Ipswich Unemployed Action.

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DWP Cuts Staff as Universal Credit Mess Gets Worse and Worse.

with 80 comments

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UNITE Community Protests, but where is Labour?

This got our attention today:


DWP blasted for ‘reckless’ staff cuts at same time as launching Universal Credit

The number of staff working in the welfare department has plummeted by a fifth since the benefit began life in 2013

Written by Andrew Coates

July 8, 2019 at 3:30 pm

80 Responses

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  1. […] via DWP Cuts Staff as Universal Credit Mess Gets Worse and Worse. […]

  2. The DWP are just as ruthless with their own people as they are with the claimants. They have the worst sickness / absentee rate in the Civil service. The propaganda that you have to swallow as a DWP employee would make a vulture puke.

    Jeff Smith

    July 8, 2019 at 4:30 pm

  3. We are the DWP
    And we don’t give a shit
    Whatever you think
    Whatever you say
    You can just get on with it.

    DWP Poet

    July 8, 2019 at 4:38 pm

  4. I’d like to make an application for Universal Credit.
    My name ?- Mr Chicken Tandoori
    My wife ? – Mrs Spare Rib
    And our two children, Egg Roll and Hotdog

    Food Family

    July 8, 2019 at 4:43 pm

    • Dear Food Family

      Thank you for applying for an advanced Universal Credit payment.

      I am pleased to inform you that your claim has been processed.

      Your money should be in your bank account by now.

      Kind Regards

      Vegetable Pakora
      For MANGER

      Fast Food Jobcentre Plus

      July 8, 2019 at 11:58 pm

  5. Grimsby MP Melanie Onn challenges ‘systemic problems’ of Universal Credit

    Great Grimsby MP Melanie Onn highlighted issues faced by constituents in a letter to the Department for Work and Pensions

    an example of them getting a taxi to the workplace the agency sent them to, only to arrive and be told there was no work for them, costing them £20 for a round trip without any income.


    Employment agencies told that there was more then one days work to find out out there was none also one days work that turned into more.Different agencies paid different rates for the same job in the same company was also dependent on agency area.

    With the staff cuts its only a matter of time before Jobcentre sizes begin to shrink further always a symbol of Tory high unemployment,removal of the telephone service was a major shift away from here and now support not a journal,it also has to be asked with smaller staff sizes what that does for monitoring of the claim and other problems that will result in an non payment.


    July 8, 2019 at 5:02 pm

    • Yep. They don’t care Ken about how people are supposed to pay bus fares or taxi fares to get to these agencies or the companies. Same as with signing-on. If you live a distance way away from your local Jobcentre up to you how you get there. Pay it or walk.

      Toby M.

      July 8, 2019 at 8:13 pm

    • The idea behind Universal Credit is to go fully digital with as much as possible being done over the internet, including interaction between Work Coaches and claimants. This is the reason for the Journal to enable work search details and claimant activity and changes to be reported in a delayed manner, textually, rather than instantaneously over the phone, to give remote Work Coaches and other DWP staff time to deal with their workload as and when they are ready.

      Much of the savings from UC were predicated on being able to automate and handle claimants remotely.

      Considering the messy and complex nature of human lives this was always on a hiding to nothing.


      July 9, 2019 at 7:57 am

  6. We want to know how you’re tackling the holiday hunger that shames the nation

    As the school holidays begin, not everyone is looking forward to six weeks of sun and fun. For those living on the breadline, having the kids off school is another meal to cater for. Holiday hunger often results in adults skipping meals or living off cereal so their children have enough to eat while parents try to find the extra £30 to £40 a week to feed them.



    July 8, 2019 at 5:06 pm

    • Intermittent fasting is the best thing you can do for your body, ken. Also calorie restiction is the only proven technique known to extend life span – at least in mice, You should be eating nowt for at least two days out of seven in any case. It is all this feeling the need to constantly stuff our faces and this crap we are fed [geddit?] to NEVER skip a meal that is causing an epidemic of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer and stroke. It does your body a world of good to take a break from food. There is a lot of people who have enough fatty deposits that could be converted into energy to last them for years literally. You ever wonder why you see really rich people and they are as thin as a rake. It is important to note that when we talk about fasting we are not talking about starvation. And your body won’t go into the fasting state until you haven’t eatern for eight hours more like twelve hours. That is when your body switches from burning glucose to burning fat stores. So skipping meals won’t do you any harm, on the contrary it will do you good. Like the doctor said, or the one who used to cut up bodies on TV: “If you want to live a long life, live a thin life”.

