Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Universal Credit Staff to Strike.

with 107 comments

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DWP Universal Credit staff to strike next week after ‘running out of patience’

The Mirror.

Universal Credit call handlers will stage a two-day strike next week after “running out of patience” with what they say are cuts and overwork.

More than 200 workers are set to stage a walkout at a contact centre in Stockport, Greater Manchester, next Tuesday and Wednesday after approving the action in a strike ballot.

Some 227 Public Commercial Services union (PCS) members at the centre were balloted. 162 voted, of which 148 backed a strike.

It comes after two walkouts at centres in Wolverhampton and Walsall earlier this year over similar issues.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “The decision to take strike action has not been taken lightly by our members in Universal Credit. They do their best to help claimants get the support they need.

The Guardian,

Workers at a centre dealing with universal credit are to stage a two-day strike in a row over workloads and staffing levels, the Press Association reports. Members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) at the office in Stockport, Greater Manchester, will walk out from August 27. More than 200 UC staff in Stockport will go on strike for two days next Tuesday in a row over workloads and staffing levels. The union said staffing at the centre has been in decline since the flagship benefit was introduced three years ago, but the Department for Work and Pensions ( DWP) said it is confident that staffing levels are sufficient, PA reports.

23 Aug 2019

PCS members fighting to improve their Universal Credit service centre are striking for 2 days next week.

In a ballot declared earlier this month, members voted 91.9% in favour of strike action and 95% in favour of action short of strike on a 71.4% turnout. Our members will be taking strike action next week, on Tuesday (27) and Wednesday (28), with a demand for extra staff to be recruited and for working practices to be changed to allow them to process the cases of some of the most vulnerable members of the community.

Staffing at the Universal Credit Service Centre, Millennium House in Stockport has been in decline since its introduction in 2016/17. Despite existing staff being switched to UC to support hard-pressed members and further staff from the remaining legacy command incoming in September, PCS members are clear this is not going to tackle the problem of increasing workloads and the demands placed upon staff.

PCS is equally clear that action is needed to make important changes for members and this is reflected in the support in the ballot. Case managers have seen their caseloads increase week by week. The volume of telephone calls has gone up in line with those caseloads and members are now expected to be working on several claims at the same time. Stress-related absences are higher on the UC command compared to the legacy commands.

PCS demands the DWP:

  • Recruits 100 new staff members
  • Limits calls to 30 a week for case managers
  • Increases the one minute time allowed for after-call work
  • Allocates time for case work to be completed
  • Ends the attack on flexi
  • Ends the unnecessary restrictions on breaks and lunches
  • Ends the victimisation of a local PCS representative and a PCS member and the dropping of cases against them.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 23, 2019 at 11:33 am

107 Responses

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  1. It’s about time the PCS took some action. Even if it is mainly about DWP working conditions. But then again who would want to work in a Universal Credit call-centre, doing the dirty work of the DWP ?

    Jeff Smith

    August 23, 2019 at 1:22 pm

  2. Interesting list of demands from the PCS. But what about these Mr.Serwotka ?

    1.No more sanctioning of benefit claimants
    2.No more forcing people onto pointless training courses
    3.No more bullying of claimants
    4.No more acting as the spineless lackeys of the DWP
    5 No more pretending to be medically qualified
    6.No more deceiving claimants that things are mandatory when they are not

    Or is the real motto of the PCS Union still ‘Mortgages Before Morality’ ?

    Alan Turner

    August 23, 2019 at 1:35 pm

  3. Andrew Coates

    August 23, 2019 at 2:54 pm

  4. I have to be honest, every person answering my Universal Credit queries at the call centre has been polite, kind, helpful and good. They have always tried to help me and provide me with appropriate advice. I prefer them to Jobcentre staff to be honest.

    Jim

    August 23, 2019 at 4:56 pm

    • How is the DWPs suicide policy !!! Making judgements when you are not medically qualified.

      Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

      August 23, 2019 at 5:08 pm

      • I’m only speaking about my own experiences, sport. I never speak on behalf of others.

        Jim

        August 23, 2019 at 5:15 pm

      • I agree, and generally I’ve never had a rude or unhelpful person on the phone from the DWP or, in general, from the staff.

        It’s not the people it’s the bleeding system….

        Andrew Coates

        August 23, 2019 at 5:20 pm

      • but you can record them over the phone but in the jcp you whip out any camera or recording device and interview is terminated.

        superted

        August 23, 2019 at 5:37 pm

      • Are people polite when you sanction them?

        Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

        August 23, 2019 at 7:32 pm

      • @ Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

        No idea, mate. I’ve never sanctioned anybody.

        Jim

        August 26, 2019 at 3:57 pm

  5. Boris Johnson Brexit Bicycle Mashup

    Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    August 23, 2019 at 5:02 pm

    • Amber Rudd with ten of thousands of peoples blood on her hands. DWP State Sponsored Murders & forgot Corporate Manslaughter. Perhaps Amber Rudd should go on Universal Credit for 6 months to show how great it is.

      Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

      August 23, 2019 at 5:06 pm

      • @Stepping – Right on mate !

        Fred H.

        August 23, 2019 at 6:38 pm

  6. Looks to me as if Boris will have to beg the EU for another extension before the end of October. Tee-hee.

    Plastic Petron

    August 23, 2019 at 5:16 pm

  7. Those Jobcentre interviews always remind me of Bladerunner where they are testing the Replicant.
    ‘The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it can’t. Not without your help. But you’re not helping….’

    Tony

    August 23, 2019 at 6:44 pm

    • I am that tortoise!

