The Breath Taking Scale of the War on the Poor

atos-bannerEver since David Cameron declared ‘we are all in it together’ him and his band of millionaires have waged all out war on the poor.

It is true that austerity may mean the future is starting to look quite different for some of the aspirational middle classes.  But that is nothing compared to the quiet demolition of the lives of those at the bottom of society.  In one of the richest countries in the world many people are now left with just a few pounds a week to survive after essential bills are paid.

Occasionally an event finds it’s way into the newspapers – such as the tragic suicide of Stephanie Bottrill who took her own life due to fears about the bedroom tax. More often though this silent holocaust goes unnoticed, even by those who are just a month’s pay packet away from falling prey to the onslaught, whilst the latte slurping classes are far too busy gossiping about the price of their next holiday.

It has been unemployed or disabled people, along with single parents and low paid workers, who have paid the price for austerity. And in too many cases that price has been their homes, their health, their futures and sometimes  their lives.

The attack began with the hike in student fees and the ending of EMA, two moves which cut off any chance of escape for the young. Then came the Welfare Reform Act which laid the legal groundwork for the raft of cuts to in-work, unemployment and disability benefits.  Alongside these brutal cuts came a hugely expensive package of state harassment of the poor, effectively wiping out any savings made.  Degrading disability assessments, unpaid work (a term used in the legal system to mean punishment)  and ever more ludicrous ‘conditionality’ for claiming benefits have only added to the grinding down of those who already had little or nothing.

The Housing Benefit cap, whilst only affecting a relatively small number of people, showed the direction of travel. Suddenly struggling tenants were being blamed for the huge rents charged by landlords. This has led to possibly thousands of people on low incomes forced out of central London and into the outskirts of the city.

But that was not enough. The overall benefit cap being introduced this month means that even the properties they moved to are no longer affordable. Some claimants will now have to move again as almost the whole of Greater London, along with several other cities, becomes unaffordable for low income families.  This Government thought socially cleansing people from London was so good, they did it twice.

Whilst this was taking place the rules on social housing were being altered in a move which will see many properties even in the social sector become unaffordable for the poor. Fixed term tenancies are being introduced, so the days of a council house lasting until old age are disappearing.

Those who already have a council or housing association home are not being spared.  If the bedroom tax doesn’t get them, then the changes to Council Tax Benefit or the combined impact of cuts to other benefits will drive tens if not hundreds of thousands of people who can’t afford their rent into homelessness.

There will be no safety net for those who no longer have enough money even to pay modest social housing rents.  Homelessness hostels, along with women’s refuges are under threat from Universal Credit, whilst housing advice centres and Citizen’s Advice Bureaus are closing across the UK.  The slashing of legal aid means that justice is one more thing that is to be denied to the poor.

The Benefit Uprating Bill has extended this attack long into the future as annual rises to benefits are pegged at 1% whilst prices rise.  Housing Benefit is included in this measure so as rents soar, incomes will shrink.

Universal Credit may have begun with a whimper but will eventually prove devastating for those on low incomes.  The overhaul of the benefits system will see single parents and part time workers facing the same Jobcentre  harassment as those who are unemployed, unwell or disabled.  This could be workfare, even for sick or disabled people, backed with the current weapon of choice, benefit sanctions.

Approaching a million benefit sanctions are expected to be handed out this year.  Sanctions, which leave people with nothing at all, can now last up to three years.  The Hardship Payments that some people may qualify for – currently around £41 a week – are being converted into loans.  There will be no let up on the bedroom tax, or council tax payments owed, for those sanctioned.  People with nothing will now be expected to borrow from the government to pay tax.

Many of these measures have been justified with the all too familiar scrounger slur. It has not been enough to impoverish people, they have to be  slandered and dehumanised at every opportunity.   But the nature of these cuts tells a very different story.  They have not just been aimed at the economic traitors the Tories are convinced lay behind every closed curtain.  Low paid workers who have come to depend on benefits to survive are having those benefits slashed just as ferociously as people unable to find jobs.  This is not an assault on the so called and largely non-existent workshy as Government ministers pretend.  This is an attack on the poor, whoever they are.

The list  goes on and on.  The bedroom tax, benefit cap, annual real term benefit cuts, Work Capability Assessments, Personal Independence Payment assessments, mass use of sanctions, workfare, the floundering Work Programme, the demolition of the social fund, wage freezes, the scrapping of Council Tax benefit, the axing of Sure Start grants, social housing phased out for the poor, pension agreements torn up, Working Tax Credit cuts and Housing Benefit cuts have all taken place against a backdrop of VAT rises, rent increases, rising food prices and soaring heating costs.  Almost all of these cuts have been precision targeted at the bottom 10%.

We are not all in it together.  It is only the children of the poor who are going hungry.  Hundreds of thousands of people have seen already meagre incomes almost slashed in half.  Thousands have been forced from their homes and the impact of these changes has barely even begun.  Not one job has been created by these measures, the unemployment rate is just as high as it was in the depths of the recession.

None of this is about saving money, not really.  Iain Duncan Smith may think what he is doing is morally right, but his mind is fogged with  delusions of a neo-liberal utopia.  This fake utopia requires turning the poor into a horror show, a threat of what might happen to those who won’t, or can’t, join the great cut throat competition of modern capitalism.  Those already in poverty are being hung out to dry to make the UK more competitive, more selfish and more brutal. And the reason for this is not just to keep the rich in the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed, but to make them richer.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

105 responses to “The Breath Taking Scale of the War on the Poor

  1. I must be psychic as i was googling ” war on unemployed ” before i saw this post..ok on this subject.this item from América caught my eye..drug testing benefit claimants.

    http://www.bluenc.com/adding-insult-injury-nc-gops-war-unemployed-continues

  2. Child killer benefit scrounger put to work at last for £14 pw scrubbing toilets but he can spend that on cigarettes. Terrible Isnt it how daré he spend that money on cigarettes…
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2305644/Mick-Philpott-forced-prison-cleaner-14-week–job-years.html

    • Obi Wan Kenobi

      Bob:

      I followed the link to look at that story but got distracted by the ‘Beyonce covered in glitter and nothing else’ story – WOW!