      The Cronies

      July 8, 2019 at 11:47 pm

  7. Reblogged this on Tory Britain!.


    July 8, 2019 at 5:07 pm

  8. When a Claimant’s not engaged in his employment
    Or maturing his felonious little plans
    His capacity for innocent enjoyment
    Is just as great as any honest man’s

    Our feelings we with difficulty smother
    When departmental duties to be done
    Ah, take one consideration with another
    A Work Coaches lot is not a happy one

    Ah, when departmental duties to be done
    To be done
    A Work Coach’s lot is not a happy one

    DWP Poet

    July 8, 2019 at 5:11 pm

    • DWP Poet Laureate!

      Andrew Coates

      July 9, 2019 at 10:05 am

  9. I just put the 6.00pm news on and apparently 10% of new Universal Credit claims are fraudulent scams which plunge genuine claimants into extreme debt because the DWP force them to pay back money embezzled using their details by confidence tricksters.


    It seems that millions and millions have gone down the plug hole and that innocent victims of the fraudsters are having to pick up the tab because the DWP hold THEM responsible. Allegedly Jobcentre staff have known about this for ages and reported it to the powers that be who, as usual, sat on their arses and did bugger all.


    July 8, 2019 at 5:16 pm

  10. Benefit freezes are leading to ‘skyrocketing’ rates of homelessness across the UK

    New data analysis has revealed the scale of housing problems for people already on benefits. The Guardian said the local housing allowance (LHA) no longer covers the lowest rents available across much of the country. As a result, rates of homelessness are “skyrocketing”.

    In Swindon and Newbury only 2% of one-bedroom flats available on the private rental market are now affordable, and in Northampton just 3%. Fewer than one in 10 three-bedroom family homes are affordable in Ipswich, Milton Keynes, Rugby, Luton and Cambridge. … In Bristol and Cambridge, only 5% of the two-bedroom flats were affordable, and in Stevenage and central Northamptonshire it was just 4%.



    July 8, 2019 at 6:49 pm

  11. Everytime go into the job centre there seem to be less staff there, more g4s staff.

    I am still down on money since January 2019 as I was moved onto uc, from job seekers allowance

    I managed to get myself some voulntary work now, which I don’t even get help towards bus fares/ work coach does not like it probably because she did not find the voulntary for me.


    July 8, 2019 at 7:16 pm

    • I suppose G4S could do the whole thing really when you come to think of it. G4S Jobcentre, run it on a profit-making basis.

      Dave Greenhill

      July 9, 2019 at 3:01 pm

      • And as they do the prison vans as well, there would be no escape.


        July 9, 2019 at 3:07 pm

  12. It is not just the far-right Daily Heil anymore. The BBC has picked up the universal credit fraud story. This story took top billing on the evening news and Newsnight with tales of “hundreds of millions of pounds being stolen from the public purse”. As well as the Pie, Chips and Beans tale we heard about a blind 19-year-old with ten blind kids and the fraudster who claimed their landlard was called Harry Kane. If Sophie Raworth and Emily Maitless believe it’s true it must be.

    And more importantly, what is to become of Amber Rudd when BoJo announces his new Cabinet in a fortnight’s time.


    July 8, 2019 at 11:29 pm

    • It was the 19-year-old’s kids who were supposedly blind


      July 8, 2019 at 11:33 pm

    • The new cabinet will be open to convinced Brexiteers only: doubting Thomases need not apply.


      July 9, 2019 at 8:00 am

      • Hey! Esther McVey is a full-blooded fuck-the-EU Brexiteer. My bet is that BoJo will whack her into the cabinet as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. He’ll need a bit of rough to look authentic. Be afraid, be very afraid, and prepared to witness the end of comprehensive cradle to the grave social security for all.

        Ding! Dong! The witch is undead!

        Wizard of Oz

        July 9, 2019 at 8:05 am

      • Holyrood Needs the Powers to Tackle Stagnating Wages and In-Work Poverty

        Stagnating wages in the UK are becoming a major problem both for working people and the economy. Wages have not kept up with the rising cost of living. As a result, the majority of working-age adults in poverty (52%) are now from working households. The idea of work as the best route out of poverty is being proven false in the modern age



        July 10, 2019 at 10:55 pm

    • Andrew Coates

      July 9, 2019 at 10:04 am

    • What Does Inequality Look Like In The UK?

