Jim’s Christmas: A Seasonal Tale of Tory Britain

xmas-treeJim looks down at the brown envelope lying on his doormat and feels something that is almost nausea as his mind spews out a panic that charges through his veins.

He can hear his thundering heart beat and feels a tight pain in his chest that he is sure is the onset of heart problems even if his doctor insists it’s just anxiety.  With just two days before Christmas, he had been hoping for a card or two, but no such luck.  Still he’ll be seeing his grandchildren tomorrow he thinks as, with some difficulty, he stoops to pick up the letter.

It is from the government alright, he can tell that easily enough.  No-one else sends out letters in those envelopes.  Stuffing it in his pocket he decides to carry on down to the shops.  Nothing is going to stop him getting those kids a Christmas present he thinks, and decides whatever horror the envelope contains can wait until after lunch.

Jim is 56 and lives alone in a small flat in a suburb of Leeds.  He has a grown up daughter, who lives and works in Newcastle, where she is married with two sons who Jim adores.  He doesn’t see them as often as he likes, but he will be travelling up tomorrow, Christmas Eve.  He reminds himself he still needs a coach ticket, but that should be okay.  He knows even just a couple of hours on the coach will mean agony tomorrow, but he just can’t afford the train.  His daughter had offered to pay but he wouldn’t hear of it.

Jim is also a fictional character.  Sadly his plight is all too true for many people this Christmas.

Like most of his friends, Jim left school at 15 with just a couple of CSEs.  He’d be the first to admit he wasn’t academic and school bored him senseless. He would far rather have been outside, or doing something with his hands then sitting in endless lessons.

On leaving school Jim quickly found work on a building site, where he began  as an apprenticeship. He soon  learned that he could make more money as a hod carrier, lugging bricks around the site and other heavy labouring tasks.  Jim was healthy, strong and worked hard.  He was well known and welcome on local sites where he had a reputation as a grafter.  The hours were long but he could often clear a good few hundred quid a week.

Jim married young, to his childhood sweetheart and first and only love.  She was also a hard worker and had always dreamed of owning a home of her own.  With lots of over-time and her doing nights, they were soon able to afford a mortgage on a small terraced house.  Jim was just 24 when his daughter was born, a day he still describes as the happiest of his life.

His daughter enjoyed a happy childhood.  They weren’t rich, but she never seemed to go without.  They even managed a few holidays in Spain, and whilst her Dad was often working, he always made time for her.  She never noticed the increasingly strained conversations between her parents.  It was a shock when, at the age of 15, they told her they would be getting a divorce.

There was no malice in the marriage break up.  No affairs or betrayals, they just simply grew apart.  Little quirks they once loved about each other became intense annoyances.  Both felt desperately guilty at separating whilst their daughter was in the middle of exams, but the strain just became too much.  Arguments once hidden behind closed doors were increasingly taking place in front of the young teenager.  The truth that whilst he knew somewhere in his heart he would always love her, Jim could barely stand to be in the same room as his wife anymore.  He was all too aware that she felt the same way about him.

With the mortgage not far from  paid off, Jim had agreed to move out, happy to leave the house as a base for his daughter.  He rented a small flat and threw himself into his work.  He knew his daughter wanted to go to University and he was determined to make sure she wouldn’t struggle too much for money.

Jim was 45, old in his trade, when his back first went.  A slipped disc or something the doctor had told him.  They didn’t really seem to know.  Jim was laid up for eight weeks, in searing pain and barely able to walk most days.  On returning to work, he quickly found he just couldn’t do his job anymore.  He’d lasted two days before the foreman had told him to go home.  He was in agony the whole time.

His doctor had warned him that his days on building sites were over.  Jim took this hard.  But he was not beaten.  He never even signed on.  The lads from the site had had a whip round, with even the foreman chucking in fifty notes.  With this, a small pay off from the building firm, and a couple of hundred pounds in savings, he was able to buy a second hand car.

Jim enjoyed mini-cabbing.  The money was a bit less than he was used to, but he liked working with people.  The other drivers were good lads as well, they often shared a few pints after a shift.  Sometimes he felt a little lonely, sitting around in an empty flat, but he had his daughter, his mates and there was always work available.  Truth is he was happier sitting round the cab office, even when it was quiet, then he was sitting in front of the television on his own at home.

When Jim was 52 he had a stroke and everything changed.  He hardly remembers what happened.  He’d just dropped off a fare, he knew that much, and then had felt everything just sort of go dead.  His car swerved and crashed into a bollard.  He couldn’t even lift his hand to the steering wheel to stop it.

Weeks of therapy followed.  Jim made a slow and steady recovery.  To his eternal shame, his daughter had helped him apply for sickness and housing benefits.  He never believed he would need it, but without that money he would have been out of a home.

Whilst some of the damage from the stroke slowly repaired itself, his age meant his body seemed to  deteriorate at the same speed.  As he started to get sensation back to his right hand and arm the numb feeling was replaced with arthritic pain.  It had been difficult to talk at first, but now, apart from a slight speech impediment he was desperately self-conscious of, he could at least communicate.

He could walk, although as he joked to his grand children, he could be a bit lop sided.  The vision in his right eye never recovered.  And his back would still give him gip and seemed to get worse every passing year.  On a bad day sometimes it took all his strength to hobble to the local shop for a paper and some milk.

Jim found sitting about the flat all day almost unbearable.  He tried applying for jobs, but he had no experience in retail and his speech made working on a telephone difficult.  All there seemed to be was call centre and supermarket jobs in Leeds these days – he must of applied to over a hundred of them and never even got an interview.  As his doctor told him regularly, the truth is that even that kind of work, on a bad day, would be impossible.  He needed to rest said his GP, who proscribed sleeping pills, and concerned about his increasingly withdrawn state, anti-depressants.

One day Jim got a letter from the government.  They had asked him to to attend a health assessment and warned him his benefits would be stopped if he didn’t turn up.  He wasn’t too worried, something similar had happened a year ago.  He’d had to go and see a doctor employed by the social to check him over.  Armed with reams of evidence from his own GP, they had quickly agreed that he wasn’t able to work.  Jim didn’t mind doing it again.  He was grateful for the support he received, although at just less than £100 a week, it was getting harder all the time to make ends meet.

It had been a difficult year, for everybody Jim supposed. He’d had to blink back tears a couple of times in the supermarket as his carefully budgeted weekly shopping trip had descended into chaos because all the prices had risen.  Jim was not a man who cried easily, not until recently anyway.

In truth he was desperately lonely and frustrated at his situation.  He rarely went out anymore.  When he’d first started to get a bit better he’d had a couple of nights out with the lads from the taxi rank, but the truth was he couldn’t really afford the pub these days.  Even the library had closed and with it the little caf’ where he’d always been able to find someone to have a chat with.

He lived a solitary life now, except for his daughter, who had no idea how much her Dad was struggling.  He lied to her that everything was fine.  She didn’t know that his local, where he’d always been a well known regular, had closed down two years ago.  She had no idea that he lived on economy beans, packet noodles and toast half the time.

Jim was placed in something called the Work Related Activity Group after his assessment, which seemed to be with a private company rather than the government.  He wasn’t sure what this really meant.  They told him he might have to go on some kind of training scheme or meet an advisor to help him get back to work.  Whilst they agreed he was unlikely to find work at the moment due to his health, they said there may be some jobs he could do and that his condition might improve.  Not bloody likely, Jim had thought bitterly.  His money didn’t seem to go down, although if he understood the news recently then it probably would soon, a thought which increasingly terrified him

That had been a couple of months ago.  Around the same time he’d received a letter telling him his housing benefit was being cut.  He wasn’t sure why exactly, he already paid £6 a week towards his rent out of his benefit, now he’d have to try find another fiver.  His landlord had laughed when he’d try to talk about decreasing his rent and warned him it would be going up again soon.  He had looked around for somewhere else, but the same message came back time and time again,no DSS.