      • @OBi you are one sad git..i dont even know who bouncy is…i just thought it was ironic that they have been pissing and moaning about claimants not spending the money wisely and philpot who is now earning by working is being criticised for spending money he worked for..terrible that people should spend money on stuff that the6 worked for..what right have ppl got to do that they should spend money on what companies tell them to..we cant have all this consumer choice malarky now can we? Better to have smart cards dictating to us what we buy..it will save on advertising at least..controlled consumerism..a neo con dream

  3. Never a truer word spoken. Personally affected by bedroom tax, currently awaiting trial by Universal Credit. Jobless – and on Government Work Program with provider who provides nought. Worked for 40+ years and will probably end up on London streets homeless as there is now no such thing as ‘vulnerable’. Anybody effectively on any benefit is now being demonized by society
    On a different note – Can’t work a computer to use Universal Jobmatch – Never fear – there is now the “Digital Awareness Session” Jobcentre+ will force you to attend. I am awaiting the reinvention of the Workhouse, or have I missed the introduction of it? Dare say I’ll find out.

  4. Obi Wan Kenobi

    DWP Press release: 10th July 2013.

    Universal Credit: Roll out from October 2013:

    Universal Credit will expand to 6 new Jobcentres starting from October 2013.

    The following Jobcentres will be included:

    •Hammersmith
    •Rugby
    •Inverness
    •Harrogate
    •Bath
    •Shotton

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/universal-credit-roll-out-from-october-2013

  5. Arbeitsscheu_UK

    Bravo JV, Bravo

  6. @Johnny did you see my post about the ‘big lottery’ fund for helping ppl achieve ‘financial confidence’ in order to manage their ‘ over generous’ UC money..i think this pot has run dry when i last looked it said applications were closed…??

  7. Obi Wan Kenobi

    Be Warned.

    Just had a phone call from one of my mates, the WP Private Providers are telling some clients that are more or less at the end of their 2 years (say 3 weeks) that they don’t have to finish the remainder of their time with said P rivate Provider.

    The Private Provider then reports them to the Jobcentre for non completion and this then allows the Private Provider to claim another £400 start up fee from the DWP for the remaining 3 weeks of the clients 2 years.

    Needless to say the client is then sanctioned by the Jobcentre for non participation.

    I must stress I only have my mates word for this and no official confirmation.

    • Finishing a jobseeker 3 weeks early and reporting them to JCP for a sanction sounds plausible but claiming a new referral fee – sounds like sheer fantasy. I don’t think even the fuckwits at the DWP are that stupid!

      • @lucozade ah but they are After all A4e designed the welfare reform for themselves after all we are told that lord fraud got all his best ideas from them ,eh?

        • Yes, but at some point the bean counters at the DWP would catch on to there being two referral fees within the two years for the same jobseeker. You’re only mandated to the WP once (at present) so only one referral fee per jobseeker. I Can’t see how they’d get around that.

          • Obi Wan Kenobi

            If you leave or walk out of the WP before your 2 years are finished, when you go back or are re-referred, the Private Providers can claim another £400 start up fee.

            • I don’t have documentation to prove it but (from memory) I don’t believe that to be the case. The WP is two years long and (as far as I am aware) contractually they must take you back after a break and there’s NO new referral fee. I’m prepared to be proven wrong but would want to see the official line to be convinced.

              I don’t think such an obvious money making scam would have been kept quiet for so long if it really existed.

            • @0bi so Its a revolving door operation ..lucky you off wp get sanctioned punished so out back on work prog more fees ..and this helps employment? Actually Its in work program providers interest to keep ppl unemployed then..

            • Obi Wan Kenobi

              Bob – Yep! – claimants on JSA/ESA are the money makers for Private Providers – if most of us were employed, they’d be out off business.

      • Check out the latest fraud scandal involving G4S claiming £millions for tagging even claiming for people who were dead ffs Serco another one being investigated

    • @OBi how and why do they get the £400 start up fee? Based on what?

      • Obi Wan Kenobi

        Bob – it’s supposed to be for bus fare refunds, travelling to an interview costs and to cover anything else you need for finding a job – but I’ll bet you anything the Private Provider pockets at least half of it.

        • something survived...

          They do it where I live. Some people (mainly disruptive ones) were told by WPP to leave early then got sanctioned by JCP and forced to still sign on AND got sent back to WPP, and WPP got paid again. Also you can be sent on WP more than once. Bus refunds: WPP claim they have no money and can’t pay people. Also demand bus tickets though our area abolished paper tickets over a year ago. So you’ve no proof of travel and the WPP and JCP won’t pay you. Scams all round.

  8. Does this seem odd to anyone? A huge changed to the benefit system (UC) Which will leave many with difficulties managing their finances will get help as a results of a ‘ lottery fund’ what happens if that funf runs out ..or ppl choose not to donate to it as it ‘ helps those scroungers’

    Again another ill thought out plan..i wonder who thought that up ?

  9. Carls Dickinson

    It behooves me how Cameron can declare “We are all in this together” yet gladly, unabashedly accept the spoils of a somewhat significant pay rise along with his elitist bed fellows and ilk. This is condescending, and very hypercritical. I always believed that the Government elect was there to serve the people in a so called democracy. This not clearly being the case I think a revolution is in order. Yes, people “City Hall” can be fought and won!