      High levels of inequality, as seen in the UK, are incompatible with a state’s obligation to take steps to the maximum of available resources to progressively realise economic and social rights.

      Inequality does not just impact upon those who are worse off economically. Inequality affects and damages all levels of society overall.

      Work is no longer a guarantee to not suffer from poverty with half of those in poverty having at least one member of their households who is in work. Many of these households rely on tax credits and other types of benefits in order to keep their heads above water.


      Nite All

      July 10, 2019 at 11:32 pm

  13. i was asked months ago to do something like this but as i am not fkn stupid said no but it was someone on a face book forum that sent me a msg from a uc fb group.

    id also not be surprised if 3rd party providers did sell on there data because as soon as you sign there paperwork they can pretty much do what they like with your data because well you did sign it and all they care about is profit.


    July 9, 2019 at 1:24 pm

  14. Margaret Greenwood, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Minister. And most of the time she’s in such deep shadow as to be invisible. Come out and stand in the light Margaret, and do something about Universal Credit. Because otherwise people are going to ask, if the Labour Party won’t deal with urgent social issues. then what are they for ?

    Alan Turner

    July 9, 2019 at 2:44 pm

  15. Matthew 20:1-16 New King James Version (NKJV)
    The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard

    20 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 and said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. 5 Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing [a]idle, and said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day?’ 7 They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, [b]and whatever is right you will receive.’

    8 “So when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, ‘Call the laborers and give them their wages, beginning with the last to the first.’ 9 And when those came who were hired about the eleventh hour, they each received a denarius. 10 But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius. 11 And when they had received it, they [c]complained against the landowner, 12 saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.’ 13 But he answered one of them and said, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. 15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?’ 16 So the last will be first, and the first last. For[d] many are called, but few chosen.”

    Gordon Bennett

    July 9, 2019 at 3:15 pm

    • “the last will be first, and the first last” – now, where have we heard that before. hmm…

      He pulls prayer book out of his sleeping bag
      Preacher lights up a butt and takes a drag
      Waitin’ for when the last shall be first and the first shall be last
      In a cardboard box ‘neath the underpass
      Got a one-way ticket to the promised land
      You got a hole in your belly and gun in your hand
      Sleeping on a pillow of solid rock
      Bathin’ in the city aqueduct

      — The Ghost Of Tom Joad, Bruce Springsteen

      The Ghost Of Tom Joad

      July 9, 2019 at 3:49 pm

    • Food banks see increase in child poverty in north Norfolk

      Tim Morton, project manager at Cromer and District Foodbank, on Hall Road, said: “We deal with 3,000 people too many, our aim is to close and shut down but I don’t think that will happen any time soon.



      July 10, 2019 at 10:56 pm

    • Zero-hours contracts take a huge mental and physical toll

      The uncertainty of not knowing when work might be — during the night or day — and when they should sleep, are issues workers on zero-hours contracts must deal with on daily basis.

      Financial insecurity also means that workers are unable to refuse work when it’s offered at a time when they should be sleeping. The fear of not getting subsequent job calls means that workers feel they cannot refuse work even if they’re exhausted



      July 10, 2019 at 11:30 pm

    • Mark 4:25 New International Version

      Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.”

      King James Bible

      For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.

      Andrew Coates

      July 11, 2019 at 8:49 am

    • Homelessness soaring in Coventry costing taxpayers millions

      The Homelessness Reduction Act has “exacerbated” the pressure, a meeting was told


      I walked under the underpass in the town centre amongst filthy bedding a toilet roll and a stink of urine.Town centres’ now have there begging hotspots.Its a totally unexceptable that councils’ let this deterioration to happen in a modern society with people clearly needing emergency help.


      July 12, 2019 at 2:24 pm

  16. Who would want to work all day in the sun and get one measly denarius. And then watch a load of cowboys turn up and do half an hour’s work and then get the same ?

    John Turnbull

    July 9, 2019 at 3:30 pm

    • I know what my boss would say if someone turned up for a couple of hours work and then wanted to be paid for a full day. WTF ! !

