Bleeding more cash out of homeless people

We go back to Marlin Apartments in Stratford, where homeless families live 4 and 5 to a single room – around which they are pursued by militias of rats, mice, bedbugs, cockroaches, tiny flies and other pests that I didn’t care to view closely at the time. There are pictures and stories here if you can stand it.

Being eaten by bedbugs was plenty to be getting on with, but now, there is more. It turns out that the above vermin aren’t the only ones in pursuit of Marlin residents. Energy and water companies are after them, too – for money that the residents neither owe, nor can pay. No surprises there, of course. You don’t get much time off from your life as prey when you are poor. Your whole day is lousy with bloodsuckers, muggers and vultures who can’t wait to chew you out. You get down to bone, but your tormentors will still charge in to gnaw it.

Which is not to say that they don’t form a type of queue. In any list of voracious wankers, water and energy companies invariably make their way to the top. In a stampede for your twitching carcass, they will bullock past the rest in the race for your soft parts. Which they’ll get.

So it is at Marlin Apartments. Recently, while thumbing through mail that the rats had yet to fully consume, residents found water and energy demands for several hundred pounds. In some cases, these demands were for more than £500:

Image of water costs bill showing a demand for £531.82

At the same time, Marlin residents received letters from Newham council which said that they had to set up their own accounts with energy companies, and pay the usual exorbitant power bills directly to those companies.

image from letter about changed conditions for charging for energy bills at Marlin Apartments

As I understand it (I don’t entirely), up until September, bills were included in residents’ rent – one bill for the lot, residents say. I suppose that makes sense given that Marlin Apartments were once serviced apartments for city-visitor management types, who probably paid an all-inclusive bill for a stay.

Now that the apartments are used as temporary accommodation for homeless people, things have changed – to bring Marlin residents in line with “arrangements that are made with all residents of temporary accommodation,” according to the above letter from the council. I say, “as I understand it,” because the council has not responded to my requests for clarification on the new and old charging “systems.” Also, the text in the council’s letter is about as clear as catflop. I tried hard, but there are sentences that are taking a while to stick:

“As a result of the rising energy costs, it has been agreed with Marlin apartments that the cost of water heating via the gas supply to the building will be made by them directly to you.”

I think that means, “as energy costs go up, homeless tenants will be hit for the lot.”

So, that’s great for residents. As we all found out last year – and a long time before in many cases – knowing that your heating bills will increase in winter, and as dangerous damp and mould set in, is not especially hilarious.

National and local government like to argue that billing homeless people like the rest of us (ie, violently) is character-building and the path out of dependence. This argument tends to circumnavigate the fact that problems with meeting bills are generally less about a lack of character than about a lack of money, but we must grow where we can, I guess.

I suppose that there is a bit of bright side, in that worrying about impossible energy bills could be a refreshing change from worrying about being eaten alive by bedbugs. Then again, maybe being slowly gassed by anti-bedbug pesticides is a better way to go. As I say, you look for positives where you can. Every aspect of council homelessness provision is so terminally stuffed that I now tend to rate problems by degree and length of torture. When looking for answers to problems, you really do find yourself asking questions like – is sitting in a damp room and choking on mould particles over several winters better or worse for body and soul than being munched on by bedbugs and mice? What should you deal with first?

People living in temp housing get both, of course, Such are the times. If you are homeless in 2023, housing success is not about finding somewhere comfortable, or safe, or clean, or even habitable. It’s about finding a place that you and your kids might survive.

Anyway. I imagine that some people who read this won’t give a toss, logic being that we’re all stuck paying huge water and energy bills, so why should homeless people miss out. Also, heaps of people get random batshit demands for hundreds of extra pounds from energy and water companies, so, I can see some people thinking – welcome to the club. I got a random demand for £2,000 from Southern Electric once. Amusingly, they ended up paying me £600 after I started blogging about it.

My point, though: when the squeeze is put on homeless people, you see again that there are no limits. End-stage capitalism hunts for money where there is none. It would be kinder, and certainly prettier, to throw homeless people to actual sharks.