    • Obi Wan Kenobi

      That’s just it though – they haven’t been elected.

    • “This not clearly being the case I think a revolution is in order. Yes, people “City Hall” can be fought and won!”

      I don’t agree. There have been several events in the past couple of years (as listed in Johnny’s article) that in previous years would have been guaranteed to, at the very least, provoke a mass demonstration and perhaps a riot or two. What has actually happened? Nothing, a big fat sit-on-your-arse-and-moan-about-it nothing!

      The neo-liberals are buoyed up by the lack of resistance to their punitive measures against the precariat and all we will see is more (and more) of the same from now on.

      The only thing that will change is the pace at which these monsters do their dirty work. If they win outright at the next election it’ll speed up. If Labour or some other patsy government is formed it’ll proceed at a slower pace, but proceed it will.

  10. mcvey recently was attempting to play down disability benefit cuts recently to those who the dwp perceive are now have improved conditions’.

    however the local council’s website appears to suggest otherwise.

    https://www.aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk/news/2013/may/events-explain-disability-benefits/

    the silly attempt to reduce those who need assistance to prepare a cooked meal to one point is ridiculous,this is only the tip of the disability and reason is only such,if they choose to ignore this which they may well do given history.people are often born with conditions,have little or no education and shouldn’t be exposed this type of right wing oppression.putting lives at risk

    they will never admit to cuts, for legal reasons.

  11. Hello.

    Signed on last week, There was an issue with my lack of job applications.

    Telling them it’s jobSEEKERS has little effect. My money has been suspended according to the dwp call centre!

    Never been a problem at the JObcentre until now. I have an appointment this Friday to ‘discuss’ my jobsearch, this was made when i signed on.

    I was not told I wouldn’t be getting any JSA this week.

    They do what they like when they like. I am currently screwed.

    This after suffering a 7 and a half month sanction recently. It’s at tribunal, but it has been frozen until the court of appeal ruling happens.

    They just stop your money, just like that.

    Guilty until proven innocent. Psychopaths eh?

    The other two signing clerks (employment officers?) are fine,

    I’m sure discrepancies in skin colour have their part to play in this.

    Possibly? I am going to start applying for any old jobs from now on, whatever it is, be it rocket surgeon or brain scientist.

    Haven’t got the experience? Well, it is an application!
    What if it says experience essential and I haven’;t the experience, still apply? Never have I lied, the truth does not set you free.
    My hi fi is all I have left. I’m not selling that too.

    I have family, I wont starve. Thankfully..

    Disgusting. Assert any rights you think you have and that makes them even more hostile towards you.

    Penalised for the poor job market. Cheers job centre, they’re getting as bad as the poverty pimps, Rant over.

    • Mr No, I’m pretty certain skin colour aint got nowt to do with it. Jobcentre+ (not those working for them personally, more this Government) are penalising the sick, disabled, old, infirm, those with drug, alcohol or mental health issues, pretty well all those out of work really. Sanctions mean they don’t have to pay you – JOB DONE!!!!

    • Obi Wan Kenobi

      While your sanction is in effect, ask at the Jobcentre for JSA Hardship claim forms also write an appeal letter and give it to a floor manager.

  12. Carls Dickinson

    They are probably banking on the idea that people have not got the collective capacity to group or organize in a formidable stance, such is there contempt and ignoramous stance against the masses. Pyramidal structures at the hierarchical apex can be toppled if the very structural foundation rungs become unhinged from the bottom. But if divided, and wracked and splintered chaos will persue , which is what they recall in. But the greatest threat to them is a cohesive consolidation of unification to a common goal. A few strong leaders across the board and untold organization and collaboration would enable this. As simplistic and unreachable in it’s rudiments this may sound with this sort of “City Hall” of this era, I truly believe this is attainable

  13. So this big lottery fund covers a wide range of things and not just help with UC money problems..so a major shake up in benefits is gonna be backed up with whatever is left in the pot After Its spent on other stuff..

    http://www.localtrust.org.uk/?press-media=big-lottery-fund-press-release-lottery-200m-set-to-transform-englands-forgotten-communities-2

  14. Poor. Old. Tired. Horse

    I see that one of the delegates at the Welfare to Work UK Convention (aka The Parliament of the Foul) tweeted: “The DWP challenge – how can we make the Work Programme better?”

    How about towing it out into the North Atlantic and shooting at it till it sinks?

    • Landless Peasant

      “make the Work Programme better” ? Start by using correct English, i.e. ‘improve the Work Programme’.

    • something survived...

      To paraphrase Blackadder: An excellent plan… with a slight alteration. Tow the Cabinet out into the North Atlantic and shoot at it till it sinks.

    • Poor. Old. Tired. Horse said: I see that one of the delegates at the Welfare to Work UK Convention (aka The Parliament of the Foul) tweeted: “The DWP challenge – how can we make the Work Programme better?”
      How about towing it out into the North Atlantic and shooting at it till it sinks?

      Or deliberately allow it to hit an iceberg just like another ‘unsinkable’ ship did. Just sayin’.

  15. I am in complete agreement with the author. I recently contacted Sky News to ask if they have observed any correlation between suicides and withdrawal of benefits, because I feel quite certain that there will be a telling trend there. There government and, to some extent, the mainstream media appear to be fostering a culture of indifference to the suffering of struggling claimants. In a society where there are more people than there are jobs, it stands to reason that some people will be unemployed. Iain Duncan-Smith regards these people as “workshy”. He appears to miss completely that there aren’t sufficient jobs for these individuals to be shy of! The harassment of sick people on ESA and DLA benefits is all about, “ensuring they receive the right amount of money”, according to IDS, yet he seems to be making VERY certain, by repeatedly assessing the same claimants in an unreasonably short period of time. Surely this only engenders an uncertain anxiety among those claimants, which must exacerbate their health, particularly those suffering from mental illness.

