Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Homeless Growth Boosted by Dole Sanctions.

with 42 comments

Jo the Street Urchin Has Returned to London.

One of the striking things about modern Britain is the growing number of people living on the streets.

You can see them every day in Ipswich.

According to friends parts of central London have seen an explosion in people with no permanent roof over their head.

A ‘friend’ mentions that on Saturday he saw people clearly in desperate need huddled in little groups on the pavements, from Charing Cross Road to Kings Cross. One very ill looking chap, clutching a huge blanket, was roving round Cambridge Circus in a very unhappy state.

He was only metres away from the St Gilles area, a great “rookery” of slum dwellings in Dicken’s times, where the poor and homeless gathered and where Jo the Street Sweeper found temporary sanctuary at TomAllAlone’s.

If anybody doubts Dicken’s genius and the depth of his outrage at homelessness they should read Bleak House and this letter from the same period,


Sur, — May we beg and beseech your proteckshion and power. We are Sur, as it may be, livin in a Wilderniss, so far as the rest of London knows anything of us, or as the rich and great people care about. We live in muck and filth. We aint got no priviz, no dust bins, no drains, no water-splies, and no drain or suer in the hole place. The Suer Company, in Greek St., Soho Square, all great, rich and powerfool men, take no notice watsomdever of our complaints. The Stenche of a Gully-hole is disgustin. We all of us suffer, and numbers are ill, and if the Colera comes Lord help us.

Something really bad is happening around those very streets, now.

In most places it’s the same story, it comes up simply when you mention it – though perhaps not in Iain Duncan Smith’s Chingford or in Cameron’s bijou Witney

Many more are in shelters and temporary accommodation.

In Ipswich many of them spend time in the public library.

So this report out today comes as no surprise.

The number of people on the brink of homelessness who have been helped by local councils has risen sharply over five years, says the charity Shelter.

Councils in England stepped in to help 205,100 households facing homelessness in the year to March, suggests Shelter’s analysis of government data.

In 2009-10, the figure was 140,900, indicating a rise of almost 46%, according to the charity.

The government said it had spent more than £1bn on homelessness since 2010.

But Shelter chief executive Campbell Robb called the research “truly devastating”.

The charity says its own helpline took 450,000 calls over the past year, and a quarter were from people threatened with losing their homes within a month.

The figure for the previous year was 408,927. So there were 47,773 more calls this year – a rise of 12%, says the charity.

Mr Robb said too many cases involved families with children “teetering on the brink of homelessness”.

He added the charity’s own figures suggested 100,000 children would be “waking up homeless and in unstable temporary accommodation on Christmas morning”.

“Sadly, the combination of our affordable housing shortage and cuts to welfare means that more and more parents are finding themselves struggling to keep a stable roof over their children’s heads,” said Mr Robb.

The charity says children in temporary accommodation can find it hard to cope at school.

One mother, Francesca, said her daughter became very tired because living in one room in a hostel meant she was disturbed by younger siblings at night.

“It was an incredibly difficult time for us,” she said.

“My daughter’s grades suffered because the baby would keep her up all night.

“It was also hard for her to keep her friendships going, because she couldn’t bring any of them over to play.”


A few days ago Welfare Weekly published this,

Benefit Sanctions Leaving Vulnerable People Hungry And Homeless.

The government’s controversial benefit sanctions regime is leaving vulnerable people hungry and at risk of homelessness, a leading charity has warned.

Research conducted by the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam University, on behalf of the homeless charity Crisis, warns that benefit sanctions are hitting vulnerable people hardest, with many pushed into poverty and destitution.

The resulting report draws on a survey of more than 1000 people from homeless hostels and day centres, as well as 42 in-depth interviews.

Researchers uncovered shocking stories of people being forced to sleep on the street and having to cope without food or heating.

Of those respondents to the survey who had been sanctioned over the last year:

  • 21% reported becoming homeless as a result;
  • 16% said they had been forced to sleep rough as a result;
  • 77% had gone hungry or skipped meals;
  • 75% said it negatively affected their mental health;
  • 64% had gone without heating;
  • 60% found it harder to look for work


Written by Andrew Coates

December 15, 2015 at 12:33 pm

42 Responses

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  1. Councils may have helped some homeless people in the past few years but due to what is happening regarding councils and the rise in rents, etc etc, homeless people won’t be helped as much as they once were.


    December 15, 2015 at 2:27 pm

  2. Hostel residents have no where to go during the day as they get turfed out of their accommodation in the early morning and can’t get back in until late evening. That is why they congregate in places such as public libraries. And especially in winter for a heat.


    December 15, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    • Food banks also where the homeless go for both food and heat, staying in food banks as long as they can. more and more homeless are appearing at this the local food bank. it’s getting very busy.


