Ipswich Unemployed Action.

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Archive for the ‘Food Banks’ Category

Benefits Sanctions Return.

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A survival guide to benefit sanctions | Advicenow

This story appeared recently.

the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), who count a number of Jobcentre workers among their members, fears that this could also lead to a rise in the number of benefit claimants who are subjected to sanctions.

Requirements placed on benefit claimaints prior to the pandemic meant that vulnerable people could see their benefit payments for failing to adhere to strict and often unreasonable criteria.

This includes people who saw their benefits stopped or reduced for being a few minutes late for an appointment, due to travel issues, or missing a meeting due to being in hospital.

These sometimes draconian rules were temporary suspended during the Covid-19 pandemic, but are now being slowly reintroduced as the country gradually recovers from the pandemic.

Today we learn:

Thousands of people’s benefits cut by DWP sanctions in Birmingham and Black Country

Birmingham Live.

The financial penalties are imposed on those claiming Universal Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment & Support Allowance and Income Support.

Thousands of people across the West Midlands have seen their benefits cut by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Sanctions have been imposed on claimants in the Black Country boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell, Sandwell, and Walsall as well as in neighbouring Birmingham and Solihull.

These are penalties when the DWP says someone has failed to stick to the rules of a benefit claim such as by missing a work coach appointment, training course or job interview. Others are for reasons such as being late to sign on for Jobseeker’s Allowance.


But there have been cases where claimants said it was not their fault. A former Birmingham bus driver was sanctioned after he missed the DWP’s online notifications of appointments because he could no longer afford his home internet service when he lost his job.

Between April 2019 and October 2020, statistics show that 4,899 UC recipients were sanctioned in Sandwell, 4,172 in Wolverhampton, 4,039 in Dudley and 3,796 in Walsall.

By far the most Universal Credit sanctions were in Birmingham where 22,632 claimants had money docked as a punishment.


A further 2,241 UC recipients were penalised in Solihull borough.

See: A survival guide to benefit sanctions

This guide will help you to plan ahead to avoid a benefit sanction where possible, and if not, will help you to work out what to do about it. This guide is for you if you want to avoid getting sanctioned, work out what to do about a benefits sanction, or understand more about how the benefit sanctions system works.

Written by Andrew Coates

May 4, 2021 at 3:18 pm

Warning about the impact of cuts to Universal Credit.

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The National Government of 1931 cut benefits of insured workers by ten per cent.

I mention this because it was something that people, including my Glaswegian father,  remembered for years afterwards, Glasgow was of course on the places heavily affected by mass unemployment during the depression.

The Covid pandemic has had enormous economic effects as experts in the bleeding obvious say.

Specifically,

The number of people being made redundant in the UK is rising at the fastest pace on record as the second wave of Covid-19 and tougher lockdown measures put increasing pressure on businesses and workers.

Unemployment has hit the highest level for four years, while millions more workers have been placed on furlough. Although the jobs crisis has not been as bad as feared earlier in the pandemic, the government’s independent economics forecaster – the Office for Budget Responsibility – expects the jobless rate to more than double from pre-pandemic levels to 7.5% this summer after furlough ends, representing more than 2.6 million people out of work.

The UK’s Covid-19 unemployment crisis in six charts

This is from the East Anglian Daily Times, yesterday.

120% increase in Universal Credit claimants

The number of claimants for Universal Credit in Babergh and Mid Suffolk has increased by 120% amid the fallout from coronavirus – with a tsunami of extra demand expected.

Citizens Advice figures presented to Babergh and Mid Suffolk district councils’ joint scrutiny committee on Monday revealed that Universal Credit claimants had gone up by 119% in Babergh and 122% in Mid Suffolk compared to December 2019.

Today the story about the looming cut to Universal Credit continues,

 

New Fabian Society research finds that over 700,000 people in working or disabled households are to be pulled into poverty by universal credit cuts. 

The report shows how the cut to universal credit will reduce the living standards of households in many different circumstances:

  • Households with a disabled adult will be hit by 57 per cent of the cuts (£3.7bn per year)
  • Families with children will be hit by half the cuts (£3.2bn per year)
  • Households where someone is a carer will be hit by 12 per cent (£700m per year).

Only 13% of the savings will come from non-working, non-disabled households.

 

New research has found that 95% of those who will be pushed into poverty by the cut to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit planned by Rishi Sunak this year are in working or disabled households.

Following the publication of the Fabian Society report Who Loses? today, supported by the Standard Life Foundation, the Labour affiliate has said the £20-per-week reduction to the benefit “raises fundamental questions of justice”.

Analysis found that 87% of the cut, £5.5bn, will fall on working and disabled households, while half, £3.2bn, will hit homes where someone is in work. Households with someone in employment will make up 65% of all those pulled into poverty.