106 thoughts on “Bleeding more cash out of homeless people

  1. Sounds horrendous, perfectly Dickensian, at least the Victorian Workhouses were probably a bit cleaner and people were forced to work in exchange for their keep so I think I’m right in saying they wouldn’t have been hounded for ludicrous outstanding bills to pay for the privilege of living in absolute squalor. I’ve read Social Reports from those times upon whose findings improvements were supposed to be made and general living standards raised. My own GG Grandfather died of pneumonia in a Victorian HMO in Pudsey in 1890, some sort of boarding house for temp. accommodation, and I remember my father recalling a visit to a workhouse with his mother in the 1920s to visit a family friend and take her some cake. And here we are now in the 21st Century and things are just as bad or worse! It’s both heartbreaking and outrageous. And yes, we’re all struggling (unless you’re rich) after 13 years of Tory misrule, but there’s standards and there’s standards. My flat is barely adequate but not got bed bugs thank God, although I’ve got a pile of dirty laundry waiting to be washed and running out of clean clothes/bedding and haven’t been able to afford a trip to the launderette for a month. Millions if people still relying on foodbanks. The country is broken. It might help matters if Utilities were (re) Nationalised and run not fir profit, as well as the need now for dome form of Stipen/Basic Income and not more punitive conditions attached to pittance State Benefits. We also need a lot more affordable accommodation building, Council flats, bungalows, houses. That’s all fairly longterm, so I don’t know what the I’m me solutions to poverty might be. The so-called ‘Cost-of-Living’ payments are merely sticking plaster solutions and don’t go far enough, and aren’t available for everyone, and don’t address housing issues. I can’t even get the Warm Home Discount even though I would otherwise be eligible, but for the fact that the Electricity is in my landlord’s name not mine. And although every little helps it’s only a one off discount per winter as far as I know of £150, whereas the people you mention are allegedly in arrears for hundreds £s. I’ve been short of food this last fortnight due to paying the landlord for electricity. I could probably have got an unofficial bag of food last Friday from the foodbank but my Arthritic knees were swollen to the point where I couldn’t walk all weekend and so I couldn’t make it there.

      • They’re turning us back to Victorian times. And yes everyone is struggling but to varying degrees and those at the bottom have more shit piled on them. You can’t fail to have noticed the increase in people begging over the last decade or so . Every street corner in every town & city there’s folk on the pavement asking for spare change. But yet there’s a posh cafe in the former crypt of the local Parish church (CoE) that charges £15 for a English breakfast! Not a soup kitchen for the poor. And that’s just opposite the Methodist Mission and Foodbank that tries to feed all in need. There’s an ever more uncomfortably obvious divide going on, whilst bargain shops compete for trade and the poorest beg to survive there’s others paying 4 or 5 quid for posh coffees in trendy cafés.

  2. It’s appalling! And surely if the occupants now have to set up accounts with energy supplies their eligible rent should go down by the sum they were being charged?? Completely and utterly mental. I truly am so grateful I finally have decent housing.

  3. These contracted housing corporate groups are money laundering & fencing off funds like the DWP contractors do, like WCA, Disability Confident. There seems to be a lot of money flying about in a cost of living crisis, also a lot of wastage of money to make political statements. Well you can count Birmingham Council out being bankrupt looking for the scape goat. Do they get a full English Breakfast to make them more patriotic

    • I think there’s quote a few Councils going Bank; Brum, Bradford, Kirklees, probably a few more to follow. 13 years of underfunding by central government.

  4. Say he Tories say they put £50 Million into sorting out homelessness. The homeless have become fenced off money launderers just like the disabled. How about fencing money through Mel Stride laundering, well Mel’s wife says he sometimes does the laundry.

    Mel Stride’s got coof he’s on the hoof, where’s Mel Stride, he’s on the roof. Might as well jump.

  5. I keep seeing lots of news reports about bed bugs and rats. It can’t be any coincidence that 13 years of underfunding of local government and spending cuts to Council services such as pest control, along with big increases in poverty and declining living standards have led to a resurgence of such things as rodent and bug infestations. People are showering less often to save on electricity, and like me can’t afford to go to the launderette as often. I desperately need a new bedsheet but can’t afford one, and my mattress is at least 20 years old. Many people now are worse off than their grandparents were. We’re going backwards.

    • Trev, is there any grants or help you could get from the council to help fund some bedding and maybe a new bed, a 20 year old mattress can’t exactly be helpful to your arthritis? Or a grant from a furniture charity? Were lucky here in Wales, because I’m on UC I got a DAF grant which funded my cooker fridge freezer and washing machine, all brand new, plus I got an armchair. It would have funded more, like a bed, bedding, saucepans and stuff but I had all that. It beggars belief in 2023 someone can’t afford a new sheet. I totally get you wouldn’t want a budgeting loan from Jobseekers. My grant doesn’t even have to be repaid. Even when I worked, and before I lived in shared housing, my furniture was all second hand, all I could afford, I’m incredibly grateful for my flat and furniture. I hope you find help soon

      • I applied to the LWP Housing Support Fund today, see if I can get anything from them seeing as I can’t get the Warm Home Discount because the electric supply is in the landlord’s name not mine.

