Ipswich Unemployed Action.

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Ministry Hid Report on Universal Credit Hardship.

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Image result for Universal credit transition from tax credits report

Damming 2017 Report only now Released. 


Universal Credit may not get the headlines it deserves these days, something else happening I hear on the wireless, but, while Parliament’s  leaking roof capture’s the world attention there is (finally) this very unleaky report.

Study for DWP reveals 78% of people moved to Universal Credit struggle with bills


The shocking report dated November 2017 was only slipped onto the government’s website today

Joint DWP and HMRC report was released on Thursday but dated November 2017

Ministers sat for nearly a year and a half on research that revealed that tax credit claimants experienced “real financial problems” after they signed on to universal credit, it has emerged.

The joint Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and HMRC study, which examined how tax credit claimants coped with the move, found 60% of those who said they struggled to pay bills said their difficulties began when they moved on to the new benefit.

More than half of claimants reported that the routine six-week wait for a first payment took them by surprise, and nearly half of those who were expecting a delay underestimated by a third how long the wait would be.

Strike us feather me down.

The study was slipped out on the DWP and HMRC websites on Thursday morning – even though the report itself is dated November 2017, and the research was carried out between October 2016 and July 2017.

Forgetfulness, understandable perhaps…

More than half of claimants reported that the routine six-week wait for a first payment took them by surprise, and nearly half of those who were expecting a delay underestimated by a third how long the wait would be.

About half of those surveyed did not have sufficient savings to tide them over the six weeks, the study found, and this group struggled especially. A few claimants endured “considerable stress” after payment delays meant they had to wait up to three months to get their money.

Overall, 25% said they were having real financial problems and falling behind with many bills and commitments, 13% said they were falling behind with some commitments, and 13% said they were keeping up but it felt a constant struggle to do so,” the report found

Here is the report: The transition from tax credits to Universal Credit: qualitative and quantitative research with claimants.

More from this:

Making a claim online

The UC system is designed to be administrated predominantly online, including the application process. It is therefore important that individuals can complete the application online on their own: ideally, claimants would not need assistance from DWP. Most survey participants reported that they were able to make their UC claim online (77 per cent). Over half (57 per cent) of all claimants interviewed completed the claim themselves, whilst a one in five (20 per cent) required help from someone else such as their partner, friend or relative. A further 19 per cent reported applying with help from an adviser at the Jobcentre. If it is assumed that the adviser would have assisted with an online claim, then the proportion of those claiming online overall is 96%. Claimants’ main reasons for not completing their application online were a lack of familiarity using computers (21 per cent) and a lack of access to computers or the internet (11 per cent).

Payment Gap.

Universal Credit claimants typically experience a payment gap22 of about six weeks from making their UC claim until their first UC payment is made. Once the UC claim is made, tax credits stop. Less than half (42 per cent) of claimants were aware that there would be a gap in payments. Awareness was particularly low amongst female claimants and claimants with children (57 per cent of female claimants, compared to 43 per cent of male claimants, and 55 per cent of claimants who had children included on their claim compared to 41 per cent who did not, were not aware of the gap). Of those that were aware of the payment gap, just over half found out through Jobcentre Plus (54 per cent).


Nearly half (45 per cent) of Universal Credit (UC) claimants were satisfied with the service they received during transition to Universal Credit (15 per cent were very satisfied and 30 per cent were fairly satisfied). Similar proportions reported being dissatisfied: 42 per centoverall (13 per cent fairly dissatisfied and 29 per cent very dissatisfied).

Where claimants were dissatisfied with the process, the survey explored why this was. The three main reasons for dissatisfaction were lack of clear information about the process The transition from tax credits to Universal Credit: qualitative and quantitative research with claimants of stopping tax credits and claiming UC (34 per cent), length of the payment gap (29 per cent) and poor organisation (29 per cent) (e.g. a lack of departmental knowledge of the process and timescales or the ability to advise claimants accordingly).


Ironically, Frank Field, chair of the commons work and pensions committee, accused the DWP at the time of “withholding bad news”, claiming that Gauke only gave the go-ahead to universal credit because officials “had withheld the true scale of the problems”.

Margaret Greenwood MP, the shadow work and pensions secretary, asked why the government was only now publishing the findings. She said: “Universal credit should be helping people out of poverty; instead it is pushing many people into debt and towards food banks. The government must take notice of its own research and stop universal credit as a matter of urgency.”

Yet all is not darkness.

The Currant Bun has this Good News!

Amber Rudd plans £2bn Universal Credit spending spree to help out struggling parents

The Work and Pensions Secretary wants to pump more cash into child benefits and housing allowances

AMBER RUDD is preparing a near £2billion spending spree on benefits for low-paid Brits to tackle a shock rise in child poverty.

The Sun can reveal the Work and Pensions Secretary is demanding a small fortune to top up child benefits and housing allowances.