      December 15, 2015 at 3:18 pm

  3. Hostel residents have no where to go during the day as they get turfed out of their accommodation in the early morning and can’t get back in until late evening. That is why they congregate in places such as public libraries. And especially in winter for a heat.


    December 15, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    • Yes, it’s where I’d go as well.

      It really is striking how numbers have increased over the last few years but particularly in the last six months.

      Andrew Coates

      December 15, 2015 at 4:26 pm

      • There is always a queue of homeless people stood outside the local library waiting for it to open everyday. As long as they are not causing any trouble they can sit in all day out of the cold and rain. There are computers, newspapers, books. Some of them just sit all day with a book open, some just sleep in a corner. It is not like they have to even bother to pretend. There is one old guy who is always sat in a corner with a half eaten sandwich. If I am ever made homeless it is where you will find me too. You couldn’t really sit anywhere else like a coffee shop or a bus station for long before you were thrown out.


        December 15, 2015 at 4:54 pm

  4. OT: Banking Changes afoot in the hidden undergrowth

    I like most think banks are the most veneal persons on the planet, after politicians of course & particular types of lawyers.
    Well there are some things going on that are changing the landscsape in fundamental ways:


    for the software background to the above link:



    December 15, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    • Could be good, more verifying as we’ve seen, relying on a machine rather than a person, but then automation is where we’re headed, weather we like it or not.


      December 15, 2015 at 10:03 pm

  5. Reblogged this on markcatlin3695's Blog.

    Mark Catlin

    December 16, 2015 at 12:52 am

  6. Did you see last night’s Channel 5 programme “Meet the Psychopaths”?

    The term “corporate psychopaths” was mentioned, and it said one psychopathic personality could make an entire company psychopathic!

    Does that remind you of anything?


    December 16, 2015 at 9:01 am

    • Thats certainly the way their carrying on,they show no remorse for their actions and simply see others’ as a tool to get their own way.Its totally depraved.

      People don’t realise,showing the John Longden DWP scandal to people drew amazement something like that could happen at all,basically shocked.


      December 16, 2015 at 9:17 am

      • Perhaps someone will appear on Question time asking: is the DWP psychopathic?

        Fat chance!


        December 16, 2015 at 10:01 am

      • Now Muslim Brotherhoood to launch legal challenge against UK Government after ‘extremism’ claims. Inde


        December 17, 2015 at 10:10 pm

    • Tobanem, Scottish Budget: The reaction in quotes.



      December 16, 2015 at 5:26 pm

  7. Job vacancies of 747,000 in the UK, where are they?, paid employment?

    The employment rate is at its highest ever level, the unemployment rate is down to its lowest since well before the crash at 5.2%, and youth unemployment – always a tricky problem to solve – continues to fall impressively,” said Michael Martins, economic analyst at the Institute of Directors.

    “we are closing in on full employment”



    December 16, 2015 at 11:44 am

    • Unemployment’s more like 25% than 5%.

      Another Fine Mess

      December 16, 2015 at 3:35 pm

      • The only thing closing in on full is the foodbank.


        December 17, 2015 at 2:48 am

  8. Never mind the disabled, they don’t matter.

    McDonald’s customers stepped over a disabled man as he choked to death on a lump of meat so they could get served, an inquest heard.



    December 16, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    • More signs of decadence.


      December 17, 2015 at 9:14 am

  9. Benefit cuts under universal credit could be illegal, says Labour



    December 17, 2015 at 2:41 am

  10. Well, well,well. Now it’s a Tory minister late for a debate on benefit sanctions!

    Sanctions defender Michael Tomlinson MP claimed to have “good reason” for arriving late:



    December 17, 2015 at 10:10 am

    • And just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, now we have a person sanctioned while waiting to start work – AT THE DWP!!!!!!

      Is this example of inane activity at Jobcentres laughable or something else? And this is just ONE example!!!

      It must put an end to the claim that sanctions are only handed out as a last resort!



      December 17, 2015 at 10:22 am

      • Whats mad is that thus far, DWP support the sanction.

        I hope this gains press as i would like to see if at all (i laugh when i say that) how DWP demonstrate what they resorted to prior to the sanction being a last resort.

        Can you imagine a DWP employee in a foodbank queue, oh the shame of it.


        December 17, 2015 at 11:03 am

      • Seems they trying to sanction as many people as possible before that 2 week warning comes in.


