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The longer Universal Credit exists in an area, the higher the need for food banks – Trussell Trust.

with 80 comments

In areas where Universal Credit has been rolled out for at least a year, food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network have seen a 30% increase in demand. In  areas with the new system for at least 18 months this jumps to 40%, and increases again to 48% for food banks in areas with Universal Credit for at least two years*

The Trussell Trust is urging the government to end the five week wait** for Universal Credit, as it publishes a new report revealing the longer the new benefits system has been rolled out in an area, the more people are plunged into poverty.

The charity highlights that while the Department for Work and Pensions has attempted to find solutions to issues with Universal Credit, the wait for a first benefit payment, which is often longer than five weeks, is continuing to cause unnecessary hardship. Government loans, which are currently offered during the wait, are also pushing more people into debt, the charity says.

The longer Universal Credit exists in an area, the higher the need for food banks  

This report has received news attention:

The Trussell Trust’s chief executive Emma Revie said:

“Universal Credit should be there to anchor any of us against the tides of poverty.  But the five week wait fatally undermines this principle, pushing people into debt, homelessness and destitution.

“In a society that believes in justice and compassion, this isn’t right. But it is something that can be fixed. Universal Credit was designed to have a wait. Now it’s clear that wait is five weeks too long, and we must change that design.

“The recent Spending Review was a lost opportunity to protect people on the lowest incomes.  Our Prime Minister must take action to end this wait, and help prevent thousands more of us being swept away by poverty. With the nation at a crossroads, now is the time to loosen the grip of poverty and make sure Universal Credit is able to protect people from needing a food bank, instead of pushing them to one.”

A similar pattern of financial hardship in areas where Universal Credit has rolled out is revealed by new evidence in the report from the Riverside Group, a large provider of social housing and homelessness services.

On average, people claiming Universal Credit at July 2019 had experienced a 42% increase in rent arrears since rollout began in 2015. By stark contrast, those claiming Housing Benefit (the previous ‘legacy’ benefits system) experienced a 20% decrease , analysis shows.

Hugh Owen, Director of Strategy and Public Affairs at Riverside said:

“Riverside is calling on the government to end the five week wait for Universal Credit because increasing numbers of our tenants are experiencing hardship while waiting for their first payment. Our data clearly shows that the wait is causing many of our tenants to get into rent arrears which can take months or even years to clear.

“A recent survey of many of our tenants told us that they are struggling to keep afloat when they move onto Universal Credit; the long wait means that many people are going without food or heating and they are forced to use foodbanks in order to feed their families. We welcome the simplicity that moving to an integrated benefit is intended to bring, but the way Universal Credit is being implemented means that instead of acting as a safety net, it is dragging people into debt.”

The #5WeeksTooLong study also reveals the detrimental impact the wait is having on people’s mental health. Many people reported experiencing high levels of anxiety, especially as they did not know how much they would receive and when. Some even reported feeling suicidal.

Mike had to resign from his work as a support worker to care for his mother who was diagnosed with a long-term disease. During this time he had to claim Universal Credit. He found that he could no longer manage to pay his rent after he took an Advance Payment:

“It’s made me go from being a confident lad who loved working with vulnerable people to ending up needing the support I used to offer others. Now I’m unable to support them or myself.”

The Trussell Trust and Riverside are not alone in issuing this stark warning. Through the #5WeeksTooLong campaign the Trussell Trust is united with 45 other organisations and more than 14,000 individuals, in urging the government to end the five week wait now.

Politics Home: 

 

Ministers criticised as study claims foodbank hikes linked to length of Universal Credit roll-out

 

Research by The Trussell Trust found that where the controversial benefits scheme has been in place for at least a year, foodbanks in its network have seen a 30% increase in demand.

It also showed the figure rose to 40% over 18 months and then to 48% in areas with Universal Credit for at least two years.

The charity called on ministers to end the five-week wait applicants face before receiving their payment from the system – which was designed to combine all legacy benefits into one but is yet to be rolled out in full.

It said the stretch would see more claimants “plunged into poverty”, and said that Government loans as a stopgap were “pushing more people into debt”.

The Trussell Trust’s chief executive Emma Revie said: “Universal Credit should be there to anchor any of us against the tides of poverty. But the five week wait fatally undermines this principle, pushing people into debt, homelessness and destitution.

“In a society that believes in justice and compassion, this isn’t right. But it is something that can be fixed. Universal Credit was designed to have a wait. Now it’s clear that wait is five weeks too long, and we must change that design.

“The recent Spending Review was a lost opportunity to protect people on the lowest incomes.  Our Prime Minister must take action to end this wait, and help prevent thousands more of us being swept away by poverty.

“With the nation at a crossroads, now is the time to loosen the grip of poverty and make sure Universal Credit is able to protect people from needing a food bank, instead of pushing them to one.”

Political response:

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Margaret Greenwood, said: “This latest shocking data from the Trussell Trust clearly shows that Universal Credit is forcing people to turn to food banks to survive, despite ministers’ repeated efforts to explain away any link.

“It is completely wrong for people to be left waiting five weeks or more for a first payment.

“Advances are not the answer; they are loans that have to be paid back, pushing people further into debt and leaving them vulnerable to scams.”

The Mirror adds,

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Margaret Greenwood said: “This latest shocking data from the Trussell Trust clearly shows that Universal Credit is forcing people to turn to foodbanks to survive, despite ministers’ repeated efforts to explain away any link.

and

Labour will stop the rollout of Universal Credit and ensure that our social security system lifts people out of poverty and supports any one of us in our time of need.”