Jim swore blind that he’d never received the letter asking him to attend a Work Programme interview, whatever that was.  He checked his post religiously.  The person on the end of the telephone, just a kid by the sound of it, patronisingly informed him that they were just trying to help him, but if he didn’t turn up to his appointments then his benefits might be affected.    They were just doing their job Jim decided, although it seemed strange that a big charity would be ringing him up and not some government department.  Still it re-assured him in a way.  A charity would have his best interests at heart after all.

He was duly given another appointment which he agreed to attend.  When the day came though it was a different matter.  Jim had already been ordered to bed by his doctor after he was struck down with Winter flu.  Then he awoke with scythes of pain rocketing up and down his back.  Coughing and spluttering, he could hardly even make it to the telephone.  He definitely had a fever, he could feel sweat covering his body despite shivering in the flat he could never seem to afford to get properly warm anymore.

They’d seemed nice on the telephone.  They had warned him that they would have to refer him to the Jobcentre and his benefits might be affected but they would recommend that that didn’t happen and they were sure everything would be fine.  Jim was glad to be dealing with a charity, who really did seem to care.

That had been a fortnight or so ago Jim muses as he nurses the hot cup of tea in the cafe in Asda.  He is treating himself to egg and bacon, it’s Christmas after all.  Proudly he looks at the gaudy plastic toys he has bought his two grandsons.  He’s never heard of Ben 10, but he recognises the Cyberman action figure he’s bought the eldest.  Funny he thinks, who’d have guessed back then we’d be buying Dr Who toys for our grand kids.  It had been difficult, but he was chuffed with himself for managing to save enough to make sure he didn’t arrive for Christmas Day empty handed.

Feeling happier than he has in sometime, Jim decides to face the inevitable and takes the crumpled brown envelope from his pocket.  Carefully using a knife to slide it open he begins to read.  Phrases jump out of the cold, and all too familiar language.  Repeated failure to attend, new incentives to find employment, lack of engagement, and finally, sanctions, benefit payments suspended,  period of four weeks, running from 20th December.

Immediately Jim begins to shake.  Dropping the letter his hands fall to the table.  At first he thinks he is having another stroke, as his whole body seems to go numb.  A jolt of pain shoots up his spine as he stand up too fast, as if to prove to himself he still can.  Gathering up his bags, his palms slippy with sweat he looks around desperately.  He can see a cash point through the windows.  A tight knot in his stomach means he doesn’t want his eggs and bacon anymore.  He rushes, as fast as he can, out of the cafe.

Waiting behind someone in the queue at the cashpoint is unbearable.  What on earth is making them take so long.   He keeps telling himself it will be fine, as he starts to try and calculate just how bad things are.  When his turn comes he almost drops the card, his fingers hurting as he keys in the numbers in the December cold.  Hitting the button to check his balance, he prays, to anyone who might listen, that the almost £200 benefit payment he is expecting to be in his account has arrived.

His balance is in single figures.  He has no money.  As he fishes in his pockets for change, pulling out a handful of coppers and just a single pound coin, he realises he has no money at all.

Jim tries to calm himself down as he starts walking faster than his body would usually allow him, fear and adrenalin temporarily blocking out the pain.  He marches in the direction of the Post Office, his first thought is to stand in line to at least take out his last few pounds.  He’d been expecting to jump on a bus into the city and get a coach and he curses himself for not booking in advance. He needs to ring his daughter, to explain why he won’t be coming, but he must not tell her the truth, he knows that.

As he fidgets in the Post Office queue he makes a plan, and after several attempts manages to call his daughter on the mobile phone she had insisted on buying him last Christmas.

“so sorry love.  Old Bob, on his own since his wife died, can’t leave him alone pet, not at Christmas, not my oldest pal, tell grandkids  I’m right sorry and I’ll make it up to ’em in New Year”

In reality old Bob was having a whale of a time at his son’s house in New Zealand, but Jim can’t tell his daughter that.  He’s a proud old sod, and isn’t having anyone feeling sorry for him.

Jim collapses into his armchair when he arrives back at his flat and sobs in a way he never knew he could.  Banging his fist again and again on the cushion he swears, loudly, loudly enough for the neighbours to hear.  But no-one comes.

He is that way for some time.  Just sitting in the empty, cold flat.  All the loneliness, all the pain, all the fretting about money, and scrimping and saving, and it has all come to this.  Nothing left, nothing to offer.  Perhaps the newspapers are right Jim thinks, perhaps he is one of those scroungers.  A freeloader, that’s what they call people like him.  A parasite who can’t even get it together to get to see his bloody kid, and his grand kids, on Christmas day.

They’re better off without me anyway Jim realises suddenly.  His daughter certainly had been,  Soon as she left university she prospered, they’ve got a lovely house up in Newcastle.  Aye she’ll be fine Jim thinks, she’ll get by whatever happens to me.  I only make everyone else as miserable.

He thinks of his ex-wife, and her new husband.  Couldn’t even bloody get that right he says to himself, and I’m still in love with the old bag after all these years despite everything.  And he thinks of his aching body, that gets worse everyday, and his mind, that just seems to forget things recently, and that at only 56 this is it.  All there is left it seems is to wait to die.

At that moment he knows he just can’t cope anymore.  Can’t face another cut to his money, can’t face another appointment, or assessment, or letter in a fucking brown envelope.  Doesn’t want to think about the debt he is already in, or the rent going up.  Doesn’t want to feel the cold anymore.  Doesn’t want to feel guilty and desperate and ashamed of the bare minimum that benefits equip his life with.  He just doesn’t want it anymore.  Any of it.

Jim scrapes together every last penny in the flat to take with him as he ventures out into the cold Christmas Eve.  It’s late.  He’s spent the whole day, and much of the evening, just sitting, and crying, and thinking.  And then a final clarity emerges from the grief.  So here he is heading to the only shop he knows will be open at this time of night.

Back at the flat Jim stares at the television with gaudily dressed youngsters making some kind of shocking noise that he thinks they call music these days.  Won’t miss that, Jim almost laughs to himself as he cracks the seal on the cheap bottle of vodka he just about managed to afford.  He takes a heavy glug, it burns a little, but he forces himself.  Feeling a little sick he pauses a while and then pours a full tumbler and quickly drinks down as much as he can.  He was never really a spirit drinker.

He takes the first tablet off the little pile he has made on the table next to his glass.  Taking a deep breath he puts it down again.  Not like this he thinks.

Walking across the room he takes the grand kid’s Christmas presents out of their bags and leaves them in a prominent place.  Then, with hands trembling despite the drink, he scrawls a note to his daughter, “I’m so sorry my love, I just can’t”.  He’s not sure it makes sense, but it’s all he can think of to say.

Setting himself back down he notices most of the usual nagging pain is gone.  Must be the strong drink he thinks, should have taken it up years ago.  He fills his glass again and takes a large mouthful.  The next drink washes down a handful of pills.  Then another.  Then another.

Jim takes one last drink noticing the bottle is over half empty.  He leans back in his chair and closes his eyes.  As his mind starts to fog, the world slips delicately away.

Don’t cry for Jim.  Avenge him.

(Jim’s fine by the way.  The daft old bugger drank too much and threw the pills up  all over himself a few hours later.  Took him ages to clean up the mess.  After a fitful nights sleep he was awoken by his doorbell buzzing.  His daughter hadn’t believed a word he said and was here, with the grand kids in the back, to drive him up to Newcastle)

180 responses to “Jim’s Christmas: A Seasonal Tale of Tory Britain

  1. A very powerful piece, of a scenario that I’m sure many will be familiar. Not afraid to say I was choked up reading this (as it of course is actually happening).

  2. Just watched the film ‘Escape From Sobidor.’ I think the spawn of the Germans represented in this film escaped Nuremberg, and have been re-incarnated, and popped up in Britain?

    Most of them born privileged with a few million in inheritances! But with the same mind-sets!

  3. Yes you had me going too johnny dickens – we are all trying in our own ways to avenge jim.

  4. the thing is, that working on a building site was precarious as health and safety was often ignored, in fact any complaints made you ended up on a blacklist..
    in fact that was still going on until recently..
    when it was exposed..

    o wont need to name who paid for this information to blacklist construction workers

    oh bollocks i will, top of the list were

    McAlpine construction..

    so there you go..strivers and skivers..

    ppl who stuggle to keep going to do the decent thing
    and ppl who abdicate all responsibility to ppl who they employ and profit from.