      UC Claimant

      August 26, 2019 at 3:59 pm

  8. Universal Credit continues to plunge vulnerable renters into arrears.

    “This is yet more proof that the rollout of Universal Credit is plunging the most vulnerable in our society into precarious and desperate living situations.

    https://www.london.gov.uk/press-releases/assembly/tom-copley/universal-credit-tenants-plunged-into-arrears

    ken

    August 23, 2019 at 6:54 pm

    • UC is ridiculous. If you need an “advanced payment” when you apply you have to pay it back later from your entitlements, when you eventually get them, by deductions of up to 40% for up to eighteen months meaning that you don’t then get an income at the benefit level that the law says you need to live on! This is some really crazy shite! And if you come from London, or any expensive area, the amount you have to pay back could be huge leaving you with next to nothing after your rent is paid to survive on; even with your full entitlement because benefit level have been frozen for three and a half years and rents have risen many people are subsidising their rent with money they are supposed to use to live on. There is no reason for these horrors and yet the government presses on with it and does nothing about it. Inexcusable and unforgivable really.

      Sarff of the River

      August 24, 2019 at 7:57 am

  9. Citizens Advice signed gagging clause in return for share of £51m from DWP

    DNS – 15th Aug 2019

    Two charities that will receive £51 million in government funding to provide advice and support to claimants of universal credit (UC) signed gagging clauses that prevent them bringing the Department for Work and Pensions “unfairly” into “disrepute”.

    Both Citizens Advice (CA) and Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) signed grant agreements with Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) – worth a total of £51 million – that include the same clause.

    By signing the documents, it means they cannot take “any actions which unfairly bring or are likely to unfairly bring [DWP’s] name or reputation and/or [DWP] into disrepute”.

    Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    August 23, 2019 at 7:37 pm

    • I can’t seem to post a url link !!!

      Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

      August 23, 2019 at 7:38 pm

      • What a waste of £51 Million ! I thought scrapping Legal Aid sorted that out.

        Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

        August 23, 2019 at 7:40 pm

      • Considering there was this article earlier in the month,signing a gagging order is a conflict of interest.From whats been posted here its an attempt to keep a lid on this appalling system open to every kind of skulduggery.

        https://www.cas.org.uk/news/cas-calls-investigation-benefit-sanctions

        ken

        August 24, 2019 at 12:38 pm

  10. Nothing better than walking out over a Scottish moor, with the old Holland & Holland at the ready.
    Bagging a couple of brace, and feeling somehow renewed, a part of Nature.

    Twelve Bore

    August 23, 2019 at 7:39 pm

    • Indeed so Twelve Bore. I had to speak quite sharply to one of our staff not more than a few weeks ago. It’s just not on. Ladies present, that sort of thing. Quite spoils the shoot.

      Purdey

      August 24, 2019 at 10:44 am

    • What are ‘brace’ and why do you shoot them?

      Alf

      August 24, 2019 at 1:55 pm

  11. Why do c**** sign up for claimant support forums and then write smarmy shit like this?

    “You can’t pick and choose a job is a job,I have two kids and have to work till 1am you got to do what you got to xx”

    “I’m sure any job would be better than appointments at the job Centre putting up with that every few weeks 🤷🏼‍♀️”

    “You not wanting to work the hours sounds so bad, its not there problem some people would die for a job”

    “Any job is better than no job”

    “A job is a job is a job, Beggars can’t be choosers”

    Tara-Louise Jones

    August 24, 2019 at 6:05 am

    • @Tara-Louise Jones. Clearly my dear you are unaware of the better things in life. And furthermore, why must the working-class be for ever swearing in this manner ? It is not only unseemly, but dare I say unladylike.

      Twelve Bore

      August 24, 2019 at 10:39 am

    • Tara Louise I’m 55 and work 25 hours a week school cleaning I have arthritis and an unrelated back problem. I’m so scared of universal credit I don’t claim even the housing top up. By the time rent and tv licence and phone is paid I have around 5 a week more than I’d get on universal credit. I’m in pain every day. Over half my wage goes on rent and bills. My point is that the system is not designed to help anyone at all! I will most probably keel over and die DOING my job. I can’t see any way I’ll last til 67 retirement age.

      katrehman

      August 24, 2019 at 11:12 am

      • Why don’t you claim ESA or some sort of disability benefit? It is your own health and well-being that is most important. Not grinding yourself into an early grave for Queen and Country and all that shite. There are no prizes for doing the right thing. Life is a moment, there is not hereafter, There is not life after death.

        Victoria

        August 24, 2019 at 11:49 am

      • @katreman – People forget when they go about work as if it’s some golden opportunity, for many people it isn’t.
        Like yourself. It’s wrong that you should be so worried of the Universal Credit system, that you don’t even use it !
        And there must be many more like yourself in part-time work, who can’t bear the thought of all the pressure and difficulties of claiming Universal credit. It isn’t a system designed to support people, but basically to push them off unemployment benefits. Most of the people on it don’t get actual permanent jobs, what they get are random bits and pieces of temporary work. Good luck to you, and hopefully things will be better in future.

        Alan Turner

        August 24, 2019 at 3:04 pm

      • @Victoria – You can’t just claim ESA you need to have been on DLA first. Anyway ESA is 80% on Universal Credit now.

        Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

        August 24, 2019 at 6:33 pm

  12. I’m kind of sad about Amber Rudd. She seemed to be one of the better Tories: more honest, realistic, kind and civilised. She was a sane and well-adjusted remainer maintaining that a no-deal Brexit would be catastrophic for the country and that she wouldn’t work under Boris Johnson if he ever became prime minister. At the DWP she was first secretary of state for work and pensions to admit that universal credit increased food bank usage and abolished the atrocious three-year sanction that was part of that regime. And yet now she appears to have gone over to the dark side saying that no-deal Brexit should stay on the table, is working as a minister under Boris Johnson, and bigging up universal credit left, right and centre as a force for good, that people it, find it a “positive experience” and beneficial and that is reducing poverty by getting huge numbers of people living in poverty into worthwhile careers and work that pays.