DWP:

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson hit back at the report, which they said “uses unrepresentative data to reach an entirely unsubstantiated conclusion”.

“It categorically does not prove that Universal Credit is the reason behind increased food bank usage,” they added.

“With Universal Credit people can get paid urgently if they need it and we’ve changed the system so people can receive even more money in the first two weeks than under the old system.”

Yet,

However the Trussell Trust later condemned the Government’s response, by insisting that its “food bank referral data is trusted and the best available data on food bank use in the UK”.

It added: “It is very disappointing to see the Department for Work & Pensions’ response to this research. The experiences of people on Universal Credit cannot be denied.

“While the system may work well for many, it’s clear from the evidence of food banks and countless organisations there are also many people being failed.”

Written by Andrew Coates

September 19, 2019 at 12:16 pm

80 Responses

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  1. The problem with Universal Credit is that is was actually designed to cause a certain degree of hardship to claimants. To be a difficult, strict system. To discipline and control the unemployed. In order to get them into work. It was accepted by the DWP that there would be suffering. That there would be hardship. But this was considered an acceptable price to pay, if it meant employment for the unemployed..

    Jeff Smith

    September 19, 2019 at 12:25 pm

    • Many wouldn’t call these figures’ a force for the good.Their not making work pay if people arn’t working and it doesn’t mean the resulting sanctions’/hardship are lawful.So many relying on this support (that could be anyone at anytime) highlights an underlying failure of society to be fuctioning as perhaps it should be.It can be expected to get much worse as numbers increase on this lack of benefit with the added insult of high expectation of IT use.

      ken

      September 20, 2019 at 8:32 pm

  2. Well, at least we know where Jeremy Corbyn stands on Brexit. He’s ‘staying neutral ‘. That’s okay then. On one of the most important political decisions of the last 30 years, he doesn’t know. So, business as usual then Jeremy ?

    Disgusted Labour

    September 19, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    • Staying ‘neutral’, is not the same as not knowing. And why don’t you try posting something on topic instead of another load of anti-Corbyn comments under your various assumed names?

      KJ

      September 20, 2019 at 12:13 am

      • @KJ – The best thing Corbyn can do for the party, and I’ve voted Labour for over 20 years, is resign.
        He won’t take advice. He’s stubborn without any real idea what he’s being stubborn about. A poor leader, as Alan Johnson himself has said. Not a good performer in parliament. And arguably too old for the job of PM.
        What more do you want ? That he scored the lowest approval rate of any politician ever recorded in a recent poll ? That time and again the public have shown that they don’t want him as PM ? He is an electoral liability.

        Tom Sutton

        September 20, 2019 at 11:43 am

    • Corbyn is terrified of becoming PM. If a General Election was called he would spend election night hoping and praying that he didn’t win enough seats to become PM. Rehearsing his loser’s speech for the rabble to keep his mind of the terrifying prospect.. Becoming PM by ‘accident’ is Corbyn’s worst nightmare.

      Val

      September 23, 2019 at 8:15 am

    • Corbyn is not going to win a General Election anyway. The Stalinists within the Labour Party have made sure of that. Look at what is going at their conference. The Stalinists want a no-deal Brexit. The only way to do secure that is through a majority BoJo government. And the only way to do that is to make Labour unelectable. And in that objective the Stalinists have succeeded. Their masters in the Kremlin will be most pleased.

      Faraqiha

      September 24, 2019 at 7:29 am

  3. Sometimes I wonder if Corbyn is not some kind of Tory secret agent. Planted in the Labour Party to ensure that they never win an election.

    Colin Claimant

    September 19, 2019 at 12:45 pm

    • Corbyn has spent the past 40-odd years in Parliament. Never done a day’s work in his entire life. He has made a career out of rabble-rousing. But he has never made a decision or assumed any responsibility. Corbyn doesn’t really want to win a General Election. He has no aspirations to be PM. If Corbyn ‘accidentally’ won an election he would no doubt resign immediately and hand the reigns to someone else… or Boris. It is all an act on Corbyn’s part. He could well be a Tory plant. Corbyn is reportedly a
      multi-millionaire. His wife, 25 years his junior, is also a multi-millionaire in her own right. And that property of theirs in Islington must be worth a pretty penny.

      Elsa

      September 19, 2019 at 2:28 pm

      • Yep. No higher education: no degree(s): no profession: no achievements: no part played in government: no salient occupation for most of his adult life other than politics, which in common with every other field of human activity he achieved nothing of note. Not someone I would pick personally to lead a horse to water let alone lead a nation. When the dust settles hopefully Corbyn will step down and the party cleanse itself of the dross and become once more a party than attracts enough support from non-aligned ordinary UK citizens to form a government.

        Tim

        September 19, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    • @ Colin Claimant-

      You couldn’t give a shit about having a leader in place who might actually do something about austerity. The only ‘plant’ here is you.

      KJ

      September 20, 2019 at 12:16 am

      • Unless you’re elected by enough voters to wield power all you can do is try to embarrass and criticise people who have the power to actually “do” things. Unless Labour is returned to power with a majority, or plays a part in some kind of coalition, or supports some hypothetical future government via a confidence and supply arrangement Labour can’t do a damn thing about austerity or anything else. That’s the problem. Too few people like and are willing to vote for a Corbyn led Labour party for the party to gain power. Result: Labour is relegated to the status of a glorified pressure group who can only complain and draw attention to things that the government of the day is doing.

