Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

DWP Bureaucracy: The Circumlocution Office.

with 22 comments

DWP Template: The Circumlocution Office (Dickens, Little Dorrit)

People who sign off often get into trap with their first job because the tax system means they get huge deductions.

In the old days you went down to the Tax Office to get the money…you have earned.

Now you have to go through a call centre, which takes for ever, and more.

Which means that you spent half your time trying to sort the tax out.

People who work under a certain number of hours still have to sign on to get Housing Benefit.

Which means you have to spend time showing the DWP – your ‘Work Coach’ – your Jobsearch.

Not to mention if anything complicated happens you will have to deal with another set of call centres to sort out your Housing Benefit

Then there is now this (November):

Cuts to housing benefit could make claimants £570 a year worse off

Institute for Public Policy research says alternative to tax credits cuts could save £2.4bn but would hit 4.8 million households

And so it goes.

I am talking about people I know in these traps.

Iain Duncan Smith will be remembered as the man who condemned millions to a life of struggling through a bureaucratic labyrinth, and as the pious Christian who put people out to live in the streets, and queue up to beg for tins of food.

And there is this:

The following Guardian article, signaled by Ken,  really struck home.

The DWP – a bureaucracy of outstanding brutality

The Department for Work and Pensions prides itself on embracing diversity and promoting equality of opportunity. And indeed, when it comes to pulling the plug on benefits there is no sign of discrimination – everybody is treated equally harshly.

It is not only those who are too sick to work but are informed they are well enough to do so; nor just those who have failed to adhere to some tiny sliver of bureaucracy. This also applies to people who don’t even realise they have sinned but are left suddenly and brutally penniless.

Hawa (not her real name) falls into that category. She was brought up as a slave by her adopted family in west Africa. As a young child she was forced to work for long hours, thrown scraps of leftover food like a stray dog and still has fine scars down one side of her face and right leg, a legacy of the times her “owners” threw heavy objects at her. She was denied education and, at the age of 15, was sold to a trafficker who brought her to the UK.

In London, Hawa was locked in a house and repeatedly raped by men who paid her trafficker to do so. She escaped when she was five months pregnant from one of the rapes; she claimed asylum and was granted refugee status. The Home Office accepted that her life would be in danger if she was forcibly returned home.

Life in England was a struggle. Unable to read, write, or speak much English, she found that the system presented many challenges. But throughout it all burned a fierce love for her baby.

“He is my mother, my father, my sister, my brother,” she said. “Before him I had no family but now I have everything.” She later gave birth to a daughter. Hawa longs to study English, get a job and walk away from life on benefits as soon as her daughter starts school.

At the age of 22 Hawa has endured more than most people do in a lifetime. She is a loving mother and her children’s stability and security is her priority. She struggles to buy essentials such as shoes for them, but was just about managing. Then the DWP informed her that it was axeing both her housing benefit and income support because she had failed to show them a document. Bewildered, she said she had never been asked to produce any document.

Two calls to DWP helplines followed, which took two and a half hours. During a wait of more than 30 minutes to speak to someone, a recorded message said there was a charge for the call. But when the human adviser finally came on the line, he was unable to say how much the calls cost – presumably more than a person left without benefits could afford.

Read the rest of the article here.



Written by Andrew Coates

January 11, 2016 at 1:45 pm

22 Responses

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  1. Please repair your link at the end. It currently shows a blank page. Thanks.


    January 11, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    • Link works fine for me.


      January 11, 2016 at 2:59 pm

      • It does now, love. It didn’t when I first attempted to read it. Thanks.


        January 12, 2016 at 11:29 am

  2. With reference to the problem of taxes it all depends on whether or not DWP issue a p45 and if sent that it actually makes it to your house.
    I say this as DWP will simply refuse to issue a new one while the tax office will state they don’t issue them, that its the responsibility of said ex employer or service to do so.
    I don’t claim tax credits because why should i jump through hoops for my own taxes back.


    January 11, 2016 at 3:05 pm

  3. Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    January 11, 2016 at 8:39 pm

  4. Can you point out whats wrong with this job ?


    Times must be hard if you have to advertise a job that ended around 3 weeks ago.