    It’s really sad because I thought for a while that this woman would do many things to reform UC and make it less cancerous and cruel which every statistic unambiguously indicates that it is. For example: In Amber Rudd’s own constituency of Hastings food bank use went up 80% after UC rollout in 2016. There is no way that this woman can be ignorant of the evils of universal credit and is turning a blind eye towards them deliberately for reasons best known to herself.

    I don’t believe now that while the Tories remain in power anything will be done to make UC less poisonous and don’t believe that a Jeremy Corbyn led Labour party will ever be elected to replace the Conservatives.

    We’re screwed people.

    Ro

    August 24, 2019 at 6:45 am

    • Labour has been taken over by ‘Momentum’. It is now a fringe lunatic party. No sane person would ever vote for them.

      Tony and Cherie

      August 24, 2019 at 8:28 am

      • Thing is the Brexit vote is currently split between the Conservatives (under Boris Johnson) and the Brexit party meaning that in marginal constituencies, the constituencies that actually decide elections, the Tories and Brexit party will come second or lower in the count and allow Labour to slip through and win the seat even though they haven’t won a lot of support themselves.

        Chris Cross

        August 24, 2019 at 2:07 pm

      • The only hope for Labour is in a move to the middle-ground of politics. #Progress

        Labour Voter

        August 24, 2019 at 3:09 pm

    • @ Ro – Amber Rudd is first, second and third a career politician. She will do what she has to do.

      Mr.Reality

      August 24, 2019 at 10:55 am

    • Thank you Alan for your kind words. And Victoria there is no ESA any more. I would be assesses by Atos or Crapita and found fit for work. People with broken backs and terminal cancer are found fit for work these days. Believe me when I say I have no respect for queen or country or society at any level. We are heading back to Victorian workhouse days where you worked til you dropped

      katrehman

      August 24, 2019 at 3:51 pm

  13. The ataff who work in the call centres and job centres for UC are only following orders and scripts from the people above them.

    The staff for UC may not know all the answers

    myfinalusername

    August 24, 2019 at 7:06 am

    • That’s true. The general’s mouth that gives the orders is responsible for the bullets that their soldier’s fire. It’s people like Amber Rudd and her confederates that are to blame for misery of UC not the people who answer the phone or speak to you at Jobcentres.

      Sarff of the River

      August 24, 2019 at 8:00 am

  14. Reblogged this on Tory Britain!.

    A6er

    August 24, 2019 at 9:09 am

  15. How can you defend making people work when they don’t want to ?

    Dave Blunt

    August 24, 2019 at 10:45 am

    • You can’t Dave. And Amber can spin it all she likes. She is in the business of making people work. Like it or not.

      Larry Lightwork

      August 24, 2019 at 11:02 am

    • Who is doing that?

      Chris Cross

      August 24, 2019 at 2:08 pm

    • I know one thing, if they think I’m going to be turned into a vampire they can forget it !! WTF !!

      Dave Blunt

      August 26, 2019 at 7:27 pm

  16. @myfinalusername – But they already know many of the questions….

    Norton

    August 24, 2019 at 11:00 am

  17. We live in a weird age. Who would ever have believed that a dishonourable and thoroughly dishonest liar like Boris Johnson could ever have become Prime Minister, moving his mistress into 10 Downing Street with him while still married to another woman with whom he fathered four children? You really couldn’t make it up.

    W. Wyatt., Esq.

    August 24, 2019 at 2:13 pm

    • @W.Wyatt – How very true. One wonders where are the moral standards in this modern age ? When this kind of behaviour goes unremarked.

      Victoria Lessington-Smythe

      August 24, 2019 at 3:27 pm

    • Well, considering that Boris Johnson was elected to become prime minister by a mere 130,000 card carrying Tories, rather than millions of citizens in a general election, it either means that the Tories have moderated long-held views about morality, marriage, family values and fidelity (which might not be a bad thing) or that they would sooner ditch long-held principles and elect a complete and utter rotter as their leader who looks most likely (from a field of duds) to prevent the destruction of their party and give them a fighting chance not to lose the next general election badly and deny them power for a generation.

      Mason Dixon

      August 24, 2019 at 3:52 pm

  18. The main problem with Universal Credit is that it reflects a right-wing Tory attitude to claimants.
    That they are deliberately being unemployed, when they could be working. And are too choosy in what jobs they are prepared to do, and so they stay unemployed instead. Universal Credit was designed from the very start to get claimants into work, without worrying about what kind of work, or under what conditions. Just as a sheepdog drives the sheep into the farmer’s field, so Universal Credit drives the unemployed into work.

    Jeff Smith

    August 24, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    • @Jeff Smith – 100% agree Jeff ! The whole thing was crap from the start. Its no good patching it up – we need a new benefit system. Or go back to the old one !

      Darren

      August 25, 2019 at 12:58 pm

  19. Andrew Coates

    August 24, 2019 at 3:21 pm

  20. There needs to be a full-on Benefit Claimants General Strike. Claimants have ‘run out of patience’ with Universal Credit. All out across the 600 Jobcentres network. All out from the training providers.

    Red Rodger

    August 24, 2019 at 3:37 pm

    • That makes about as much sense as sick people going on strike, refusing to take medicines, have treatments and visit hospitals, in order to get a better NHS.