        This is why Labour hasn’t “done anything” about Universal Credit and similar.

        They haven’t because they can’t.

        And this state of political impotence will continue until Jeremy Corbyn is replaced by a real leader.

        Mahershalalhashbaz Chushanrishathaim

        September 20, 2019 at 9:48 am

  4. 200,000 MORE BI-POLAR PEOPLE NOW IN WORK WITH THE DWP HELP ANYONE CAN FIND A JOB – OUR LATEST SOCIAL MEDIA FEEDS ARE ABOUT HOW WE ALSO GOT 100,000 SUICIDE RISK PEOPLE JOBS LAST YEAR WITH OUT SECTOR CHAMPIONS.

    THE DWP MOTO WORK CURES BI-POLAR, SUCIDE RISK & ALL MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES INCLUDING DISABILITY, WITH THE HELP OF THE DWP DISABILITY SECTOR CHAMPIONS.

    Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    September 19, 2019 at 12:54 pm

  5. DWP PRESS RELEASE:

    We are now turning every disabled person still living into a new system called The Smart Disability Sector where we can Smart Sector Disability. With the help of our Sector Champions we can all cure disability.

    Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    September 19, 2019 at 1:04 pm

  6. The UK Food Banks are run & controlled by Europe, once the UK is out of Europe with Brexit there will be no need for any more food banks. Also it is the same for Toilet paper in the schools. Europe has caused no toilet paper in school once the UK have control again there will be toilet back in the schools. Europe has caused 180,000 DWP State Sponsored Murders called Tory deaths.

    Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    September 19, 2019 at 1:15 pm

  7. Andrew Coates

    September 19, 2019 at 3:26 pm

    • Trust the local press to find a defender of this animal cruelty.

      “Bt her decision has been defended by the professional trainer who is helping to train her family’s new rescue dog.

      The collar supplies a small electrical pulse to keep a pet in check – and is used when other training methods have not worked.

      Woodbridge’s Steve Andrews has been working with Dr Coffey, her sister and her mother to help train their new rescue dog.

      E-collars, sometimes called shock collars, are due to be banned by the Department of the Environment (Defra) – where Dr Coffey was a minister until her promotion to the cabinet earlier this month – because of cruelty claims.

      Bill Lambert, Senior Health and Welfare Manager at the Kennel Club, said: “We are appalled to see any promotion and use of a shock collar, especially from a former environment Minister whose department funded research proving shock collars have a long-term, negative welfare impact on dogs and are ineffective training devices.

      “Even when used to deliver a low intensity shock, any electric collar must incite a degree of fear or distress into a dog in order to alter behaviour.

      “Devices that cause this, in the name of dog training, when so many positive training methods and devices are available, are entirely unnecessary.

      We, along with all others who care about the welfare of dogs, urge Defra to follow through with their promise to ban cruel shock collars and address this issue now.”

      Mr Andrews said e-collars were not cruel when specialist equipment was properly used.

      He said: “Some of these collars are crude with only a few settings. What we are working at here has 100 settings and we take great care to ensure they are properly set up. Therese’s dog responds on setting 11. She felt what that was like and could feel nothing. Therese didn’t feel anything until it was turned to 16 and that was very faint.

      “This is not cruel. Therese and her family are dog lovers doing the best for their pet. Without this collar it could never be let off the lead.”

      Mr Andrews said the campaign against e-collars, which was backed by the Kennel Club and the RSPCA, was misplaced.

      He said: “Some dogs can be trained with a clicker and doggy chocs. I train many dogs like that. But there are some that need this – it’s not cruel. Without this they would either have to be kept in kennels all the time or put down. That is cruel.”

      Jenna Kiddie, Dogs Trust’s Head of Canine Behaviour and Research, said: “It is both unnecessary and cruel to use these collars on dogs and we totally oppose it – they are not only painful but can have a serious negative impact on their mental and physical wellbeing.

      “A dog can’t understand why they are being shocked and this can cause them immense distress, with many dogs exhibiting signs of anxiety and worsened behaviour as a result.

      “Positive methods, using rewards such as food, are the most effective and kindest way to train your dog, so there is absolutely no need for owners to even consider the use of these devices.”

      A spokesman for Dr Coffey’s office said no one would be commenting on the report.

      Article from Beccles and Bungay Journal.

      https://www.becclesandbungayjournal.co.uk/news/therese-coffey-s-dog-has-collar-which-gives-electric-shock-1-6275917

      Andrew Coates

      September 19, 2019 at 3:35 pm

      • These shock collars can send a 6,000 volt shock to the unsuspecting canine wearing them; Coffey being a rained scientist must have realised how violent a punishment a shock of this magnitude actually is.

        https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-45320038

        What makes Coffey’s past behaviour all the worse is that she is now part of a government which considers shock collars so cruel they plan to ban them altogether according to Michael Gove.

        https://www.gov.uk/government/news/cruel-electric-shock-collars-for-pets-to-be-banned–2

        I feel that I should point out that psychopaths often begin their careers, sometimes leading to serial murder, by torturing domestic animals like cats and dogs. Should someone as cold and unfeeling as Coffey really be in charge of the Department or Work and Pensions which oversees state help extended to the elderly, sick, disabled, poor, vulnerable and those in need of support?