  5. I know that feeling only too well. If it wasn’t for my parner Beth helping me out I would do the same thing (more effectivly). Revenge is on my agenda.

    • or as some strange ppl who show up on discussion threads would say ” why dont they use the bloody water cannon on them..when the weather is cold they will freeze to death..good thing , save us tax payers more money keeping these soap dogers alive’
      good so see we are all i this together..

  6. Brilliantly told and I so wanted Jim to live. He was ‘lucky’ – ne had a daughter who cared – so many don’t. Pat x

  7. It is horrific to think that it could be happening to some poor soul.

  8. A skillfully written short-story, and one that left me in tears at the very real drama that it’s based upon

  9. I cried and sobbed. Why? Not because of the story, but because of the bloody reality. Christmas?Does it still stand for anything apart from sell sell buy buy fret, debt and crap? Where is the love?

    Let us all give thanks for all we DO have, even if it isn’t that much, it is probably way more than many right now have.

    • @Vee heres the thing..I DONT WANT TO HATE XMAS..never did..but look at what the feck is going on?.

      • Indeed and when the Royal top parasite is wearing glasses with a diamond ‘D’ on the side of her bloody 3d specs, it makes me wonder what is it she actually ‘sees’ coz is bloodywell aint all the crap being dished our to her ‘slaves’……….talk about rub it it…..????

        I dont want to hate anything, and not Christmas either, but I do hate the absolutely mind games, brainwashing and corruption around it, letalone, the corporate nature it has turned into now. It needs to be reclaimed as a family friends and love time – for everyone of us x

        • @love1salluneed i just woinder all those DWP benefit fraud squad who take bribes from the daily mail/express etc think they are doing their civic duty…so that ppl and families cant happily starve..
          i note a lot of fraud holtlobe calls are malevolent
          i also note that the cutbacks to expose fraud companies cashing in on poverty pimp trade has been cut..


  10. Although I will be popping back in from time to time I am going to be busy jv, so let me be the first to wish you a happy christmas with bells on.

  11. Pingback: Jim’s Christmas: A Seasonal Tale of Tory Britain | Welfare, Disability, Politics and People's Right's | Scoop.it

  12. Good story.

    And here’s just a brief peek at the truth. It’s chilling stuff and could (and mostly likely will) happen to any one of us, or family members, friends:


    These stories need told.

  13. Well Davey’s had it up to here
    Banging his head on the wall
    So he’s tied his pants to the prison bars
    And he’s hung till he’s clear of it all
    It’s a kick in the head and a prison bed
    And you tell me it’s the law
    There’s a law for the rich and a law for the poor
    And a law for Dirty Davey
    His body’s gone but his soul lives on
    Here’s to you Dirty Davey

    — Dirty Davy

  14. if it wasnt so true but is happening every day while the pigs have got their snouts still in the trough and the ill and sidisabled go hungry and cold whot a worls we live in yes never thought so many would allow this jeff3

  15. I got my brown envelope this morning with my assessment results in it, I didnt want to open it but after leaving it on the side for a while I realized I just had to get it over with, the past few weeks have not been the best waiting for this cursed envelope, so I opened it and to my releif I have been placed in the support group again, no time limit though so I suppose in a few months I will be right back at the beginning!

  16. There are thousands or millions of Jims (and Janes) out there, suffering in silence and IDS and co are directly responsible for ANY suicides that result from the despair that results from benefit reforms.

    But there is a sliver of good news – the DWP (Department of Woeful Practices) is in chaos over a six month delay to the flagship £500 pw benefit cap. Seems there are concerns about the IT – surprise surprise…


    • Well people themselves are responsible for not standing up to this Americanization/Reaganization of the welfare state.

      “Republican governor Tommy Thompson began instituting welfare reform in Wisconsin during his governorship in the late-1980s and early-1990s. In lobbying the federal government to grant states wider latitude for implementing welfare, Thompson wanted a system where “pregnant teen-aged girls from Milwaukee, no matter what their background is or where they live, can pursue careers and chase their dreams.”[10] His solution was workfare, whereby poor individuals, typically single-mothers with children, had to work to receive assistance. Thompson later served as Health and Human Services Secretary under President George W. Bush.” – Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act (US)


      • michelle la guilla

        people are trying to stand up, but the whole point and what they know damn well is, many of the people affected are the least able to fight back, if you’re ill or disabled to start with, and then on top you are spending hours each day on the phone trying to get things sorted out when you’ve not been paid, probably isolated, depressed, desperate and broke cos you’ve not been paid, frightened and otherwise just taken up with the daily detritus of trying to survive, it’s hard to mount an organised fight back. you are kind of victim blaming too, in a way?

  17. On the fifteenth of November, my husband named Jim received a letter from the ESA allowance telling him he was no longer entitled to that benefit as he had completed his 365 days allocated by the government. In April 2011, Westminster decided to remove funding from the ESA to only 365 days; they did not tell this to the people when they have worked all their lives and never had a days sick. In 2009 my husband sustained an Acquired Brain Injury through no fault of his own – ATOS does not recognise this as a disability.

    This government has sent us back to the Dark Ages where we have to go cap in hand and say “Please Master, can we have..?”.
    I read an article in a newspaper today where a Lord receives £300 a day for attendance where they fall asleep. They get their fares paid for them, their meals and even their bed paid for them. Jim was told he could live off of £22 a week.
    Are they asking why people are committing suicide? Perhaps they have no more choice than this?

    God bless and keep you all.

    Jims Wife, Rosemary.

  18. Wearing the T-shirt here… 26th of Dec last year. Amazing how that bit of post came through the Christmas rush…
    Anyhow it didn’t kill me, by some fucking miracle, and it has made us stronger.
    Yeah, ill avenge “Jim”.

  19. 🍸🚬🔫👣

    Let’s do the fuckers!

  20. I take heart in that there are some that will not forgive, and never forget!

  21. Here is a Video of a Real life Jim. http://youtube.com/watch?v=XXOmphSYn8k

    • If you watch his other uploads in november he lose’s his house and is made homeless and he uploads a video everyday make effectivly a running documentry of his life being taken off ESA then trying to get an appointment with the JSA and not getting past the phone line stage intill the latest homeless with his dog. Very sad to watch and I can see it not ending well for this man



      • “… problematic situation: for which the only solution is denied by a circumstance inherent in the problem or by a rule.”

        “There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he were sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to.”

        Joseph Heller

        Recently on BBC R4’s Any Questions:-
        ‘Yes, it is a worry – increasing food banks/characterising people as ‘undeserving’ – We must (in some way) try to work out why this could be happening (if things are as ‘difficult’ for some people as we hear). Something seems to be amiss, perhaps at some level. We have to try to work out where these ‘losers-out’ are going wrong. Perhaps they need ‘help with budgeting skills’. It could be that they are easily confused about what to do/how best to help themselves/their families’.

        “Catch-22 states that agents enforcing Catch-22 need not prove that Catch-22 actually contains whatever provision the accused violator is accused of violating.”
        “Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can’t stop them from doing.” “Catch-22: Self-contradictory, circular logic.”

      • I have watched some of his you tube videos and it was so heartbreaking to see a person reduced to homelessness and desparation due to this wicked and evil government and it’s so called reforms, It was also galling to see that he was being cyber bullied possibly by the perpetrators of the eviction when he was at his lowest ebb. I hope they are really proud of themselves and they better get down and pray it doesn’t happen to them as I always believe that what goes around comes around.
        I myself have just been redundant after 25 years of working and now have to claim JSA and suffer the stigma and shame of being referred to as a scrounger by the gutter press and by the so called moral majority even though I have paid into this system since leaving school and when taking back a little of what you have paid in, you get treated with such utter contempt.

