Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Welfare Cuts: What They Mean.

with 45 comments

The Guardian today carries this excellent investigation,

What the welfare cuts mean for us.

“The government is three years into a savage programmme of welfare cuts. Coalition ministers say they aim to save billions on benefits and help ‘hard-working people’ while ending a culture of dependency. But what does this mean for people who need support?”

People contributing to Ipswich Unemployed Action have their own stories, but these are worth looking at (extracts).

Just before Christmas two years ago McPhillips received a letter that declared in angry red block capitals: “Your benefits are being cut.” Two days later he took an overdose and would have died if his brother hadn’t discovered him in time, and rushed him to hospital.

McPhillips, 59, has serious mental-health problems, which forced him, several years ago, to leave the job as an industrial saw sharpener he had held for 25 years. He depends on a handful of benefit payments – disability living allowance (DLA), employment and support allowance, and housing benefit. News of the looming wholesale benefit changes unsettled him so profoundly that he has since tried three times to take his life.

Antonia McKnight’s experience demonstrates the massive disconnect between the picture painted by the government of benefits claimants and the reality experienced by some of those who are seeing their payments cut.

No one could suggest that she is living in luxury or enjoying a lifestyle that could inspire envy in others. The small flat where she lives with her four-year-old daughter has views on to brick walls, the wiring has gone, so there is no light in the bathroom or her bedroom, and the furniture is secondhand and broken. The rent is £500 a week.

Since August, McKnight, 38, has seen her benefits capped at £500 a week, under the coalition’s new £26,000 benefit cap – introduced with the aim of bringing “fairness into the benefits system”. Since her weekly rent is exactly equal in size to her benefits, she is already in serious financial trouble.

Whether McKnight’s flat represents a dream is questionable, but it is clearly very expensive. For anyone unfamiliar with the extraordinary, unfaltering rise of the London property market, a rent of £500 a week will seem unthinkable, but soaring rents are the reason that the housing benefit bill has become so huge. Council accommodation would be far cheaper, but there is a huge shortage of it in central London, and McKnight is still waiting.

If you look at her flat you will see just how exploitative landlords are today.

This story relates to a lot of us.

In the past few years, Tony Marcola, 46, has experienced the dual pressures of the downturn and welfare reform. Having worked all his life, he lost his job as a van driver for a fruit-and-vegetable wholesale firm in 2008, when fuel prices went up, and the company’s owner decided he could no longer afford to offer a delivery service. Not long after, companies started closing offices in Burnley.

“First the jobcentre was empty and then suddenly it was packed full. People were losing jobs left, right and centre,” he says.

He attended courses, learned how to use a computer and write a CV, and continued to apply for jobs but without success. “Burnley was going down a black hole. At the time I was expected to get a job, there were a lot of places shutting down,” he says.

DWP figures show that there was a 24% increase in the number of sanctions from July 2012 to July 2013. Although the principle of getting people to show that they are seriously looking for work in order to qualify for benefits payments is one that Citizens Advice supports, they are concerned that very harsh sanctions are being applied; the charity has seen a 46% increase in problems related to sanctions in the past year, and Guy says problems such as those experienced by Marcola are “systemic”. “The system is all stick and no carrot.”

As part of the government’s drive to reform the system, much harsher conditions have been introduced to ensure that those who are receiving jobseekers’ allowance are seeking work. The use of sanctions – periods when benefits are stopped as punishment – has increased dramatically.

In July, Marcola was told that there would be new conditions attached to the benefits he received, and he was told that he had to prove that he was applying for 20 jobs a week. “I said: ‘Well, I’ll do my best.’ It jumped from four jobs a week to 20, it’s a quite a leap,” he says. He began by meeting that target, even if it meant applying for jobs that he was not qualified for, and stood little chance of being selected for, but one week in July he only managed to apply for 15 positions. He was struggling financially anyway, with increased gas and electricity costs, and a new £20 bedroom tax charge for the spare room in the house where he’d brought up a child, who was no longer living at home. After bills, he was left with about £13 a week for food. Applying for jobs involved finding places with free internet, because he couldn’t afford to have internet access, let alone a computer, at home.