        What’cha reckon?

        Pritchard

        September 19, 2019 at 6:27 pm

      • My sister has a dog, a canine that everybody loves.

        It is very hard, very hard, to imagine inflicting this on him.

        Andrew Coates

        September 20, 2019 at 10:54 am

    • Electric Shock Collar soon to be issued to every UC claimant.

      Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

      September 19, 2019 at 7:44 pm

      • New DWP training rules.

        Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

        September 19, 2019 at 7:46 pm

      • I am surprised nobody had done a meme on this, yet…

        Andrew Coates

        September 20, 2019 at 10:53 am

      • I’d rather face a shock collar than fall prey to a DWP sanction. The shock collar only hurts for a second whereas a DWP sanction could have you in queer street for up to SIX MONTHS! You tell me which is the most cruel.

        Q

        September 21, 2019 at 9:15 am

  8. Our housing association has set up a team of 100 specialist advisers to help us with the switch to universal credit 😉 Wonder how much these non-jobs are getting paid since their housing officers are on over £40,000. It is an ill wind that blows nobody any good. It appears that some people are doing very well nicely out of universal credit.

    Bett and Jim

    September 20, 2019 at 7:31 am

    • Many people are going to need all the help that they can get when “migrating” to Universal Credit, although that must be one hell of a Housing Association to need 100 advisers to deal with the switch-over. How many houses do they manage?

      Yazz

      September 20, 2019 at 9:52 am

      • It is around about 1000 properties 😉

        Betty and Jim

        September 20, 2019 at 10:19 am

      • It does say it is one-to-one support though 😉

        Betty and Jim

        September 20, 2019 at 10:20 am

      • This sounds very fishy to me. I mean if that was true that would mean a specialist adviser assigned to look after ten tenants and that’s assuming that every single tenant will end up migrated to UC at the same time.

        WTF?

        That can’t possibly be correct.

        Yazz

        September 20, 2019 at 10:42 am

      • Hackney mental health charity Mind given £130,000 to help clients with Universal Credit applications

        A mental health charity in Hackney has been given a £130,000 grant to help people navigate their Universal Credit applications.

        https://www.hackneygazette.co.uk/news/hackney-mental-health-charity-mind-given-130-000-to-help-clients-with-universal-credit-applications-1-6282058

        ken

        September 20, 2019 at 8:12 pm

      • @Yazz, a whole team will descend when they get wind that you are moving to universal credit. This is how housing associations work. Range Rovers and expensive holidays all around for the ‘specialist advisors’. Beans on toast for the poor schmucks being moved on to universal credit.

        Ten Ant

        September 21, 2019 at 7:41 am

    • Talking of housing associations… yesterday i received a text that everyone in my block of flats would have had saying the 👿 housing association 👿 were aware of a man sleeping under the stairs and to call the 👿 police 👿 if we spotted him so they could deal with it , a couple of phone calls later i decided to take matters into my own hands . i have rather a strong maternal streak which gets me taken advantage of at times but yet again i decided i couldn’t just do nothing .. so this morning i went and woke the guy up with a cup of coffee ( put it in a plastic cup so at least if he threw it at me it wasn’t a mug) , long story short … he was just a lovely guy who had hit some shitty situations , i was able to send him to the right people to help and he went on his way with a towel, toothbrush, shower gel , some new socks and a couple of clean t-shirts in a bag i also gave him a brand new pillow and a duvet cover set just so he had something of his own in the hostel , i made him some breakfast and a final coffee we joked and i said when he was back on his feet and a millionaire to pay it forward – he said he would drop me a few quid in 😂 it seemed woefully inadequate and i wanted to do more but he was on the verge of tears saying i had done so much for him and i was the first person in a long time who had treated him like a human , lessons here # we are all just one shitty situation away from that # housing associations and the police are bastards

      Tracey C

      September 20, 2019 at 2:24 pm

    • Just more ‘jobs for the boys’ or since it’s a housing association, girls.

      Ten Ant

      September 21, 2019 at 7:35 am

  9. I notice the DWP are being very quiet about how the Managed Migration is actually going to take place.
    Will it be in groups of Jobcentres, as with the roll-out ? Group 1, 2, 3, etc. until they have completed the whole Jobcentre network ? Or are millions of people just going to get a Migration Notice through the post at the same time ? The current deadline for final transfer is 2023, so they have some time yet to complete it.

    Alan Turner

    September 20, 2019 at 11:35 am

    • Old age pensioners are also destined to get Housing Benefit in the form of a Universal Credit payment by 2023.

      Hypertopic

      September 20, 2019 at 11:41 am

      • When Housing Benefit is abolished pensioners will apparently get help towards housing costs paid directly to them via a thing, much the same as Universal Credit, called Pension Credit. Both the state pension and Pension Credit will normally be paid into pensioner’s bank accounts directly, every four weeks, just like UC. People who have retired and are receiving their state pension are not normally entitled to Universal Credit unless they have a younger partner who is.

        Not sure when Housing Benefit is for the chop.

        Anybody reading these words know?

        Alivie Michael Coy Christian Chance Vincent Zackary Kesler Worth Levi Dartanyn Bishop Quiton Caige Burns

        September 21, 2019 at 3:42 pm

    • Yeah…lot of silence on this. I heard it’s going to take the full 3 years to transfer everybody. But the DWP don’t want people to know this ? Sounds about right.