With all this joy being spread it’s no wonder the DWP has the cash for this:

Written by Andrew Coates

April 5, 2019 at 11:58 am

82 Responses

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  1. Andrew Coates

    April 5, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    i really thought that by now, – a week away from a possible ‘ No-Deal’ Brexit, – that it would have all been sorted out by now! How wrong I was!
    Theresa May has, as usual, played the field for what it is. On Tuesday, in her ‘ Statement to the Nation’ , she announced that she was going to reach out to her absolute ‘ opposite’ (both Politically and Sentimentally!) Jeremy Corbyn, to try to bring a stop to the current Political impasse! After 3 days of ‘ talking’ – intensively apparently nothing has changed!
    She is probably going to stick to her ‘ 3 red lines’ and change nothing!
    She has sent a letter to Donald Tusk to request a ‘ long extension’ and to also
    actively suggest that Britain takes part in the European Elections!
    The European Research Group, as far as she is now concerned, are completely out of the window, as is a good part of her very own Conservative Party too. The E.U. (this evening) do not like the idea of the U.K. remaining in the E.U. – Macron has already indicated that he will not support an extra ‘ extension’ . The E.U, including our ‘ friend’ Holland’ s P.M., Rutte (for one) is getting increasingly frustrated at the ‘ incompetence’ of Theresa May and her increasingly failing Conservative Government.

    Fanny Spanksbottom

    April 5, 2019 at 9:15 pm

    • More likely we’ll be voting for MEPs at the end of May. A no-deal Brexit would mean a mess for the EU and a catastrophe for the UK. We are already about £600 million poorer every week because of Brexit. So much for the lie about the £350 million per week supposed to go to the NHS if we left the EU. Not long to wait before we see what’s what. My bet is a long delay of a year or two before Brexit happens by which time the project will have been kicked around until it disappears of the radar and doesn’t happen at all.

      Honest John

      April 6, 2019 at 1:27 pm

      • Most sane people -expect the insane ‘preppers’, you know the ones who buy huge fridge freezers to sit in their living room – have given up on this Brexit shit. Like it is ever going to happen. Anyone with have a brain-cell will be bored to tears by it by now – by design? 😉 I don’t listen, read or watch anything to to with Brexit any more. Wake me up when it happens.


        April 6, 2019 at 2:15 pm

      • Rumpelstiltskin

        I hear you loud and clear, mate. This whole Brexit thing is doing my head in, as well. Once a regular watcher of the news, I don’t bother with it anymore. Same with the papers. Anything that’s got the the B-word in it, and I just turn the page. Will it never end.

        jj joop

        April 7, 2019 at 9:30 am

      • Hear, hear! Wake me up when Brexit is all over 😀

        Rip van Winkle

        April 7, 2019 at 9:35 am

      • Brexit has done us a big favour because it has forced us to change our viewing and listening choices. Pre-Brexit we always had to stay updated and informed (or hoovering up propaganda). Now we actually avoid any ‘news’ (propaganda) because we know the B-word will crop up, Now we just relax in the chill zone. We feel a lot more relaxed, chilled, and overall happier. Quantifiable too since our blood pressures have dropped. Brexit has improved our lives immeasurably and probably lengthened them. So thank you Brexit from the very bottom of our healthier hearts 🙂

        Millicent & Bernie

        April 7, 2019 at 9:45 am

      • According to the BARB (TV) and RAJAR (radio) audience figures Brexit is driving viewers and listeners away 🙂 There has been a marked shift in viewing and listening habits as Brexit has dragged out. Brexit is off-the-scale on the BOREDOM meter.


        April 7, 2019 at 9:53 am

      • I am not happy about losing my EU citizenship because of the barmy right and people like Boris johnson,that
        referendum result was to narrow and is potentially politically damaging for the UK.We need to retain our citizenship to be able to compete.The UK is becoming severly weakened not listened to once out.The cost could outweigh any benefit.It was foolish to think that a two years cut off would ever work after 46 years membership.


        April 7, 2019 at 2:12 pm

  3. superted, jj joop, Doug and ken etc:

    Does anyone here know what the position is on doing voluntary work? My work coach told me that claimants who have been benefits for more than two years have to do voluntary work. On my cc, he put that I will look at finding voluntary work and told me if I didn’t agree, i.e. sign it, then I would have a sanction doubt raised. So I signed it. Can claimants be forced to do this?

    Reluctant Volunteer

    April 6, 2019 at 10:02 am

    • The short answer is – no! You don’t have to do volunteering. Voluntary work means just that – voluntary. If you decline to do volunteering, it should not effect your benefit. Your roach had no right to put that on your CC.

      If you’ve already signed it and I’m guessing you have, then I would just tell him that you have “looked” into finding voluntary work but you couldn’t find anything suitable. Alternatively contact manger and make them aware of what’s going on. You cannot be forced into doing unpaid work via your CC. That is disgraceful.

      jj joop

      April 6, 2019 at 10:11 am

    • Real voluntary work is usually only for a few hours a week i.e. you help out in the foodbank, drive the community minibus, help out in the soup kitchen, do a show on hospital/community radio. There is nothing really wrong with GENUINE voluntary work – you get to meet new people, you learn new things, it can be fun,
      and there are ‘benefits in kind’ 😉 also you could even end up famous and earning a fortune after ‘cutting your teeth’ in voluntary work.

      But when the Jobcentre talk about voluntary work they mean working FULL-TIME for £jackshit in a death-trap recycling plant or sorting through shit-stained knickers in the back-room of a stinking ‘charity’ shop.