        I was fortunate enough to have paid my mortgage off a short while ago and not be in the same boat as Peter, however, once this evil government has it’s way, there will be plenty more in his situation/

  22. michelle la guilla

    i just got my christmas letter for a work focused interview even though i am still in process of appealing decision i have come very close to suicide and am self harming . . . they are just evil. they are murderers. i live in terror and i can’t see any hope, i am afraid i will just be hounded to my grave and all the appeal process is terrifying too, my anxiety is so severe anyway then going to court for that but i have to or will definitely have to do the work related activity . . . it’s so stupid and counterproductive i can barely leave my flat and this nightmare process is just setting me back more and more . . . there are people who could recover or get a bit better if left alone, this way just makes everything worse. i burst into tears the other week and said to my mum if anything happened to me to please make sure everyone knew why . . . and i am one of the lucky ones, i have supportive mum and partner, lots of people are going through this and are totally alone

    • Hang in there Michelle- Hold Fast and don’t let the bastards grind you down. Our despair can ,and must, turn to anger and action, there is NO alternative.

    • @michelle sorry for you, this is the hidden part of all this,,ppl become desparate , desparate ppl become vulnerable…in the meantime the poverty pimp business carries on…and its pofitable, from housing assocs taking over homeless units ..to get more business, to property developers propping up property values, to absurd ‘pretend jobs’ scams,
      companies buying up other companies involved in the work program delivery, to the joke that is UJM to profit out of the whole stinking scam…

  23. An eloquent and beautiful piece of writing. The truth told.

  24. Bloody hell Johnny, you’ve actually brought tears to my eyes. A fictional tale that is all too familiar. A ‘Christmas tale’ for our desperate times. I too will avenge ‘Jim’. It is now war, a class war between the ‘haves’, the ill-informed ‘think they have’ versus those that know different and are really suffering under our current regime.

    • IDIOT MAIL EXPRESS READER MODE ENABLED : this would never really happen,,,and anyway we need to scrap the welfare state…its a buRden what with all these scroungers..there is no such thIng as poverty, only idleness..

  25. Jims wife

    The lords are fast asleep not only because they should have retired years ago, but because the heating is too high in Westminster, courtesy of the taxpayer. They are probably picking up heating allowances for their own homes they are not in also. Just had to reply.

  26. Michelle, i know it dont feel like it now, but there IS a future, last year leading up to Christmas was hell, i KNEW id be declined after ATOS screwed me over in November, from December 26th i was like a caged rat with nowhere to turn, feelings of utter utter despair, hopelessness uselessness, no self worth, was gonna and did lose the house (biggest fear) – and far worse- I couldn’t understand why anyone would want anything to to with me, a total failure, had the breakdown, properly properly lost the plot at that point, got arrested and tried / sentenced – THAT bit kept me alive- by then i’d formed a “Fuck You” attitude to the state. No way i was gonna do anything drastic until i’d got that out the way, no way i was gonna show the cunts i was too weak to stand up to face the music for the havoc i wreaked.
    From there ended up in the nut ward and then homeless hostel.
    It was in the nut ward and hostel i realised it WASN’T me who was the failure, it wasn’t me who was useless, although i could have reacted differently and saved a lot of tears & heartbreak and not got myself a criminal record, in my defence i WAS psychologically compromised to the point of irrationality.
    Now? Couldn’t give a fuck.
    It’s their ball, its their pitch, and above all their rules which are loaded to make us fail, and can be altered at any time.
    If the only way we can win this game is to have exceptionally good luck or to be bent to the point of sociopathy, i dont wanna play.
    I may have a flat now, and one or two meaningful possessions, but i’m fully prepared to lose them, it wont be earth shattering like time.
    It may be hard weaning yourself of the teat of this society, but its fully possible.

    • michelle la guilla

      thanks for the supportive comments and especially ulysses . . . my partner and i have been seriously discussing and thinking about weaning off the teat as you say as it’s literally killing me . . . i’m lucky in that we probably have a few more options than those who are all alone . . .

  27. Please send that somewhere where it might be read and do some use. I hesitate to suggest IDS because as we all know his heart is encased in a block of ice and fired out into space somewhere.

    Your ‘story’ made me cry. Because it isn’t a story, these things do happen and just like you describe. Those feelings of anxiety and adrenaline as we hold a letter in our hand is something I can totally relate to, or the panic as we go to the bank and find the payment we were expecting cancelled. I get panicky at the thought of attending the work programme a week after Christmas (Happy New Year!) and am worried I won’t find enough jobs to apply for over the period. I expect I will be doing job search on Christmas Day. I was going to have to go two days after, so I guess I am lucky. The work programme is affecting my mental health and is the most useless thing invented – even more so than The New Deal. If they work why do I still not have a job? Yet my time is diverted from looking for work in a useful way in order to keep my appointment with a dull, uninspiring and unhelpful person, just keen to get those boxes ticked. My energy is now tense and worried, my pulse rate goes up and I feel sick and anxious just thinking of it. Why do people act as gate keepers to the government’s evil plans? I was asked if I would do any kind of work and I told them no, that I wouldn’t do their job.

    A poll says that people have less interest in politics now than at any time in the last four years. Why? People need to protest.

    Poor Michelle, please hang in there. You will be OK. Thinking of you though, it’s a horrible way to be treated. You are better than that and you get to say what kind of a person you are, not them. Please be kind to yourself.

    Please everyone, make it a resolution for the New Year not to give up. Society does owe us a living – all of us. It is a right and not a privilege to work, to make a living and to feed and house ourselves, that is a basic human right. If we haven’t got jobs it is because the system we were born into has failed. WE didn’t fail but the STATE is a FAILURE . We have the world we were given and the world that ‘they’ say works. If it doesn’t, then they should change it shouldn’t they? If the system can’t provide jobs and they won’t change that system, then they should look out for the people that they have dumped on the scrap heap as it is their responsibility to do so. If they won’t make that change then we should be helping to make it, so that the worlds resources go to us all and not just the few.

  28. Right throughout history for those that care to study the facts, governments and kings/queens have treated their subjects like drowning, plague carrying rats!

    From those sailors that battled, won, and saved Britain, and managed to survive the Armada, who were then denied their pay and died in stinking filthy ships waiting for their pay that never came, from disease and despair, and of their betrayal!

    Soldiers of WWI/II, Korea and the Gulf, and those now from Afghanistan, all will soon lose their patriotism, when they discover who and what they fought for, and what these excuses for human’s really think of them, as they join our ranks.

    Even to be a successful politician at their privileged and corrupt status, means they have to be backstabbing skunks, and would gas their own mother’s to attain that power.

    Do not be surprised. This is the very nature of politics, and those that desperately grasp power.

    We will not forget!

  29. Fuck no.

  30. In America ex veterans of the first world war marched on Washington and the white house when Hoover was president, with cavalry, infantry and 6 tanks in 1932, it was election year and won FDR the election. In return FDR who won the election and did not want to make the same mistake as Hoover,sent the same veterans who were complaining about their living standards to work in CCC civilian conservation corps and FERA camps for a dollar a day plus food and shelter. The shelter was wooden huts and the camps were as far away from Washington as you could get Florida Keys., hurricane country. They were told to build roads and bridges under the director Fred Ghent. As predicted a hurricane was forecast and Ghent sent requests to build 2 storage houses and got no reply, a later request for transport by rail to ship the thousands of men out again got no reply. The hurricane hit, 256 veterans were dead, it was slaughter worse than war and FDR was criticized in newspapers at the time though nobody took responsibility for the none reply from the National Emergency Relief Administration. Novelist Ernest Hemingway wrote an essay at the time entitled “WHO MURDERED THE VETS”.

  31. workshy scroungers start topping themselves…thread


    “This was covered on 5 live today and they interviewed a 31 year old women who’s husband had hung himself after being laid off, leaving her with young children. To add to the poor girls misery the selfish bustard hung himself in their home leaving his wife to find him. She has told the kids he’s dead, but cannot tell them how he did it because of the extra trauma of them thinking he didn’t want them.”

  32. i found this from the Daily Heil..couple of yrs back
    how doctors like me are punished for exposing sicknote scroungers
    by a ”’whistleblower.”