There is more – you can see it through the link above.

The article ends with this,

An online campaign group, the WOW petition, which organises resistance to the “war on welfare”, has gathered over 100,000 signatures, calling for an end to the work capability assessment and a cumulative impact assessment of all cuts and changes affecting sick and disabled people.

Already Food Banks are being touted as way to meet the needs of those in dire poverty, often caused the failure of the welfare system.

The situation will get a lot worse next April when Workfare, run by greedy private companies and ‘charities’ is introduced.

We need a complete change of policies:

  • A Party that’s committed to end the war on welfare and create a just system for claimants.
  • An end to the punitive  sanctions regime.
  • Get rid of the welfare-to-work parasites running the Work Programme and replace them with real training and real paid jobs.
  • The Living Wage for all: so that when we are in work we do not have to rely on benefits.
  • A solution to the housing crisis: build council homes, and introduce rent controls.
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45 Responses

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  1. “Council accommodation would be far cheaper, but there is a huge shortage of it in central London, and McKnight is still waiting.”

    Not just in London!.

    Between 1982-2007 there were three, I will repeat that, “three” council houses built in Scotland, this was done by both the Tories and New Labour to push prices up and force people to buy, let the good times roll!!!, people saw their house/home which really was no longer a home but an investment going up and up. Terms such as “Yuppies” came into being (You don’t hear that one now!).

    All the three main parties knew it was unsustainable, it was done for many reason’s, to get elected, make money for their very close friends in the financial sector. Bribery and corruption has ALWAY’S been at the heart of the british political establishment, indeed, it was the british political establishment alongside, hand in hand with the USA political establishment that made all the evil go global. They knew what it would end up doing!.

    It’s about to get a LOT worse.

    Annos

    December 17, 2013 at 2:04 pm

  2. Anyone thought about voting for the Green party? (Don’t laugh) Never joined a party in my life but looking at the choices, B Nazi P. Anti euro KIP, Tory, Labour (Slave), and Liberal traitor party. In desperation I looked at the greens manifesto and was very surprised at what I read. Strong values in community and welfare for all in need. Strong policy on Restorative justice (Making criminals pay up for damage and loss to victims) A much more human approach to politics. Perhaps they would ban forced unpaid labour and brutal sanctions? They are quite a strong party in Germany, perhaps I will consider membership as they appear to stand for just about everything that used to be considered British?

    Phil

    December 17, 2013 at 4:02 pm

  3. I was also struck by this story about sanctions, “It jumped from four jobs a week to 20, it’s a quite a leap,” he says. He began by meeting that target, even if it meant applying for jobs that he was not qualified for, and stood little chance of being selected for, but one week in July he only managed to apply for 15 positions.”

    He then got sanctioned, “I tried to explain that I could not find any more jobs to apply for,” he says. Later that week he found that his benefits had not been paid, and when he asked why he was told he had been sanctioned for four weeks.

    “It was so shocking, when I was doing everything I could. I was panicking. I didn’t know what being sanctioned meant. I was so miserable,” he says. He appealed against the decision with the assistance of Citizens Advice. “The Citizens Advice people could see I was on the verge of a breakdown.” He worried that with no money to pay for the electricity, the frozen supplies in the freezer would ruin, and he would have nothing to eat.”

    Who ever did that sanction deserves being put in front of a criminal tribunal.

    Andrew Coates

    December 17, 2013 at 4:19 pm

  4. I could not agree with Andrew’s Comments more ; the companies contracted by the D.W.P to provide the Work Programme have only one Motivation ; to make as much money as quickly as possible for their already Rich Owners, that they are dealing with disposessed and vunerable individuals is of no concern to them, you are mearly viewed as a useful source of revenue and if they can use you to make fraudulent claims all the better , they are indeed parasites feeding off the misfortune of others and too stupid to realise they are actually perpetuating the problem of Long Term unemployment by successfully keeping youngsters unskilled up and down our Nation.
    I have had a number of individuals contact me who have provided clear evidence of Fraud recently , please continue to do so on 07949 353631 as i will be instigating a number of cases against providers on a no win no fee basis come the New Year.
    A Happy and enjoyable Christmas to you all and thankyou for you support .
    David Penson. Bracknell. Berkshire.