    I am utterly bewildered by the calm acceptance of the British people of these atrocious policies, which continue to widen the gulf between the haves and the have-nots. I put it down to the public and judicial backlash levelled at the rioters who were moved to engage in civil disorder by the increase in tuition fees and the withdrawal of EMA, because if those circumstances were sufficient to prompt such unrestrained anger, how much more infuriating is the current state of affairs?

    • Its our inability to organise coherently. I subscribe to unions, feminist organisations, uk uncut etc but they won’t march together under a banner of equality theg say it dilutes their message. But if small numbers continue to campaign on single issues they will forever be dismissed. I haven’t thought of a solution yet.

      • I think that the situation is becoming so oppressive and unfair that some form of organised resistance/retaliation is an inevitability. Sanctions, I ask you? I’d have thought that being on benefits was sufficient sanction in itself.

    • Good post. Many people agree, Usually those that feel the dictatorship!

      My benefits have been suspended again! Arbitrary and cruel. No voice to speak, to choice, no hope. No compassion, where is humanity?

      If it weren’t for my family i would be completely distraught.

      I’m not really into conspiracy theories, but they seem to make more sense by the week! Gosh, what is happening.

      A homeless statistic is better then an unemployed one?

      Comply or die.

      Stay strong people. Easier said then done, but hey!

      • I’m sorry that your benefit has been suspended, Mr No. I’m glad that you have a supportive family, and I hope that they will be able to help you through appeal stage when I know money must be a real worry for you. I am sure that you will appeal successfully and have your benefit backdated, thereby defeating the object of the government’s ploy to dishearten and overwhelm you. It infuriates me to consider the number of claimants who are unassertive or lack the support and capacity to mount an effective appeal, and we just know that there are many of them out there who will fall victim to this heartless assault.

        I’m curious about the number of people who will resort to crime in this climate? I fail to see how some claimants (faced with sanctions – a temporary cessation of their benefit) will be able to live without resorting to criminal activity. At a time when the Home Office is advising the judiciary to cut back on the number of custodial sentences due to prison overcrowding, it is an insane situation. Prisoners are more expensive for the state to maintain than benefit claimants. The suggestion that any of these welfare reforms are saving the country money is a total fallacy.

  16. got a brown envelope today with a sanction doubt for non antecedence for an interview that was 9 weeks ago and i dont even have a letter to go on the date they state wtf

    got a dated letter from my provider for a group job search so ill just photo copy it and say they changed the appointment, or should i say i not been for the hole 2 years i was on it hahaha got 7 weeks left now the bunch of fucktards🙂

  17. Pingback: The Breath Taking Scale of the War on the Poor ...

  18. Brilliant post. The whole situation is an obscene horror show run by people with no humanity at all.
    I’ve just watched some of the debate forced by Labour calling:
    “That this House believes that the Government should publish a cumulative impact assessment of the changes made by this Government that affect disabled people (to be published by October 2013)”
    The lack of attendance by the Tories was frankly embarrassing, Mark Hoban and Esther McVey mouthed their usual platitudes, it was disgusting. A stupid Tory MP Paul Maynard labelled people who’d signed the WOW petition and Pat’s Petition “extremists”. Unbelievable.
    Very very good and informed speech by Anne McGuire Shadow Minister for Disabled who castigated the Tories for not bothering to turn up. She spoke at about 17.13
    http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=13471

    On Universal Credit – the total, nightmarish shambles, revealed by whistleblowers:
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/07/10/universal_credit_will_be_a_universal_failure_says_whistleblower/

  19. Sooner or later, people will take things into their own hands and this government will only have themselves to blame for it.

  20. Landless Peasant

    The “neo-liberal fake Utopia” . Welcome to the New World Order.

    • something survived...

      McVey was on BBC radio programme (go to Iplayer till Thursday 18th July)
      ‘Disabled and Desperate to Work’. It talked about Shaw Trust etc. as if these are the good guys. McVey was a dumb bitch as usual. They left out the point that if you don’t declare you are disabled you can be done later for lying!

  21. Can we have a discussion on the subject of the unions and the falkirk report or maybe a one on the eu ruling regarding reviews for lifers? Something different from the constant regurgitating of cuts to benefits.

    • something survived...

      Can we have a discussion on the EDL and BNP etc? or the racist far right in general. I tried posting at the time but the internet was down, anyway it was the time the EDL leaders Tommy Robinson (Stephen Yaxley Lennon) and Kevin Carroll got arrested for going ahead with the walk in the name of Lee Rigby (against the orders of the family, the police, and the council, and a court order….).

      Have run into some EDL strife where I am.

  22. Yisraels Redeemer

    Reblogged this on The Voice Of Australians and commented:
    We have the same types of tyrants over in Australia, doing the exact same thing.
    It is Murder at the Hands of the Govt, Dept Of Justice & Medical System.
    God Of Israel, Judge our nations quickly to rid us of these Tyrants, that mistreat the Disabled people, the poor & others you love.

  23. Pingback: The Breath Taking Scale of the War on the Poor | The Voice Of Australians

  24. greyhound smith

    Fellow sufferers,
    Afflicted with all the problems already mentioned here. The quasi-slave state the elite are building will be a political as well ad economic tyranny. They want us in chains or dead. Perhaps we should think in terms of ‘self-determination’. In the near future there will be no social security and only wage-slave jobs or ‘training’. We should develop ideas about how we can escape the tentacles of this wicked state. In terms of housing, food, energy supplies. We need an autonomous working class support system. The unions are long past hopeless and as someone who briefly worked ad a volunteer for CAB don’t expect help anywhere else. We can only support each other..

