pre Brexit economy. Services aren’t even mentioned in the current deal with the EU, and that sector used to represent 80% of the UK economy. Much of that is now haemmorhaging to Europe as it can’t operate from the UK any more.

            Hardly surprising that now 40% of people in Wales support independence!

    • Thanks for that Trev. Some predictable comments on that article below the line. But then, the WalesOnline comments section is renowned for being a kind of alternate universe filled with the intellectually challenged.

    • There already seems to be something of a max exodus to Wales, pushing up house prices by as much as 16% in a year.

      Understandably there is a lot of local concern over this, as house prices have been out of reach of most locals for decades, and the lack of provision of social housing is making the situation worse.

      I’m sure you could live happily in Wales Trev, but no-one’s been told about the arcane application process for UBI here. You have to recite Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch word perfectly whilst standing with one foot on a well and the other foot on a hog’s back in the presence of six druids.

      And then you’ll have to find somewhere to live, and even Welsh people who have lived here all their lives are finding that almost impossible.

      Predictably the local neoliberals are dead set against any kind of test of UBI as a concept, claiming that what is needed are decent jobs that pay well… Strange that ever since the Tories more or less took over in 1979 their emphasis has been on deskilling and paying people less.

  10. Hi, Kate

    This was on itv national news last night as part of the bigger picture, and I thought you and your readers would appreciate it
    Man with breathing difficulties left to live in squalid housing as Hancock condemns ‘horrific conditions’ exposed by ITV
    “ITV News Political Correspondent Daniel Hewitt reports on the squalid living conditions people continue to be forced to live in
    “”Horrific examples” of poor housing exposed by ITV News are having a “clear impact on people’s health”, the Health Secretary has warned, as he vowed to put housing at the heart of the government’s post-pandemic response.

    “Matt Hancock said it was up to landlords primarily to respond to inadequate homes they manage, but that it is the responsibility of government “to make sure, frankly, there’s enough good quality housing.”

    “Bad housing costs the NHS an estimated £1.4 billion each year and there is a well-established link between damp, mouldy homes and a number of health problems including respiratory issues, physical pain, and headaches particularly in children.

    “ITV News spoke to Junior Jimoh and Terrie Pring about how bad housing is impacting their lives….”

  11. The sting is in the tail of this one.

    It’s struck me however when are those who ask the questions going to get away from perpetuating the obvious divide and rule tactics when it comes to poor people: it seems that we’re still in an era where the unemployed are ‘less eligible or somehow to blame for their predicament.

    Quite simply the questioning should have been whether or not there was support for maintaining the uplift or not. This might have reduced overall support for maintenance of the increased payment, but would have not only shown the true extent of support overall for it’s maintenance and helped close the door on the unhelpful and corroisive Victorian notion of deserving poor and uindeserving poor.

  12. This is relevant if either you have a black, Asian, or minority ethnic background or you are a migrant to the UK. If this doesn’t apply but you know someone with a background like this, please forward this to them.

    I am contacting you about a big court case that may help reduce racial discrimination in the rental market, and you may be able to help.

    JCWI (a national migrants’ rights charity) have been involved in a legal challenge against the UK Government’s Right to Rent policy which requires landlords to check the immigration status of prospective tenants. JCWI and Generation Rent believe this policy makes it harder for black people, ethnic minorities and migrants to rent a home than white British people.

    You might be able to help if you are:
    • A Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic British citizen (with or without a passport); or
    • Someone with Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR); or
    •Someone with another form of immigration status eg Limited Leave to Remain (LLR), Pre-Settled Status, work / student visa.

    And you have:
    • Tried to rent property in the private sector in England since 1 February 2016; and
    • Made enquiries to a landlord/agent about a property that were unsuccessful (e.g. your enquiries were ignored, you were told the property wasn’t available, or a landlord/agent refused to hold a property pending a right to rent check).

    If this sounds like you, you may have been affected by the Government’s Right to Rent policy and JCWI would love to hear from you!

    JCWI took the Home Office to court and in Spring 2019 the High Court found that the policy causes racial discrimination and declared it unlawful. In January 2020 the Court of Appeal agreed the scheme causes racial discrimination but unfortunately did not declare the scheme unlawful.

    JCWI and Generation Rent believe that no amount of discrimination is acceptable. JCWI are now preparing to take the legal challenge to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

    To do this, they need to find several people who have been affected by the Right to Rent policy, who would be interested in getting involved in this legal challenge. If you are interested in getting involved or would like to find out more, please contact solicitor Rowan Smith at Leigh Day solicitors – ( by August 31st 2021.