        December 17, 2015 at 11:52 am

      • Having mentioned Dickens in the post this reminds me of the operations of the Circumulcation Office,in Little Dorrit,

        “Numbers of people were lost in the Circumlocution Office. Unfortunates with wrongs, or with projects for the general welfare (and they had better have had wrongs at first, than have taken that bitter English recipe for certainly getting them), who in slow lapse of time and agony had passed safely through other public departments; who, according to rule, had been bullied in this, over-reached by that, and evaded by the other; got referred at last to the Circumlocution Office, and never reappeared in the light of day. Boards sat upon them, secretaries minuted upon them, commissioners gabbled about them, clerks registered, entered, checked, and ticked them off, and they melted away. In short, all the business of the country went through the Circumlocution Office, except the business that never came out of it; and its name was Legion.”


        Andrew Coates

        December 17, 2015 at 5:25 pm

      • 2008, Everything the Government Touches …

        “If you want social insurance programs delivered by your government, then, by all means, have them. I will not stop you. Will you then allow me to live my life without being forced into your programs”?


        December 17, 2015 at 6:17 pm

  11. Rent Arrears

    Hat tip to Refuted/Rightsnet

    It appears the benefits of wonderful UC does not just extend to a aspiration of changing lives, it includes getting you into serious arrears:

    “NFA and ARCH survey reveals 89% of Universal Credit Claimants in rent arrears”

    So even before the main rollout its starting to cause chaos. Get the popcorn November 5th is coming early this year….


    December 17, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    • Labour says universal credit will take 495 years to roll out as costs rise £3bn.

      Cost of Iain Duncan Smith’s troubled plan for benefits rises to £15.8bn as Major Projects Authority report reveals HS2 also among schemes at high risk of failing.

      The overall cost of Iain Duncan Smith’s key welfare scheme appears to have risen by £3bn to £15.8bn in two years, according to an official report that shows several other significant government programmes are also in danger of collapsing.

      A majority of seven million benefit claimants were supposed to be on the new welfare scheme by 2019, according to a statement from Duncan Smith last year.



      December 17, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    • Enigma. Every year millions of. UK women are enrolled onto. Cancer screening programmes without their prior consent being sought and they are then badgered and bullied into attending invasive humiliating testing and exams. Welcome to my world!


      December 18, 2015 at 12:50 pm

      • Kat, I know, Because my “too many” sisters have told me, still thanks for welcoming me into your world!


        December 18, 2015 at 12:57 pm

      • Sorry enigma!! I’m as vocal about the appalling way women are bullied into testing and their access to health care even being denied if they don’t submit, as I am about unemployed workers rights and the way working ppl are oppressed! I need to come down off the soap box!


        December 20, 2015 at 5:55 pm

  12. We will be tucking into a nut roast this Christmas 🙂 Bootiful! 😀 And we urge all you human beings to do likewise 🙂 Merry Christmas everyone!

    Turkeys Against Christmas

    December 17, 2015 at 5:58 pm

  13. what else is there but bad news.

    The bad news ministers tried to bury today,

    1. The bedroom tax isn’t working

    The DWP today slipped out a damning report into the so-called ‘bedroom tax’. As we reported earlier, it found the policy is forcing those affected to cut back on food and other essential items, while forcing many into taking on unsustainable debts.




    December 17, 2015 at 8:52 pm

  14. Don’t be fooled, DWP will still be out to sanction anyone on the 24th.

    Government accused of ‘Scrooge-like’ attitude to Christmas as jobseekers could face benefit sanctions for missing appointments on Christmas Eve.



    December 18, 2015 at 9:15 am


    There is currently a computer meltdown in Glasgow after some fire extinguishers knocked out major IT hardware at a data centre.

    Can you imagine what will happen if something similar happens to Universal Credit – on top of the existing snags plaguing that doomed project?

    By the way, among many other things, Council job vacancies can’t be accessed at the moment in Glasgow. I wonder if Jobseekers’ will be sanctioned for not applying for vacancies which can’t be accessed in the first place?




    December 18, 2015 at 10:50 am

  16. Sports Direct to review worker rights.

    Sports Direct said it did not penalise its staff for being ill. It added: “Sanctions may be applied if workers fail to follow the company’s reasonable sickness absence notification procedures, which are in line with industry best practice.”



    December 18, 2015 at 11:19 am

    • enigma

      its all smoke and mirrors – I saw earlier on BBC that Mike Ashley will be leading the review, you know the same person that put the policies in place!

      So we already know how this is going to turn out.


      December 18, 2015 at 4:11 pm

      • Yep just like some of those FOI’s.


        December 18, 2015 at 4:23 pm

  17. OT: Registering with UJM for UC – not required!

    Hat Tip to Rightsnet user Andrew Dutton, at Bottom of page after response to FoI from DWP:

    “I confirm that the Department holds no recorded information to answer your request. The reasoning behind this is that legislation, including Regulations, do not require a claimant to register with Universal Jobmatch at the point of making a claim for Universal Credit.”


    December 18, 2015 at 4:57 pm

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