Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Council Tax: New Threat for the Unemployed Looms.

with 44 comments

Council Tax is a burden for anybody on benefits.

A system in which we got full relief has been replaced by an unjust scheme which means that we pay (with no rise on benefits) widely different rates according to which council area we live in.

This has been the result:

Half a million more people summoned to court over unpaid council tax, after benefits scrapped

Half a million more people were summoned to court last year over unpaid council tax, after benefits protecting low-income families from paying it were scrapped.

Almost three million people in England were taken to court by local authorities in 2013-14 because they had not paid council tax. This was an increase of more than 25 per cent on the previous tax year, according to the figures obtained via Freedom of Information by False Economy, which is brought to you by local campaigners about the cuts and their effects.

Everybody on the dole who has to pay this particular tax knows it’s low on their priorities.

So non-payment, and court cases, are rife.

Many who do pay deeply resent having what is effectively a cut in the meage income imposed in the name of ‘localism’.

Now we learn  that this chancer, Eric OBE Ollerenshaw is in charge of a “review”.

An “independent” review is to examine how local Council Tax Support (LCTS) schemes are helping low-income families across the country, it has been announced today.

Reports Welfare Weekly.

The review will be led by Eric Ollerenshaw OBE, a former council leader and Member of Parliament, who has been tasked to examine the effectiveness, fairness and transparency of newly created Council Tax Reduction schemes.

Mr Ollenshaw served as the Conservative MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood between 2010 to 2015, before losing his seat to Cat Smith of the Labour Party in the last General Election.

Before moving into politics, Mr Ollerenshaw was a full-time teacher of History and spent 30 years teaching in three comprehensive schools.

The Tory-led coalition government scrapped Council Tax Benefit in April 2013, handing local authorities the power to develop and administer their own schemes for local residents.

It’s abolition was supported by Mr Ollenshaw, which may lead to some people questioning just how “independent” the review of Council Tax Support schemes can be.

He has also consistently voted in favour of other welfare cuts and changes, including ‘Bedroom Tax’ and the controversial benefit cap.


His Parliamentary record shows his hard right politics:

  • Consistently voted against raising welfare benefits at least in line with prices Show votes
  • Consistently voted for greater restrictions on campaigning by third parties, such as charities, during elections Show votes
  • Consistently voted for increasing the rate of VAT Show votes
  • Consistently voted for replacing Trident with a new nuclear weapons system Show votes
  • Consistently voted for a reduction in spending on welfare benefits

We can only speculate that cuts in this benefit, reducing us further into poverty, will be on the agenda.


Written by Andrew Coates

December 2, 2015 at 5:21 pm

44 Responses

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  1. I’d just like to say you are right. It’s the poll tax all over again and deeply unfair on the unemployed.
    But it’s not just the unemployed. I’m a working single mum and I’m not well paid. This tax is a huge burden on me too. I receive no council tax support. All I get is the single adults discount. My monthly council tax spend is higher than that of my gas and electricity added together. I basically struggle and pay up because I know I can’t afford court costs! Several other working friends are in the same boat. As I’ve said before where will it end?


    December 2, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    • The council tax is an iniquitous tax; the burden of which falls heavily on single people. Single households were much better off under Maggie’s ‘hated’ ‘Poll Tax’; single households contributions to council junkets and gold-plated pension schemes rocketed when the Council Tax came into effect. For all the crap that is spouted about the ‘Poll Tax’ it was a much, much fairer tax than the grossly unfair crock of shit we have presently, namely the Council Tax. Besides, the Poll Tax was merely a Trojan Horse to bring in the Council Tax; the “Poll Tax Riots” were a pile of poo, a Great Big Con orchestrated by a shower of c****s and traitors, and grasses working hand in hand with the Government of the time.

      The UK should return to the system which preceded the poll tax – the rates. The Rates are still in operation in Northern Island as well as being the system under which business rates are levied in the UK. Under the rates, your property is given a “Rateable Value”. The more your property is worth the more you pay. The amount you pay with respect to increased property value increases in a linear fashion – no “bands” or any of that crap. So what about the old widow sat in an expensive property on a meagre State pension? – as if!. Even if the old widow did exist that was taken care of by a (means-tested) system of rate rebates.


      December 3, 2015 at 12:31 am

      • No they were not better off under Poll Tax because I was in a bedsit and had to pay the same as someone in a flat or house. It was about a third of my salary (I worked full-time). We got rid of the Poll Tax and I was on a demo with the Labour Party in 1990 on Paignton Green.