      Jack Dursley

      September 21, 2019 at 12:11 pm

      • I think UC roll-out is supposed be fully in with about 8 million claimants on the system and all legacy benefits abolished sometime during 2023. If history is anything to go by it’ll probably be later than this if indeed it really happens in full, as planned, at all.

        Alice Morgan

        September 21, 2019 at 4:26 pm

      • The completion date announced by the DWP for the rollout of Universal Credit and the abolition of the six legacy benefits it replaces is December 2023.

        Tim

        September 21, 2019 at 4:29 pm

    • @Alan Turner : Rumour in my Jobcentre that the DWP have been keeping quiet about how long the UC Migration is going to take. So as not to let the remaining JSA claimants . Which is still most of them, cruise up to the deadline on JSA. Under easier conditions.

      John T.

      September 23, 2019 at 10:22 am

  10. Council tax changes are proposed for those on Universal Credit

    People currently get different amounts of help paying for their council tax, depending on how much they earn. However this means that every time their income changes, for example on a zero hour contract, they need to be reassessed. The Council Tax Reduction Scheme currently changes every time someone’s Universal Credit changes by as little as a £1.

    https://www.gazetteandherald.co.uk/news/17915372.council-tax-changes-proposed-universal-credit/

    ken

    September 20, 2019 at 8:09 pm

  11. If Labour can oust Tom Watson, why not Jeremy Corbyn?

    Labour Are Disgusting

    September 21, 2019 at 7:32 am

    • It’s not Labour it’s the Momentum faction within Labour, a faux-party within the party.

      Gordo

      September 21, 2019 at 9:10 am

      • That is very true. #Labour First

        Dave

        September 21, 2019 at 11:04 am

      • We’re with you Tom. Don’t let them push you out ! #Progress

        John G.

        September 21, 2019 at 12:06 pm

  12. AUDIENCES in Scotland can see Ken Loach’s new feature film more than a month ahead of its general release. Preview screenings of Sorry We Missed You in Glasgow and Edinburgh will close Take One Action, the UK’s leading global change film festival. The tense drama, which depicts the effects of the gig economy on a Newcastle family, is one of six UK premiers to feature at the twelfth edition of the festival.
    Sorry We Missed You follows I, Daniel Blake, which starred stand-up comic Dave Johns as a man denied employment and support allowance despite his doctor finding him unfit to work.
    The multi-award-winning 2016 film went on to be discussed in Parliament and screened in 700 communities around the UK.

    Partly inspired by conversations Loach and screenwriter Paul Laverty had with members of the public after those community screenings, Sorry We Missed You is a devastating snapshot of the human cost of insecure work on one family. The tightly wound, unflashy film centres on the Turners, a four-strong family based, like Daniel Blake, in Newcastle. Ricky (Kris Hitchen) has had several casual jobs since losing his construction work – and the chance of a mortgage – following the run on Northern Rock and the financial crisis of 2008. A fiery grafter who declares he’d “rather die” than claim state support, he’s now renting with his wife Abby (Debbie Honeywood), a zero-hours carer who helps dozens of elderly and vulnerable people around the city with meals, medication and personal care.

    She works punishing split shifts from before 15-year-old Seb (Rhys Stone) and his younger sister Liza Jane (Katie Proctor) get up for school to after 10pm at night. Like the “latch-key kids” more familiar to the era of Loach’s 1966 TV play Cathy Come Home, Seb and Liza Jane largely look after themselves, sharing pasta meals from the fridge over videos of Seb’s street-art gang.

    Theresa May would have called the Turners “just about managing”. But a mortgage could be in sight again when Ricky starts his own business as a freelance delivery driver for a local fulfilment centre.
    The sale of Abby’s car to finance the required purchase of the van is only a temporary set-back, Ricky assures, confident his work ethic will soon reap rewards.
    But the delivery van is not the only cost Ricky must bear. When Seb’s teachers summon his parents for a meeting at school, Ricky doesn’t attend. Taking time off without securing a replacement driver incurs a fine of £150. As the depot’s hard-nosed boss Maloney (Ross Brewster) warns, missing delivery targets puts everyone’s job on the line. Customers will go elsewhere, based on the information recorded in each delivery driver’s handheld device. As Ricky learns later, those devices are very expensive to replace, regardless of circumstances. Meanwhile, Abby, now reliant on multiple bus journeys throughout her 14-hour day, has even less time with her clients and family. On a rare day off, she’s hounded on her phone to come to work.

    For anyone who’s ever worried how to pay the bills or is a member of the growing “precariat”, Sorry We Missed You feels like a horror documentary just one bad bit of luck away. At one point, Abby describes a recurring nightmare to her husband in which the family are sinking deeper and deeper into sand.

    Sorry We Missed You was informed by real-life cases such as that of Don Lane, the Dorset-based delivery driver who collapsed and died of diabetes in January 2018 after missing hospital appointments which would have seen him penalised £150 each time.

    Loach and Laverty talked with countless care-workers and drivers who wished to remain anonymous to protect their jobs. “I heard about a delivery driver who hadn’t had a day off in ten years,” says Laverty, who spent time with drivers getting to know their work. “What does that do to a person’s body, their soul? I spoke with one young carer who told me she had received 37 calls to come in on her your day off. Can you imagine what that makes you feel like?” Like Daniel Blake’s grappling with the DWP, chances are many can.