    “Unemployed man cuts off foot to continue claiming jobless benefits – only to discover he is still eligible for work

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2121100/Man-saws-foot-avoid-work-continue-claiming-jobless-benefits.html#ixzz2FtPTq5qX
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook



  34. Just one of the real* parasites, that control you all! => http://goo.gl/Fcrr3

    • @BOADACIA I KNOW..i am just wating for that headline WORKSHY KILLS THEMSLEF TO AVOID WORK
      what i do know is that the amount of scams , that are being worked to ‘cash in on the poverty pimp’ trade, companoes buying up other companies just to profit out of the work program,.,.

      • How many disabled people ever knowingly make a false claim? From what I know it is always able bodied people who defraud the system.Disabled people are honest. Pat x

          A blooger frined of mine exposed how the bribes system in work program delivery works..
          i see Johnny Void posted on this already


        • That’s rubbish Pat, don’t try and make out that the disabled are holier than thou; a lot more claimants of disability benefits “work on the side” than do unemployed. This is a known fact!

          • @sybil “That’s rubbish Pat, don’t try and make out that the disabled are holier than thou; a lot more claimants of disability benefits “work on the side” than do unemployed. This is a known fact!”

            a ‘fact’ known only to you….
            its not a fact and you know it.

            how the hell can a wheelchair claimant ‘work on the side’ if they are ill?
            look ‘JENNY’ we are on to you..
            you are a troll and we claim our £5

            • But, a “schizophrenic” can earn £500 a week working “on the side” painting an decorating an other examples too numerous to mention. Trust me, Bob, I know what I am talking about, you may not like it but I am ex-DWP!

              • @SYBIL hmm ex DWP eh? are you still there ? how come you left?

                well you had a while to go and think about that didnt you and look it up and talk to your handlers…..

                so now its ‘lets blame the mentally ill..

                let me tell you this .i know schizophrenics quite well. all of them are on medication, of them are capable of most work..they stashed away in care homes….been there for years…
                dont ever remember any of them working on the side ever..

                no disrespect to them..but no employer would take them on..and lets not overlook the obvious..why arent they employing qualified people..

                but hey,that would be too easy…
                nope …keep trying….Daily Mail must be getting desparate..

              • more about that REHABJOB SHIT..


                ” New Managing Director for Rehab JobFit

                13 November 2012

                Welfare to Work prime contractor Rehab JobFit has attracted a leading figure to fill a new role. Chris Peel has joined the organisation as Rehab JobFit Managing Director after spending the last eight years designing and delivering a number of outsourced, front line public services to hard to reach customers.

                Chris will report to Rehab JobFit’s Board of Directors driving the growth strategy and operations of the joint venture between Interserve and the Rehab Group.

                He said: “I am looking forward to being able to shape and design how front line services are delivered with maximum impact on our customers’ lives. ”

                Chris Peel

                Lead Technical Architect at Atos
                Demographic info
                Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom | Outsourcing/Offshoring

                Lead Technical Architect, Civil Nuclear at Atos
                Senior Pre-Sales Technical Architect at Atos International, Desktop SME at SchlumbergerSema, Technical Project Engineer at Sema Group, Systems An…
                Staffordshire University, Queens Park High School
                Over 10 years experience with a key UK outsourcing company in both post- and pre-sales roles covering both data centre and desktop has given me a…



            • Ex- DWP FRAUD INVESTIGATOR, just to put your mind at rest – or not!

        • And why would someone having a “disability” automatically make them “honest” – that just doesn’t make sense. “Disabled” people have exactly the same disposition towards crime excluding other factors as the population in general.

          • @SYBIL oh what a give away..i notice you spelt disabled ‘disabled’ ie they are not disabled but just scroungers..
            sorry but that crap has been shot down …
            nice try..but it dont work.jenny/sybil…

  35. @bobchewie Some of us are politically aware, and resistant to all political propaganda, and those pulling the strings of the puppet’s faces at the front.

    We are at war with some ideologies of all periods of history, and continuing.

  36. @boadacia..its being able to decode the MSM message,,
    eg,,the telegraph had an item about that twat and his smartcard idea

    its recycling old crap..
    the thing is this, this came on the back of report about kids going to school hungry..so the telegraph twisted it to make it look like it was the parents fault..thus pushing the feckless idle agenda..

    ‘parent apathy’ it cited,,also not enough time spent in the home..ie down the pub, so we had a plan sponsored by mastercard…to get more business..to make use of the shirker agenda..

    ok heres another part,re homeless, this propaganda feeds into the curtain twitching DM paranoia of millions of idle moving into their ‘posh borough;
    the result is that less affordabke home get built but insane luxury apartments do..
    its not about homes its about property prices..
    so what happens,,the NOT IN MY BACK YARD brigade rule the day,,and homeless dumped into ghettos whereby most trapped there on benefits where the govt can use this to ‘prove’ the story abouit scroungers to slash more welfare..its evil..

  37. This is so true and that is what makes it so fucking sad!

  38. @Adam..and to think this is not an accident but deliberate…

  39. We can only try to help each other here with the illegalities these morons are trying to enforce upon us. Information gives power. Which is why they try their best to deny any representation for those without inheritances. But they can be tripped up and made to eat their own venomous slime, occasionally.

  40. minister denies using scrounger rhetoric..
    hmm weird as it appears in the levenson enquiry proving govt complicity.


  41. @boadacia forewarned is forearmed..maybe thats why attempts to clamp down on discussion on the net seems to carry on..

    i mean having my posts being intercepted with gateway timeouts..at same time i post on these threads is just coincidence..
    but then that could be the ISP (TMobile) that company who used anti trade union companies…in the US..using disinformation..noce to know who you do business with..

  42. IDS's Blazer Cost £5m Pounds


    Good old CameReagan.

    That “responsibilities act” sounds like the Work Pogrom

  43. @bobchewie

    Yes, I suspect they try to farm ID information in as many dissenting sites they can. But we far outnumber them, and as yet (maybe temporarily) they still don’t quite have the powers the Third Reich had in the 40’s.

    Not that anyone should trust the New Labories, either.

    Publicity and retribution legally, is their Nemesis, even if they will try to subvert all media outputs.

    • @Boadacia .. thanks to the ”welfare queen link..it did catch my eye..
      “The term “welfare queen” became a catchphrase during anti-welfare dialogue and eventually became a permanent feature of American folklore. Media hype from the 1980s to the 1990s also aided in perpetuating the idea.[1] The term came under criticism for its supposed use as a political tool and for its derogatory connotations. Criticism focused on the fact that individuals committing welfare fraud were, in reality, a very small percentage of those legitimately receiving welfare.[1] Use of the term was also seen as an attempt to stereotype recipients in order to undermine public support for AFDC.[3]

      The welfare queen idea became an integral part of a larger discourse on welfare reform, especially during the bipartisan effort to reform the welfare system under Bill Clinton.[2] Anti-welfare advocates ended AFDC in 1996 and overhauled the system with the introduction of TANF. Despite the new system’s time-limits, the welfare queen legacy has endured and continues to shape public perception.[3]”

  44. http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/ian-birrell-its-not-just-the-bad-apples–its-our-rotten-societys-attitudes-8022570.html

    “Consider why the disabled in Britain must endure a gauntlet of hate. Research shows that unlike other hate crime offenders, abusers of disabled people are more likely to act in groups, demonstrating the acceptability of such assaults. They are also more likely to be women, or even children, they often know their victims, and the levels of violence are higher. As Katharine Quarmby showed in her brilliant book Scapegoat, the prejudices shown by perpetrators reflect prejudices in society. Historically, people with disabilities have been feared, scapegoated and dehumanised. “I’m not going down for a muppet,” said one of the killers of a disabled man beaten to death for “fun” in Sunderland, a telling turn of phrase. Old bigotries have fused with new prejudices to form a particularly toxic stew.

    This is why the demonisation of the disabled by some politicians and journalists is so dangerous, especially amid economic downturn. The public now believes that up to 70 per cent of disabled people on benefits are faking it. They are seen as workshy, called scroungers, screamed at in the street – and the consequence is people living as prisoners in their homes and abused in institutions. And this is why it is so corrosive to give so-called comics a platform to solidify the stereotypes. This is why it matters when teachers do nothing about playground name-calling, when celebrities popularise words such as “retard” or when employers cold-shoulder disabled job-seekers.