        Fiona Gregory

        December 3, 2015 at 4:07 am

      • People were much better off with the rates.

        People renting flats in those days had their rates, and water bills (also called rates) paid by the landlord – at least in every flat rented or house-shared I had.

        I did not notice that rents took up so much of your income as they do today either.

        Andrew Coates

        December 3, 2015 at 11:56 am

    • Your supposed to get yourself a full time job, and off benefits, I know as if, meanwhile myself I am going to see an employer and tell them to give me a full time job or else!!


      December 3, 2015 at 4:19 am

      • Enigma I work 31 hours a week and physically can’t do any more!! And the hours I got are in a. Relatively secure sector.. Local authority school.. So I stand less risk of redundancy or the company going bust as in my last job. We also get some paid sick leave and I’m building up a miniscule pension.
        I thought about looking for other work indeed I was offered a job in a private care company but decided against it on the basis it too could go bust leaving me at DWP mercy or I could go for another job, be no good at it and again end up at DWP mercy so I’m staying put. I suspect lots of other workers are caught in the same trap. Scared to try new things just in case….


        December 3, 2015 at 9:48 am

  2. Reblogged this on disabledsingleparent.


    December 2, 2015 at 8:17 pm

  3. This “job” sounds as dodgy as fuck!
    “The post requires you to deliver our front line Quality Strategy by providing timeous, courteous, knowledgeable and factual responses to clients and customers by means of telephone, e-mail, letter and/or face to face meetings.
    Your primary and priority duties are;
    1 To participate in the day to day activities of the Customer Services Team in the provision of a quality service to Customers and Clients.
    2 To ensure that accurate records are collated, kept and presented for all contact and correspondence in line with Company Procedures.
    3 To obtain and provide courteous, efficient and appropriate responses to issues raised by Customers and Clients of the Company in accordance with Company policy.
    4 To ensure all Customer Services activities are carried out in line with Customer Services Procedures and assist the Head of Operational Services in reviewing same.
    5 To ensure all documentation is accurate and presented to appropriate parties in a timely manner for use in house, on site, Client or Customer meetings.
    6 To liaise efficiently with other employees of the Company in order to ensure a high quality of response and service.
    Additional duties
    To provide all administrative services and support in relation to Customer Services functions.
    A proven background and knowledge of Customer Services.
    Good interpersonal skills with the ability to work and communicate both internally with other departments, and externally with organisations and individuals out with the Company.
    Good administration and reporting skills, both written and spoken.
    Must be able to work to deadlines and prioritise workload.
    Must be able to remain calm under sometimes challenging situations.
    A good knowledge of IT Systems, in particular, databases.
    A full UK driving licence.”

    UJM is SHITE

    December 3, 2015 at 12:02 am

  4. Reblogged this on markcatlin3695's Blog.

    Mark Catlin

    December 3, 2015 at 4:03 am

  5. OK time for a change.


    December 3, 2015 at 4:33 am

  6. Gazza

    December 3, 2015 at 10:17 am

  7. This blog needs to get its arse into gear if it is to reach 1,000,000 “hits” before the year end. What’s the ‘prize’ for the millionth ‘hitter’? 100 weeks JSA and one hundred crates of Abbot Ale?


    December 3, 2015 at 11:40 am

    • Abasuc

      The prize as laid out by the kind ConCons is the ability to afford a “Whippet and a Bingo ticket”


      December 3, 2015 at 11:56 am

  8. OT: UC Conditionality, Old Contracts and Tribunal Decision on 25Oct15 from Moneysavingexperts

    There are lots of permutation I suspect will come out of this decision, however….

    This just occured to me – If you cannot force people to take on a new contract how will the new regulations affect old claimants as they are on the old contract? How can DWP enforce the new conditonality due in force on 06Apr16? I would also point to the fact this means its like TUPE on the employment side, no new conditions can be imposed.

    According to this Tribunal decision they cannot and anyone who even hints at that is harrassing someone


    December 3, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    • Did the employees really agree to it. and after 3 months?

      Digger maker JCB avoids job losses as workers agree to work fewer hours – flexible hours.

      Workers voted on Friday to accept shorter working hours for three months to prevent the need for compulsory redundancies, with other jobs saved through voluntary redundancies and early retirements.

      A spokesman for the company said staff would be able to work back the hours once the three-month agreement had ended.