    Getting involved will not take up much of your time or cost you anything, and you will not have to go to court. But it would help in an important case which, if successful, would make a big difference to the lives of thousands of people in the UK.

    Best wishes,

    Dan at Generation Rent

    Generation Rent · 71 Howard St, North Shields NE30 1AF, United Kingdom

    • Thanks for that link Trev, (and good to see that you’re okay). I think my jobcentre advisor is trying to persuade me to sign up to it, but I’m insisting that I’ll only do it if they can find someone in Serco, (who have the Restart contract for Wales) who can deal with me in Welsh.

      I attended my UC appointment just now, (after a month since the last one) and discovered that from now on it’s weekly appointments. Coffey seems to be doubling down on her nasty streak.

      • Coffey is really on one, I don’t know wtf is up with her. It’s like they’ve decided to deflect blame for their own shortcomings and the failings of Capitalism onto the unemployed and sick, surprise, surprise. They need a convenient scapegoat for the traumas of Brexit combined with the effects of the pandemic plus Tory mismanagement, so ramp it up against the unemployed. There’s one million job vacancies but about 4 or 5 million out of work. Those one million jobs will include and consist of skilled work that requires experience and qualifications (e.g. HGV Licence) and/or shite zero hours jobs that no fucker wants. Roll on Retirement….may the years fly by!

        • Agree with you there 100% Trev! I mentioned to a friend that I’m getting this crap from JCP, (JETS, Restart and weekly appointments) and she said ‘Good God, you’re 64, why are they even bothering? You’ll be claiming your state pension soon!’ Whilst tidying up my bookshelves in the hallway I came across a Jobscentre Plus book for claimants explaining JSA and claims in general from about 2007. In it I see that back then even New Labour had the good sense to put anyone over 60 on Pension Credit and more or less put them out to pasture.

          Any sensible system would allow workers to retire at 60 if that’s what they wanted to do. It’s not as if the system can’t afford it, yet we all know that there are too many stupid drones amongst the workers peddling the idea that somehow the country can’t afford it…

          And then we read that Elon Musk is set to become the world’s first trillionaire. How is that even possible? It would take 350,000 years for a UK worker on £15 an hour to build up a fortune of £10bn, which is what British siblings Srichand and Gopichand Hinduja have, based on a 40 hour week.

          I am hoping to get a computer training course out of JCP+ so that I can get Microsoft Accreditation and get a job as an IT Helpdesk Operative or similar job. However it seems that JCP+ in Wales have gone back into lockdown mode and we’re not to visit the JCP+ until they ask us to come in. So that’s put the kibosh on the weekly appointments. I’m really torn up about that…

          The world’s gone mad Trev!

    • I read that and my reaction was very similar to yours Trev. Those running the DWP and JCP+ are becoming more and more insane.

  13. Hi Trev, Kate and whoever else is still around here. Life goes on and the Tories are still being complete bastards, and now they doubly confirm it, no doubt to divert attention away from Johnson and his unsavoury crew.

    They’ve been told time and time again that sanctions are flogging a dead horse, but they still want to kick claimants:

    • Hi Padi,
      Yep, just been reading about that. Incredible. We’re just coming out of a pandemic and now facing a cost of living crisis so what a time to ratchet up the Benefit Sanctions, which is completely unnecessary anyway because employment has risen fast, according to their own figures unemployment is falling! I don’t suppose Starmer will have much to say, more interested in using Downing Street office parties as a convenient diversion.

    • P. S.
      We are STILL waiting for the Judge to announce a decision on the ‘legacy’ Benefits “Uplift” case. The Court case was a couple of months ago and they still haven’t made a ruling. It’s dragging on forever. You can bet the Judge is a Tory or at least is an Establishment figure, and even though he knows full that the situation is unfair and is a blatant case of inequality, he dares not to announce the right decision. £1500 each owed to 2. 5 Million people will certainly rock the political boat.

  14. Some potentially good news. Yesterday saw the launch of a report by the Commsion on Social Security on proposals to deliver a social security system for the UK that’s worthy of the name to replace the utterly failed system we have at present. I don’t expect the Tories or Starmer’s lot will show any interest or support. You can download the report here:

    Further news about the proposed trial of UBI in Wales. It seems that the Welsh Government is hell bent on trialling UBI on a very narrow group of people, young adults leaving care. However, the Welsh Government has been told that restricting to just this group will not produce the right kind of data, and if they pursue this line, the trial will almost certainly fail. A commission has been sitting for a few months and earlier this week released their report that contained a strong recommendation that the trial be broadened so that it includes a wider range of people,particularly multiple age ranges.