    It is easy to blame others for Winterbourne’s horrors. It is easy to change the rules. What seems so much harder is for society to change its antediluvian attitudes. But until we do so, this will be just another in a long list of hideous hate crimes against people with disabilities.”

    I wonder if his nobble ness..knows whats ists like to get hatred lumped on you from the Daily Heil / mail/ torygraph..spose not..


  46. hmm I see interserve has bought up a health care company..how odd,
    why would a company that has invested in the WORK PROGRAM to profit by,,,do this then?


  47. interserve ”theres money in them thar jobless !! now its theres money in them thar sick people !”

  48. REHAB JOB SHIT …curtesy of INTERSERVE..


  49. @sybil aka jenny….we know about fraud investigation…maybe that outsourced private detective agencies …outting you out of business.

  50. @’sybil’ and alll..
    seems there are problems with that fraud investigating thing..

    OOOPS !!!
    “Figures show there are now just 49 officials in the Department for Work and Pensions who are expected to inquire into accusations that private firms are defrauding the public purse – a reduction of 20 specialists in two years.”


  51. “23/11/12 This article is not a biased opinion on the Tories but they happen to be in Government and are implementing measures that have a hidden agenda to what they publicly announce to us the general public of the UK . Why they allow Grayling to publicly announce anything is beyond me as he is the Tories number one Liar and we have seen through him .We have suffered his total inaccuracies over jobseekers sanctions .His draconian input into Welfare Reform .His latest was acting the ‘good cop’ on the news the other day sympathising with the electorate about the rise in fuel prices ,and pontificating about the need for less tariffs ,and low and behold it is going to cost each household an extra £200 per year to pay for their energy policy .On 12th November we had Theresa May discussing her hands were tied about border control and the UK expected an influx of immigrants in 2014 .Her considered opinion was that the generous Benefit system and NHS is the cause .So we can conclude that Welfare Benefit cuts and the privatisation of the NHS ,not only kills the vulnerable in society but it also dissuades immigrants .On Question Time last night the last question concerned Housing Benefit caps and the rehousing of London tenants ,Owen Jones (whom says things as they actually are ) and ID Smith countered each other over the Benefit Cuts generally ,Jones arguing that ATOS was guilty of killing people and Smith ignoring the fact and saying 2.6 million people were on benefits and it needed curbing .It’s ok for Smith to be a guest speaker at a Jewish care home the Nightingale and raise £1 million for it ,but has no time to bother about starving children in this country .Cameron and the EU dilemma ,we have his own party voting for a rebate reduction and defying him ,he wants a freeze and to chastise the EU for over spending ,not a good mix for a successful outcome with his credibility on the line from both sides .”

    • @NIGEL SIMMONS To think that grayling showed up ar eosworks the pretend jobs;scam and applauded its efforts…along with vile express,,
      if they give a fuck about tax payers money then why are they in bed with the scammers..?

      the tax payer funded work prog scam industry..

  52. Sort of similar to how they’re trying to re-manipulate the events of the reasons for the resignation of Andrew Mitchell, who admitted swearing at the cops on the gate, but now presumably and miraculously, – calling them c**t’s is nowhere near as bad as ‘plebs’ we have to assume? It’s all just laughable!





  53. @Nigel Simmons ffs..interserve one of the work prog scam companies are now diversifying into the private health care business…
    see my link..

  54. @Boadacia the Mitchell plebgate is a story about Tory MP rivalry…thats the truth behind that one..

    the copper phoned the sun who have an axe to grind with them..emails went to Mitchell rival…

    oh and the hoax call..at the hospital is weirder..from what i hear its connected to royal baby problems…

  55. A bit off topic…
    I’ve just read this email from my Work Programme Advisor, and I’ve copied word for word.

    Dear (me)

    Just a quick email to say Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
    Please note that the office will be closed on the following days:
    Christmas Day
    Boxing Day
    New Year’s Day

    Apart from the weekends we will be in the office all other days so please let me know ASAP if you have an interview, a job offer or some sort of change in circumstance.
    Please can you keep up your job search as normal and email me your progress, particularly if your appointment is over 2 weeks away. I look forward to working with you in the New Year and assisting you back into work – let’s make 2013 the year that it happens!
    With regards

    G4S Advisor

    Of course, s/he still expects me to apply for (and prove it!?!) that I am applying for (at least 10) jobs a week. And fill in the mandatory proof job activity forms, to prove I am actively seeking work.
    I’m fed up with crying/pissing people off around me because I moan about the injustice of it all.

    • Forgot to say, ‘or else’…suffer the consequences…

    • Best to apply for 10 jobs a week in Australia maybe? Although, I hear their government is as bad. Plus there’s no £10 assisted passage any more.

      Do they find you these 10 jobs to apply for? Or are you supposed to fish them out of a hat?

  56. 2 months ago there was a demonstration in Hyde Park including some famous faces as well as the heads and representatives of unions.
    They all said the same thing.
    But nothing has happened. Where is the general strike? Where is teh resistance? Are we not done talking?
    Enough is enough.

  57. I was supposed to be paid my ESA on 21st December but it never turned up. Of course now I can’t even find anything out until 27th December. Don’t they know the stress and hardship that is caused by cutting someone’s benefit off, with no warning, 4 days before xmas when I can do nothing about it?

  58. something survived...

    Our computer lab just shut till January so how you can jobseek with no computer?/…. here’s a good answer:

    >>”Apart from the weekends we will be in the office all other days so please >>let me know ASAP if you have an interview, a job offer or some sort of >>change in circumstance.”

    “Dear G4S,
    I am writing to let you know I have ‘some sort of change in circumstance’.
    I have died.”

  59. The letter “so fed up” received from G4s made me think about “Jim” in the story. If Jim goes to Newcastle is he required to tell the DWP that he has left home? If he does tell them does his benefit get cut? Perhaps some well-paid administrator in the charity that is “helping” Jim would offer him advice on this matter, or would said administrator simply notify the DWP instead?

  60. TO ALL……in an attempt to join up the dots..I would like to ask a question filed under ‘THE BLEEDIN OBVIOUS’…for some time ..the diatribe of ”workshy/scrounger/malingerer etc etc has been splashed across front pages of Daily Heil, EXpurge et al…
    silly me but I wonder where all this bucket of vomit was coming from?
    some honest hard working blod grassing up the prat down the road?
    by the way the fraud hotline is riddled with malacious calls..quite a lot really
    so..can we guess that these stories emanate stright from DWP..the details seem to suggest that..sorry isnt that stuff meant to be confidential?


  61. BY THE WAY….Just like others..the enthusiasm or appetite for but xmas nish for myself just isnt there…to be honest..I CANT BE ARSED ANY MORE..
    i dont know where i am or where i am supposed to be..
    i cant connect to anyone or anything..

  62. nosh..food grub etc..concentration is well fuked

  63. jeez this is messed up

  64. Just remember all, use all the welfare rights people out there offering assistance, as sometimes their knowledge is far greater than going it alone.

    Plus it will help curb all the bad language and insults we might accidentally use.

    Legal assistance too, if we can find any brave enough to take on the SS.

    See you all on the other side. X



  66. UJM jobseekers info is finding its way to..the fucking press…..

  67. http://www.dwp.gov.uk/esf/resources/publicity/news-stories-and-press/

    “What makes a good news story?