      December 3, 2015 at 4:34 pm

  9. OT: CWP/MWA and Tribunal Decision on 25Oct15 from Moneysavingexperts

    The penny just dropped about why CWP/MWA contracts have been ended, and there is implications for the current ones as well, only IF you have NOT signed papers. [is there is a withdrawal letter from the signed contract available for others who have?]

    The things to remember are:
    No contract can be forced on anyone.
    A Organization that signs a contract with another organization has no power to compel anything on an individual outside of that contract.
    Services offered may or may not be taken up by an individual under those conditions, and have no power to compel use.

    This means:
    DWP has no legal power to allow external bodies/persons to compel obedience to anything required by them – you are in effect not bound by that contract and anything to do with it and immune from its consequences.
    Any external bodies/persons taking on such powers which do not exist under law are therefore acting in a illegal and criminal manner.
    DWP personnel who on being made aware of this illegality, are therefore themselves encouraging the criminal activity and are therefore themselves breaking the law.

    This basically means that Mandatory Activity Notice issued by DWP vis a vis CWP/MWA is not worth the paper it is written on.


    December 3, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    • Ooops forgot to add at things to remember:

      Services offered may or may not be taken up by an individual under those conditions, and have no power to compel use, and even if they do use the offered services as have not signed contract still not bound by it i.e. its become a freebie you can use or drop.


      December 3, 2015 at 5:43 pm

      • when i first went on the wp the silly cow told me i was braking the law by not signing there contract and seemed to think they were not a 3rd party and part of the jcp/dwp pmsl.

        went back 2 years later for my exit report and there system file was empty for me 😉

        fucked up the hit squads job right up as had nothing to go on haha.


        December 3, 2015 at 5:57 pm

  10. Since the subject matter is back on contracts, it seems appropriate to post this link here:



    December 3, 2015 at 6:25 pm

  11. “DWP Strategy Freedom of Information would like to recall the message, “Freedom of Information request – CWP go live date for Anglia Region – 4588”.

    Does anyone know what this means? The DWP responded to an FOI request and then tagged the above on the end!


    jj joop

    December 3, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    • The #4588 must be the crackpot idea number.

      another Fine Mess

      December 3, 2015 at 8:13 pm

  12. Community Work Placement for up to 6 months to gain work experience which will help
    improve their CV.

    if it ends end of march then not enough time left 😉

    and you dont want that on ur cv as its not paid work so no employer will take that as a reference.


    December 3, 2015 at 8:13 pm

  13. The Guardian Comments about the cares cap has a accurate abbreviation for DWP:

    DWP = Discriminative Wilfull Policies

    Exactly as it says on the Tin


    December 3, 2015 at 11:01 pm

  14. Dastardly Wicked People

    Comes to mind too.


    December 4, 2015 at 12:57 am

  15. Trapped in a cycle of debt and poor health.

    To the fully justified concerns that the work capability assessment process is severely damaging mental health, provided by the peer review study from the University of Liverpool (Letters, 24 November), can be added the profound concerns about the link between debt and mental illness highlighted by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, along with the poor maternal nutrition, low birth weight and developmental brain disorders in children highlighted by the Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition. It is also important to provide minimum incomes needed for healthy living, in both work and unemployment, and to address the 17-year gap in expectation of life between the most deprived areas of the UK and the richest (Opinion, 30 November).

    Ministers at the Department for Work and Pensions will have an opportunity to answer all these concerns when responding on Monday to Lord Ramsbotham’s amendments to the welfare reform and work bill, which require the secretary of state to report to parliament on the impact of benefit sanctions on the mental and physical health of men, women and children in workless households, and in working households of incomes below the national minimum wage.
    Baroness Hollins, Baroness Manzoor, Lord Ramsbotham, Rev Paul Nicolson



    December 4, 2015 at 9:42 am

  16. UK public services: Reshaping the state. = volunteers in this so called big society.



    December 4, 2015 at 12:00 pm

  17. Sorry, to go off topic a bit but the more people are informed of what really goes on at DWP the more we can build a case against them and armour ourselves with knowledge to protect ourselves. Besides, you guys have a lot of legal/welfare knowledge between you and thought you might be able to assist/have any experience of the following:
    To date, I have tried to obtain help/ legal support but can’t get any anywhere as it basically does not exist anymore – long gone are those days due to the relentless and counter-productive government cut-backs! The vast majority of solicitors now charge for the 20/30 minute advice session and then charge current rates plus VAT for any welfare issues thereon.
    Beware, if you are lucky enough to find a Welfare Centre that proclaim to help you, if there is any indication your case is remotely complicated they will immediately fob you off with the same old excuse “we can’t take on any more case loads at present as we have reached our capacity.” This has happened repeatedly as I have been given false hope every single time – so much for solidarity and sharing our plight to support other claimants in the same situation.