    • greyhound smith

      The social system has become so burdensome in terms of input to output for lower incomed it is a very poor deal. If you are fortunate to work but on low wage the majority of your week is spent working to break even and then lucky to have any to show at the end. These are all taxes in one form or another, I include rent/mortgage, all propping up the system and those doing nicely from the system.

      I agree with your sentiment about escaping the tentacles of the now rotten system but the problem is they own all the land. The other parts are achievable.

      • I have been unfortunate lately to see how the other half live, and by that I mean middle management working in the propped up public sector i.e in the NHS of which there are thousands upon thousands. Low talented large egoed people living very very comfortably out of the system. Of course they think they are the world’s centre. Their presence or lack of it would not be noticed.

    • Greyhound Smith, your assessment of the current and near-future situation is spot on. Your ideas for survival in the longer term are well worth developing. Let us know your ideas as you go. I work as a meeter and greeter at the door of my local CAB. What depresses me most is the lack of empathy or experience most of the advisers have regarding the problems most people come in with. A guy waiting to be seen recently told me he was just popping out for a fag. The woman (non-smoker, natch) who was about to see him was most put out. “What’s he doing being able to afford to smoke when he’s come here for a food bank voucher”! (This woman was fresh back from a holiday in the Maldives!). I told her the last place I expected to get into an argument on the deserving/undeserving poor was in the bloody CAB, even in a Tory area like this one. When the unions and CABs and anywhere else you might expect to find help or support turn out to be a sham, the future looks ever-bleaker. Violence increasingly looks like the only realistic option. Well, fight fire with fire, y’know? At least I’m not in one of the latest 6 areas joining Universal Credit in October. It was close, though. One of them is 10 miles down the road. (No more clues!)

  25. Hi Johnny, I’ve been reading your blog for the last couple of months but this is my first post. Just wanted to say you are bang on the money once again. The constant attack on the poor, unemployed and disabled is disgraceful, as for workfare? Slave labour, slavery in one of the richest countries in the world. I have been sanctioned once already for absolutely nothing, getting paid again now but the insecurity of another (much longer) sanction hangs over like a black cloud. The bastards. Keep up the excellent work highlighting these issues and fighting for social justice.

  26. Reblogged this on paultmillington and commented:
    Why should the sick and disabled pay for the mistakes of Cameron’s mates the bankers had a choice. The sick and disabled don’t

  27. Stolen innocence 2012 of United Wheeldom

    Reblogged this on stoleninnocence2012's Blog.

  28. Obi Wan Kenobi

    One to watch:

    BBC1 9:00pm tonight – ‘We All Pay Your Benefits’.

    Nick Hewer and Margaret Mountford investigate benefits system:

    “We found no scroungers and no-one living comfortably”.

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/nick-hewer-margaret-mountford-investigate-2043331#ixzz2YilQEy33

  29. Last night i was awoken by the screams of a fox being killed in the street by some homeless guys, they did a bad job and the poor thing was screeching far too long, then i was awoke again at 5.30am by a drunk homeless girl shouting at one of the flats opposite, she looked like she was freezing to death and wanted a mate to let her in for sleep.
    A couple of days ago i was paying my council tax and rent (on JSA ffs) and listened to the convo of the guy next to me (about 35) on the phone trying to get some help, the person on the other end of the phone told him to get a crisis loan to which he replied “i’ve tried, they don’t do crisis loans anymore, this is the first night i’ve ever spent homeless in my life, i don’t know what to do”, he remained polite and was told there was nothing they could do for him, he had such a shocked and defeated look on his face, a disbelief look, as he said thankyou and hung up, he turned to the young girl on the desk and said “there is no help”, to which she just shrugged and looked away!!?
    I took him over the cashpoint and gave him a tenner, which blew half my food money for the week.

    Things are getting sick quick

    • One can sympathize with homeless but they will not just walk into a council office and get instant accomodation. Never have. I suppose his option was to go to a night shelter until he gets allocated something. As for the homeless killing an innocent fox and the drunk girl shouting in the street well hard to be sympathetic in all honesty. Why would you want them living next door?

      • Sorry mate, but that sounds like a robotic response, i’m aware of housing circumstances, i used to work for the CAB, “the homeless will not just walk in and get accommodation”, you sound like you’re laying down a law rather than informing, you’re just regurjitating crap you’ve heard, like walking into a housing office and getting some idiot robot girl with just enough intelligence to hold a fukin pen and regurjitate what she’s been told to say “sorry, can’t help, thats the way it is….NEXT”, you’re losing your humanity buddy.
        Hard to be sympathetic for the two homeless guys who killed an “innocent” fox, just where the hell are you going with that? take a look at yourself ffs, but you do sympathise with Mcdonalds who murder 3000 poor innocent cows everyday to feed your overfed face?? are you even human??
        I think it’s disgusting that two guys who have become surplus to requirement of a greedy system thats replaced them with computers and robots and cheap immigrant labour, are FORCED into having to kill a fox to sustain themselves.
        And you also have a problem with the drunk girl???…..you think it’s disgusting to be drunk at 5.30 in the morning?….well you’re right it is disgusting that she is forced into that position, have you ever been homeless??, when you’re so cold at 4 am in the morning having only got 30 mins sleep due to the intense shivering???….. alcohol, is the only remedy to that, it warms you a little and makes you drowsy.
        Why would i want them living next door to me?…….errrrm cos they’re human beings, and victims of SCIK society.
        You really are a sick disturbed little Lord Fontaroy aint you, almost machine like, your assimilation is complete, well done i hope you’re proud.