    One fly in the ointment is that in order to carry out the trial there will need to be agreement by the Westminster government as social security isn’t a devolved matter, (unfortunately) and also, partly because of this, some of the funding for the trial will have to come from Westminster.

    There is a lot of support for the idea of UBI in Wales, right across the political spectrum, (apart from the Tories) but most of us are more or less resigned to the idea not being allowed to progress too far. The reality is that the whole social security system and its funding needs to be devolved if we’re to get any real improvements in the system in the medium to long term.

    • It’s got potential but I think I’ll be long gone before we see any real Social changes implemented in the bloody UK..
      I was also reading that some economic thinktank has said that the government cannot justify increasing State Pension age beyond 66 for the next 30 years, due to falling life expectancy for the first time in modern history, but haven’t heard any response from Government or Opposition.

      • I’ve often wondered if there is any real point in extending state pension age beyond 60. Try getting a job over the age of 60 that’s not some exploitative scheme by the likes of B&Q. (And even B&Q’s application process makes it seem like you’re applying to be CEO and not some bargain basement wage slave)

        And if not retirement, surely it’s not beyond the wit of the government and employers to come up with a scheme that allows older workers to work part-time if they want to over the age of say, 55. Weed out what the late David Graeber described as ‘bullshit jobs’ and focus on those jobs that are really socially useful and rebalance society away from the rampant consumerism that’s destroying the planet.

        But yeah Trev, we won’t hear anything about that kind of thing from either of the main parties who are still worryingly attached to neoliberalism.

        • A couple of weeks ago my JCP Adviser rang me for the fortnightly chat and told me about a job to apply for, then rang yesterday to ask whether I’d applied for it. I told her that I had gone to the library that very day when she told me and that I had applied online, also explaining that it was a straight forward application process not complicated and that it required you to upload your CV and answer two questions, firstly explain why you think you would be suitable for the job and then it asked your age. The Adviser on the phone was aghast and said they shouldn’t ask you for your age. I told her that it was a required field, which couldn’t be skipped as it wouldn’t let you continue. I got an email two days after submitting the application saying that unfortunately I have not been selected. It seems obvious to me that they are screening applicants by age and that’s why I didn’t get the job. It was working at the Council recycling plant, which is run by private contractors, and is situated just down the road from where I live, about a 10 mins. walk. It was 12 hour shifts (45 hours per week) but only 4 days and paid £520 per week. The application deadline was 25th Jan. I applied on 18th and received the rejection email on the 20th.
          Anyway, since then I’ve had a further development in so much as another job offer and am going to see the guy on Monday (I have no money for bus fares ’till then). The job is at a small furniture workshop and distribution warehouse, keeping the place clean and tidy, emptying bins, recycling cardboard, full time 40 hrs for min. wage, which is increasing to £9.50 in April. Only thing is it is located at other side of town and will take me an hour to get there, for a 7.30am start, so that means leaving home at just after 6.00am, 30 min. walk to bus station for the 6.45 bus. I’ll have to get up at 4.30am!!! He did say hours could be negotiable, so I’ll try for a 8.00am start.

          • Good luck with it Trev, though it’s a real bummer that it’s so far away that you have to get up so early to get there . They should be okay with an 8:00 am start,

            Disgusting that the the site you applied for the job on asked you your age, as that shouldn’t be happening. Is the Equalities and Human Rights Commission aware that people are being asked their age on that site? It seems like a pretty clear cut example of discriminatory practice to me.

  15. I wonder what if anything Rachel “tougher than the Tories on Welfare” Reeves has to say about this?

    Universal Credit: Why work search at four weeks is a lose-lose policy
    February 14, 2022
    Mary-Alice Doyle
    “New rules encouraging people claiming Universal Credit to look for work earlier are being introduced. In the first of two blog posts, Mary-Alice Doyle explores the new requirement for work search at four weeks and explains why it is a lose-lose policy for claimants and the public purse alike.”

  16. Fucking unbelievable, but bloody typical.
    The High Court Judge has ruled in favour of the DWP in the legacy Benefits “Uplift” case. Apparently it is perfectly reasonable, fair equal and just, to have given people on one State Benefit (UC) an extra £20 per week throughout the Covid pandemic but not to other people in receipt of different State Benefits such as JSA and ESA. Incredible. What utter horse shit. Fuck the Tories, and the DWP, and most definitely fuck the High Court Judiciary. What a shower of bastards.

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