        • Let us know if you get something Trev I hope you do. Will you get the £300 COL payment? I got mine today and I’m so excited, I’m getting a pre loved sofa and unit and bits for my lounge. Then that’s my flat furnished. I honestly thought I’d end my days in shared housing.
          What’s with your electric? It’s in landlords name, and I remember you saying you had a bill for like 300? And you’re a one bed flat? That’s insane! I pay £48 a month direct debit, mind you my flat is only 11 years old and pretty energy efficient.

          • I got the £300 “CoL” payment. Still waiting to hear back from LWP regarding Housing Support Fund (they have a backlog of 85,000 applications!)

  6. Hang on I just clocked the bill, to the account holder?? If they don’t know your actual name do you have even to pay anything??

    • What bill is that, electricity /Gas? What company not nPower by any chance? They might be trying to bill you for what a previous tenant has used and left unpaid. But these companies do try it on, especially npower, they’ve been fined millions £s in the past for incorrectly overcharging. They tried charging me £800 for a previous flat from 5 years back, said they’d no record of the final reading I supplied, but it turned out I did owe something but nowhere near that amount.

  7. The Tory failed dictatorship once left office will still be charged with War Crimes against the disabled as well as War Crimes in war in the Middle East. Ethnic cleansing of the disabled since 2010. David Cameron, Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Rishi Sue Lack will all be there & not in office. Tories have failed in every way.

    • I had Jobcentre appointment this morning at 9.30am, told I’ve only got one remaining appointment left on the Work & Health Programme at Reed to which I’m thinking thank f*** for that, only to be told by Work Coach that she’s referring me to ‘Restart’ scheme next run by Maximus. More of the same for another god knows how long, a year at least. Maybe I should get a fit note and transfer to LCFWRUC (that’s “Low Capability for Work Related Universal Credit”, ie. the sick, to you & me)

      • Hello Trev, that’s completely wrong, when you finish a scheme there’s usually a considerable gap before being referred to another get back Into work scheme. I think maybe your Work Roach Is trying to get you to sign off, regardless of your health and well being.

        I’ve been on both these schemes but had a considerable gap between each one, which Is standard practice.

        If you are referred It will be for 365 days inc., or a year to normal people like us.

        This bloody dictatorship rolls on, and I hate to be a merchant of doom but Restart Is crap, like all the others. I would seriously queston your Work Coach, about this as It seems they’re pulling your chain somewhat.

        Best of luck, I hope things start to Improve.

        • I finished the Work & Health Programme last Friday and now the JCP Work Coach wants to discuss Apprenticeship Training in Supply Chain Warehouse work at the local College, or failing that it’ll be Restart at Maximus in the New Year. Apprenticeship training???? I’m in my early 60s with health problems, all I want to do is bloody well Retire! Besides which, as far as I know the Government training schemes are only funded up to Level 3, so if you have an existing qualification above that level you are not covered by funding. I’ll waste as much time as possible before revealing that one. My coach is away for a couple of weeks so I won’t be seeing her for a month. In the meantime I have to attend a jobs fair for the over 50s next week.

  8. Stepping you’re right. All the suicides due to sanctions/ jobcentre harassment. Every death of those sleeping rough , blood on their hands. People my age (I include myself) defined legally homeless due to their housing policies and crises. I was just incredibly lucky Wales has lots of over 50 housing! And I got housed fast. Everyone going hungry. People’s health declining due to unsuitable work/ lack of food/ inability to afford medication. The Tories are drowning in our blood. They don’t even care

  9. Atos ‘is left with blood on its hands’ after DWP calls time on its 20 years of assessments

    By John Pring on 19th October 2023

    Two disabled campaigners whose brothers’ deaths were closely linked to the actions of the outsourcing company Atos have welcomed the announcement that its 20 years of carrying out disability assessments for the government will end next year.

    From September next year, Atos will no longer deliver disability benefit assessments on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

    DWP announced this week that it had awarded a five-year contract to carry out assessments in south-west England to Serco, which first sought to carry out assessments for personal independence payment (PIP) more than 10 years ago.

    Read More: Disability News Service

    • “””Atos have welcomed the announcement that its 20 years of carrying out disability assessments for the government will end next year.””

      Of course ATOS has welcomed the end of the contract. Now it’s for the Tory Government to take the rap rather than ATOS hiding behind Corporate Manslaughter.

    • Activists raise concerns over human rights record of company that ousted Atos

      By John Pring on 26th October 2023

      Disabled activists have raised concerns about the human rights record of the outsourcing company that defeated Atos in the battle for a multi-million-pound disability benefits assessment contract.

      Disability News Service (DNS) reported last week that the government decision to award Serco the final regional contract – worth £338 million over five years – meant an end to 20 years of Atos delivering assessments on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

      Atos earned more than £465 million over seven years from delivering work capability assessments (WCAs) before it withdrew from the contract in 2015, following years of negative publicity and multiple links between its actions and the deaths of disabled claimants.