      April 6, 2019 at 10:20 am

      • I have done volunteering before as a volunteer with no coercion. And I’m still unemployed and I didn’t get anymore interviews either. What I want to know is, will my claim for benefit be effected if I refuse to do voluntary work?

        Reluctant Volunteer

        April 6, 2019 at 10:28 am

      • Voluntary (and Government workfare/’work experience’ schemes) aren’t a way into PAID work. It is previous PAID work that employers want to see on your CV. Without that you are stuffed.

        The worst thing you could put on your CV would be MANDATORY Work Activity Scheme even though these schemes are brutally hard work. If you can survive these schemes you can survive anything. The bastards in the jobcentre and providers would be crying their eyes out if they were sent on one of these barbaric schemes – they wouldn’t last two minutes – and they know it!


        April 6, 2019 at 11:03 am

      • It was the late Iain Duncan Smith (deceased) himself who said that “the purpose of these schemes was to break jobseekers down so that when they returned to the Jobcentre they were ready to engage with their advisor”.

        CWP Victim

        April 6, 2019 at 11:06 am

      • If you have done volunteering as a volunteer you will know that there isn’t loads of volunteering about. Like the occasional few hours here and there whenever it suits you. You also need to apply, go to an interview etc. Most voluntary work is with ‘vulnerable’ groups so there are criminal record checks. It is a lot easier to get than paid work but it is not just something you turn up for.

        But that is not what the jobcentre has in mind. They are thinking something more regimented. They are thinking full-time work in recycling plants and charity shops. They are thinking workfare disguised as voluntary work. Providers can ‘access’ these sort of ‘voluntary’ opportunities like ‘volunteering’ in the Salvation Army sorting through shit-stained knickers for 40 hours a week. The ordinary meaning of voluntary and jobcentre meaning are not the same thing. Voluntary to the Jobcentre means full-time forced labour in the most shitty, soul-destroying back-breaking job in the most deplorable and dangerous conditions imaginable.


        April 6, 2019 at 11:31 am

      • By volunteering don’t think the jobcentre mean a show on hospital radio 😉 😀


        April 6, 2019 at 11:44 am

      • Yeah, tell the joke centre you might be able to find a voluntary position presenting on hospital/community radio… for the lolz Look on roach’s face: Priceless 😀


        April 6, 2019 at 11:50 am

      • I do about 10 hours of voluntary work per week which I actually enjoy because it’s for my local town council’s parks and gardens department. This means I get to spend five hours in a park each week doing a bit of gardening and such like and five hours tidying up a couple of local cemeteries (not as bad as it sounds). I’m out of doors, get to chat to friendly passers by and pet their dogs. If you are thinking about doing voluntary work, either because you want to or are seeking to get the Jobcentre off your back, I would recommend trying to get a placement like the one I’ve got with a town council or some other public/charitable body and NOT to end up working for nothing for a private profit making outfit, who could afford to pay you a wage but prefers to take the piss out of you.

        For me the volunteering I do is enjoyable and I really don’t mind giving 10 hours of my time per week to benefit the local community and benefitting from some moderate exercise, fresh air, and having 10 hours plus a couple of hours walking time knocked off my work search requirement by my Work Coach.

        However as several people have already pointed out volunteering has to be consensual not forced.

        The clue is in the name.


        April 6, 2019 at 2:34 pm

      • To Jim and everyone else.

        I volunteer too as a presenter on hospital radio. We travel around local hospitals to collect requests from patients which is very enjoyable as it fantastic to put a smile on someone’s face especially when they are at a low ebb. The nurses are great too – they allow us to ‘steal’ their chocolates 🙂 I also do some admin and engineering work (plugging equipment in) as well as occasional collections and outside broadcasts. It is a wonderful crew to be with. I enjoy every single minute of it.

        Fortunately, I am in employment, I have a J.O.B. but reading through these comments I wonder why the Jobcentre don’t do something similar. Work doesn’t have to be an awful experience. Why on earth do Jobcentre’s place jobseekers in charity shops and recycling plants of all places. For someone of limited or no work experience or anyone for that matter this must be one of the most dangerous environments to be in. Are the Jobcentre trying to kill jobseekers? it appears to an ‘outsider’ that the Jobcentre are intent on ‘punishing’ jobseekers. It was very telling the comment from whom I assume to be a government minister that jobcentre schemes were designed to “break jobseekers down”. How truly wicked is that. The Jobcentre appears to be a thoroughly evil abomination of an organisation staffed by cruel, sadistic excuses for human beings.

        Anyway, good luck everyone



        April 6, 2019 at 2:59 pm

      • Yes Jasmine, you have a correct handle on the purpose of reform of the social security system – it’s about punishing people, though I can understand your slight sense of disbelief that someone should wish to think up such a system. You are not alone, as most of the ‘do-gooder’ brigade also seem to be under an impression that the implementation of Universal Credit is in some way ‘flawed’ because it’s causing so much hardship and poverty. Perhaps it they actually opened their eyes, (as well as looked at things from the viewpoint of people who claim these benefits rather than as comfortably off middle-class professionals) they might begin to see that the changes weren’t well intentioned at all, but purposely designed to be as nasty as possible.

        The best thing you can do Jasmine is to spread the word about how genuinely bad these changes are, and to challenge anyone who comes out with the ‘scoungers’ schtick suggesting that they could well find themselves claiming Universal Credit, as it’s a monster that will eventually swallow everyone.