      Dappy

      August 26, 2019 at 4:04 pm

      • @Dappy – See how long it takes before that cuts the waiting lists !

        Red Robbo

        August 26, 2019 at 4:43 pm

  21. I should add I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with working. I want to work. Just back breaking school cleaning isn’t the best job for one with my arthritis and back problems. But I’m realistic enough to know that I won’t get any sickness benefits and would probably be sanctioned if I gave up cleaning to go sick or look for something else. I have no choice but to work til I literally drop and yes I know there’s ppl out there a lot sicker than me and ppl who are homeless or sanctioned. ..

    katrehman

    August 24, 2019 at 4:13 pm

  22. That they are deliberately being unemployed, when they could be working. And are too choosy in what jobs they are prepared to do, and so they stay unemployed instead.

    Thats ignoring the barriers’ to work.Agencies’ are choosy about the people they take on.Some people did talk sense on the Work Programme and say that “if there’s problems’ the company won’t use them again” and “without own transport theres no chance with shift work”,those comments’ didn’t get me into work but were true. The never forgetful being told only people from A4e were allowed to apply for those vacancies’,probably because of the creaming.

    The job snob’s is only the extreamist hard right’s bluster without any merit, if there not going to take someone on because of no paid/proper recent work history,own transport exe its not the claimant’s fault so have no choice at that time.Do people attend foodbank’s because they want to or be driven into extream hardship/poverty through choice if the supposed easy way out of the poverty through work is to be believed?

    ken

    August 24, 2019 at 5:48 pm

    • Ken you’re so right. Uc don’t take things like no transport into account. There was a guy in Manchester sanctioned for not taking a job on other side of Manchester 2am start . He had no transport of his own and obviously there’s no buses at that time! My 1st cleaning shift starts 6.30 am and I’m lucky live 2 min walk from work. My Coleague lives on an estate on outskits of town that’s a £5 TAXIEACH DAY so 25 a week and she used to pay £68 a month for a bus ticket. Since she had her hip replacement and I filled out her PIP forms for her she now gets a free bus pass. It’s all about forcing everyone into any work and hang the consequences of that…..
      Yet benefit claimants are seen as scum though I do think that’s slowly changing now as ppl see their friends and family unfairly sanctioned and forced into using foodbanks

      katrehman

      August 24, 2019 at 10:26 pm

      • obcentres have NEVER taken travel expenses (or any other in-work expenses) in to account in their bogus ‘better-off-in-work’ calculations. If your net pay is ONE PENNY more than you receive in benefits you are ‘better off in work’ as far as the jobcentre is concerned. You are also expected to travel 90 minutes to your place of work – you could be half around the galaxy by spaceship!

        Sammi

        August 25, 2019 at 1:20 pm

  23. Amber Rudd’s Disability Hate Crime making money through Disability Confident.

    Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    August 24, 2019 at 6:35 pm

    • My disability is Amber Rudd.

      Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

      August 24, 2019 at 6:36 pm

      • If you overcome Amber Rudd then you can overcome your disability. Thank you for that DWP.

        Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

        August 24, 2019 at 6:37 pm

  24. Why are so many people still sleeping rough in Glasgow?

    https://www.thenational.scot/resources/images/10322152.jpg?type=article-full
    Homeless in Glasgow

    IT’S been over six hours since anyone here at Glasgow City Council’s North West homeless service spoke to James Connelly (below), and as the endless seconds, minutes and hours tick past his anxiety is rising. It’s gone 2pm on Friday and his heart is starting to hammer in his chest.

    He is homeless and this is the second day in a row he’s spent here to see if there will be any accommodation for him tonight. For 29 years he worked as a builder and lost his job last December after three heart attacks. He split from his partner in traumatic circumstances and found himself, aged 53, without anywhere to call home.

    He was in a hostel for a while but for months now he has been existing between sofas, his sister’s, the streets – washing in the toilets at Central Station or at the swimming baths, making sure he doesn’t let himself go. He doesn’t have addiction issues, couldn’t bring himself to beg.

    Along the way he claims he’s been to this bleak-looking brick building in Possilpark multiple times – and though he should be entitled under Scottish Housing Law to be accommodated by the local authority – has not been given anywhere to stay. It was here someone in the same boat told him about Simon Community Scotland, the charity which provides the city’s Rough Sleeper and Vulnerable Person (RSVP) service.

    So now street team worker Elaine Barrett is sat beside him on a plastic chair in this blank-as-the-walls room, where there is not as much as a coffee machine or a magazine. If you get thirsty, you can ask the receptionist to give you a cup to fill with water from the sink in the toilets.

    Barrett sat here from 9am-4pm with him yesterday too before being told there was no accommodation available. There was nothing either at the out-of-hours service run from Glasgow City Mission, where they were sent next.

    In the end she used a small emergency budget provided by the Scottish Government following its task force recommendation last year, to pay for a hotel. “I feel better after a comfy bed, a shower, a breakfast,” Connelly says. “Otherwise I’d have been on the street again.”

    But as the time ticks on, a bead of sweat is appearing on his brow. If there’s nothing today, there are three long nights before this service re-opens and he has nowhere to go. “I’ve got mental health issues,” he says. “Some days I feel like walking in front of a car. I’m just lost.”

    Scottish homeless legislation is amongst the best in the world – all 32 councils have a duty to accommodate those who are homeless. Yet problems meeting that are widespread, and in Glasgow Connelly’s situation is not rare.

    Last year, according to Glasgow City Council’s own figures it failed to offer accommodation 3365 times, the equivalent of nine times a day. In 2017 it was 3025.