    People working in the media are looking for strong and engaging news stories that are relevant to and will interest their audience. From an ESF perspective, they are most likely to be interested in the following story angles:

    * Human Interest: a story that shows how an individual’s life or a community has been changed for the better through ESF funded activity.
    * Topical issues: stories that deal with a current employment, skills, education or inclusion theme. For example, redundancy and the lack of jobs for graduates or young people. The news agenda changes all the time – look out for anything that keeps cropping up in the media.
    * Novelty, innovation and the unexpected: Has somebody done something completely new, surprising? Or is a project undertaking a completely new approach to training? Unusual or interactive events, especially if the journalist can join in, are good too.
    * Project launches or significant investment in an existing programme: Focus on what it means to the community. How will lives be changed?
    * Strong pictures: Sometimes a great picture alone will guarantee you a place in the paper – journalists are always looking for striking, engaging images to draw the reader in. TV reporters look for stories that can provide good footage.
    * Celebrity: Whether it’s a visit from an MP or TV soap star, VIPs can give a story an edge.
    * Follow-ups: Re-visit former stories. For example, if the original story was about a person launching their own business, contact them to see how the business has expanded and if they have taken on more staff.
    * Surveys: Journalists like survey results that are of interest to their audience. Linking these to a relevant, strong human interest story of an individual provides a stronger story.

    Top tip from the newsroom

    “When looking for press stories (particularly for the nationals) I generally try to find something unusual, whether it be the type of job a person has started or something inspiring like overcoming a disability.” Rod Malcolm – freelance journalist”


  69. http://www.computerweekly.com/blogs/when-it-meets-politics/

    “The rush of material released just before Christmas contains some snippets of good news. And good news is all too often ignored (including, I must confess) by me.

    1) It looks as though the PSN and BDUK agendas are at last coming together

    There is still much to be done, including to make it more attractive to invest in joined up, secure and resilient UK communications and energy infrastructures that are fit for the 21st century, but the progress over the last three months has been impressive.

    2) It looks as though the Universal Credit may be about to be put back on the tracks The recent blood-letting at DWP may indicate that those at the top really have come to appreciate this is the largest and most complex change programme the UK public sector has ever undertaken: more so than the late unlamented ID cards programme or the “not yet put out of its misery” Health Service NPfIT.

    I say “may” because the consequences appear not to have yet been appreciated outside DWP. The evaluation framework indicates that DWP and HMRC may indeed be about to follow the spirit, and not just the letter, of good programme management practice. The first major test will be whether the DWP pilot with 1,500 claimants in each of four locations is followed by a proper evaluation of the lessons learned before the roll out is committed. It is good to see that wording in December is significantly less bullish than that earlier in the year. However success does not only depend on DWP taking the extension from easy to more complex claimants step by step and on HMRC being similarly cautious about the successful extension of RTI from well run, IT literate businesses, to the SMEs who (according to recent research) are more likely to employ the geographically mobile part-timers who already give the greatest problems with regard to tax credits. Success also depends on closer co-operation with other government departments than could be delivered for ID cards.

    The original computerisation of PAYE (simple by comparison) was seen as so important that the Programme Manager reported not to the Permanent Secretary but to a Cabinet Committee chaired by the Chancellor. That meant that issues requiring inter-departmental co-operation could be rapidly flagged and sorted at the level necessary – rather than delegated to those without the authority to spend time, effort and money for the benefit of another department.

    What are the issues that will have to be sorted at the political level, sooner or later, for the DWP and HMRC to secure the support from other departments that is necessary for them to achieve their shared objectives?

    One is the tangled web of Identity, Security and Fraud where lead responsibility appears to lie with Cabinet Office, FCO (the ultimate paymasters for CESG), Home Office, MoJ or even BIS, depending on who you ask and how you phrase the question. Meanwhile the £sums at risk are mind boggling as officials and suppliers are expected to “agree” solutions that are well above their pay grades.

    Another concerns the routines for co-operation between DWP and Local Government and the many public, private and voluntary welfare agencies as responsibilities change and care is, hopefully, integrated around those in most need – using the coming together of the BDUK and PSN agendas that I welcomed above..

    A third concerns the routines for information exchange and operational co-operation between DWP and MoJ, NHS and UKBA – as those in apparent need move in and out of prison, hospital or even the UK. These do not have to sorted in a hurry. Indeed they are much better sorted incrementally over time. But they will not be sorted and the consequent benefits (from improved care, welfare and placement into employment to reduced fraud) will not be reaped unless those responsible have to report progress to those who have the authority to resolve cross-boundary problems and not “just” to their own Permanent Secretary, with Cabinet Office trying to “co-ordinate”. I look forward to hearing good news on this front in the New Year – if only that the problems have been recognised and given to some-one with the political and/or prfoessional clout to be credible.

  70. “””” 2) It looks as though the Universal Credit may be about to be put back on the tracks The recent blood-letting at DWP may indicate that those at the top really have come to appreciate this is the largest and most complex change programme the UK public sector has ever undertaken: more so than the late unlamented ID cards programme or the “not yet put out of its misery” Health Service NPfIT.

    I say “may” because the consequences appear not to have yet been appreciated outside DWP. The evaluation framework indicates that DWP and HMRC may indeed be about to follow the spirit, and not just the letter, of good programme management practice. The first major test will be whether the DWP pilot with 1,500 claimants in each of four locations is followed by a proper evaluation of the lessons learned before the roll out is committed”””

  71. MEANWHILE…back in propaganda cityy the DWP NEWSROOM..


    • We all believe that like feeding the 5,000 with a basket of flying pigs!

      I wonder how many of those stat’s are because they stopped their income completely?

      • @BOADACIA They have already admitted that ists not totally working..have they got the money back from them? nope so these under performers have got tax payers money and made off with the cash.
        so guess what as an answer they trow more cash at the scammer industry..

  72. http://www.dwp.gov.uk/newsroom/press-releases/2012/nov-2012/dwp128-12.shtml

    “27 November 2012 – Work Programme is getting people working”



  73. The Work Programme supports some of the hardest-to-help claimants including the long-term unemployed, disabled and ex-offenders.

    Today’s statistics show varying performance among providers. Some are performing well in helping people back to work, but others are not doing as well. The Department is managing providers vigorously to constantly improve performance. Letters have been issued to all providers expressing concern where their performance falls short of requirements and those providers with the lowest performance to date have been issued with formal contract letters

    Mr Hoban added:

    “Some providers have found their feet quickly and are already performing well but there is clearly a mixed picture today. We won’t tolerate second best – getting the long-term unemployed back to work is my priority.

    “My message to providers under-performing is clear: It’s time to up your game or we will send more participants to those who are coming up with the results.”


  74. so they admit its under performing ok? do they ask for the money back??

    whats this ‘payment by results shit about then?

    oh wait they throw more money at the scamming industry..

  75. More sanctions to make it look like the providers are performing well you mean. Off benefits = more in work, even though it’s not true.


    For each cohort, at least half of those referred to the Work Programme have had some break in their benefit claim, and 1 in 4 are off benefit at the end of the tracking period.
    There is more variation between cohorts on the proportion of referrals with a continuous spell off benefit. This reflects the shorter tracking window in which a 26 week spell could be recorded. We would expect the number of observed 13 and 26 week continuous spells to increase as more data becomes available.
    Analysis of the cohort of June 2011 attachments shows clear differences when the results from the 56 week tracking period are compared to the figures originally published for the 36 week tracking window. The table below compares the key findings with those published in the previ

  77. Cohort (statistics)
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Jump to: navigation, search
    For other senses of this word, see cohort (disambiguation).

    In statistics and demography, a cohort is a group of subjects who have shared a particular event together during a particular time span[1] (e.g., people born in Europe between 1918 and 1939; survivors of an aircrash; truck drivers who smoked between age 30 and 40). Cohorts may be tracked over extended periods in a cohort study. The cohort can be modified by censoring, i.e. excluding certain individuals from statistical calculations relating to time periods (e.g. after death) when their data would contaminate the conclusions.

    The term cohort can also be used where membership of a group is defined by some factor other than a time-based one: for example, where a study covers workers in many buildings, a cohort might consist of the people who work in a given building.[2]

    Demography often contrasts cohort perspectives and period perspectives. For instance, the total cohort fertility rate is an index of the average completed family size for cohorts of women, but since it can only be known for women who have finished child-bearing, it cannot be measured for currently fertile women. It can be calculated as the sum of the cohort’s age-specific fertility rates that obtain as it ages through time. In contrast, the total period fertility rate uses current age-specific fertility rates to calculate the completed family size for a notional woman were she to experience these fertility rates through her life


    “The cohort can be modified by censoring, i.e. excluding certain individuals from statistical calculations relating to time periods (e.g. after death) when their data would contaminate the conclusions.”