        What I find worst of all however, are the advisors, or work coaches, who are implementing all of this, and who, ultimately are sanctioning people. They may not actually sign off the sanction, as that is left to an anonymous person to ostensibly take the heat off the advisor – it allows them to believe a fiction that it isn’t them who is doing the sanctioning. However, unless it’s really blatant, or the claims manager is a human being, most sanction doubts will be rubber stamped and someone will have their entire means of financial support removed for at least a month. These people should know better, and ideed some of them do, as they are experiencing stress and anxiety because they have to impose sanctions – which means they are aware that they are doing harm, which they can legally refuse to do. They know they are doing wrong, yet they continue to impose sanctions. It wouldn’t be so bad if their union, the PCS actually grew a backbone and provided some leadership. But no, they took some action when they realised that some of their own membership would be affected by UC, but provide a principled opposition to UC and refuse to implement the parts of it that go against basic human rights? No, not on your life! They merely complained at how Thatcherite anti-union laws had disempowered them – complete rubbish, as any determined trade unionist who thinks a little out of the box can drive a bus through the loopholes. When it comes down to it, they just cover their own backsides and basically implement the Tories nasty policies without any kind of opposition.

        If the situation gets worse, and it could well do so, we could get concentration camps for the unemployed once again, like existed in the 1930s… And guess which union would be representing the camp guards, as no doubt at some level some would be DWP employees? (Thought most, conceivably, would be G4S blockheads)


        April 7, 2019 at 2:43 am

      • sibrydionmawr

        The ‘decision maker’ only ‘recommends’ a sanction. If you have ever dealt with Appeals the Jobcentre documentation reads: “I recommend a sanction”. It is then up to the work coach to decide whether or not to apply the sanction. Or to put it another way the ‘decision maker’ gives the roach to apply a sanction if they so choose. That is why occasionally when a ‘doubt’ is raised claimants receive notification that “We have decided that you did not do x,y and z, We have decided that it would be inappropriate to apply a (further) sanction. This may occur when successive doubts have been raised. i.e. the claimant is already sanctioned. Like multiple executioners pressing a button simultaneous it is all a bit pass-the-parcel to avoid (legal) responsibly of who actually pressed the button that sprung the trap (sanction).

        Welfare Rights Advisor

        April 7, 2019 at 8:59 am

      • *Or to put it another way the ‘decision maker’ gives the roach permission to apply a sanction if they so choose.

        Welfare Rights Advisor

        April 7, 2019 at 9:03 am

      • Kensington Palace had just announced that Prince Wills has completed three weeks ‘work experience’ with MI5, MI6 and GCHQ. This sounds fascinating and really interesting. Why do Jobcentres never have these sort of ‘work experience’ ‘opportunities’ on offer? Jobseekers would jump at the chance. Why is it always humdrum crap and back-breaking, disgusting shit such as toiling in recycling plants or sorting shit-stained knickers in the back-room of a stinking charity shop that the Jobcentre has? Why aren’t jobseekers given the ‘opportunity’ of ‘work experience’ with the intelligence services like Wills. Or fly planes and helicopters. If it is good enough for royally it is good enough for the rest of us.


        April 7, 2019 at 9:16 am

      • Welfare Rights Advisor – thanks for the clarification.


        April 8, 2019 at 3:47 am

      • sibrydionmawr

        You’re welcome!

        Welfare Rights Advisor

        April 8, 2019 at 4:26 pm

      • and if your coach is in breach of the dwp own rules and regs and is found the sanction was unlawful at a tribunal it is there ass on the line why my last wc went poof and was gone 😉


        April 8, 2019 at 4:49 pm

    • Frankly, I wouldn’t have signed it if I were you. But some of these roaches really are the scum of the earth. They put people on the spot like they did with you and you feel that you have no option but to sign otherwise you money will be stopped. Contact the JC manager because it seems to me that your roach has deliberately mislead you. By that I mean: told you a pack of lies.

      jj joop

      April 6, 2019 at 10:21 am

      • I’ve come across some really devious and nasty DWP Jobcentre advisors, but the best thing to do, and it really throws them, is to go along accompanied. Individual Jobcentres may try to tell you that you can’t be accompanied, but it’s a load of rubbish. You have a legal right to be accompanied, and you don’t have to provide a reason. It may be reasonable to inform the Jobcentre that you will be coming with someone, but in the times I’ve ever accompanied someone I’ve never informed beforehand, and it’s never been an issue. Even better if you take someone who knows the ins and outs of Claimant Committments and the rules regarding UC. People with that kind of knowledge are thin on the ground at present, as UC is still being rolled out, and even the DWP doesn’t know what’s involved with implementing UC yet, as so many know, unfortunately. I know that Boycott Workfare are working towards an understanding of UC so that it can be effectively challenged, and I would guess that the good people at SUWN will also be working their way through the regulations and finding the loopholes and weaknesses etc.