Commenting on the findings of the report, Andrew Harrop warned that scrapping the £20-per-week uplift, introduced to help people cope with the pandemic last year, will “overwhelmingly punish working families and disabled people”.

The Fabian Society general secretary added: “The Chancellor’s planned cut will strip £1,000 per year from six million families and plunge three quarters of a million people into poverty.

“Some politicians like to pretend that social security is just for the work-shy. But the reality is that millions of working households need benefits and tax credits to make ends meet, as do disabled people who are out of work through no fault of their own.

“If ministers are considering a few months’ temporary extension to the Universal Credit uplift, that just isn’t good enough. The 2020 benefit increase must be placed on a permanent footing.”

The Chancellor introduced the increase last March. It is not available to those on legacy benefits: child tax credit; housing benefit; income-related employment and support allowance; income-based jobseeker’s allowance; income support.

It took the standard rate for a single claimant on Universal Credit for those over 25 from £317.82 to £409.89 a month. The extra support, worth over £1,000 annually to each household, is currently set to be withdrawn in April.

The paper published today shows that people who are not expected to be job hunting – those already in work or disabled – will be the main long-term victims of Sunak’s insistence on scrapping the uplift.

Written by Andrew Coates

February 17, 2021 at 10:59 am

Food Banks and Universal Credit.

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Image

Queuing for a Soup Kitchen in Glasgow.

 

 

xclausx signals this.

When exactly did Food Banks become an established part of life in the UK?

In theory social security was meant to cover people’s basic needs, with enough money to get what you need to eat as a part of benefit levels. The welfare state is based on rights, a kind of universal insurance, but also a a minium protection for all,.

There are countries without a welfare state, and those with such a small cover for those in need that food provision is the principal last resort for the poor, working or not. ” In the US the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal nutrition program. Known previously as “food stamps,” SNAP benefits can help you stretch your food budget if you have a low income. SNAP (food stamps), D-SNAP, and WIC for women, infants, and children. “

That said, people have fallen through that net for a long time (dole is very limited, and can simply come to a complete end after a fixed time), soup kitchens, have been part of the US landscape for decades.

The idea is that people should succeed if they merit it. Real failures, ‘losers’ as they call then, should have to reply on the generosity, if they can get it,  of strangers. Or go to the gutter. If really genuinely unfortunate the kindness of charity is available,

The world’s first food bank was established in the US in 1967, and since then many thousands have been set up all over the world. In Europe, which until recently had little need for food banks due to extensive welfare systems, their numbers have grown rapidly since the 2006 and even faster since the global economic crisis.

In the UK, traditionally food hampers have been given out to the elderly and vulnerable members of communities at Harvest festivals and at Christmas but all year-round hunger has been a prominent issue since 2007 and has dramatically increased since 2011. Most, but not all, UK food banks are co-ordinated by The Trussell Trust – a Christian charity based in Salisbury which serves as the UK’s only food bank network. The Trussell Trust was established in 2000; in 2004 they only ran two food banks but as of August 2012 a massive 252 were being operated.

In the UK, a food bank is not a “soup kitchen”. Whilst the majority of food banks do give food directly to the hungry it is done by the issue of a voucher system which is issued from a third party. Soup kitchens can be accessed by the hungry without the intervention, assistance or referral of any professional body.

The History of Food Banks

Trump did this at the end of 2019,

Hundreds of thousands of Americans who rely on the federal food stamp program will lose their benefits under a new Trump administration rule that will tighten work requirements for recipients.

The move by the administration is the latest in its attempt to scale back the social safety net for low-income Americans. It is the first of three proposed rules targeting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as Snap, to be finalized. The program feeds more than 36 million people.

The plan will limit states from exempting work-eligible adults from having to maintain steady employment in order to receive benefits.

Trump admirer (“Jacob Rees-Mogg MP says he would vote for Donald Trump” and Brexit fanatic Jacob Rees-Mogg, now Leader of the House of Commons said in 2019 that,

The voluntary support given to food banks is “rather uplifting” and “shows what a compassionate country we are”, Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has said.

He told LBC radio the only reason for the rise in their use was “that people know that they are there”.

..

“To have charitable support given by people voluntarily to support their fellow citizens I think is rather uplifting and shows what a good, compassionate country we are,” he said.

“Inevitably, the state can’t do everything, so I think that there is good within food banks.

“The real reason for the rise in numbers is that people know that they are there and Labour deliberately didn’t tell them.”

Thérèse Coffey agrees,

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey has described food banks as the “perfect way” to help the poor.

