Today at our demonstration I was approached by a young woman who had a baby with her. She was clearly distressed and she had a very sore black eye. I asked her what was wrong, she was quite literally a bag of nerves. She went on to tell me that she had just escaped from the clutches of her very violent boyfriend. The police had to rescue her from her home. She left with her baby, his clothes and the pram. She was shaking. She is now staying at the local women’s refuge, a haven for women escaping violence.
She should be able to recover now, you would think. No she couldn’t . She went on to explain that she had previously been attending a Jobcentre in another town, and was supposed to attend an interview at that Jobcentre. She couldn’t attend. Why? Because it’s the town where her ex partner lives and she has to keep away due to the risk of violence to her and her baby. She did the right thing and phoned the Jobcentre up, and they agreed on the phone that she didn’t have to attend… But they stopped her money.
She phoned the DWP up on their expensive number and they informed her that she was sanctioned because she didn’t attend. So that is why she was at this Jobcentre today. She wanted advice, I gave her some advice and a leaflet and she went inside the Jobcentre. This is shocking. The poor woman has gone through hell and back and is now paying the price for escaping. I hope that she is ok and manages to heal.
This made me feel sick to the bone. I had to walk away for a minute to compose myself. I really want to stop this. One day perhaps I will get the chance.
A man that I speak to on occasion walked over to me and started chatting. He’s homeless and has problems, but he’s a nice bloke and I always take the time to speak to him. Addiction is an illness and should be treated as such. He was a bit angry today. Our local council has cut their funding to the homeless organisation in our town, amd in a small town nearby. I had heard word of this last week, so was prepared. He was upset, he couldn’t understand why they would do this. I agreed I said neither do I. He said there’s nothing more important to him and what would he do now? I told him that I would do my best to help. If I ever get elected this would be my ultimate priority.
There are no real homeless shelters in Tameside. There’s a few drop ins and foodbanks but nothing at all to give them a bed for the night. They have to travel to manchester to get help, and that’s not easy. My local authority doesn’t have any duty of care towards the homeless and neither do they recognise the real level of homelessness in the area. I’m sure they really know but don’t like to admit it.
Another man walked over to me. Now he was angry. He was told to use a computer, but physically couldn’t do it. The DWP had put him on a course for a day but he still couldn’t do it. We gave him the appropriate advice, and he went in for his appointment. A little while later he came out. The Jobcentre had offered him a job for £2.47 a hour. Way below the legal wage. He’s forced to do this, if he doesn’t then his money will get stopped. Workfare is wrong and that’s another issues that I want to stop.
Many thanks to Boycott Workfare for all their hard work on this.
This has left me feeling rather drained. I just don’t understand why those in power want this suffering. It hurts my heart to see people in pain like this. One day I might be able to change this. If I get elected I will do. And that’s a promise. If I don’t get elected I will also do my very best. I want change for the people in our country. Today is ST George’s day but I don’t feel like celebrating. The country that I love is hidden away, lost behind the darkness. But I will find it and bring it back to life.