      Its healthcare professionals have also repeatedly been accused of dishonesty in the provision of personal independence payment (PIP) assessments.

      Read More: Disability News Service

  10. Judge tells DWP to release secret universal credit ‘vulnerable claimants’ report

    By John Pring on 19th October 2023

    The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been told by a tribunal to release a secret, high-level report that is likely to expose the flaws in the support it provides to “vulnerable” claimants of universal credit.

    The information rights tribunal has told DWP that it must release the 2019 report by the former Prime Minister’s Implementation Unit (PMIU), as well as other confidential reports and documents that are also likely to expose flaws within the universal credit system.

    Tribunal judge Stephen Cragg, who led the three-person panel, told DWP there was “a strong public interest” in releasing the PMIU report and a DWP paper on the effectiveness of the support it provides through universal credit.

    He said this would “allow scrutiny of the quality of the research and report and whether… any progress on the recommendations had been made”.

    He also said it was in the public interest for DWP to release documents relating to the “migration” of claimants of legacy benefits like employment and support allowance onto universal credit through DWP’s “Move to Universal Credit” programme, previously known as “managed migration”.

    Read More: Disability News Service

    • The thought of having to switch from ‘legacy’ JSA to Universal Credit is the one thing making me feel somewhat reluctant to go down the Sickness/disability route.

      • Trev, the one thing keeping me going cleaning when I shouldn’t be cleaning, and I’m in really bad pain, is the thought of Reed and continued harassment from work coaches! I have resigned myself to working til I literally drop. I understand your reluctance. You could get a decent work coach or you could get a prat. Hope you feel better soon

      • Trev it just beggars belief that the work roach can see this obviously unwell older person sitting before them and think it’s appropriate to send them on yet another useless course! I’m in the jobcentre tomorrow, dreading it already. Wonder what they’ll suggest I do this time?

          • Interesting appointment I had! I was back because I hadn’t earned enough last month, and am now back on weekly appointment again. I said oh really, when I proved I can and do work and roach said he didn’t agree with it either!! They now have video call appointments apparently and he set one of those up for next week. He also let slip the system is in utter chaos, they have a shortage of roaches andk so many more lone parents/ ppl not earning enough to see, so reckons even if I only get 6_10 hours more a week I’ll go into light touch because ATM there isn’t the staff to chase all the ppl working under 35 hours!! He occasionally has good days, I guess today was one. I knew about the roach shortage from Benefits and Work site, but it was interesting hearing it from the horses mouth

          • Why don’t the Work Roach suggest becoming a Work Rock yourself since they are so desperate for lack of them !! Do they not want disabled people working as Work Roaches or do they think the disabled are not up to it. If I want to a Work Roach why are you stopping me looking for work.

  11. Book will expose how DWP’s decades of ‘violent bureaucracy’ led to countless deaths

    By John Pring on 19th October 2023

    A new book will expose how decades of “violent” bureaucracy within the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) led eventually to the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of disabled people who were claiming benefits.

    The Department* reveals how the actions of civil servants, politicians and the private sector led to the dehumanisation, destitution and deaths of countless claimants.

    But it also tells the stories of 12 of the disabled people who died, interweaving their ordeals with new evidence that exposes the deadly effect of 30 years of “slow violence” perpetrated by DWP.

    The book has been written by John Pring, editor of Disability News Service, who has been researching the links between DWP and the deaths for more than a decade. It will be published by Pluto Press next August.

    Read More: Disability News Service

    • With a foreword by the Dishonourable Iain Duncan Smith no doubt, or maybe Sir Tony Blair seeing as the Atos WCA was a New Labour idea. Sounds like a ‘Must read’, hopefully will ruffle a few feathers and cause a stir, it bloody well should do. Hope Starmer & Reeves get a copy, and Liz Kendall too, seeing as they’re all dancing to the same beat of the drum.

    • Stepping, he didn’t suggest it since I told him I was only applying for the most basic unskilled jobs! He got really narky b4 , he decided I had transferrable skills and was sending me for office jobs. Once I pointed out I didn’t have the skills and he went off on one and I said well don’t send me for them! And I’d never be a roach. I’d deliberately flunk the online tests. I could never sanction anyone, or talk to them the way I’ve been spoken to

      • The only skills you need to be a Work Roach is to be cheerful, which doesn’t seem to be the case. Why is everyone so cheerful? Because you are a Work Roach. It’s like auditing a work roach job.