    David Anthony Penson

    December 17, 2013 at 4:36 pm

  5. This is very important and should have been raised much earlier in the year:

    Post Work Programme Support and Completer
    Interview. – (PWPS)

    Paragraph 8:

    8. Claimants who have completed 104 weeks on the Work Programme CANNOT be referred back to the Work Programme, even if they change benefit.

    Paragraph 11.

    11. It is a full diagnostic work focused interview during which the adviser will: review the Exit Report requested from the provider and in discussion with the claimant, log relevant details on LMS; if the exit report has not been received, ensure that the relevant details
    are obtained from the claimant determine if the ongoing support through PWPS will be mandatory or voluntary;

    inform the claimant that PWPS will last for TWELVE MONTHS and if applicable that their participation is mandatory; review and update the claimant’s action plan; and complete skills screening assessment if required.

    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/186510/response/455054/attach/html/5/ESA%20Guidance%20for%20Jobcentres%2007%20Post%20Work%20Programme%20Support%202013.11.25.pdf.html

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    December 17, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    • Ok, another 6 months it is even though they didn’t state any finish date.

      I wonder when that document came out Obi Wan as we have all seen this dated 3rd June 2013 where it states 6 months.

      https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-announces-details-of-post-work-programme-support

      gaia

      December 17, 2013 at 7:32 pm

      • I take that back, according to what I have it was published on the 25/11/2013

        gaia

        December 17, 2013 at 7:35 pm

      • after the wp i got the same adviser that put me on it 2 years ago now, had a hs adviser first few times but soon got board of me and just go 1 time a week now 🙂

        super ted

        December 17, 2013 at 7:42 pm

      • That one above is for ESA claimants only.

        Heres the one for JSA claimants:

        https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/186510/response/455054/attach/html/4/Post%20Work%20Programme%20Support%20JSA%20claimants%202013%2011%2025.pdf.html

        28. MIR will continue for at least 26 weeks from the date of the Work Programme Completer Interview.

        After 26 weeks

        32. After 26 weeks in MIR, advisers must decide whether or not the intensive support it delivers is still necessary. If not, the claimant should be moved to the JCP Offer (see steps below);

        if MIR remains appropriate the claimant must be informed accordingly and their participation in MIR reviewed on a
        regular basis.

        Obi Wan Kenobi

        December 17, 2013 at 7:51 pm

      • Explain you post please Obi Wan Kenobi “23. Any sanctions that were imposed whilst a claimant was participating in the
        Work Programme must end from the day after they complete their 104
        weeks with the provider.” Where has it gone and how did you edit/delete it.????

        Ed

        December 17, 2013 at 8:53 pm

      • Moment of clarity now thanks.

        Ed

        December 17, 2013 at 10:11 pm

      • got told any time that i have away from wpp, illness holiday jury serivce work [proper job] is added to time if i have not completed 2yrs at wpp

        philip

        December 21, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    • 23. Any sanctions that were imposed whilst a claimant was participating in the
      Work Programme must end from the day after they complete their 104
      weeks with the provider.”
      This can not be right? I hope it is. I finished WP at the end of Sept but my sanction lasted until Early Dec. What would happen if i got a 3 year sanction, just before i finished?

      Help needed please as i am unsure.

      Ed

      December 17, 2013 at 8:17 pm

      • Where has this post gone Obi. and how did you get to edit it / delete?????????? Your post is there because it is so inportant that i copied it. Explain please. I am comfused.

        Ed

        December 17, 2013 at 8:41 pm

      • Moment of clarity now thanks.

        Ed

        December 17, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    • That has to be wrong as they are now giving out back dated sanctions that were stock piled when the poundland girl case was going on.

      Ed

      December 17, 2013 at 8:26 pm

      • Is that ESA only?

        Ed

        December 17, 2013 at 9:52 pm

      • Moment of clarity now thanks.

        Ed

        December 17, 2013 at 10:12 pm

      • Ed:

        What the hell are you talking about???