    Funding for elderly care in England is now a third of what it was before the Cameron-Clegg coalition government of 2010 decided it was the most vulnerable who should pay for the excesses of casino banking.

    Film Review

    September 21, 2019 at 8:22 am

    • Thanks for that, a must-see!

      Andrew Coates

      September 21, 2019 at 10:39 am

    • A lot of these delivery jobs are just workfare on wheels. High stress, low pay.

      Fred

      September 21, 2019 at 12:04 pm

    • I was fortunate to get the last remaining ticket for this at the New Zealand Film Festival. Ken Loach has done it again. Sorry we missed you is another masterpiece, a fierce, angry and unapologetic film about the zero hour contract and the devastating cost to so many people working in Britain today.

      The film tells the story of one family’s struggle to regain financial independence whilst working jobs with zero hour contracts and the stress and uncertainty this brings. We witness their family life become more and more toxic as both parents become exhausted and eventually lose their sense of dignity.

      Like most of Ken Loach’s films it’s graphic, brutally honest and difficult to watch at times. but told with real empathy. At one point in the film the lady next to me buried her head in her hands as she couldn’t bare to witness the struggle and humiliation facing the family.

      During another scene in the film the whole theatre burst into applause as the wife grabs the phone from her husband out of sheer anger at the way he is being talked to by his unempathetic boss and gives him a piece of his mind.

      The film doesn’t end on a happy note, there isn’t any way it for it to do so. It simply highlights that for many the struggle is both real and never ending and yet again you leave the theatre feeling upset and angry that such atrocities are allowed to happen.

      JS Stonely

      September 22, 2019 at 12:39 pm

    • The thing with universal credit like is that you can’t turn down these zero hour contract ‘jobs’. Too bad if you can’t drive or never learned to go a bicycle 😉 Outta luck for the jobcentre 😀

      Deliverwho

      September 22, 2019 at 12:47 pm

      • Damien Green, the chubby little chap who allegedly played with himself while viewing pornography in his office at the House of Commons, stated that the “gig economy” could fix unemployment by creating millions of new “gig” jobs. Trouble is when you don’t know how what work you’re going to get, when, where, and what you’d end up having earned at the end of the month your life is rendered insecure, your future uncertain, and you can’t make any plans not even from day to day.

        Very few people want to embrace such a future, especially long term.

        Which I think proves, even without his penchant for porn, that Damien is a wanker of the first order.

        Gig economy?

        Go shove it you baldy little tosser!

        Percy Noodles

        September 23, 2019 at 2:57 pm

  13. (cont.)

    Though the Turners’ grim tale seems simple, implicit is much of the destruction wrought by a government headed by a man who pledged to fix “broken Britain”. “It’s got this great big hinterland,” says the Scots screenwriter. “The financial crisis inflicted on the population, how some people are making fortunes while others are hanging on by the skin of their teeth, what happens to children without the support of their parents. What this all does to a family – even a strong family who love each other.”

    The problems raised by Sorry We Missed You are too complex to be solved by voting in a new government, moving elsewhere, joining a union, stopping Brexit or boycotting certain companies, says Laverty.
    Most delivery firms now use the same “cheapest, fastest” model and the trend for shifting costs and risks onto the worker is continuing across sectors from teachers forking out for books to taxi drivers having to buy the satnavs needed for their job.

    “We’re all steeped in this freemarket logic, whether Brexit happens or not,” says Lavery. “The questions I hope the film raises are what this economic system is doing to families, individuals, children, people’s health, the health of the planet.”

    He adds: “William Blake talked about ‘mind-forged manacles’. If you are steeped in a world where you are told this is the best, most efficient way of running the economy, that’s very powerful.

    “I think we need to loosen the manacles so people can reimagine how we can do things better.”

    September 28, Glasgow Film Theatre, 5pm, £10.50, £7.50 concs. Tel: 0141 332 6535. http://www.glasgowfilm.org.

    September 29, Filmhouse, Edinburgh, 5.45pm, £11, £9 concs. Tel:0131 228 2688. http://www.filmhousecinema.com takeoneaction.org.uk

    Sorry We Missed You is released in cinemas on November 1, cert TBC

    Film Review

    September 21, 2019 at 8:35 am

  14. Leaders lead….from the front, Mr. Corbyn. They don’t sit backstage and ‘stay neutral’.
    This is exactly what is wrong with the current situation in the Labour Party. Lack of leadership.

    Harry

    September 21, 2019 at 10:48 am

    • What if Lord Nelson had said ‘ I see some French ships… But I’m staying neutral ?’

      Jason B.

      September 21, 2019 at 11:55 am

  15. Ushanka the autumn winds are here,
    Blowing through the trees,
    Soon we shall be together again.
    Walking where we please.

    Norman Farnley

    September 21, 2019 at 10:50 am

    • How nice to see Russian Hat Poetry in this cynical age. Keep it up Norman !

      Justin

      September 23, 2019 at 10:14 am

  16. William Blake expressed his belief in the importance of the imagination by attacking what he called the “mind-forg’d manacles [of the Jobcentre].” Unimaginative thought imposes shackles on the human spirit. Blake believed that the outside, sensory world has no inherent meaning, but becomes meaningful through the contributions of the human imagination, thus his stance that reality is a construction of the human mind. Humans bring meaning to nature in the form of imaginative thought. However, Blake recognized the limitations that humans often place on themselves , limitations that are inflicted by the human mind. Self-imposed social and intellectual restrictions deprive humans of experiencing nature and the true human spirit. The “mind-forg’d manacles” represent Blake’s perception of self-limitation and the denigration of the human imagination.

    http://www.uh.edu/engines/romanticism/blakeessay2.html

    William Blake

    September 21, 2019 at 11:00 am

    • Some are born to sweet delight, some are born to endless night.