  12. Off topic but I’ve been following the COVID enquiry a bit and the latest seems to be the COVID was “the wrong crisis” for Bad Joke, (how could a crisis be good)? And also that he didn’t see why older people should be helped during COVID as they’d “die soon” anyway. Breathtaking contempt though I don’t know why I’m shocked….
    Of course, the underfunded NHS saved him,¡!! So his rule didn’t apply to him lol

    • These Tories have no morals in Covid & everything else like war. It is all so predictable on their moral compass, which they never had. Tories thinking & saying let the disabled & old die of Covid whilst giving them another sanction on top of that, to level the playing field. Or is that levelling up the playing field at 45 degrees in their favour. The rhetoric of war against the disabled, poor & old have become reality in Tory utopia like an idea with IDS & Lord Fraud [Lord Freud] Fraudian slip. These Tories are criminals & should be treated as such.

  13. OK so this is in India, but I hope none of the Tories are getting ideas about such wage slavery in this country. Back in the 1980s when I was in my mid 20s I did work about 64 hours a week most of the time for a couple if years doing fast-paced target-driven production work in a non-Union sweatshop, and it was horrendous.

    “Rishi Sunak’s billionaire father-in-law sparks backlash by suggesting young people should work 70-hour weeks”

  14. The UK government is about to make some disabled benefits claimants even poorer

    TheGuardian – Wed 1st Nov 2023

    Cost of living payments for those receiving Pip have been quietly axed, forcing many to choose between charging their wheelchairs or staying warm

    It’s getting cold, which means that many disabled people will, once again, have to choose whether to keep warm or charge their wheelchairs. Only this winter, they won’t be getting any additional help with the cost of living.

    Last year, the government allocated cost of living payments to those on low incomes, and to disabled people who receive personal independence payment (Pip), the main disability benefit. And yet, as the next round of low-income payments start to go out this week, that separate disability payment has been quietly scrapped. If it wasn’t so nakedly cruel it would be absurd.

    Read More:

  15. People who earn £200,000 a year still get the £300 Cost of Living Payment but not the disabled. That says it all. The Tories have shown their true colours of failure in the gravest way in the War Against The Disabled. The Tories think they can get rid of disabled people as witnesses to their destruction of disabled lives & families.

  16. ‘Toxic’ DWP ‘caused mental health collapse’ in one third of jobcentre team in a year

    Disability News Service – By John Pring on 2nd November 2023

    More than a third of the work coaches on a single floor of a jobcentre experienced a mental health crisis in less than a year, due to the “dysfunctional” Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and its “toxic” policies, whistleblowers have revealed.

    Written and oral evidence seen by Disability News Service (DNS) shows that conditions for work coaches at the Oxford jobcentre became so stressful that 15 of those in one team of 23 quit within a 12-month period.

    There have been years of concerns that DWP is institutionally disablist, not fit for purpose and unsafe for disabled people claiming benefits.

    But the latest concerns suggest that the department is also unsafe for the work coaches employed to support benefit claimants into work.

    Read More:

    • Stepping, even as an ex union rep I don’t feel sorry for these roaches. They have caused the mental health of many claimants to collapse and caused suicides. They have insulted many more. I will never forget the creature I first had when I was housed up here. I’d fled to Wales because I faced street homelessness, I’d found part time work 3 weeks after arriving, when she dragged me in my claim was 5 months old, the 2 Nd time since I’d not earned enough, and she told me benefits weren’t a lifestyle choice…I’d not claimed anything in over a decade! When I pointed out homelessness wasn’t a lifestyle choice either she said well where’s the problem you’re housed now!! That is why I’d never apply to be a roach

  17. DWP was wrong to stop benefits of man who starved to death, inquiry finds

    Disability News Service – By John Pring on 2nd November 2023

    The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) should not have stopped the benefits of a disabled man who later starved to death, an updated safeguarding review has found after being shown information DWP hid from its original inquiry.

    It is the first time that any official inquiry has made it clear that DWP was wrong to stop the benefits of Errol Graham (pictured) after he failed to turn up to a work capability assessment (WCA).

    His employment and support allowance (ESA) was stopped in October 2017 when he failed to respond to attempts to contact him about his claim, which led to his housing benefit being stopped and his rent no longer being paid.

    The following June, his body was found by bailiffs sent to evict him for non-payment of rent.

    He was 57 years old and weighed just four-and-a-half stone.

    A coroner subsequently found he had starved to death.

    Read More:

  18. Home Secretary Suella Braverman wants to restrict use of tents by homeless

    BBC News – 4th Nov 2023

    The home secretary is proposing new laws to restrict the use of tents by homeless people, arguing that many of them see it as a “lifestyle choice”.

    Suella Braverman’s plan would introduce new penalties in England and Wales for homeless people whom authorities believe have rejected offers of help.

    The plan was to stop “those who cause nuisance… by pitching tents in public spaces,” she said.

    Housing charity Shelter said: “Nobody should be punished for being homeless”.

    The plan is expected to be included in the King’s speech on Tuesday, which sets out the government’s legislative agenda and is expected to focus heavily on law and order.