        It also has to be said that the DWP regards their own staff a bit like mushrooms, i.e. kept in the dark and fed on bullshit. Many of them are badly misinformed about what they can and cannot do, and will often tell you, in good faith, but wrongly, that you have to do something when in fact you don’t. For example, the way you give the evidence of your work search is entirely up to you. You don’t have to use the journal, or the book they give you, you can give it verbally if you want, e-mail it to your advisor, or create your own form and use that. It doesn’t even have to be that detailed, and even if your advisor does try to hoodwink you into putting literally everything down, you could all peverse and include all your toilet breaks etc, or simply point out that the DWPs own guidance to claimants makes it very clear that you don’t have to list everything. All you have to do is show that you are making an effort towards getting work – it’s true that you have to show that you’re making more of an effort under UC than was the case with JSA, but I remember similar fears about being sanctioned for not doing sufficient jobsearch when JSA was brought in – though to be fair, sanctions under JSA didn’t really become a feature until the Tories crawled into power in 2010, despite a few nasty instances of sanctioning under the New Deal introduced by Bliar’s government.

        We know UC is a mess, and probably, eventually, it will collapse under the weight of its own contradictions. Hopefully we’ll soon have a half-decent government that will get rid of the abomination called Universal Credit. It’d be nice if they were of a retributionist bent, and sent the architect of ‘welfare reform’ to the Hague charged with crimes against humanity, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that. Maybe he’ll meet a nasty end and be run over by a bus… One can live in hope.


        April 7, 2019 at 3:03 am

      • sibrydionmawr

        It would be a good idea for jobseekers to organise to accompany each other, transportation issues aside, to ‘interventions’ (at different offices) under the guise of ‘lawyer’, ‘legal advisor’, ‘welfare rights advisor’, ‘legal observer; etc. It is a lot easier to pull up and challenge a roach if you are not directly involved. This would throw a spanner in the roach’s works for sure. If you can’t stand up for yourself in a Jobcentre you will be steamrollered.

        Claimants Defence Network (CDN)

        April 7, 2019 at 11:01 am

      • Claimants Defence Network – yes, and that’s exactly what a few of us have been doing at various places. We’ve also done something similar for initial interviews at Workfare providers, or where they’ve tried to ‘discipline’ a slave. They really do start to get jumpy when you start to mutter about issues such as insurance, as most of them are really on a sticky wicket there – as forced workers are neither employees or volunteers, which I know more than one organisation in the Third Sector has tried to pull off.

        I’ve never felt intimidated about reminding an advisor when they are completely wrong, and some, to their credit, have accepted what I’ve said once they’ve checked the veracity, but some have also got the hump big time such as when I went in to an initial interview at the Jobcentre for Workfare when I presented them with a Withdrawal of Consent letter – that caused a bit of a fluster, as no-one seemed to know what to do, and the meeting was brought to a prompt halt, and I was told to expect a response within 28 days… Eleven months later I heard something, and that was that I was being put on Workfare, so repeated the Withdrawal of Consent letter to contractor and provider and was basically left alone for two years.

        I need to bone up a lot on UC, as it’s something of a ‘curved ball’ as yet, and no-one, especially the DWP knows how properly to deal with it yet, though I’m sure that very soon strategies for harm reduction will emerge soon.


        April 8, 2019 at 3:59 am

    • Beware even if you do do genuine voluntary work and don’t tell the joke centre they will find out. You will have to pack it in. They joke centre don’t want you doing genuine voluntary work anyway. Only ‘voluntary’ that is unpleasant and hurts. They want you on some slave labour scheme. Forget about the joke centre trying to help you. The joke centre are utter bastards.

      Hermione Braithwaite

      April 6, 2019 at 10:26 am

      • Yeah. Tell me about it. Reluctant should see the manager and have it taken off his CC.

        jj joop

        April 6, 2019 at 10:30 am

      • lol joke centre caught me doing voluntary work too. so i had to give it up. it was quite fun too. joke centre do everything in their power to frustrate you and cause you grief. grrr, i hate the bloody joke centre.


        April 6, 2019 at 10:44 am

      • And even if you escape the clutches of the joke centre and get a job the bastards will phone up your employer to get you the sack. ♫ Jokecentre Plus: You can sign off any time you like but you can never leave ♫

        Lovely Libby

        April 6, 2019 at 10:52 am

      • And even if you escape the clutches of the joke centre and get a job the bastards will phone up your employer to get you the sack! ♫ Jokecentre Plus: You can sign off any time you like but you can never leave ♫

        Lovely Libby

        April 6, 2019 at 10:53 am

      • sunita

        The joke centre caught you doing volunteering! That’s a new one. Reluctant’s situation appears to be the polar opposite to yours in that the roach seems determined that he/she will do voluntary work. My roach wanted me to do some more volunteering but I declined and he was fine with that. They just seem to be making it up as they go along.

        jj joop

        April 6, 2019 at 11:02 am

    • @Reluctant volunteer

      As JJ and the others have said, you can’t be forced to do voluntary work. This is true under JSA or Universal Credit. Your Work Coach is just trying to be clever here. The ‘two year’ rule sounds like some idea dreamed up by the local Jobcentre management.
      But technically speaking you did sign to say you would consider voluntary work.
      Might be a good idea to get a couple of leaflets from your local library / Citizens Advice about volunteering, and take these along to your next sign. And just say you haven’t found anything suitable. Who knows if you ever will find anything ? If you take my meaning.

      Welfare Warrior

      April 6, 2019 at 12:45 pm

      • That’s exactly what I’ll do. The exact wording was “I will look at finding voluntary work”. Emphasis on “look”.