    On average members of Barrett’s team spend four hours a day sitting in one of the three Glasgow homeless services in Possil, Easterhouse and Govan, helping advocate for their rights.

    When that doesn’t work, homeless lawyers across the city from Legal Services Agency (LSA), Govan Law Centre (GLC) and Shelter Scotland step in, sending out letters on a daily basis reminding the council of its duty and threatening legal action if it is not met.

    Often accommodation that wasn’t previously available appears within hours of those letters. Sometimes it takes two or more before it’s forthcoming. But GCC has never yet ended up in the dock.

    That is, until now. On Monday Shelter Scotland declared “enough is enough” and a delegation of homeless people delivered a letter to Glasgow City Council on the charity’s behalf, giving them 28 days to get its housing in order.

    If it does not, the charity will instruct lawyers Balfour and Manson to take a case to the Court of Session, for the first time based not on individual, but systemic failings.

    It’s a ground-breaking approach, and while not everyone agrees it’s the best way to secure change, it’s expected to make waves.

    At the charity’s drop-in at its central Glasgow office caseworkers have yet to see the impact – they assisted eight people turned away from Glasgow services last week.

    They include a man with deep vein thrombosis and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) who had been sleeping rough before ending up in hospital, who was told there was nothing available.

    When he presented to Shelter the next morning, accommodation was found following a letter from the team here.

    In another particularly horrific and complicated case they’ve been helping a mother with a seven-year-old child, who spent the weekend sleeping in her car after fleeing domestic violence.

    FOR Stephen Wishart, a member of Shetlter’s Glasgow Hub advice team, concern is for those who aren’t accessing legal advice from here, or LSA or Govan or Castlemilk Law Centres. “You shouldn’t need our help just to get what is your right by law,” he says. “This shouldn’t be about who’s got the biggest da.” Some workers here have concerns about homeless service staff. Some are good, they say. Others are uncommunicative and judgemental.

    They don’t seem to want to help, don’t return calls or emails. They say systemic change can’t come soon enough.

    Glasgow City Council tells another story. “It’s not a secret that we’ve had serious issues with our homeless services but there has been a huge amount of work done over the past few years, all put together in our Rapid Housing plans,” insists Councillor Mhairi Hunter, the council’s spokeswoman on the issue.

    It aims to reduce the time people spend in temporary accommodation to 50%; no longer than 17 weeks is the target. The Glasgow Alliance – a coalition of charities working with the local authority – is poised to re-commission homeless services, and a new city-centre hub, where people will be able to access all the services they need.

    “We want to get to a place where there is no wrong door, that you can access help wherever you enter it,” says Hunter. “What we need to get away from is the situation where we are saying you need to go to a centre that’s miles away and you need to sit there for hours and if you don’t get seen in time you need to go somewhere else. People [should] get picked up quickly and get the help they need quickly. We have a lot of work to do to get there. But that is what you are aiming for.”

    She is angry with Shelter for misusing homeless death figures in its letter to the council – they claimed 47 people died on the street, in fact though some were street homeless, most died in hostels, shabby B&Bs and other temporary homeless accommodation.

    And she’s feels it’s unfair that Glasgow is being taken to task for its high number of breaches, claiming that its numbers only account for 95% of Scotland-wide cases because it counts every night it does not accommodate, unlike other local authorities.

    “I understand Shelter see themselves as advocates for homeless people, and they don’t see it as their job to help us,” she says. “But they have been invited on to various forums and they just don’t … they engage in a much more aggressive way. I don’t know why.”

    SHELTER’S national service manager Gillian Reid raises an eyebrow at the suggestion it doesn’t engage, listing off meetings and attempts to find ways forward. She searches her inbox for correspondence with the council’s head of adult services, who has been routinely cc-ed into emailed letters sent to homeless casework teams since May, showing me concerns were escalated 25 times between May 15 and June 27.

    Some other organisations are puzzled by this defensive attitude too. Hugh Hill, Simon Community Scotland’s head of operations, says: “It’s really difficult to get people accommodated in this city. Who wouldn’t want to ensure the most vulnerable in the city exercised their rights?”

    But Hunter says calls for more temporary accommodation miss the point. It’s not more beds, the city needs, she argues, but work to move people through the system faster – and it’s working on it.

    Scotland-wide Housing First approach is rolling out too but progress is slow – only 38 people were in those properties by the end of July according to Glasgow Homeless Network’s tracker, most re-accommodated by decommissioned services.

    Others are joining them from a raft of supported services, due to close by October as part of a £2.6 million cut to the homeless services budget. Many in the sector say those cuts will be disastrous, particularly when you take into account the record number of drug deaths recently affecting the homeless community, along with an HIV epidemic on the streets of Glasgow. What’s more, up to 300 asylum seekers are due to be made homeless by accommodation provider Serco by next month.

    But Hunter claims concerns about cuts are misplaced. “Decommissioning those services is not really taking away places from the system – there were people stuck in them,” she says.

    The Scottish Government has agreed to lead a voluntary review “to identify and drive forward solutions on failure to accommodate”.

    Hunter added: “If we’re satisfied that someone is safe and warm and accommodated, we know if we offer a hostel or a bed and breakfast they will say: ‘I am fine where I am.’ According to the law we should offer accommodation at that point, but all we can offer is something they don’t want to accept.”

    AROUND the table at Govan Law Centre, which this week has helped four people turned away from Glasgow City Council, the idea that those they work with happily leave homeless services “safe, warm and accommodated” is staggering far from their reality.

    Case worker Brian Roberts says he regularly works with people told there is no accommodation who end up sleeping rough.