    I have also contacted numerous activist websites especially the high profile ones but have not even received a reply! The only site that gave me any decent help was refuted. They were brilliant! – couldn’t fault them but unfortunately even they suggested I seek legal advice as my case became increasingly legally orientated.
    Unfortunately, they shut down in August 2015. My local CAB is pretty clueless, won’t touch legal stuff (not even help with form filling) and only hands out leaflets with very (common sense) basic info or dish out addresses of private solicitors like tap water – definitely a deal going on there between them – doesn’t take much to work that one out! Not to mention I have deliberately been given completely inaccurate information from the CAB regarding council tax!!!! They also deliberately dum down the serious consequences associated with sanctions on claimants – ‘totally out of touch!’

    Mine is an on-going case and below is only a fraction of the DWP SCAM I have been subjected to for years,corruption doesn’t do it justice (too complex to go into here)!

    Please could you expand on ANY health and safety regulations you can think of / have been asked/mandated to undertake on the WP.

    Do you have to sign in on arrival/exit at the WP?
    Under what conditions/requirements/guises have you refused on the grounds it is your legal right to choose not too? Have you been threatened, intimidated, bullied, harassed and treated worse than a serial killer for repeatedly refusing to sign in?
    As a result, I have been subjected to severe punishment via coercion and manipulation resulting in abject poverty, virtual homelessness, starvation and destitution if I continued to refuse due to being sanctioned for 6 month plus consecutively for refusing to sign in/ Health & Safety sheets on arrival.

    From the onset, I have vigorously challenged this unlawful decision due to violation of my legal rights. I have just been refused by the Upper Tribunal to appeal. My grounds of appeal against that decision are:

    State licensed punishment on behalf of WP purely on the grounds to guarantee they obtained their outcome payments. I made sure they DIDN’T so WP turned extremely nasty and illegally sanctioned me instead! It’s absolutely appalling as DWP have deliberately and repeatedly harassed me for years as they consider me yet another one of their easy targets.
    Does anyone else have any experience of this? Have gone through absolute hell by WP and JCP over this – intimidated, bullied, harassed and treated worse than a serial killer!
    Routes of challenged deadlines pending!

    1. Set aside.
    2. JR (Judicial Review – useless, complete waste of time!)
    Most solicitors won’t touch them – requires specialised legal knowledge.
    Have since received a letter from DWP telling me they have since discovered a new date unbeknown to me prior to the First-tier Tribunal from 2014!
    DWP are as corrupt as hell and they only just inform me – how convenient! 13 months later and DELIBERATELY AFTER my appeal was set aside! It states ‘keep this letter if your appeal decision has not yet been decided!!!!!! It was decided a week before! You couldn’t make it up!

    We all know full well the WP is a disgraceful excuse for a (baseless) sanction SCAM regime run by merciless state poverty pimps, parasites and state murderers! If you knew my situation in its entirety, you’d be horrified but not surprised in the slightest as corruption is now permanently entrenched in DWP culture.

    Your comments/feedback would be greatly appreciated to support my situation. Please share your similar experiences ASAP. Many thanks.

    Rebel with a Cause! . . .

    December 4, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    • You will automatically qualify for Legal Aid if you are under 18 or (subject to the Interests of Justice Test) if you receive any of the following benefits:-

      • Income Support,
      • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA),
      • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
      • Guaranteed state pension credit,

      If a Representation Order is granted, you will not have to pay anything towards your legal costs in the Magistrates’ Court as all of our costs and disbursements (and VAT where applicable) will be paid by the Legal Aid Agency.



      December 4, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    • Seriously, getting advice on the web is not a substitute for face-to-face advice for reasons that are obvious, starting with the need to describe a complicated case.

      I would always begin with the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, if that does not work (as it has not in your case) you can also contract UNITE Community: http://www.unitetheunion.org/growing-our-union/communitymembership/

      As Enigma says, Legal Aid is a way forward.

      There are welfare advisers employed by local councils as well – try them.

      best wishes.

      Andrew Coates

      December 4, 2015 at 5:47 pm

  18. TRAGIC victims of the Tory Government’s welfare cuts regime were remembered last night with a candlelight vigil in Edinburgh.