        Reluctant Volunteer

        April 6, 2019 at 1:52 pm

      • The joke centre can’t force a voluntary organisation to take someone on any more than they can force an employer to take someone on 😉 You can look but not necessarily find anything. You can also say that you ‘looked’ on various volunteer websites. It is nothing to worry about. It is ‘voluntary’ work arranged through the joke centre or a provider that you should be worried about because that would just be workfare in disguise.

        Justice Warrior

        April 6, 2019 at 2:08 pm

      • Me mate ‘volunteered’ for six months in B&M Stores when she was on the work programme with Ingeus.


        April 6, 2019 at 2:09 pm

      • paid work will always supersede volunteering but what they have done is the same as a ase doubt of not looking for work so if you dont do it then a sanction would follow.

        but at the end of the day as long as you are looking and applying for any jobs paid or not would stop any ase doubt being raised in the first place.

        a cc is not a legal contract and the only thing they can raise sanction doubts over is not looking and applying for work.

        anything else is just a expectation like the 35hr job search so they could put on the cc i must jump off a cliff every Friday and if you dont a sanction will follow.

        but it wont because it is just a expectation so if they did try it and it went to a tribunal the dwp would loose every single time.


        April 6, 2019 at 2:14 pm

      • ted said: “a cc is not a legal contract and the only thing they can raise sanction doubts over is not looking and applying for work.”

        Is this really true, ted? That the only way you can be sanctioned is if you don’t look and apply for work? What they put in the cc and ‘job seeker’s directions’ don’t count for a row of beans? Go to some provider, go to a job fair sort of thing? Just so long as you have ‘evidence’ of looking for and applying for work you are bullet-proof like? The job centre try and make out that if you are ‘refusing help’ especially the longer that you have been claiming can lead to a sanction. Or that if you don’t sign up to some provider or other which involves entering into a contract with the provider and signing esf/sfa funding forms that you can be sanctioned. I think it might be better at times to call the job centre’s bluff and put things in writing via a jobseeker’s direction. What they generally do is make demands verbally or put in it the cc. Or if you don’t do something they will threaten a jsd. Funny that ;

        Worried Jobseeker

        April 6, 2019 at 2:26 pm

      • I think it might be better at times to call the job centre’s bluff and demand that they put things in writing via a jobseeker’s direction

        Worried Jobseeker

        April 6, 2019 at 2:28 pm

      • That way you have evidence that you have been lied to or mislead.

        Worried Jobseeker

        April 6, 2019 at 2:29 pm

      • The jobcentre hate it when they know that you have been applying and looking for work and have a sackful of evidence to prove it cos they know that their other shit won’t stick.


        April 6, 2019 at 2:38 pm

      • they can try and raise a sanction doubt over anything but at the end of the day they will need to enforce it with the law.

        it is why it is called a ase doubt ie actively seeking employment so if you have proof of this not much they can do.

        with a jsd it only applies for the day date and time you are to attend a providers office ect it does not cover signing providers contracts as that is contract law and can not be forced via threats.

        if you cut all there bs there is very little they can do if you are looking and applying for work and can prove this tho they did try to sanction me for not signing providers contracts they lost at tribunal on both counts that was raised.

        as others have said some of these coaches make it up as they go problem is if there that stupid to try to enforce there actions with dwp rules and regs then in most cases wont get past the dm if done in writing.


        April 6, 2019 at 2:41 pm

      • Reluctant Volunteer

        The devil is in the detail, as they say. You have agreed to look at finding voluntary work, only. You haven’t actually said you will do volunteering. Looking and doing are two very different things.

        jj joop

        April 6, 2019 at 2:58 pm

      • Well, that’s all very reassuring 🙂 Thanks for that, ted 🙂

        Worried Jobseeker

        April 6, 2019 at 3:09 pm

      • I have done volunteering before as a volunteer with no coercion. And I’m still unemployed

        Their still talking about this in the Jobcentre,I’ve never had any gain from it whatsover.The volunteering doesn’t match what was on the CV,the question I was asked how did you survive? Well back to square one.Bullying on New Deal lead to complaints from two proper volunteers’ who asked for Scout Enterprises contact number I was promtly withdrawn to their office’s where I remained until the finish,one who did complain said it was because I didn’t respond to the assistant manager’s flirtations’ she went on “you’d want to be hard up” she was right,it can also lead to imature behaviour by paid staff.

        The final straw was when I was told one thing and they told the Jobcentre something else.I suspect that had something to do with sex also as I was approached by a female member of staff in a conversation and manageress just decided to remove me and gave excuses.While these things can and do happen it shows what can happen when one sex is outnumbered by another in the workplace,things can quickly get out of control,retail charity shops are prodominatly female,while its nice to get on with people not everyone wants to go that far.it doesn’t look right on a male CV either.

        There’s just been to many bad experinces to consider doing this again”Being sent from the Jobcentre” undemines someones position and leads to bulllying and can be sexual,charity clothing shops are a poor choice for men who would never otherwise fit in with that role.Just by saying your doing something doesn’t work.