    Wendy Malloy, who helped a woman who was sofa surfing get a temporary flat last week agrees the rapid rehousing plan is good on paper but says the council is “far removed” from meeting it.

    “The problem isn’t with the people who are homeless,” adds project manager Alastair Sharp. “It’s with the people administering homeless services.”

    Often, claims partner Lorna Walker, a homeless application is not even taken when people present for help. “People are told you’re not homeless because you’re not roofless, or ‘could you just stay in with your mum tonight’ or ‘we’ve only got a hostel, do you think you could cope with it?’. And none of that should stop people from taking a homeless application,” she says. [Hunter, on hearing this later, says organisations should escalate such cases to her office.]

    Walker may be unsure of how much impact Shelter’s new approach may actually have (“We already have well written legislation and good policies. The problem is the practice”) but her concerns about the problems seem exactly the same. “We completely appreciate what Shelter is trying to do. GCC should be apologising for breaching statutory duty on a regular basis.”

    Meanwhile the workers and the lawyers just keep going. In Possilpark Connelly is finally seen at 3pm and 40 minutess later has a place at a rundown B&B. The next stage, says Barrett, is getting him a home. If Shelter’s approach works, that might come sooner for others in his position.

    https://www.thenational.scot/news/17859216.many-people-still-sleeping-rough-glasgow/?ref=rss#rssowlmlink

    The Newshounss

    August 25, 2019 at 5:08 am

    • “What’s more, up to 300 asylum seekers are due to be made homeless by accommodation provider Serco by next month.” – This is a downright lie. These are FAILED asylum seekers who have had their bogus asylum claims rejected. The have exhausted the process. They have been over-staying in Serco accommodation for over three years.

      Senga

      August 25, 2019 at 5:21 am

  25. Sega asylum seekers are appallingly treated too. Everyone deserves a roof over their head. With the UK record to matters welfare atm. …cancer sufferers being told they don’t have cancer enough to get PIP. .people with deep vein thrombosis not being given housing…do u really think the immigration ppl look into asylum cases properly and objectively. It’s divide and rule….it’s all the fault of asylum seekers single parents the unemployed the working poor……

    katrehman

    August 25, 2019 at 8:27 am

    • These are NOT asylum seekers, kat There asylum claims have been REJECTED and they are squatting and living ILLEGALLY in the UK. Now think what to happen to anyone if they didn’t pay their rent or mortgage. You would be EVICTED. People are being evicted day in, day out yet not a snowflake in sight.
      Our towns and cities are strewn with homeless people yet no a virtue-signalling snowflake in sight. Those who claim asylum are housed and even if their claim is found to be bogus they still occupy the homes. But if you, kat, find that you can’t pay your rent or mortgage you will find yourself in the same position as the bloke in the article, You will receive no help or support whatsoever.

      Meg

      August 25, 2019 at 12:16 pm

      • And who is to blame for injustices like that? Who has been been in power since May 2010?

        Kitty

        August 25, 2019 at 12:35 pm

      • Do you mean the ‘Tories’, ‘Westminster’? The SNP have been in power for 12 YEARS! And have ruled Glasgow City Council for even longer. Anyway, the Jocks get enough of our English money.

        Essex

        August 25, 2019 at 12:48 pm

      • @ Meg

        Asylum seekers who have had their applications rejected are deported back to their homeland at the UK’s expense, not left homeless and penniless on the streets of the UK.

        Unice

        August 25, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    • @katrehman – Very true. It’s so easy to look for scapegoats, the unemployed, immigrants etc. The real problem is not the victims, but the people who have made these cruel policies of austerity and disbility denial.
      The Conservative Party, with help from their apostles in the LibDems.

      Jeff Smith

      August 25, 2019 at 1:09 pm

  26. Cheltenham civic chief slammed for saying ‘food poverty’ is ‘idleness’ in tweet about £3.89 meal

    Celebrity budget chef Jack Monroe said he showed ‘an enormous sense of entitlement’

    The chairman of Cheltenham Civic Society has come under attack for his ‘complete lack of understanding’ after he tweeted that food poverty in the UK is ‘just idleness’.

    On Friday evening Andrew Booton tweeted a picture of his chicken stir fry with the words: “Had a Chinese this evening. Chicken £2.35. Fresh egg noodles on clearance 24p. All natural ingredients sauce 75p. Stir fry veg on clearance 55p. 7 mins. Total £3.89. Enough for 4 = 97p each. Don’t tell me we have food poverty in this country. It’s just idleness.”

    https://www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk/news/cheltenham-news/cheltenham-civic-chief-slammed-saying-3248818

    ken

    August 25, 2019 at 12:46 pm

    • What a total Tory moron !!

      Sam

      August 25, 2019 at 1:00 pm

      • @ken A stupid comment that just shows how totally out of touch these Tories are. Like something out of the Victorian age. Unbelievable really that there are people wandering about with their heads full of this obnoxious rubbish.

        John Taylor

        August 26, 2019 at 7:33 pm

    • You can’t rely on ‘clearance’ to feed yourself. You have to be in the shop at just the right moment, what’s put out is random, it is at the end of the use-by date, it means more frequent shopping visits meaning you are more likely to buy crap. Typical Tory prat!

      Elsa

      August 25, 2019 at 1:08 pm

      • And since it is only certain perishable foodstuffs you won’t get everything you need for a balanced diet. And if you end up buying loads of bakery such as doughnuts you will end up morbidly. ‘Clearance’ is only OK for something and for items that you can freeze providing you can afford a big enough freezer.