    People with disabilities and campaigners gathered outside Edinburgh’s St Giles Cathedral and Edinburgh City Chambers to pay tribute to dozens of people who have either taken their own lives or died as an alleged result of benefit cuts.

    The event was hosted by Scottish disability campaign group Black Triangle as a mark of respect for those who have died, as part of Disability History Month Scotland, which runs until December 22.



    December 5, 2015 at 9:19 am

  19. Off Topic but important:

    Thanks to Boycott Workfare for this info.

    Community Work Placement’s, Specification and Supporting Information.

    1. OVERVIEW:

    1.25 Referrals will be made up until 31st March 2016. Providers will then have 30 weeks from the last CWP referral date to carry out their service delivery obligations as outlined in this document with CWP contracts ending on 27th October 2016.


    The end date is the same for referrals to Mandatory Work Activity – so contracts for that 4-week scheme end in April 2016.


    Obi Wan Kenobi

    December 5, 2015 at 10:34 am

    • FAO – Andy Coates:

      If you haven’t already posted the above info – then please do – I really do believe this is of utmost importance to anyone on JSA or ESA or U.C.

      Worthy of a discussion point or thread of it’s own of it’s own.

      Obi Wan Kenobi

      December 5, 2015 at 3:50 pm

  20. Mobile phone requirement for Universal Credit claimants, – don’t need or email address.



    December 5, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    • Enigma:

      No prob’s, same rules and regs under U.C. are as for current JSA rules and regs.

      The reason being is: – and here’s the kicker to the JCP and DWP, it all comes under the 2013 rules and obligations shit as dictated by the DWP in 2013.

      Obi Wan Kenobi

      December 5, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    • Enigma: – This is standard for JSA and Universal Credit.

      Basically – You don’t have to give:

      An e-mail address or your phone number (mobile or home) , also you 100% don’t have to accept the ‘my work plan booklet’ or sign on using the ‘PAD’ (no JCP adviser ever at all, can legally stop you signing on using pen and paper regardless of threats)

      Universal Credit is basically under the same rules and regs as JSA after the 2013 rules and regs were established.

      Obi Wan Kenobi

      December 5, 2015 at 4:25 pm

      • Oh sorry guy’s – I missed one out:

        You as a claimant absolutely don’t ever, ever have to give your Universal Jobwank details to your JCP adviser or work roach!

        Get it? Got it? – Good!

        Obi Wan Kenobi

        December 5, 2015 at 4:34 pm

      • It was meant to be coming to Suffolk ….yet to arrive.

        Andrew Coates

        December 5, 2015 at 4:52 pm

      • I didn’t know that everyone on JSA and ESA knew all the rules regarding phone no and email add & everything else, my mistake for positing it.


        December 5, 2015 at 6:19 pm

  21. Welfare reforms will still take £3bn from poorest Britons, Labour warns.

    Costings after U-turn on tax credits reveal changes to universal credit will save the Treasury almost as much money.

    The OBR’s new costings show that by 2021 the changes to universal credit will save the Treasury almost as much each year as the controversial tax credits policy would have done.



    December 5, 2015 at 4:32 pm

  22. I watched the total waste of time debate on whether we should go after ISIS in Syria!

    This point of fact was anyone from a military background was, of course we should. Of course there will be civilian casualties who just want to get the hell out of there! But that’s WAR!



    Sick deluded bastards!

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    December 5, 2015 at 6:38 pm

  23. FAO – Andy Coates:


    David Cameron – The War Monger!

    Refused to apologise to the Labour MP’s he called “Terrorist Sypathiseres”

    I may be wrong, but Cameron’s refusal stare in the House of Commons
    looked to me like: – Agree with me NOW – or when I call marshall law on the streets of Britain, You will be the first lined up to be shot. SS CAMERON!

    Andy Coates – If Cameron gets his ultimate way – It won’t be a case God help him – It really will be a free for all.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    December 5, 2015 at 7:21 pm

  24. 752,000 Pensioners Forced To Choose Between Heating And Eating. as we know all ages of people have this choice to make.

    An estimated 752,000 pensioners have been forced to choose between paying for food and heating their homes, according to a new survey by an older people’s charity.

    Meanwhile, 43% of older people who responded to the survey say they have gone to bed early to keep warm, with 890,000 doing this often or even every day.



    December 5, 2015 at 8:26 pm

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