        April 6, 2019 at 3:43 pm

      • i was sent on mwa with a provider for profit at army of angles for a 4 week stint and was taken in to a back room soon as i turned up as the gut there knew me and did not want the other sheep talking to me so gave me 10 or 20 quid and was told to do one and i would not get a sanction doubt raised.

        went straight to the jcp to tell my adviser what had just happen and was not interested and would deal with it next time i signed on or next seen them.

        4 weeks later had a brown letter through the door for a sanction for non attendance, err what pmsl.

        goes on there fb page and asked why i have been sanctioned when i did attend and was paid to leave buy the providers manager that was there and was told this.

        i was a smelly tramp that was not wanted at the store and i was a reject from society.

        so i said thanks for this as it does confirm i did attend then and will show this to my adviser.

        they then had my fb account closed but already had the screen shots of what they said for every one to see.

        sanction was dropped and adviser did not care what they had said or done to my fb account and was just dumped on to another wc to have another go.


        April 6, 2019 at 4:06 pm

      • ken

        When the jobcentre send you some place they will always say: “And DON’T say you were sent from the jobcentre”. Of course the very first words that come out of your mouth are: “Hello, I’ve been sent from the Jobcentre”. 😀


        April 6, 2019 at 4:51 pm

      • I used to work in an office where we would through all the easy-to-spot Job Club speculative CVs straight in the bin without even opening them 😀 Who applies for a job or sends out a CV in a brown envelope for crying out loud 😀


        April 6, 2019 at 5:10 pm

      • I used to work in an office where we would throw all the easy-to-spot Job Club speculative CVs straight in the bin without even opening them 😀 Who applies for a job or sends out a CV in a brown envelope for crying out loud 😀


        April 6, 2019 at 5:10 pm

      • Sometimes they force you to make nuisance spec telephone calls as well.

        Andrew Coates

        April 7, 2019 at 10:33 am

      • Thank you for your kind comments and support. I will let you know what happens.

        Reluctant Volunteer

        April 6, 2019 at 8:51 pm

      • Simply registering with the local voluntary sector agency online would do the trick. Most of the stuff on them seems to be the usual mundane and humdrum, as well as some of the crafty ones trying to take the piss and try to persuade people to do work that would normally be paid work, and then there are sometimes some really nice opportunities to do something a little bit different. I’ve signed up to be informed about volunteer opportunities at a local arts organisation.

        And really, I’m increasingly of the opinion that anyone over 60 should be on a pension and doing most of the real voluntary work and giving younger people a chance to get some real paid work. It’s not as if we can’t afford it as a country, though I think we might have to get rid of a few of the rich first…


        April 7, 2019 at 3:10 am

  4. It’s the way that the Tories have been able to launch Universal Credit. Keep it going under endless criticism. Fight for years in the courts to prevent public disclosure of the enormous cost of the programme. The brutal sanctions system, the deaths and suicides. And even now it’s still going on day after day. Give the Devil his due, Universal Credit has been a great success for the right-wing of the Tory party.

    Jeff Smith

    April 6, 2019 at 12:32 pm

    • It’s not just the Tories implementing it though, it’s the almost total lack of meaningful opposition to it from the Labour Party. I know that John McDonnell said that UC would be abolished under a Labour government, but that seems to have been a bit of an uncontrolled outburst. UC could be abolished, but it’s my guess that this will only happen if a majority of benefits claimants, (and that could amount to a tidy 8 million) make it a political imperative. Hopefully they’ll at the very least reform it so that it’s far less draconian, but it’s high time we all started to debate what kind of future we want – and where sensible ideas such as UBI fit in, and also do we want to be a country that is always breathlessly trying to keep up with the international Joneses, or do we want to be a country where we ensure we pay our way, but where quality of life and environment are more important than giving yet more money to those whose bank accounts are already obscenely overfilled with cash.


      April 7, 2019 at 3:18 am

  5. Andrew Coates

    April 6, 2019 at 3:21 pm

  6. Long gone are the Days when Young Single Mothers had baby, after baby in order to get Higher Benefits, now having children is very Expensive, and now these Single Mothers have got to learn the GravyTrain has stopped, Stop having endless Kids and get on the Pill, and don’t have Kids unless you can properly afford them, and stop expecting the Government to Spoon Feed You.

    Paula - UB40

    April 7, 2019 at 10:42 am

    • I don’t believe that was ever generally true although, like paedophile priests, there were bad examples. If you have any statistical evidence to support your claim that a significant number of women were allowing themselves to be repeatedly be impregnated and taking those pregnancies full term I suggest you list links to web pages or government reports which prove it. Otherwise you are just another ignorant opinionated person with an axe to grind, which is what you seem to be.

      Over to you.


      April 9, 2019 at 7:19 am

    • “… get on the Pill…”

      Catholics are forbidden to use contraceptive methods like the pill as are many other individuals.


      April 9, 2019 at 7:21 am

      • Strictly speaking Roman Catholics are not forbidden to use artificial contraceptive, it only goes against Papal teachings, which is different. Ecclesiastical law no longer has any legal force anywhere with perhaps the exception of the Vatican. There are many, many Roman Catholics who are devout, but at the same time don’t pay too much attention to what a celibate man has to say on the issue of contraception. Many Roman Catholics choose to ignore the Church on this, and do use contraception. Name one predominantly Roman Catholic nation in Europe where contraception, and indeed, abortion are legally forbidden?