      Fred Carter

      July 10, 2019 at 2:31 pm

  17. DWP has ‘wilfully missed the point’ of Universal Credit tests, MPs say

    A committee of MPs has accused the Department for Work and Pensions of having “wilfully missed the point” of a call to carry out “readiness tests” before beginning to transfer benefit recipients onto Universal Credit, after the DWP rejected the idea for a second time.



    July 9, 2019 at 4:31 pm

    • They have wilfully or as you might say ‘deliberately’ missed a lot of things about Universal Credit.
      It’s a rough ride for the claimant, and it was always meant to be.
      Like one of those American rodeo bulls, with the claimant trying to stay in the saddle, and the bull trying to throw them off. Yee Hah !!

      Brent Walker

      July 9, 2019 at 9:00 pm

  18. Aldi openly discriminate applicants holding or wanting to work more than one job.

    It appears despite governments employment efforts, some employers still feel they should be able to hold an employee on tap regardless of only offering 15 to 30 hours contractually.
    Aldi is an example of this and you only have to apply for a position as a store assistant to witness this in flow.
    Contained within the online application is a set of questions, questions may i add if you answer no you will find instantly that you have been rejected.

    Government no so long ago took the approach through recognition that now more than ever a person may well need to hold more than one job due to pay rate, hours and dates so made a demand employers aren’t allowed to hold an applicant of employee in a position where fitting multiple jobs together would become possible due to an uncertainty of dates and hours in a timely fashion.
    Aldi it appears have opted to head said applicants off at the pass during the application process by asking specific questions that only have one answer if that person wishes to progress that application.

    1: Can you commit to a minimum of 12 months, can you commit to these terms – Well the use of word terms implies contractually yet we all know 1 month termination of contract is an accepted and agreed upon practice as no one knows what the future holds and being kept at changing hours on a low wage rate is more than likely to make this course of action a given.

    2: Can you offer flexibility of hours of work while craftily weaving in covering a colleagues shift which while not contained in the question also means a colleague working at another branch of an unspecified area of travel. Again craftily the next question reads could instead of can you at short notice cover a colleague or store if busy.

    3: Can you commit to travel to the store to fulfill your contracted hours. Note its not stating the place you went for originally and omits to acknowledge travel to a place that is not your native place of work is a tax deductible. In short they are declaring all stores are your native place of work and that you should financially be burdened with the cost of getting to them with the company paying for said travel themselves as you are PAYE, not self employed.

    So in retrospect ALDI not only wants to prevent a person from making them financially better off, they also expect and want you out of the wages they give, burden you with the financial cost of travel to non native places of work and thus could actually lower the financial gain after tax where once it never existed.



    July 10, 2019 at 9:48 am

    • True doug, you are like a ‘floating’ worker. You have no native store. You have to cover at a moment’s notive. You receive a text message late on an evening telling you to be at x store hundreds of miles away for 5am the next day. If you drive fast enough you might be lucky to spend a few hours in a cheap motel or just catch some shut-eye in the car before your shift starts. They keep holding out the carrot that you will eventually land a position in a native store but it never transpires. Since when did it become a big prize to have a fixed place of work within daily travelling distance. Aldi are taking the P.

      Aldi Slave

      July 10, 2019 at 11:36 am

      • It shows the demands of employers’ these days something Universal Credit isn’t going to solve.

        Two or so years’ ago a store in Swindon talking to the only person in the shop he told me came up from Bournemouth because there was no staff.

        This could be anywhere.

        ‘Poverty report’ reveals how long you’re expected to live in every Stoke-on-Trent area

        The findings also highlight varying levels of health among North Staffordshire residents… depending on where they call home



        July 10, 2019 at 2:20 pm

      • This is the reality of the new world of flexible cheap labour. There is no money, and people are not really better off than being on benefits. It’s just that now the government won’t let people stay on benefits.

        Alan Turner

        July 10, 2019 at 2:36 pm

  19. Aldi have a well-deserved reputation for getting the absolute maximum effort from their employees. You really have to go for it 24/7. That’s how they operate.

    Barry T.

    July 10, 2019 at 2:45 pm

  20. Make Universal Credit Better: Chelmsford single mum has benefits stopped after being targeted by £1,500 scam

    A Chelmsford woman who was scammed into accepting a loan from Universal Credit fraudsters has had her benefits suspended.

    Sarah Fitzgerald, 39, was told she was eligible for a £1,500 government loan and was asked to provide her driving license and bank card details.