 

The Honourable Lady is right to praise volunteers at her local food bank who support vulnerable people in their area.  The Honourable Lady is right to praise volunteers at her local food bank who support vulnerable people in their area.

“Marrying the two is a perfect way to try to address the challenges that people face at difficult times in their lives.

“The Hon. Lady will be aware of the work that we have been trying to do with the Trussell Trust, and I am pleased to say that we will also be having a roundtable of independent food banks to understand how we can help them and their customers to move forwards.”

You have to say that if Universal Credit is such a success, why on earth do we need these providers? Do we want to a society, a Trump utopia, where the poor dutifully queue for food? What about rights and equality, the right to a minium decent living standard for all?

Trump has gone. His fellow national populists in the UK should be booted out..

But now this is what people are saying,

https://twitter.com/jrf_uk/status/1359108381710163969?s=20

Here is what Moggy is concerned about today:

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

February 11, 2021 at 4:41 pm

Food Banks: Demand Rising and Rising just as Food Supply Crisis Looms.

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What food banks are crying out for this Christmas – the items you can donate and how to do it - Mirror Online

Demand Keeps Growing.

 

In our town there is usually a queue outside Gregg’s in Upper Brook Street.

Just a few metres away there are, most of the time, people begging.

Grazia today,

Food banks across the UK have seen a 47% rise in need during the pandemic, according to The Trussell Trust, a charity that supports a network of more than 1,200 food banks, including this one. Between April and September, their food banks provided more than 1.2 million emergency food parcels – over 470,000 went to children. And their figures are just the tip of the iceberg.

We Want To Make Food Banks Extinct, But This Year They’re Busier Than Ever

This is worth reading;

 

COVID-19: Sainsbury’s warns of fruit and veg shortages if freight chaos not solved within days

Now with the real prospect of food shortages, which will affect everybody,  this toss-pot is saying this;

Here’s a suggestion for Xmas Presents.

Image may contain: text that says "Christmas tip: Give the Brexiter in your life an empty box on Christmas morning and tell them it's full of sovereignty. See their little faces light up!"

 

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

December 21, 2020 at 11:24 am

Food Bank Britain Faces Bleak Winter.

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Image

 

Food banks report huge surge in demand for food parcels amid Covid pandemic

This is no surprise.

Most things like this you can see if you care to look, right bang in your area (obviously not in IDS’s manor).

As this Blog has mentioned there is a queue of people outside the Seventh Day Adventist Church in  this area waiting for food on a Sunday.

This is outside of the main local Food Bank network. FIND foodbank

It is just a lot more visible to anybody in the centre of the town.

Trussell Trust reports that it has already helped more than a million people affected by the Covid pandemic.

More than a million food parcels have been handed out families and individuals in crisis since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic earlier this year, according to new figures from the UK’s largest food bank network.

The Trussell Trust, who operate more than 1,200 food bank centres, says it has helped to support over 1.2 million households who have been negatively affected by the economic fallout, caused by the outbreak.

It includes 470,000 food parcels given to parents to feed their children, a 52% rise on last year, and is equivalent to 2,600 food parcels for children being given out every day since the start of the pandemic.

There is also an article by James Bloodworth which is really really worth reading:

Why the poor eat poorly

The Government has U-turned on free school meals. But moralising about people’s diets won’t help

BY 

 

When I was researching a book on low-wage Britain, I stumbled across an article in the Daily Mail about a woman who managed to survive on £1 a day. “Frugal Kath Kelly, 51, ate at free buffets, shopped at church jumble sales and scrounged leftovers from grocery stores and restaurants,” ran the story. “She even collected a staggering £117 in loose change dropped in the street.”

The story was written in admiring tones — Kath Kelly was presented as a sagacious and resourceful example to the poor. The underlying message was that the lower orders were feckless and stupid. Instead of sourcing and preparing healthy ingredients, they chose to plonk themselves in front of a television set and inhale pot noodles and multipacks of crisps.

 

…..

For those on low wages or benefits, poverty is the thief of time. Being poor invariably consists of countless hours spent waiting around for public transport, bosses, landlords or public sector bureaucrats. And that’s before one adds up the additional time it takes to care for a family. Even if it can be done relatively cheaply, preparing a healthy meal invariably takes longer than putting a pizza in the oven.

….

We no longer dictate the food those on unemployment benefits must consume (though the argument that we ought to is a frequent saloon-bar trope). But a peculiar moral tone to our conversations about food persists. This is not confined to one political tribe. Nowadays liberals too are often heard laying down pious strictures as to what the poor should eat and drink. Sugar taxes have been introduced and junk food advertising is set to be banned before the 9pm watershed. Newspapers such as The Guardian have called for the government to go even further in terms of regulating what people eat.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

November 12, 2020 at 11:03 am