      Urizen

      September 21, 2019 at 4:21 pm

  17. Latest figures show Universal Credit will push Southwark tenants into £5.6 MILLION worth of rent debt

    Three years after Universal Credit first came to Southwark, the council is facing a rent black hole of £5.6 million as tenants are pushed into poverty, a new report claims.

    Universal Credit is still creating poverty and stress for those already on the breadline.

    https://www.southwarknews.co.uk/news/latest-figures-show-broken-universal-credit-will-push-southwark-tenants-into-5-6-million-worth-of-rent-debt/

    ken

    September 21, 2019 at 11:43 pm

    • @ken – These rent problems are only going to get worse. How are the smaller councils going to manage after all the cuts ?

      Harrison

      September 23, 2019 at 10:07 am

  18. It is funny to read about peeps whining on about the ‘bedroom tax’. You are lucky to be sat in a home with bedrooms that you don’t need. On benefits. In the middle of a housing crisis. You should be forced to put your bedrooms to good use. To take in immigrants for example. Nobody should be sitting in homes too big for their needs. There should be no empty properties. But don’t worry… change is coming. You won’t have a leg to stand on when you complain about ‘having to take strangers in’, you will be denounced as a ‘racist’ , someone who would willing allow human beings to remain destitute whilst you sit in your comfy over-sized houses. Change is coming. And soon.

    Ali

    September 23, 2019 at 8:05 am

    • Iain Duncan Smith has at least four spare bedrooms in his mansion.

      https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/bedroom-tax-iain-duncan-smith-1794517

      Can we hope that all of Iain’s spare bedrooms can be utilised to house destitute immigrants sometime in the future? And perhaps our own dear Queen should chip in and use some of her fifty-two bedrooms in Buckingham Palace to help solve the problem of homelessness?

      Thinking about it wouldn’t it be better to build several hundreds of thousands units of social housing?

      Fisher

      September 23, 2019 at 11:50 am

      • Building social housing nowadays is a non-starter. Social housing is allocated on the basis of ‘priority’ and no matter how many units were built given that there is an insatiable influx of ‘priority’ applicants if you were not a priority it would make no difference whatsoever to your situation. You can see Corbyn and McDonnell setting the unemployed to work building millions of social housing though – social housing that those building it wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance in Hell of occupying.

        Rafiqah

        September 23, 2019 at 12:08 pm

      • Social housing only has to be rationed and allocated by “priority” because there is far too little of it to meet demand: if enough social housing had been constructed to meet demand people wouldn’t have to queue for it and spend years on waiting lists until a tenancy becomes available. Labour AND the Tories AND the Con-LibDem coalition failed to oversee the building of decent numbers of council/housing association homes for decades and stood by while about a third (or more) of the available housing stock was sold off cut-price to its tenants. The CURE to the PROBLEM is to make far more social homes available for rent in order to meet the demand for such housing. The private housing market can not, has not, and will never meet the demand for affordable rented accommodation.

        Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrats are all keen now to allow local authorities to borrow to build.

        Better late than never.

        Fisher

        September 23, 2019 at 2:48 pm

      • Social housing follows the dictum of Parkinson’s Law in that the demand increases to satisfy the amount available. Building lots of social housing to clear a waiting list may have worked back in the 60s and 70s
        when the waiting lists were static. All building more social housing would do would create a greater influx of people seeking it. Like when the word got round. And then they have huge families which in turns creates more and more demand for social housing. And where are you going to build all this new social housing?
        Increase the density in our cities until we become like Hong Kong? Or are you going to build ‘new towns’ like Milton Keynes. You are never going to be handed the keys to a social housing home on demand. Because you would get lazy. You have to fight for social housing. And their is always going to be plenty of competition for social housing regardless of how many units are built. Easy to obtain social housing for the indigenous population does not fit in with successive governments models of capital, growth, cheap labour
        and upward pressure on house and land prices. If you really think that the government is going to build lots of social housing units for you to just walk into… dream on.

        Querishi

        September 24, 2019 at 7:46 am

      • You don’t half write some drivel. Parkinson’s law has nothing to do with housing and, in fact, is not really a “law” at all but an jokey observation made by Cyril Northcote Parkinson – “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion” – later cobbled into a pseudo-mathematical equation describing the rate at which bureaucracies expand over time. Pretty much everything you write, under a variety of aliases, is confused twaddle. To be honest you seem to me to be far too daft to argue with so I’m going to leave you to your nonsensical rants and hope you get something out of writing verbiage.

        Ta-ta.

        Fisher

        September 24, 2019 at 9:15 am

      • And who bought the housing stock, Fisher? Mrs T? No, it was council tenants, dyed-in-the-wool, Labour- voting socialists. Back then you could sell your council home, get re-housed, sell it, rinse and repeat. You could even buy your grandparents council house for them. Council tenants loved it as they rolled in the free money. The great council house sell-off was Mrs, T’s most popular policy by a long chalk, Many of them pissed their ill-gotten gains up against the wall on colour TVs, music centres and package holidays to Florida. But many off them used the proceeds to seed and kick-start their property portfolios and are now doing very well. It is the children of these greedy fuckers who are now complaining that there is no council housing available. You couldn’t make it up!