    It’s unbelievable and disgusting. I’ve given the police the details, they should be able to track down the number and track it back to the person who did this.

    “I’m still waiting for my money. They suspended my tax credits due to my Universal Credit application and an investigation is currently ongoing. I’ve been given no idea of how long that’s likely to take.

    “I kept trying to call them to see if my payments had been updated but when I got through they told me I had applied for Universal Credit so they had stopped my benefits.

    “The next morning I spoke to a woman at Universal Credit but she wasn’t really helpful. I phoned the police but they were really busy, and tax credits said I needed a reference number from the police.



    July 10, 2019 at 10:32 pm

  21. Andrew Coates

    July 11, 2019 at 8:47 am

    • Well if it’s any consolation Andrew, your blog has been saying how awful Universal Credit is for years.
      It just suprises me that up until now so many people couldn’t. Or wouldn’t see this for themselves.
      But as the torrent of complaints and poverty mount up, even the Sun have had enough.

      Simon L.

      July 11, 2019 at 11:39 am

      • No one should have to rely on the state being in work at any point.People have been abondoned to sanctions’ court action and starvation.

        SNP calls for DWP to face up to Universal Credit failings

        THE SNP has demanded that the UK Government take ownership of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) failings over Universal Credit and ensure that people receive the money they deserve, and those who have been defrauded do not have payments taken from them.

        “It’s a national scandal that the UK Government has left Universal Credit claimants so desperate that they have been exposed to these criminals. They are so consumed by Brexit that they can’t focus on the day job.



        July 11, 2019 at 12:29 pm

  22. We are now seeing the real price of a useless, spineless, Labour Party. When will Jeremy Corbyn wake up and do something about Universal Credit ? Or is he just going to sit there and think about it for a few years more ?

    Alan Turner

    July 11, 2019 at 11:42 am

    • I can think of 3 other people I’d rather have as Labour Leader.

      1. Gandalf The White
      2. Father Christmas
      3. Captain Birdseye


      July 11, 2019 at 6:18 pm

  23. ‘Amber Rudd, one of the leading cabinet opponents of hard Brexit, has publicly ditched her opposition to no deal as senior Tories jostle for position in a Boris Johnson cabinet.’

    And now the crawling starts…

    Tom Sutton

    July 11, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    • They say she wants to continue her Ministerial successes with Universal Credit

      Andrew Coates

      July 11, 2019 at 4:50 pm

    • Amber Rudd keeps bigging up Universal Credit particularly as far as the “excellent” and “splendid” work that Work Coaches do. Well, I only see my Work Coach for fifteen minutes every two weeks and she’s absolutely totally and utterly useless as far as helping me find work and advice in respect to work are concerned. The poor soul knows nothing – and I do mean NOTHING! There are already so many people who have to be seen by these people on a daily basis that local Work Coaches have next to no time to spend “helping” anybody, which may be a good thing or a bad thing depending how you look at it.

      As more an more people roll onto Universal Credit its conditionality will become unenforceable.

      Which is a bloody good thing as far as I am concerned!


      July 12, 2019 at 1:39 pm

  24. ‘ Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times.’

    Niccolo Machiavelli

    Alan Turner

    July 11, 2019 at 6:30 pm

  25. This all reminds of the Abu Qatada saga another David Cameron/Theresa May made in the Conservative party time in history,the former emerging the better off out of it at least he didn’t have to face a claim for Universal Credit and probably rather of faced the Jordanian justice system,theres certainly no justice in the torture of Universal Credit sanctions’ and ongoing associated publicity scandals’.


    July 11, 2019 at 7:01 pm

  26. Bedbugs are back – here’s how one Scottish neighbourhood is learning to live with them

    The experiences of a migrant district in Glasgow could solve the new infestation

    When it came to managing bedbugs in the early 1900s, the world took its lead from an approach developed in the slums of Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city. Known as the “Glasgow system”, it emphasised educating tenants about cleanliness and bedbug behaviour, backed up with regular visits from the public health department.

    Nearly 100 years later, in the midst of a worldwide bedbug resurgence, Glasgow again has much to offer the current debate. The experience of people in Govanhill, a locality just south of the city centre, is that once these insects become endemic they are effectively impossible to remove.

    Some residents have taken the view that the best response is learn to live side by side with them. This fits with a world view that we will arguably all have to adopt if we are to come to terms with our environment in the coming decades.