        • Ahpook
          That’s a long list of judgmentalness to reply to!
          Yes I have been homeless. A couple of times actually. I lived in my car for about 3 months last time before the council organised some accomodation which was during the winter so yes it was cold. I had to go on a waiting list but being homeless I was awarded max points. I’ve also spent many a night out on exercise sub zero temperatures (and being exhausted at the same time makes the experience far more memorable!) That was when in the forces.
          No I don’t want a drunk who can’t control themselves living next to me disturbing me and if a woman is out drunk on the street like that I’ve little sympathy. I have no compassion well if you say so.
          I wasn’t aware that they were killing the fox to eat. That sounds somewhat far-fetched but if so then it’s different.
          I am not fat faced. Are you?

          • And surely if you worked for the CAB you’d know that you have to go on a waiting list (unless vulnerable which that guy wouldn’t be).

          • lmao, you ‘assumed’ they killed it for fun?
            I am very sorry to hear of your own personal experience, i’m sure others could learn from it, especially if you show them compassion and not “judgement”
            You say you’ve been ‘in the forces’, what were you forcing? your bullshit opinions and experiences down others throats? lol….just joking
            I never said she was out of control, you make the assumption again that she is doing it for pleasure, what i saw was a desperate young woman lost, confused, ROBBED by her own hairy goat legged government, shouting to a friend for assistance.
            They woke me up twice ffs, i should be the one who is all pissed off and opinionated about them, not you?
            But no i’m tolerant to them, and becoming increasingly intolerant to the inhuman PIGS that are fleecing the nation under the guise of a fair government that serves the people, when quite obviously they are protecting corporate interests, and helping them fuk us blind.
            You’re Fat faced on the inside my friend🙂

            • You didn’t answer the question. If you worked for the CAB why didn’t you know about the waiting list?

              I am not going to get into some pointless keyboard warrior fight here just keep it civil eh?

              • That is why i stated that i worked for the CAB, so it was obvious i know about waiting lists ect, and they work much differently in this area these days, you actually bid online for properties and can be housed in as little as 2 weeks.
                I’m not starting a keyboard warrior fight either i’m just consolidating comprehension of the key areas of what i originally said.
                and now you openly assume i’m not being what?? CIVIL? LMAO
                What is that a distress call for the collective to come in and attack the uncivil one?
                Dude…..seriously…..depth

            • I suggest you are a liar!

  30. Foriegners got all the jobs LibLabCon traitor bastards.

  31. Great article as ever JV. It got me thinking hard as to how this situation came about & came up with this theory.I could be totally wrong but here goes – the tories never really expected to recieve such a large share of the vote at the last election & when it became obvious that the libdems were going to crawl into bed with them instead of labour (a distinct possibility at the time) it suddenly dawned on them. This wasn’t fun any more, this is deadly serious stuff & they were lacking – no ideas, no clue, no policies to speak of. So panic ensued. The backroom boys came up with this wheeze. Populist policies were needed & needed fast & hasn’t IDS been investigating the welfare system? “Can’t touch the bankers or tax dodgers, that’s a no-no, as they bankroll the tories so as there’s “no money left” it’s got to come from somewhere. Ah, brainwave, all these “scroungers” on benefits are bleeding the country dry, let’s keep repeating this ad nauseaum until it’s sunk deep into the public psyche then cut,cut & cut again their benefits. Ah, but the law states that they need a minimum amount to live on. Never mind, that’s easily circumvented, don’t these scroungers live in scummy “social housing”? And many of these houses have 3 or more bedrooms, some of which probably aren’t used, so we’ll make them pay for their nerve to have a “spare” room by slapping a tax on it & totally bamboozle by stating that we’re removing the”spare room subsidy” even though there never was such a thing
    As for the army of sick & disabled a visit to atos will soon produce a magical cure for what ails them. Legs will grow back, the blind will see again. Oh joy, no DLA any more for them!
    And all these lazy scroungers can work as slaves for all our big business pals, maximum profits at minimum cost. Oh, brave new world & all the while the libdems & even labour are endorsing these “reforms”!” Things couldn’t possibly be any better for us tories, could they?

    This is my theory for what’s it’s worth, can’t wondering just how far from the truth it really is….

  32. “let’s keep repeating this ad nauseaum until it’s sunk deep into the public psyche”

    The beauty of the internet we can use their approach against them! Keep spreading the word wide and far and continuously what these Tories (and others) are up to. I doubt they will be in existence in a decade or so. People will get wise and say enough no more supporting these rich privileged scroungers.

  33. Landless Peasant

    The system is broken. Capitalism is unsustainable. Democracy is a sham. Paper over the cracks and hope no one will notice. Blame the poor. Kick the sick. Line your own pockets. Drive people to suicide. Divide and rule. Work will set you free. Maintain the lie and carry on.

    • Whether it’s Orwell’s Newspeak word Blackwhite or the Big Lie concept, the principle’s the same. If we say black is white, then it is. The Nazis were notable fans of this philosophy. Make the lie big enough, repeat it often enough and the people will believe it. Does this sound familiar?:
      “The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.” (Joseph Goebbels)

  34. Go Johnny! I agree with everything you have said. i have just been through the ordeal of a DLA Appeal Tribunal today, the members of which were placed above me on a plinth like in a Criminal case. This is NOT supoosed to happen in Appeals Tribunals. There were three on the panel and a DWP rep who was sat next to my advocacy worker. It was an exhausting ordeal, each member of the panel each having their pet obsession to question me on, even stuff that was completely irrelevant to my case. Astonishingly the disabled “care expert” was the most unpleasant and made me feel like something she had trodden in. The doctor on the panel wwas twiddling with his pen and rocking in his chair towards the end. The judge was ok. I feel very very angry and washed out. Don’t know decision yet. Viva la revolucion.