        April 16, 2019 at 2:48 am

      • Catholics have realised that the ‘withdrawal method’ is impractical – unless you want a big family of – Catholics. And that is why all religions ban/discourage contraception. They want a big flock because it gives them a bigger power base, and more sheep to shear for tithes, to fill the collection box, donations – it is what the ‘holy’ men and women live off. A bigger flock pays for more wine, prostitutes and whatnot. Do as I say and not do as I do and all that.

        Ecclesiastical pronouncements and diktats don’t count for a row of beans; their ‘followers’ only pretend to follow. It is only when the whacky ideas of religious leaders are enshrined in Law and backed up the power, authority and force of the State that you have a problem – what you would call a theology.

        The Handmaids

        April 16, 2019 at 7:47 am

  7. Austerity and Universal Credit are making people ill and the NHS can’t cope

    NHS bosses say poor housing and benefit cuts have led to an increase in the number of people needing


    Universal Credit, homelessness and poverty are making people ill – and the problem is so bad that NHS trusts are struggling to afford the costs of treatment.

    Mental health services are particularly hard hit.




    April 7, 2019 at 11:45 am

  8. Let’s face it, Labour have been useless on Universal Credit. No real opposition to it at all.

    Mr Kipling

    April 7, 2019 at 12:20 pm

    • And in the not to distant future we will be lamenting, let’s face it, Labour have been useless on concentration camps for the unemployed. No real opposition to it at all.

      Ivan Denisovich

      April 7, 2019 at 12:42 pm

  9. Stop Universal Credit

    Austerity cuts which took £37 billion out of the social security budget for working-aged people are yet to come into effect too. Instead of providing a safety net for people on low incomes, Universal Credit is driving more people into debt.

    People can only apply for Universal Credit online making it inaccessible for many

    Universal Credit takes 63p in every £1 people earn



    April 7, 2019 at 2:15 pm

  10. I agree Ken, put it in the trash can where it deserves to be.


    April 7, 2019 at 5:37 pm

    • American alt-right can’t even call a dustbin by its proper name..

      Andrew Coates

      April 8, 2019 at 8:56 am

  11. Stanley Kubrick predicted the coming of Universal Credit and the dangers of artificial intelligence*. When the computer says “NO” you’re screwed!

    OK Computer

    April 8, 2019 at 1:29 pm

  12. *DWP systems have no intelligence 😉

    OK Computer

    April 8, 2019 at 1:30 pm

  13. Corbyn vows to halt Universal Credit and ban zero-hour contracts

    Labour leader rails against benefit system and gig economy during visit to meet party activists in Plymouth

    Labour supremo Jeremy Corbyn has vowed to ban zero-hour contracts and put a brake on the roll-out of Universal Credit if he becomes Prime Minister, branding the benefit system “brutal, unnecessary and wrong”.


    If he can halt Brexit that would help,The Conservatives have brought this entirly upon themselves with their extremism,in many ways extremism breeds extremism,as we’ve seen in the common’s nothing gets done.

    Whatever someone thinks of the United States for all their faults’ you have to admire their sence of patriotism with flags placed outside even poor properties’,taht creates a sence of something.Made in the USA stands for confidence,here it was just thrown away.We don’t live in the land of the free just the land that’s been sold.


    April 8, 2019 at 2:51 pm

    • Americans send food parcels to struggling Brits on Universal Credit

      Donor from over The Pond describes the UK’s benefit system as a ‘disgrace’

      An American woman has criticised the UK, calling the Universal Credit system a “disgrace and a travesty.”

      She has begun sending food parcels to friends and family members in the UK who are UC claimants



      April 8, 2019 at 2:54 pm

    • The Brexiteers do all seem to be collection of half-mad feverish headbangers don’t they.

      Lucy Lastic

      April 8, 2019 at 3:38 pm

  14. well i got a new work coach today and in about 10 mins shut down every option that was brought up mostly providers and why i will never enter in to contracts with them so pointless trying in the first place given i have my tribunal outcome and my last new work coach.!

    same with my email and phone numbers as will not let them keep any on record and buy law do not need them to claim any benefits.

    see they still keep asking for this so there must be a reason like when migration time comes for uc where they will need a email for the journal to be set up 🙂

    looks at job search and sees near 10.000 application via emails that has been sent to date and game over sign and go 😉

    double bank holiday so no jcp for 6 weeks now and thats why i sign on on Mondays 😉 😉

    tho i would go every day but they wont pay the bus fair and the staff cant handle it im not no sheep im a terminator 😉


    April 8, 2019 at 9:39 pm

    • You must be ‘senior staff’, ted, if you have the best signing-on day, you know, the one that falls on all those lovely bank holidays so you get the day off 😀


      April 8, 2019 at 9:55 pm

      • the day you put the claim in is normally the day you will sign on at the jcp office 😉


        April 8, 2019 at 10:19 pm

      • Top tip, ted! So it may be better to put off claiming for a few days (and lose a few quid) just to get all those bank holidays ‘off’ 🙂

        Notting Hill

        April 16, 2019 at 12:43 pm

      • Think it is a Monday that catches most bank holidays, so if your job finished on a Friday you would be claiming first thing on Monday morning anyway 😀

        Notting Hill

        April 16, 2019 at 12:46 pm

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