    Read More:

    The Guardian

  19. UK ‘in violation of international law’ over poverty levels, says UN envoy

    Exclusive: Special rapporteur Olivier De Schutter to urge ministers to increase welfare spending on visit to country this week

    TheGuardian – 5th Nov 2023

    Poverty levels in the UK are “simply not acceptable” and the government is violating international law, the United Nations’ poverty envoy has said ahead of a visit to the country this week, when he will urge ministers to increase welfare spending.

    Olivier De Schutter, the UN’s special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, cited research showing universal credit payments of £85 a week for single adults over 25 were “grossly insufficient” and described the UK’s main welfare system as “a leaking bucket”.

    Read More:

    • It’s obscene, Stepping, but will anything change? No. I just saw there’s plans to scrutinize benefits claimants bank records every MONTH to stamp out supposed fraud. They’ll be having us in to ask why we spent £7 on coffee next….if they had the staff!

  20. So after Cruella Braverman thinking homelessness is a lifestyle choice (actually, I didn’t choose it, and I’m not addicted or mentally ill, my homelessness was a product of government policies and I’m costing the state a lot more now then when I was living in a HMO working and not claiming anything!.
    I saw online due to the cost of living crisis a homeless shelter in Kent is unable to open it’s night shelter. Instead it’s concentrating on its daytime drop ins.
    You REALLY can’t make it up. But I’m sure the turkeys will vote them back in next election. The Kent Shelter helps around 30 ppl per day and costs it as £19 per person per day, £19 is probably what Cruella spends on her breakfast

  21. Here is a good question for Michael Gove.

    Q: How do you level up a ramp?
    A: We are still waiting Michael.
    Q: How do you level up a wheelchair ramp Michael?
    A: We are still waiting Michael Gove.

    Levelling up Michael Gove’s brain. Is that the answer to both questions?

  22. The Tories are so desperate to win next years election they will do anything to win it. I mean anything. First of all we make all the old people homeless to show the younger people how it’s done & the old are not complaining. The contradictions are rife & so is the desperate views. We could make the Work Roaches homeless to show you can be homeless & also have a job as a work roach. Do you really think the Work Roaches would like that having banned Unions from striking at the Job Centre.

  23. Cruella “Hundred and One Dalmatians” Braverman is at it again. Sacked next week. Not only will she have your homeless tent but your cardboard as well. “Ill have your little puppies as well” Thanks for that Cruella. People ask me what a hate speech is & I answer Cruella Braverman, Rishi, Oliver Dowden. It makes Nigel Farage look so left wing.

  24. Suella Baverman will be de-moated to Minister of Broom Cupboard’s, with tons of work to keep her in her office at all times. Or Suella could go on holiday & join I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here because she has always wanted to meet Nigel. Or Suella could live on the Migrant Boat Biddy Stockholm for a month & make that lifestyle choice she always wanted.

        • Rishi is a sitting duck prime minister, that why David Cameron is running the show now Rishi.

          It is common knowledge that Banksy is David Cameron. Banksy whoops David was getting too old to be Banksy so he retired to became the sitting duck prime minister prime minister.

          Now James don’t get too Cleverly.

          • Esther McVey is now the Minister Of Common Sense. You couldn’t make it up. So no common sense then !!!

          • Sunak seeks to appease Tory right by giving Esther McVey ministerial role

            GB News presenter appointed Cabinet Office minister, reportedly to lead government’s anti-woke agenda

            TheGuardian – Mon 13th Nov 2023

            Rishi Sunak has attempted to appease the right wing of his party by appointing Esther McVey as a Cabinet Office minister.

            The GB News presenter, who was one of the first to be ousted from the 2019 Conservative leadership race, is reported to have been tasked with leading the government’s anti-woke agenda, acting as a “common sense tsar”.

            McVey’s appointment, officially as a minister without portfolio, is one of the final moves of the prime minister’s wider reshuffle, which kicked off with Suella Braverman being sacked from his cabinet.

            Read More:

    • In order for Scammeron to come back they have made him a life peer. You can’t make this shit up. I vote Larry the no 10 cat as next PM .He’d do a far better job

  25. Homeless tents crushed in rubbish van – Fury as police and waste contractors move in

    Camden New Journal – Friday, 10th November

    The operation to confiscate and throw away tents outside UCLH today (Friday)

    A DOZEN homeless people were evicted from their sleeping spot next to a hospital this afternoon (Friday), as police, security and bin workers arrived in the masses to throw away tents and life-saving belongings.

    The operation to confiscate and throw away tents outside UCLH today (Friday)

    A DOZEN homeless people were evicted from their sleeping spot next to a hospital this afternoon (Friday), as police, security and bin workers arrived in the masses to throw away tents and life-saving belongings.