        Obi Wan Kenobi

        December 18, 2013 at 3:26 pm

  6. ““The government is three years into a savage programmme of welfare cuts.”

    That should read….”“The government is three years into a savage programmme of welfare cuts.”….which is just a continuation of the savage programmme of welfare cuts that was in operation before we came to power.

    Annos

    December 17, 2013 at 7:17 pm

  7. i had a letter the other week saying i was a bad bear and it turns out it was the adviser that was sat next to mine that had it sent out as they heard me say something to my adviser and when i showed um the letter my adviser never knew nothing about it being sent out or what i said on that day, prob fuck off ect.

    super ted

    December 17, 2013 at 7:24 pm

  8. “More than a third of ex council houses now sit in the property portfolios of wealthy landlords. In fact, the son of Thatcher’s Housing Minister at the time the ‘Right to Buy Scheme’ was launched became the proud owner of no less than forty ex council houses.”

    http://www.scriptonitedaily.com/2013/12/17/uk-moving-backwards-half-a-century-of-social-progress-reversed-in-last-decade/

    Annos

    December 17, 2013 at 7:30 pm

  9. Obi Wan Kenobi :
    That one above is for ESA claimants only.
    Heres the one for JSA claimants:
    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/186510/response/455054/attach/html/4/Post%20Work%20Programme%20Support%20JSA%20claimants%202013%2011%2025.pdf.html
    28. MIR will continue for at least 26 weeks from the date of the Work Programme Completer Interview.
    After 26 weeks
    32. After 26 weeks in MIR, advisers must decide whether or not the intensive support it delivers is still necessary. If not, the claimant should be moved to the JCP Offer (see steps below);
    if MIR remains appropriate the claimant must be informed accordingly and their participation in MIR reviewed on a
    regular basis.

    i got no exit report as i only went 3 times in 2 years got no cv nothing to put on it anyway will not give them access to ujm email addr or phone number or cv fill in my js every week n they cant do jack shit about it.

    super ted

    December 17, 2013 at 8:15 pm

  10. i’ve been sent on a course and an appointment made to see how i got on,the appointment for this is before the course even started. appointments altered not cancelled on the system just by hand and text message the day before for the cancelled appointment.

    anyone can make a mistake but this is plain recklessness,pulled in for weekly signing and given a silly grin.given the run around,and i have a disability.

    if this is supposed to trail blaze their wrong.

    they think they can cure people with lifetime conditions with a few hours lecture,they’ll then turn around and try to make out there’s an improvement. also by bullying or sanctions.

    ken

    December 17, 2013 at 9:26 pm

  11. i was meant to go on a personal,empowerment and presentation course but said its just a way to get tax payers money for sitting in a room and doing fuck all and some dick talking bollocks all day is no help at all

    super ted

    December 17, 2013 at 9:42 pm

  12. super ted :
    after the wp i got the same adviser that put me on it 2 years ago now, had a hs adviser first few times but soon got board of me and just go 1 time a week now

    Thanks super ted

    gaia

    December 18, 2013 at 9:14 am

    • WOOPS, dragged the wrong one.

      What I meant to say was thanks for the clarity on post WP schemes super ted.

      gaia

      December 18, 2013 at 9:22 am

      • got to go to the local collage in the new year says it takes all day but not what for or doing what just says bring cv qual and work history.
        got none of the above so that will be computer says no situation n why did the jcp send you here?????

        the ss adviser i got now same as the 1 after the wp wont even try it with me cos ill rip um to bits with there own paperwork and the law and dpa and wtf is my exit report from the wp.

        super ted

        December 18, 2013 at 10:48 pm

  13. I see their kicking off the 2014 reforms with an attack on foreigners. Listening to IDS interview on the BBC looks like hes going to order advisors to drag their heels I suspect meaning these migrants will be probably waiting 6 months let alone 3 before they see benefit.