        Elsa

        August 25, 2019 at 1:12 pm

      • And since it is only certain perishable foodstuffs you won’t get everything you need for a balanced diet. And if you end up buying loads of bakery such as doughnuts you will end up morbidly obese. ‘Clearance’ is only OK for somethings and for items that you can freeze providing you can afford a big enough freezer.

        Elsa

        August 25, 2019 at 1:13 pm

      • It’s a right-wing Tory idea that foodbanks are like a kind of free supermarket. You just walk in get a basket, and fill it up with whatever you want. (This then saves money you can use for a large-screen TV ).
        Total crap.

        Fred Harper

        August 25, 2019 at 1:13 pm

      • Here is more of his shite – and you wonder why Hospital Food is poor;

        Andrew Coates

        August 25, 2019 at 2:48 pm

    • High Tory and bonkers Brexiteer Bernard Jenkin’s wife, Lady Jenkin, advised the poor to live on porridge.

      https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/tory-attitudes-to-poverty-under-fire-over-benefit-sanctions-and-baroness-jenkin-comment-that-poor-9911580.html

      So much for the Tory government’s five portions of fruit and fresh vegetable advice, eh?

      https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-5-a-day-logo

      I suppose the poor don’t need all those pesky vitamins and minerals to keep healthy.

      (Or maybe the Tories think that healthy eating is wasted on them.)

      Unice

      August 25, 2019 at 2:05 pm

      • We always have a bowl of porridge when us or the kids are feeling hungry. But even such as simple food is becoming far too expensive. Not long before it becomes an occasional luxury.

        The Skint Family

        August 25, 2019 at 2:17 pm

      • The baroness probably adds an avocado or two to her porridge though 😉

        Dafniq

        August 25, 2019 at 2:20 pm

      • Hey! Don’t dis porridge. Buzz Aldrin set himself up a bowl of Quaker Oats the morning he walked on the Moon for goodness sake!

        Monkey Nuts

        August 25, 2019 at 2:37 pm

      • In Tibet we Tsampa is one of our staple foodstuffs made from roasted flour, usually barley flour, sometimes also wheat flour, mixed with the salty Tibetan butter tea. It’s a bit like a vomitus bitter shitty porridge but keeps us up, at it, and going. We were invaded by the Chinese in 1950 in much the same way as you are today only in your case economically rather than militarily.

        Best of Tibetan luck to you and yours.

        Hail the jewel in the lotus!

        Lobsang Chodak

        August 25, 2019 at 2:48 pm

      • We used to rib Buzz. Hey, Buzz you are already on your 30th bowl of porridge today 😀

        Nell Armstrong

        August 25, 2019 at 3:47 pm

      • Number of Brits suffering from malnutrition has soared under the Tories

        Labour described the shocking increase in malnutrition cases as “unforgivable” and said government ministers “should be ashamed”.

        he number of adults and children treated in NHS hospitals for diseases associated with hunger and malnutrition has almost trebled under the Tories, according to media reports.

        Figures released by government while MPs are on holiday, seemingly in the hope they would not be spotted, reveal that the number of malnutrition cases treated by the NHS increased from 2,893 in 2009 to reach a staggering 8,537 cases in 2018.

        This includes 320 children, up from 202 cases in 2009.

        https://welfareweekly.com/number-of-brits-suffering-from-malnutrition-has-soared-under-the-tories/

        ken

        August 26, 2019 at 12:52 am

    • This guy must realise that not everybody has a restaurant that discounts food on spec within easy reach of their home surely? Doesn’t he realise that on the outskirts of town and cities residents may be miles and miles away from shops and establishments like this? And how did he get to the Chinese restaurant anyway? How far away from the place does he live? (I bet the farm he drove there in his car.) An army may march on its stomach but Mr Booton talks out of his arse. What a complete and utter berk. The armed forces deserve better. Much better.

      Ro

      August 26, 2019 at 7:14 pm

  27. Honestly I don’t know why the LibDems don’t just stop pretending to be a separate political party. They should just join the Conservative Party and have done with it. They’ll be back in alliance with them soon enough.

    Robin Hood

    August 25, 2019 at 1:22 pm

  28. Jeremy Corbyn, on behalf of all the people who would like to vote Labour but can’t stomach it. Please do something about what is going on !!

    Former Labour

    August 25, 2019 at 1:46 pm

    • Initially when Corbyn became leader people who were left-of-centre flocked to the Labour party thinking that he would do all the things they wanted to see done which New Labour didn’t do when in office. There was a Corbyn bounce and hundreds of thousands joined Labour and said via the polls that they intended to vote Labour in the next election. Now, several years on, after people have had the opportunity of see and hear Jeremy Corbyn flip-flop, vacillate, shirk taking difficult decisions, fail to adhere to promises and give very poor performances at the dispatch box – hammering the same thing to death over and over before raising your voice to try to sound passionate before uttering a sound bite doesn’t look very Prime Ministerial – for a long enough time the tide has turned and people have begun turning away from Labour in their droves.

      I recently read that Labour’s ranks have begun to shrink on average by 100 a day.

      Rather like Theresa May who’s personality turned people off once she came out of the shadows into the light now that the public have see dull old Jeremy Corbyn for what he is, which isn’t much, certainly not enough to be worthy to be Prime Minister that’s for sure, they have begun to walk away in droves as the polls and Labour’s balance sheets show.

      I desperately want to get rid of the Tories and get a Labour government elected but believe 100% that this will be impossible to achieve while Corbyn still leads the party. I can’t be sure that a younger, much cleverer, wittier, more charismatic, persuasive, competent and capable leader would definitely get Labour back into power but under such a leader the party would at least have a fighting chance.

      If Jeremy Corbyn truly loved his party and his country he would step down to make way for someone better.