    A week after the home secretary announced her desire to restrict the use of tents by rough sleepers, police officers, council community protection officers, hospital security staff and a team of Veolia workers descended on a camp of 11 tents outside University College London Hospital (UCLH) near Warren Street.

    Some people had been living in tents at the location for nine months. Some were staying there because they had no recourse to public funds and were therefore not eligible to stay in hostels. Others had been on homeless hostel waiting lists for over a year.

    It is understood that UCLH security asked police for the tents to be removed due to “public health concerns”. Camden Council said it has ordered an “urgent investigation” into what happened.

    Read More:

  26. We could always ask Esther McVile, former Work and pension secretary who’s also rejoining the cabinet along with Scammeron. Have we actually benefited by losing Cruella Braverman?

  27. What planet are they on?? Flexibility in the labour market?? Employers already have that, we have to suffer zero hours and silly part time hours, how will dropping the minimum wage make us richer when half these “jobs” can’t even be reached by public transport??? I suppose benefits bills will go down as ever more of us die of exhaustion and poverty related illnesses

  28. I’ve just seen that Therese Coffin is trying to get sympathy by sharing she was hospitalised for a month and nearly died from work related stress. Having had this twice myself without the hospitalisation, because of the impossible conditions I had to deal with I have no sympathy for her

  29. The Tories are now trying to get the UK Bills of Rights in. The UK’s Human Rights Act which is illegal in itself & will never happen. So the Tories are up the creek without a paddle.

  30. Welfare cuts worth billions planned by ministers

    “Ministers have drawn up large benefit changes for people who are unable to work due to health conditions, the BBC has learned.

    The changes, affecting hundreds of thousands of people from 2025, would save £4bn from the welfare budget.

    The proposals would see many more people forced to find work despite suffering from a range of physical and mental health conditions.”

    Hopefully the Tories will be out by 2025/26 but does that mean Labour would stop these plans and change the system for the better? One would hope so but there’s no guarantee with Starmer & Reeves aka New Labour 2.0

    • It’s just been on BBC News that Rachel Reeves is singing from the same hymn sheet as the Tories regarding there being “too many” people classed as sick & disabled and the need yo get them back to work, but whereas Jeremy Hunt is threatening more Benefit Sanctions for suck people who don’t engage with the “help” to get back to work, Reeves is blaming the sick workforce on NHS underfunding and long waiting lists. Well I’ve been at Hospital twice this week, and once about 3 weeks ago, I’ve got another appointment next Friday, then again on 21st Dec. after which I’m expecting an appointment with the Rheumatology nurse and full blood tests a week prior to that, then further blood tests every 2 weeks for first few months if taking new meds. then my next appointment with Consultant at Rheumatology clinic in 4 months from now. So no lack of appointments and treatment where I’m concerned, yet still really unfit to work, thereby proving Reeves’ theory wrong. There seems to be or have been for at least the last 20 years the prevailing attitude that anyone claiming to be sick, ill, unfit, in pain, are making it up and ‘swinging the lead’, yet if they have been diagnosed by a qualified doctor then ill they damned well are!

    • I hate to say It but I don’t think so. I watched Starmer In the commons and as these changes were being announced, I could see he was thinking oh shit, how can we be different to the Tories.

  31. Just seen on Civil service Newsletter, a call that 30,000 new staff are needed to adequately do all the work, including a call for more roaches and fraud staff, apparently it’s” devastating” how few staff there are, impossible workloads and also service to customers is affected?? The Tories can’t even get the policing of hated benefits claimants right. The whole system is a shambles. My supervisor said the other day ok Kat you must be so worried the way this country is going and I said no I think it’s hilarious they’re floundering and u turning more time than a drunken driver!!

    • The whole country is short staffed in many sectors and industries because of Brexit not allowing migrant workers, but those in Westminster are pinning the blame on the sick & disabled.

  32. Disabled people must work from home to do ‘their duty’, says UK minister

    People with mobility and mental health problems should work from home or lose benefits under new policy

    The Guardian – 21st Nov 2023

    People with mobility and mental health problems will be asked to work from home or lose benefits as part of what a UK government minister described today as doing “their duty”.

    The policy will be set out on Wednesday as part of the autumn statement amid a drive by Rishi Sunak to make changes to the welfare system, which he described on Monday as “unsustainable”.

    Hundreds of thousands of people will be told to look for work that they can do from home or face having their benefits cut by £4,680 a year, under plans that were first reported by the Times.

    Laura Trott, chief secretary to the Treasury, told Sky News: “Of course there should be support for people to help them into work but ultimately there is a duty on citizens if they are able to go out to work they should. Those who can work and contribute should contribute.”

