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.

 

 

 

50 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.

    • Cheers, much appreciated Trev. Sorry I couldn’t re-upload it to the same link. Software wouldn’t do it. Hopefully he downloaded it from the original.

      • 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”

    https://t.co/qJ6kkzjyQT

    If you scroll down to the bottom and click on Applying for the role it takes you to:
    https://dwpjobs-workcoach-microsite.co.uk/home
    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.

      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/oct/06/covid-mass-unemployment-change-attitude-welfare-system-pandemic-austerity

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

      https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/oct/03/red-wall-families-worse-off-under-tory-universal-credit-plans

      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…

            https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/oct/19/mps-urge-starter-payment-to-universal-credit-claimants

          • 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: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/oct/29/britons-support-for-welfare-benefits-at-highest-level-for-20-years-study

            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

    https://khn.org/news/article/lie-of-the-year-the-downplay-and-denial-of-the-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

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/consumer-affairs/let-old-retire-early-former-minister-urges-state-pension-age/

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

    https://www.express.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/1344328/state-pension-age-changes-rishi-sunak-increase-early

    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.”

    https://www.yourmoney.com/retirement/out-of-work-older-brits-should-be-given-early-access-to-state-pension/

    • 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.

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