      Under Corbyn Labour doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell!

      Val

      August 25, 2019 at 2:32 pm

  29. A is for amber, a girl on the make
    M is for misery the unemployed take
    B is for bastard, at a Jobcentre near you
    E is for everything Universal Credit makes you do
    R is for remorse, regret as well, for if you sell your soul, you are going to Hell.

    Zac & Sarah

    August 25, 2019 at 1:55 pm

    • I’m waiting Amber ….

      Dark Lord

      August 25, 2019 at 2:47 pm

  30. If anyone is reading this blog, and thinking about selling their immortal soul, I recommend my Master. He has thousands of years of experience in making arrangements in these matters. Vast wealth, gold, diamonds and riches beyond your wildest dreams.Unbelievable sexual satisfaction. Absolute power, and everything you could possibly want. Just for the modest price of your immortal soul ! (Terms and Conditions Apply, applicants must be over 18 .10,000 years, 50,000 years or full Eternity available).

    Servant of The Dark Lord

    August 25, 2019 at 2:57 pm

  31. What about the disabled bloke, paralysed from the neck down. The jobcentre sent him to work on a farm as a scarecrow.

    Worzel Gummidge

    August 25, 2019 at 3:41 pm

    • What else can he do? It is not like he is going to get a job in a call centre or driving a truck, is it? At least he is now supporting himself.

      Combine Harvester

      August 25, 2019 at 9:31 pm

      • Can’t work at a call centre or drive a truck? Not according to the Work Capability Assessment! I mean when they exhumed the remains of Richard III, from a scruffy council car park in Leicester, they sent them off to Maximus to see if the king was fit enough to undertake light manual activity.

        R. Kilroy-Silk., Esq.

        August 26, 2019 at 6:34 am

  32. Plain oatmeal strips, covered with a generous layer of peanut butter and jelly.
    6 American Slices

    Mr.Kipling

    August 25, 2019 at 8:41 pm

  33. The failed state statement is receiving international attention.It affects us as unemployed looking for employment because of its damaging theme hence its effects on confidence in the UK seen through the eye’s of the world that can only be to a detriment.Although only an opinion it does quite rightly raise fears in peoples’ mind’s as they fear for their future and families.

    http://www.jordantimes.com/opinion/chris-patten/britain-becoming-failed-state

    The notion that people can somehow crack rock to their mid seventies is only adding to the concerns’ regarding future direction.

    ken

    August 26, 2019 at 12:18 am

  34. If the pensioners were changed into Vampires by the DWP, or Zombies, they they could work for ever. But only at night. But if they made some of them Werewolves, then these could work during the day.

    Zacharius

    August 26, 2019 at 1:23 pm

  35. What a great idea !! Turn all the pensioners into Vampires !! They’d be able to change into bats and fly as well. So useful for all kind of things. Crop-spraying, checking overhead power-lines etc.The Zombies would have superhuman strength, so great for farming and heavy work. And in the daytime the Vampires & Zombies could rest, and the Werewolves take over… You could keep it going 24 /7 !!

    Night Hawk

    August 26, 2019 at 1:31 pm

    • Erm… Don’t vampires, werewolves and zombies eat the living?

      Van Helsing

      August 26, 2019 at 3:41 pm

      • Actually that’s true. It would be better to turn pensioners into ghouls, who eat the dead. That way there would be no danger to the living and less need to waste good agricultural land on cemeteries and money on funerals. Win-Win.

        V. Price (deceased)

        August 26, 2019 at 3:43 pm

      • Ghouls are no good. they are notoriously idle and hate work of any kind. And anyway the DWP could feed the vampires on dead animals. A lot of modern vampires only kill animals not humans. It’s like being a vegetarian is for humans.

        Damon

        August 26, 2019 at 4:28 pm

      • JobCentre staff in Lincoln reveal what life on Universal Credit is really like

        Staff have lifted the lid on life at the JobCentre

        Why do some people only end up with £40 a month to live on?

        One dad said that he was left with only £40 for food for a month after rent, council tax, and deductions from a loan he received from the DWP five years ago.

        Another woman said she was better off not working after her payments were dramatically reduced when she picked up a part-time job. She was forced to move into a caravan after being unable to afford her rental payments.

        Staff at the Lincoln JobCentre saidthat although they are not able to comment on individual cases, there are a number of reasons why an individual receives the amount they do.

        Jean Sharp, district operations leader for Lincolnshire, said: “Although I can’t comment on individual cases related to payments that a person might owe, we synchronise with those from other departments who may be making deductions on a person’s payment.

        https://www.lincolnshirelive.co.uk/news/lincoln-news/jobcentre-staff-lincoln-reveal-what-3227548

        Like Brexit total chaos.

        ken

        August 27, 2019 at 4:23 pm

  36. @ Van Helsing – A stirring sight, sunset and thousands of pensioners take to the air. Flying as bats to their places of work. Into the fields, the shops and factories. Then landing, transforming back to their human shape to begin the nights work.

    Egor

    August 26, 2019 at 7:22 pm

  37. Are the UC staff who are planning on striking, and go ahead with it. will the staff be getting the wages docked

    myfinalusername

    August 26, 2019 at 7:25 pm

    • @myfinalusername – No they won’t get their wages docked. But they will have to write out 100 Lines ‘I must not make trouble in the Department of Work & Pensions’ and send this in to Amber Rudd at Caxton House.

      Senior Official

      August 26, 2019 at 8:14 pm

  38. A delicious mix of water and sawdust, carefully toasted to perfection.
    6 No-Deal Slices

    Mr.Kipling

    August 27, 2019 at 4:05 pm


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