  79. when you consider the amount of deaths following ATOS assessments…..whose data might contaminate the conclusions…

    I AM SURE YOU ARE DAVE..htta would be the work program scammers then would it?


    • Dave obviously slipped up, what he meant to say, of course, was “More money for the Reich”

      • @mzcymro yeah i think you are right,, it ceratinly feels like it…stiil good to know the psychopaths are as yet going to get there way on hunting..and yes we know they use fox scentt when they do thoer drag hunts…which would funnier if theye were all dressed up in drag when they did it..

  81. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/medical-and-social-security-records-being-stored-unlawfully-and-inappropriately-accessed-statistics-show-7743388.html

    Medical and social security records being stored unlawfully and inappropriately accessed, statistics show



  82. so heres the deal.. keeping slagging off the NHS amd keep shouting Benefit Scrounger becaise it all good for business aint it?

  83. http://atosvictimsgroup.co.uk/2012/06/12/minister-bans-charities-from-pip-meetings/

    Minister bans charities from PIP meetings

    yep we dont want those pesky charity bods poking their noses into ATOS/SERCO/ETC PROFIT MAKING.

  84. http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/may/14/disability-living-allowance-reform-analysis

    DLA reform: coalition is exaggerating benefit fraud for its own benefit

    Disability living allowance claimants have risen by 30% – but for more complex reasons than Iain Duncan Smith would have you believe

    • Bob mate, your contributions are always welcome, but streams of links like this clog up any debate a bit.

      Oh, and happy Christmas, to you and everyone else who comments


        SO…sorry and all that but i will be freezing and going without again all on my tod…again again again..

  85. and heres that universal credit framework for anyone who wants to know..pull it apart..

    Click to access universal-credit-evaluation-framework.pdf

    i see its been put back on the agenda as it nearly fell off..

  86. honestly mate, i’m not having a pop and the research you do is valuable, Unlike most places I try to keep comments as unmoderated as possible and to do that I just think it requires a bit of nudging sometimes, its tricky and I really don’t mean to cause offence and is no reflection on anything you’ve posted.

    • @Jphhny vod,,,thanks im just trying to help out thats all…or as my mate sometimes says ‘too much time on my hands’….ah well we can but try..every little helps….where have i heard that before?

  87. Merry christmas chewie from someone who also spent some christmases on their own, but not this year thankfully I’m off to my daughters.

  88. Yes, from me too, and I’ve spent the last 12 Xmas’s alone, but I think I prefer that now. Solitary confinement can be habit forming. Best wishes all here, and we can only keep publicising what they hate us to. X

  89. Great story, very real. Not read through all the comments but noticed Jim becomes Bob for a while in the 6th paragraph from the end. 😉

  90. Jim/Bob: An everyman for our times … Charles Dickens, eat your heart out.

  91. well i did some good for others this year…ah well we can but try..
    so now its rich pickings for landlords..




  94. just read this fucking quote from these fucking psychopaths ““You can say: ‘Well, the hunts are doing fine, so why change anything?’ But that’s not the point. As long as the Act is there it represents the idea that hunting is wrong, and that people who hunt are reprehensible, and engage in cruelty. It makes no recognition of the enormous importance of the hunts in rural communities, the good works they do, and the positive effects they have on the welfare of the countryside. Until hunting is out from under this law it will never feel right, and that is why we have to keep on fighting. ”

    just like saying an axe murdererr is helping the economy by buying axes

  95. “20. The Work Programme will be funded from projected future benefit savings, the
    scale of which is as yet unknown. This means that, instead of funding the programme
    from the Departmental Expenditure Limit (DEL) in the usual way, the source will be
    Annually Managed Expenditure (AME) from which benefits are paid (the so-called
    AME/DEL switch). It is a bold decision by the Government to press ahead with this
    untried method of funding. We welcome the extra resources that the Government has
    released by using the AME/DEL switch mechanism to help people find jobs in a time of
    constrained public finances. However, there is a risk that the expected savings will not
    be realised if too few people gain full time work or if the number falling out of work
    rises. We recommend that the Government publishes at regular intervals the cost of the Work Programme and an estimate of the benefit savings accrued from it. We also
    recommend that the Government commission an independent external organisation to
    conduct a full evaluation of the programme, including an assessment of its costeffectiveness
    in relation to previous employment programmes.”


  96. “21. Work Programme prime contractors will be given considerable freedom to provide
    personalised support to individual customers—the so-called “black box” approach:
    Specialist delivery partners from the public, private and voluntary sectors are best
    placed to identify the best ways of getting people back to work, and will be allowed
    the freedom to do so without detail
    ed prescription from central government”

    so they can pretty mich do what they want, without HMG poking their noses in it?
    so fraud, bribes, fiddling the figures…anything goes?

  97. If this government can defer debt accrued by students, I think it can defer debt incurred by tenants who are suffering benefit cut. whats more important a degree on the life and times of Charles Dickens or a roof over someones head?

  98. I had to get yet another phone but am still trying to keep up

  99. No sympathy for this workshy scrounger who’s scrounger off the HARD WORKING decent LAW ABIDING Daily Mail reading taxpayer!

    Btw I am being sarcastic!

  100. I found a poem on the anonymous poetry website today I thought was apt for our times, entitled ‘your not getting your country back’

    we’re sorry your not getting’ your’ country back,
    for the few hundred rich folk who planned the attack
    who pay for the ads that ruin the good lads
    who gamble on wall street, with your money…. yeah!

    who profit off war, who profit off drugs,
    who stash it offshore out of reach of the feds,
    and the states and the counties and cities that need,
    to maintain the systems that power their greed.

    Who cry when we kick out your GOP puppets
    who kick back the billions in government contracts.
    To your corporate welfare crooks on the take
    who replace the laws that keep you in check

    who keep the government from doing it’s job
    to protect consumers to protect our jobs
    who allow the rich to pay no tax
    to dump it all on our backs.

    Then when they’re gone you cry like a bitch
    When your political gangsters can’t protect the rich
    sure you’ll crash the economy or back a terror attack
    but you sure as hell ain’t gettin your country back!

    The country you’ve used for all these years
    to offshore your riches, to leave us in tears
    to hijack our government for corporate contracts
    we’re making sure this time that….
    your NOT getting your country back!

    Osborne is heading for a triple dip through his incompetence hence his low profile coupled with his public purse thefts .Cameron is lying when he says Welfare Reform is needed to shore up the economy ,granted at its present rate it will eventually spiral out of control through their lack of positive moves on immigration ,overseas aid and illegal wars .As Churchill said a lie will travel the world before the truth gets its pants on .Labour did not leave the country in the mess peddled by the Tories ,in fact it was reducing the deficit when it was in power .Labour inherited a deficit in 1977 of 3.9% and by 2008 had reduced this to 2.1%.Cameron is playing the blame game ,to depress confidence and growth to justify austerity .Peddling this to the public will weaken their trust in Labour over economic issues ,thus giving them a second term in power to carry on their draconian acts against the general populace and not deliver a Referendum .Goebbels said “the bigger the lie the more it is believed”

  102. that story is pretty much exactly what happens when claiming ESA. i got a fit for work/failed to attend medical assessment because atos never sent me an appointment letter, i told the dwp that and they rejected it and closed my claim. it took me 10+ weeks to get my claim reinstated and only when i got a decision maker to call me back after being fed up of waiting for them to look at my appeal. i had to pretty much beg him to believe me that it was atos’s fault and i was innocent and that i wanted to goto the medical to get it out of the way. he contacts atos, who have no records of my appointment or the letter being sent and he tells me this is a one off and he will reinstate me! worst 8 weeks of my life, spent in poverty and severe depression and i did nothing wrong.

    • michelle la guilla

      i’ve heard of this happening a lot and it’s happened to me, people being found fit for work in absentia or hounded cos they ‘didn’t send their forms in’ and the stuff was never sent. i think it’s another of their dirty tricks 😦 do it on purpose to put even more pressure on people

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