    • i got the ‘irrelevant questions’ at my tribunal too!

      I politely asserted myself and simply said to each statement or question that had no business being asked ‘With respect, but This is nothing to do with the matter I am here to address’.

      There wasn’t an answer for that, so then we simply got on with the facts that were relevant.

      They can ask stuff, it’s up to you if you deem it worthy of an answer.

      Going for a grilling today at the jobcentre. So, I guess it will be another fascinating experience. The thing about being sanctioned for 7 and a half months and knowing that you will not starve and have shelter is that you can really really get away with so much.

      Hence I push the boundaries. And get punished for it too.

      A job? Yeah, that would be most welcome. Oh, that’s my fault that there’s few to apply for? I see that now, how wrong to assert otherwise.

      Maybe the person I see tomorrow will have at least a shred of humanity.

      I wont bank on it though.

  35. Obi Wan Kenobi

    Government finally wakes up to Private Providers screwing the taxpayer, IDS should take notice.

    SFO investigates G4S for ‘overcharging millions on government contracts’

    Justice secretary tells MPs he has called in Serious Fraud Office to investigate private security firm for overcharging.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2013/jul/11/g4s-investigated-overcharging-millions-pounds

  36. I’ll leave you draw your own conclusions after reading this…

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/poor-officially-pay-higher-tax-2043852

  37. Pingback: The Breath Taking Scale of the War on the Poor ...

  38. ‘Iain Duncan Smith may think what he is doing is morally right’. I doubt it. He and the rest of the government are outright sadists, enhancing their enjoyment by the transparent pretence that they are torturing people to ‘help them find jobs’, ‘turn their lives around’, ‘build self-reliance’, etc.

    True, they have the rational (from a ruling-class viewpoint) motive of keeping the working class down; but these people go beyond rationality. If they were poor kids on a sink estate, they would be taking candy from babies and torturing cats, and might be seen as disturbed; since they’re rich, they’re running the country and are credited with rational, if self-interested or misapplied, motives.

  39. I agree the poor are under attack and the jobcentre is now leading the way in a cruel manner that is far more severe than the work programme providers have managed. I started back with the jobcentre this week after completing two years on the work programme and have experienced bullying that I never thought would happen in an open plan office with so many witnesses unless it was the policy of the management. I have experienced similar in rooms away from the masses but now jobcentre staff seem to be showing that no action will be brought against them under any circumstances although bullying is illegal. This is my experience of Charles St jobcentre staff dealing with the post work programme people in Cardiff. Yesterday I was told that I would give access to my universal jobsearch account or it would be referred to a decision maker and could lead to a sanction. When I said that I could giver her paper copies instead she replied that she would not accept paper copies so if I don’t give access then a decision maker will decide. I felt she was misleading me but a member of staff sitting in on my appointment nodded in agreement with her. Everything I am told to do in the next six months will be under a direction so if I don’t complete everything a sanction will be the outcome. This is supposed to be a democratic country yet a government department can openly have you bullied and no one will do anything about it. If enough of us complain maybe the police could be brought in after all it is an offence to bully and intimidate someone. Most jobcentre staff are members of a union but some of those people don’t care about the less fortunate.so maybe it’s understandable that many unions have not supported the poor against the brutal attack against the poor.

    • Hi Rob.

      Intimidation and lies. I can afford to let them sanction me due to support I have, I Know not everyone can afford the luxury of going into battle with these c*nts. That’s what they are, i rarely use that word, but it is accurate.

      You do not have to give access, hebce the very existence of that tickbox.

      If it was me – and I’m sure it will be my turn soon enough – i would tell them to knock themselves out and put in the doubt. I would also tell them how ignorant they are and I expect that this sanction for failing to provide access will not be upheld.
      Make sure you get the reasons that they stated when the sanction goes in.

      Because as we all know they are lying, cheating psychopathic bastards too.

      Stay strong people. Not easy when you are going hungry I know.

      Remember there are good people out there. Somewhere!

  40. Hi Mr No,
    I did give access to my universal account during my appointment so the two women looked at it. I didn’t tick the box so I hope they are not snooping without my knowledge. I’m not against the having access but the threatening way they put things was clearly a form of bullying with threats of decision makers and sanctions. I asked to see the manager of the department and a woman turned up, sat in front of me and after I had given me point of view concerning the way I was treated during my first appointment with my new personal advisor the manager said to me “do you remember me?”
    I asked for her name and when she told me I realised that she had been my client advisor some years ago and tried to get my benefit stopped. While she was my advisor years ago she sent me a form that she had signed questioning my entitlement to benefit because of an application form that I had completed for a job in Companies House. Of course if an employer sends an application form in it can be used as a complaint and a sanction could be given. It was overturned in less than a week but she refused to speak to me even though at the time she was my advisor. I managed to obtain a copy of a fax that was sent by the employer to a jobcentre worker stating this is the application form for (my name) that you requested on the telephone. The jobcentre guy then put a note on the fax referring it to a person at the benefits office with the first name of my then advisor. She was clearly trying to make it look like the employer had complained but in fact was tryig to rig an result against me. I don’t know how many people had benefit stopped this way but I can’t be the only one. I phoned the employer and the personnel officer told me on the phone that they had no complaints regarding my application form and that the jobcentre had in fact specifically requested it. You can see my problem as this woman is now the manager of the department although she should have been sacked years ago. It was odd that she made me remember as I would never have recognised her after all these years. Maybe she wanted to gloat and show that after all those years she has got promotion and nobody could make her pay for her wrongs.
    I was even told that when I am due for my fortnightly signing it will be with my personal advisor of this manager and it surprises me that a manager would be signing someone or maybe it’s for her to do some more gloating and intimidation.