    Read More:

  33. Let’s think about this: I Very much doubt this will get voted through,, and surely there could be charges brought if ppl died of , say, asthma attack because the government took their inhalers away
    I’m pretty sure a law would have to be passed to compel us to download an app so they could digitally track us, or make us wear a tag unless we have already been made to wear one by committing a crime
    As to attendance tracking they already do that, I’ve been to jobs fairs where my name’s been ticked off the list, and it’s recorded when we attend our job centre appointments.
    As to subsidised travel, is there any? I asked my work coach, as paying £72 a month wipes out nearly everything UC allow me to keep, he said no.
    Also, in Wales and Scotland prescriptions are free for all, benefits claimants or no. Similarly in Wales and Scotland you get the free bus pass at 60, given to all because of age. Really I think this is just more hot air. They don’t even have enough coaches at the moment anyway….

  34. For one thing it is a Human Rights breech & will not happen. As you said there are not enough civil servants 30,000 short. Now unplug your life support machine & go for job interviews. You will be doing your duty. How the DWP not learnt that cutting corners cost 4 times more money. More than half of that is in DWP lawyers fees.

  35. Yes they tick me off the list when I attend a jobs fair, and I provide evidence that I’ve applied for jobs, so technically I’m not disengaged with the Jobcentre /work coach, and I am looking for work. So what the hell are they talking about? Now they’re saying if you don’t find work after 18 months you’ll be Sanctioned or forced to do a work placement.

    “Benefit claimants not seeking work to face mandatory work placements”

    “Benefit claimants who fail to find work for more than 18 months will have to undertake work experience placements, under rules planned for late next year.

    If they refuse they will lose access to their benefits for a period, the government says.”

    • This was all tried before, was it Cait Reilly being directed to work for free in Poundland instead of being allowed to volunteer in a museum as she wanted? And am I correct in thinking next year is an Election year anyway?
      As to losing access to the NHS, and free prescriptions, for certain conditions they are free anyway, my daughter got thyroid meds for free before she moved to Wales. You, Trev, would get free prescriptions anyway as an over 60, sanctioned or not.
      Really I think they lost the plot, and I’m sure it would have to be voted through. Denying medical aid to people they want to work is so counter productive

      • You’re right, they definitely have lost the plot. Bringing back David Cameron, and Fester McVile as Minister for Common Sense! It’s like something from Monty Python. Sanctions for the sick because they don’t go to work. Ludicrous.

  36. Flawed universal credit means government’s plans for sanctions ‘are inexplicable’

    By John Pring on 23rd November 2023 – Disability News Service

    Disabled campaigners have questioned government plans to tighten the benefit sanctions regime and even end access to free prescriptions for some claimants, at a time of mounting evidence of a deeply flawed universal credit system and fatal safeguarding failures.

    Chancellor Jeremy Hunt and work and pensions secretary Mel Stride announced a “tougher” sanctions regime alongside an expansion of “tailored, intensive support” last week, as part of a new Back to Work Plan that will have the universal credit working-age benefits system at its heart.

    The plan will mean some claimants – although not those with a disability-related allowance – who refuse to comply with conditions imposed on them by jobcentres could have their universal credit claim closed and lose their entitlement to additional benefits such as access to legal aid and free prescriptions.

    Read More:

  37. Ministers push ahead with ‘highly damaging’ plans on ‘fit for work’ assessment

    By John Pring on 23rd November 2023 – Disability News Service

    The government is to push ahead with “nightmare” cost-cutting plans to tighten the work capability assessment, which will save the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) nearly £1.3 billion a year by 2028.

    Confirmation of the changes to the assessment were made as part of the autumn statement, as chancellor Jeremy Hunt (pictured) said it was “wrong economically and wrong morally” to provide support for so many disabled people without forcing them to look for work.

    He claimed the tightening of the assessment reflected “greater flexibility and availability of home working after the pandemic”.

    The changes were confirmed less than a month after the end of a public consultation, although they should only take place if the Conservatives win the next general election.

    Read More:

  38. The madness continues. Daily Record reports Therese Coffin suggested the NHS might pay towards ppls sickness benefit. Like it has the money to even RUN effectively

    • So that would be going back in time to the DHSS, re-establishing a link between Health and Social Security, they’re just going round in ever decreasing circles. Planet Tory is a very strange place indeed.

  39. I always remember a photo of Therese Coffey enjoying a large glass of wine with some down her t-shirt, with a cigar In her mouth, clearly pissed, and whenever she appeared In a committee she was forever gulping down large amounts of water probably from dehydration from all the alcohol the night before.

  40. They could dig up Maggie and make her like Stavros the leader of the Daleks, with a shrivelled up Maggie head, saying “exterminate, exterminate, exterminate”

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