    This government is so stupid as their only turn to crime and cost the taxpayer yet more money.

    gaia

    December 18, 2013 at 9:20 am

  14. Obi Wan Kenobi :
    That one above is for ESA claimants only.
    Heres the one for JSA claimants:
    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/186510/response/455054/attach/html/4/Post%20Work%20Programme%20Support%20JSA%20claimants%202013%2011%2025.pdf.html
    28. MIR will continue for at least 26 weeks from the date of the Work Programme Completer Interview.
    After 26 weeks
    32. After 26 weeks in MIR, advisers must decide whether or not the intensive support it delivers is still necessary. If not, the claimant should be moved to the JCP Offer (see steps below);
    if MIR remains appropriate the claimant must be informed accordingly and their participation in MIR reviewed on a
    regular basis.

    Thanks Obi Wan, I didn’t notice your post soon enough, very much appreciated.

    gaia

    December 18, 2013 at 10:25 am

    • Gaia:

      Glad you got there in the end….. Ed didn’t!

      Obi Wan Kenobi

      December 18, 2013 at 3:36 pm

      • Did get there in the end Obi, sorry. It just got my hope up.

        The post did disappear though.

        Ed

        December 18, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    • Habitual residence qualifications mean that nobody could simply turn up in the UK and claim JSA for a start anyway. It’s enough of a problem for plenty enough people, from all backgrounds, now.

      Andrew Coates

      December 18, 2013 at 4:08 pm

  15. I am normally not a person who goes out protesting,but I would certainly would against the Tory scum.

    George

    December 18, 2013 at 4:04 pm

  16. Curbs on EU benefits to come into force on 1 January.

    The change to a three-month wait before EU citizens can apply for UK out-of-work benefits is being rushed through Parliament to start on 1 January.

    EU rules allow benefit recipients to receive payments from their home country for three months when they move.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-25421086

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    December 18, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    • But will the benefit they recieve from their home country for 3 months be enough to live on and pay for everything they will need in the U.K? – such as Rent/Council Tax/National Insurance Contributions/Food/Utility Bills/T.V License

      and don’t forget the most important things, Cigs/Bacca/Ganga and Booze.

      Obi Wan Kenobi

      December 18, 2013 at 4:35 pm

      • And flat-screen televisions, tablets, and smartphones.

        Andrew Coates

        December 18, 2013 at 4:36 pm

      • When the realisation that they won’t be able to afford to live in the UK for the first three months actually dawns on them, they will natually go to the Jobcentres for help. (I think that would be a reasonable assumption)

        The Jobcentres are going to say ‘Computer say’s NO’

        That’s when it will all kick off and we’ll be lucky if we have any Jobcentres left to sign on – in.

        Obi Wan Kenobi

        December 18, 2013 at 4:52 pm

      • And will these benefits from their home countries be administered by our Jobcentres?

        Obi Wan Kenobi

        December 18, 2013 at 5:47 pm

  17. Have a read at this:

    http://jaynelinney.wordpress.com/2013/12/18/the-just-world-fallacy/#comment-2289

    The word “GASLIGHTING” appears in that commentary.

    Gaslighting is part of the world of Gang Stalking, which is a form of behavioural control and conformity

    Is the Government’s “Nudge Unit” a kind of behavioural control outfit?

    So watch out, you might be sent by the Jobcentre to the psychologist if you dare to criticise Mandatory Work Activity, for example.

    Even the Salvation Army is now denouncing people who object to that organisation’s questionable involvement in unbiblical workfare – notably MWA.

    Script

    December 18, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    • Someone else here mentioned this on another post. Hope this helps Script.

      http://gangstalkingjournal.com/tactics/gaslighting/

      To better understand the use of (ie code, decode and recode) you will have to digest cognitive psychology. Now some people might say hog wash but a prime example of its use is one artist known as Darren Brown, yes that Mr Brown.

      I will tell you now that you wont learn this subject in three easy lessons, hell, ive been studying it when I can and even after a near decade still don’t fully understand all its ins and outs. University libraries are the best place for the material required to learn this subject.

      gaia

      December 19, 2013 at 9:56 am

    • Have you ever seen anything about Gang Stalking, Annos?

      Script

      December 18, 2013 at 5:19 pm

  18. Cameron needs his head chopping off.

    Landless Peasant

    December 18, 2013 at 6:59 pm


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