  41. The last sentence should read personal advisor or the manager might be seeing to my fortnightly signing.

  42. something survived...

    I don’t want to consent to give them access to my UJM account but it is academic. UJM does not let me access my own UJM account. Just before locking me out last summer somebody at UJM/DWP changed my details on the site so they had access without my consent and broke the law by falsifying my own details.

  43. HI something survived.
    I know what you mean , I had to give the email address that I created for UJM to my advisor and I will have no idea if she accesses it without my consent. I just emailed the local press with my complaints regarding the bullying and intimidation and deliberate
    misleading by staff.

  44. Another Fine Mess

    Untick the box after your JCP visit, problem is to always remember it is ticked before each visit.

  45. I noticed a DWP poster at the work programme provider stating that one will be required to give the advisor access after the leaving WP. Seemed odd to me they’d be able to discriminate like that. What is most odd is that if they can enforce it on the WP leavers they are not doing it to everyone else. If you don’t use the UJM site other than look at it (unlogged) then what will be there to see for them? I cannot see how they can enforce use of that site at the exclusion of others. I’d advise to register with other agencies and apply through them and write down on paper your jobsearch record, not record it on the UJM site which is a lot of pointless faffing about frankly when it can be done in seconds with pen and paper. You will always have email receipts of the jobs you’ve applied. Everyone should avoid use of that site and consign it to it’s rightful place – the dustbin!

  46. HI JD.
    The problem is the bullying attempt by my advisor in the Cardiff jobcentre. She openly refused to accept paper copies and said that if I don’t give access to my UJM account she will it to a decision maker and of course a possible sanction. This was said with a number of staff very close by and could clearly be heard yet they just nod in agreement with her. It’s a clear case of bullying and intimidation to scare the unemployed into doing whatever they are told to do by advisors. It’s cruel and nasty and shocking that it can be done so openly. Of course we all have to do our fortnightly signing with these people too. I am taking the bullying and intimation down the road of complaints but I don’t know how far that will get me but someone has to make a stand. I am usually a person who goes along with most things but when people try to deceive me and bully me I don’t respond in a favourable way.

    • Hi Rob
      I’m not a lawyer so I don’t want to give you bad advice that ends up costing you but I’d be tempted to call their bluff and let it go to appeal. I’d question how, if the law based on cookies is the reason for the box option, how they would be allowed to discriminate against a minority and deny you equal human rights? I’d also question how in a free market economy, supposed democracy, they’d be allowed to enforce use of that site over others’, particularly as there’s few real jobs on UJM. It is definitely a farcical situation. Maybe others will have advice here. As I say you will need to consider that you might lose so it is a risk tp consider but I feel you’ve a very good chance if you feel strongly enough and that it’s worth the effort and financial risk. Good luck!

      • Rob, sorry to hear of your horrendous experiences. I’m finishing the WP on Friday and am very apprehensive about what’s round the corner. So far I’ve managed to avoid UJM, handing in paper jobsearches when I sign on. I’m praying my JCP is different to yours, though even if it is, Hit Squads are to become an ever-present over-hanging threat, if Mark Hoban’s recent remarks are anything to go by.
        Were you actually mandated to give access to your UJM account in writing? It might be worth asking them to, if it’s not too late. If it’s not legally water-tight, they’ll back off. It’s getting to the stage where everyone with a camera-phone would be well advised to film each encounter with JCP staff. Do it covertly if possible. If you don’t ask permission, they can’t refuse… (I wish I had one!)

    • Maybe the other jobcentre staff are being bullied too, hence the nodding of heads??

  47. overburdenddonkey

    rob…this link may be helpful..
    http://edinburghagainstpoverty.org.uk/
    + ipswich unemployed action

    • obd ~ just read your link. Thanks for information – it’s both encouraging (the beseiging) and depressing (that it’s necessary).

      • sorry your comments took a while to get through, the spam filter is being a bit over cautious, should be fine now

      • overburdenddonkey

        sn …still i might be back with the living again soon..once i’ve got through all of the rigours of re-claiming my lost benefits…i’m getting there..still i too have managed to de-clutter my computer, a bit..my brain is very backlogged…and a lot of reading to do…ho-hum…:-)

  48. Hi Overburdeneddonkey

    Thanks for the link but it really is sad to see people defenceless. The police protect jobcentres from people who just want justice. The police won’t bother to check on the bullying and intimidation if a government department is handing it out.
    Judging by the comments on the news today regarding the benefit cap the government have certainly done a good job on convincing many of the public. I couldn’t believe how one guy said that he would love to be living on £350 a week as a single guy. Why can’t they just realise that all the single unemployed over 25s live on £71 a week and the rest of the benefit goes to landlords and the council.Single unemployed have less money to live on than anyone in work.
    It amazes me how such a basic fact seems to be too hard for people to grasp and they support the governments hard measures against the poor regardless.

  49. overburdenddonkey

    rod and sn..the link does not seem to be working properly they actually have a well resourced info site that covers UJM et al…the link should have pointed to that..but the gremlins are gremaling atm…

  50. overburdenddonkey

    ps rob…

  51. obd ~ it did work earlier, but has ‘gone off’ now …

    It’s taken me most of the day to calm down and replace the thoroughly unpleasant sound of IDS’s nasty benefit-bashing diatribe as heard this morning with something (anything) more uplifting. Just heard an interesting description of the way being in an extremely powerful position – with power over large numbers of people – can impact on [said] person’s brain and their behaviours after a while – loss of any sense of real-life (funny that) & potential loss of empathy …. sounds familiar.

    Best of luck with the paperwork & any gremlins.

  52. Check out Steve Bell’s latest IDS-as-Nosferatu cartoon: http://gu.com/p/3hb7k

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s