    I don’t know about others but new jobs up and down the country are far more scarce than they were last year. What disturbs me the most though is that not one single job i have applied for has received a reply regardless of method sent which you would think would be reasonably prompt if a job is at all real.


    January 12, 2016 at 10:56 am

    • When not receiving replies from employers it is usually assumed by DWP that the job searcher hasn’t applied for any jobs, myself I get asked every SO why I have not received any replies. however myself – reality of the labour market.


      January 12, 2016 at 11:39 am

  5. Latest Tory scheme “not about cutting benefits but reducing the need” – after IDS says drug addicts and alcoholics cost £10 billion a year:



    January 12, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    • But it’s not just drug addicts and alcoholics who will receive “treatment”. People with “other problems” will also be given treatment!


      January 12, 2016 at 12:48 pm

      • As I recall, drug addicts and alcoholics were among the lowest numbers on the old Incapacity Benefit before it was butchered by first New Labour and then even more by the Tories!


        January 12, 2016 at 12:56 pm

      • Quote from the above Daily Mail report:

        “In about 60 per cent of cases, the problem they have is anxiety or depression”.

        So long-term unemployment will be classified as a type of depression, resulting in compulsory treatment by the Jobcentre psychologist in order to qualify for benefit payments!

        God help the poor and the sick!


        January 12, 2016 at 1:05 pm

      • Yeah, when i see all the homeless who live on the street housed then i will believe it which according to the stats given on how many even if double that, should see everyone housed this year if our government isn’t as full of crap as usual.

        As for addicts, the relapse rate is quite large so coupled with the draconian treatment DWP will roll out, these addicts will soon be back where they started. Although i don’t doubt DWP will attempt it, i cant help but think we will all soon be reading about a claimant being sanctioned because the treatment failed in preventing a relapse.


        January 12, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    • Tobanem, every unemployed person, anyone who hasn’t got a full time job, everyone who receives a benefit of some sort, are considered mentally ill, some already know it, the rest will find out when the work & health programme is in full swing.


      January 12, 2016 at 1:13 pm

      • too right; there is something “wrong” with you lot – you just don’t realise it 😉

        Shrink Wrap

        January 12, 2016 at 8:27 pm

      • Yup… in every interaction you have with the jobcentre, work programme, ‘providers’ you are treated as being mentally ill. Your ‘adviser’, whatever is always looking for something in your actions, omission, words… to back up their pre-determined ‘diagnose’. Even an innocent sounding phrase such as “Are you feeling OK, Andrew” is a subtle, barbed suggestion that you are mentally ill. It can be hard to get your head round the fact that you are considered and being looked on as if you are mentally ill. You are actually being treated as and spoken to as someone who is mentally ill. Eventually you WILL feel as if you are mentally ill and that there is something genuinely “wrong” with you. btw Are you feeling OK, Andrew… 😉

        Are you feeling OK, Andrew?

        January 12, 2016 at 8:41 pm

      • Are you feeling OK, Andrew? Do you want us to call the “doctor”? 😉

        Are you feeling OK, Andrew?

        January 12, 2016 at 8:43 pm

  6. I would imagine Anxiety isn’t at all uncommon when the DWP are so happy to withdrawn all means of support with no warning on a regular basis and the numbers of those who died with a little bit of help from them or were made homeless and destitute and then classed as Intentionally Homeless and refused any shelter – is a scarily ever increasing number.

    So yeah having a negative reaction that effects your well being in relationship to a persons dealings isn’t so much an illness as it is a fight or flight response to a predator’s attack.

    Speaking of which – Some one mentioned Seetec the other day is it true that they are trying to con some Charities into taking people on CWP for 6 months – and perhaps not always telling them that they are being force to do so under threat of all sustenance being withdrawn ? These sort of places seem to throw the term “Volunteer around a lot” when CWP involves anything but – heck I don’t think it’s even possible to ask to do CWP – which sort of proves the point it solely exists as a form of punishment.

    • Good on Peckham!

      Andrew Coates

      January 12, 2016 at 5:09 pm

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