        What do you think would happen if more council houses were built (for the children of these greedy fuckers) and at some point further down the road they were offered to them in a fire-sale? Would the children of these greedy fuckers stick to the socialist principles 😀 and refuse to sell out? Or would they cash in and take the dirty dollar? We all know they would do exactly as their parents did.

        Which proves that the working-classes are their own worst enemy. They think short-term and don’t give a damn about the consequences future generations will suffer. It also proves, given the opportunity, that the working-classes, we, are all Tories, i.e. greedy bastards, at heart.

        Yalina

        September 24, 2019 at 9:57 am

      • Yeah, Labour would have the unemployed out on chain-gangs building public works and utilities that would end up being sold off to the private sector. One great big con.

        Bobbi the cleaner

        September 24, 2019 at 2:02 pm

  19. That was a nasty business directed at Tom Watson. Right out of order. But I see the whole Labour Party Conference has now descended into back-stabbing and arguments. What honest chance is there of a socialist government if they carry on like this ?

    Harry R.

    September 23, 2019 at 10:12 am

  20. “Labour must “get rid of bloody Universal Credit” and doing so will be part of its plan for government, John McDonnell suggested last night.

    The Shadow Chancellor appeared to confirm our reports from last week that Labour plans to scrap and replace the flagship Tory welfare reform in its entirety.

    Labour’s previous position was to “reform” UC, which is accused of driving families to food banks, rent debt and even sex work since it launched in 2013.

    But multiple party sources have said scrapping it, and replacing it with a fairer system, is now seen within Labour as the “direction of travel”.

    No solid, public announcement has yet been made at Labour’s conference in Brighton, but MPs had thought one could come from Jeremy Corbyn in the coming days.

    And on Sunday night Mr McDonnell told a fringe event: “We’ve got to give people security in life. So that has to be a proper safety net.”

    Mirror: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/labour-must-get-rid-bloody-20146260

    Andrew Coates

    September 23, 2019 at 10:21 am

  21. All that the unemployed would see from a Corbyn/McDonnell government is a ‘job guarantee’ i.e. a massive workfare programme backed up with brutal sanctions. There would be zero unemployed just like Nazi Germany under Hitler.

    Ubaid

    September 23, 2019 at 11:06 am

    • So basically you’re saying that reckon Labour will keep Universal Credit then?

      Fisher

      September 23, 2019 at 11:42 am

      • The unemployed are not going to get any easy ride under a Labour government if that is what you are thinking? It is Labour that gave us workfare, introduced the private sector (the ‘providers’), brought in sanctions…. A Labour government will guarantee you a ‘job’, or what is known as workfare, and if you don’t want to do it you will pay the penalty.

        Easy Rider

        September 24, 2019 at 11:26 am

  22. Andrew Coates

    September 23, 2019 at 2:54 pm

  23. “The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation.”

    ― Adolf Hitler.

    Thought for the Day

    September 24, 2019 at 8:54 am

  24. Boris Johnson through his puppy Jacob Rees-Mogg lied to the Queen in respect to the prorogation of Parliament. This was the unanimous ruling of the eleven Supreme Court judges. Hardly a surprise considering what a liar and how dishonest and incompetent Boris Johnson has been throughout his chequered life. One day somebody will write this ar5ehole’s biography and call it “Boris Johnson: The Prime Minister who lied to the Queen”. He should resign immediately but because the man has no moral compass or sense of decency won’t.

    What a scumbucket.

    Kevin Bee

    September 24, 2019 at 11:06 am

    • What happens if Boris resigns though? Another Tory party election contest? Corbyn becomes PM? A General Election?

      Emily T

      September 24, 2019 at 11:22 am

      • Boris has no moral fibre or mettle and won’t resign. A vote of no confidence will probably happen after October 31st after BoJo has to sent a begging letter to the EU for an extension, which he has said he won’t do, or refuse to send the letter and break the law again which is won’t being a coward as well as a liar. A general election would probably then be called sometime before Christmas, or a lash up government, made up from members of various parties, would take over temporarily without Jeremy Corbyn taking over as Prime Minister until a general election is held. (Labour is the only party who would allow Corbyn to take over as Prime Minister without an election.) BoJo could call a vote of no confidence in himself and run to be re-elected after pulling the plug on himself as it were! As far as I know no Prime Minister has called such a vote and led his party to victory in a general election under a “I called a vote of no confidence in myself and would like to be returned as Prime Minister even though both myself and parliament expressed no confidence in me”. With an incompetent and pathological liar like Boris Johnson, who seems not to know what the truth is, who the heck knows what the man might not be willing to stoop to.

        Kevin Bee

        September 24, 2019 at 12:01 pm

      • If he was going to resign he should have done so the minute he lost in the Supreme Court. At least it would look kind of ‘honourable’. But he didn’t. He is conveniently in New York.

        Amelia

        September 24, 2019 at 12:19 pm

      • Andrew Coates

        September 24, 2019 at 3:56 pm

      • Another chapter in the Tory’s little red book.They’ve torn apart the fabric of British society.

        If only the same level of scrutiny were given to benefit sanctions’.

        ken

        September 24, 2019 at 3:45 pm


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