    Govanhill reflects the challenges and opportunities of 21st-century Europe as well as anywhere. Variously dubbed “Govanhell” or “Glasgow’s Ellis Island”, the district has come to represent the social, environmental and economic problems associated with migration. It has seen waves of migrants down the years – Irish, European Jewish, south Asian and most recently eastern Europeans – all represented in the changing shopfronts and the numerous places of worship.

    Govanhill has become renowned in recent years for poor housing, poverty and crime, as well as for artists and vibrant community activists. And it faces major environmental issues, with constant rubbish dumping and infestations of bedbugs.

    The district has attracted numerous public initiatives worth millions of pounds, including a dedicated pest control unit that deals with hundreds of cases each year. Yet there are few signs this has reduced the overall problem – not least because bedbugs are highly adaptive: They can lie dormant for extensive periods and their reproduction cycle encourages pregnant females to move around.

    One Govanhill resident I interviewed questioned the practices of the council pest controllers who visited her flat – both their thoroughness and the fact that they only appeared to be tackling one residence at a time. When they came to work on her neighbours’ flat a couple of months later, she tested her suspicions by taping a cloth to the adjoining vent. After the treatment she says she found a collection of bugs clinging to the cloth to flee the chemical onslaught.

    Until then, this woman had been ashamed and horrified by the bugs and was preoccupied with having them exterminated. But now she wants to learn more about them and eventually accepted, reluctantly, that they may be part of the new normal – even if the council did everything perfectly, the problem may be too big to solve.

    Having talked to many in the area, I have found this trajectory is common. Many people who have come to terms with the fact that you can’t beat bugs resign themselves to living with them instead.

    Bedbugs international

    Bedbugs are again a global problem. In New York, case numbers rose from 523 in 2003 to 10,985 in 2010. Australia has experienced a big increase – and the same appears true in France and China.

    Scientists give three main reasons. Bedbugs, like many insects, have developed resistance to the extermination chemicals. These chemicals have made it possible for stronger bugs to evolve, while endangering other animals, such as the albatross, at the same time. Current environmental research evidences how oceans are being polluted by the chemical waste from pesticide production and also tiny pieces of the plastic packaging. It’s an example of how behaviours in one part of the world can affect species elsewhere.

    Modern staples, including central heating and soft furnishings, have also created the ideal environment for bedbugs. Frequent travel has enabled them to hitch a ride between continents in suitcases and clothing. As a result, the bedbug species common to the southern hemisphere is now evident in the north. We are also victims of having concluded some 60 years ago that we had vanquished bedbugs forever: The average person is nowadays far less knowledgeable about detecting and managing them than previously.

    Poverty, on the other hand, is not an essential part of the mix. Bedbugs have been an issue for five-star hotels in Manhattan and even British Airways flights lately. It makes more sense to see them as one of the growing number of environmental impacts from how we humans live.

    The new normal

    Bedbug bites can cause significant discomfort to those who attract them and we mustn’t downplay this, but there is no evidence that they are vectors of disease like mosquitoes, for example. The stress of discovering them in your life is probably more harmful than anything they actually do.

    Nonetheless, the idea of coming to terms with bedbugs presents an ethical dilemma. Some would probably argue that just because people can adjust to hardship, it doesn’t mean they should have to. Why should they, when wealthier people can employ private pest controllers or move elsewhere?

    I think this is shortsighted when you factor in environmental damage from insecticides. The idea that the poor need to be rescued may also be demeaning – the people I interviewed in Govanhill had arrived at a lifestyle decision to live with the bugs based on their own experience and analysis. To insist on eradicating the bugs arguably imposes a middle-class norm that associates them with degradation and squalor.

    The reality is that affluent people’s lifestyles are far more environmentally harmful than those of less well-off people. We arguably need new norms to mitigate the risks of chemical resistance, pollution and global warming. Perhaps some of us need to forego certain comforts, whether it be plastic packaging, electricity use or air miles.

    The Govanhill residents who have learned to live with bedbugs may be ahead of the curve here. Instead of society always assuming it knows what’s best for people in the area, they may be the ones who can help everybody else to adapt instead.


    The 'i'

    July 11, 2019 at 9:16 pm

    • This is enough to make your skin crawl.

      Begbugs – the new normal?! Don’t think so.

      Betty from Ipswich

      July 11, 2019 at 9:26 pm

    • Got to laugh at the way this ‘academic’ conflates plastic water bottles with bedbugs. And, oh look, we can ‘save the planet’ by not using insecticides on these critters. Let not the middle-class impose their life-style choices on the poor who have come to embrace and learn to live side-by-side with their new ‘friends’. It is all part of the softening up process, Be careful like with universal credit and the ‘bedroom tax’ before it bedbugs don’t soon become the ‘new normal’.

      Get used to it?

      Rat Catcher

      July 11, 2019 at 9:40 pm

      • ‘Halt universal credit pilot,’ MSPs tell UK government

        “The rollout of universal credit has been littered with mistakes and it is vital that this latest pilot is put on hold to ensure that there is no negative impact upon claimants who rely on this money.”


        The Tory Snatcher

        July 12, 2019 at 5:10 am

  27. Forced into aggressive debt collection?

    According to the Money Advice Trust, which offers debt advice, 30% of callers have council tax arrears, up from 15% a decade ago. But why do more households owe council tax?

    A Citizens Advice report points to a range of factors, including benefit cuts and the localisation since 2013 of council tax support schemes. Many CTS schemes require households that previously incurred no council tax to make a minimum payment.


    The Tory Snatcher

    July 12, 2019 at 5:28 am

  28. Universal Credit was too strict and harsh with claimants from day one. The ‘conditionality’, the brutal sanctions, the debt and hardship. The Tories massively overdid it, as they always do. Just like the Poll Tax.

    Alan Turner

    July 12, 2019 at 10:25 am

  29. UC is becoming a joke.


    July 12, 2019 at 10:53 am

    • If you like gallows humour, yes.

      Captain Pugwash

      July 12, 2019 at 1:33 pm

  30. For God’s sake let Tom Watson have a go as Labour Leader.

    Corbyn Harvester

    July 12, 2019 at 10:55 am

  31. I spend most of my time dealing with fish. Which proves I’m no anti-semite, I don’t mind being Labour Leader.

    Captain Birdseye

    July 12, 2019 at 10:57 am

    • The Finns would probably have issues with you, Captain.

      Too much batter and breadcrumbs, too little fish for comfort

      July 12, 2019 at 5:31 pm

  32. My money is on another four year benefit freeze after Brexit happens.


    July 12, 2019 at 1:40 pm

  33. Welfare failures and cuts fuelling extreme poverty, MPs say

    Heidi Allen and Frank Field say families haunted by ‘constant spectre of destitution’

    The failure of the welfare state over the past decade has left families in Britain’s poorest neighbourhoods “blighted by the constant spectre of destitution” and reliant on charity handouts, according to an inquiry by two independent MPs.



    July 12, 2019 at 2:11 pm

    • But didn’t Heidi Allen vote for all of these welfare cuts when she was a Conservative ?

      James K.

      July 12, 2019 at 2:47 pm

      • She did until she was offered a seat on the Work & Pensions Committee at the House of Commons, where, finally she got exposed to the truth. (Or so she says.) That’s the trouble with MPs. More often than not they vote to please their masters and approve shit that they don’t really understand.


        July 12, 2019 at 5:27 pm

      • Heidi is an astrophysicist and so should be clever enough to have realised what a danger Universal Credit was. People hereabouts could see almost all of the problems with it out of the box and predicted much of what has happened later. There’s none so blind as those that do not want to see, as they say.

        Chairman Miaow

        July 12, 2019 at 5:34 pm

      • The Liberal Democrats voted for Universal Credit when in coalition with the Tories. I remember Nick Clegg defending the Bedroom Tax which he claimed would rehouse 250,000 over-occupiers in houses that were under-occupied by driving tenants into down-sizing and moving to smaller properties (which turned out not to exist in sufficient numbers to accommodate the number of people predicted to be driven from their homes after cutting housing benefit and LHA, which you might have expected would have occurred to the idiot before implementing the policy) and bigging up Universal Credit as an “innovative” project which would finally “cure” poverty in the UK.

        Clegg was completely and utterly wrong on both counts; the man was a waste of skin.

        And now he works for Facebook.

        (I hope he fucks that pile of crap up as comprehensively too.)


        July 12, 2019 at 5:45 pm

  34. Andrew Coates

    July 12, 2019 at 4:43 pm

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