Exclusion and life below the poverty line. 

Hi folks, I’m writing an extra blog in response to feedback given to me on my Facebook page and Twitter account. I put out the question ‘Would anyone like an extra blog per week, something a bit different to the posts about the demos’. The response was unanimous. A big yes, if I have the time so here it is. 
One subject that I am constantly reminded about is exclusion.

 I know that this will also be familiar to my readers also, but at times it can be blatantly obvious, and at other times not so obvious. 

Before I start writing further, I should explain my position to anyone that isn’t aware. I have no magic money tree, I’m just like you, like millions of people living in the uk. 

I’m a single parent, I live way below the poverty line and have had first hand experience of the DWP system and illness. LIfe isn’t easy for most of us, but I’m not complaining even though I should complain more. I have a wonderful daughter and amazing friends. At times I must try their patience. 
Exclusion comes in many forms, and anyone living in poverty wether it be relative poverty or absolute poverty will experience this, although the severity of it does differ. To put it bluntly the less money that you have, the less you can do. 

I hear friends talk about trips out, I’m sure that you do too, it’s lovely to hear about their adventures, but a the same time it serves as a reminder that apart from local free days out in reality its not an option. 
The  other week I had to pay for a school trip for my daughter. Parents will be familiar with this scenario. The children are excited about the prospect of a day out with their friends, whilst we go into a state of dread and panic worrying about how we are going to pay for this. Many children don’t go, their parents keep them at home. And the school system punishes the child for having time off school. They won’t get their 100% attendance award, a punishment on top of their missed day out. 
As an adult being poor also excludes you from trips to the nearest biggest town, clothes shopping, doing what I call ‘big shops’ yes, Peter Kay is correct in stating that we say these things. I also say ‘big light’. I’m a northern lass and proud of it. Bus fare in my area is very expensive, so the only option is to walk unless you are lucky enough to have a bike. 
Trips to the Cinema, or ‘Pictures’ as I still call it are totally out of the question, going out for a drink is also and having a meal in a restaurant is the stuff of dreams. And yes we do dream about being able to do these things. 
A trip to the Supermarket, if it’s in walking distance becomes an obstacle course in itself. For many people, especially those living in rural areas, there isn’t any choice in where they shop. So they time it for when the yellow stickers go on the food. Believe me it can be a challenge trying to get the bargains that have been reduced, but when you do you hold onto them like they are gold, afterall they can keep a family from hunger for the week. 

It’s not just about material things though, although they do matter. Alongside this comes the loneliness, the isolation and the knowledge that you are ‘different’ than others around you. Taking part in something positive to do can stop a person from spiriling down into the depths of depression. But we just have to accept that we can’t do these things even though we would like to. And small things do matter. 
Friends become fewer, opportunities become fewer and health often becomes worse. 

With a poor diet, illness often accompanies it. It’s no surprise that there has been a return of victorian illnesses such as Rickets in children because children just don’t get access to a varied diet, and the sunlight that’s needed to prevent this. 

Adults and children have to deal with illnesses such as depression, anemia, insomnia, hypothermia, malnutrition, anxiety and many more besides. Whilst the government is busy selling off the NHS to the likes of Richard Branson, the demand is getting higher. We won’t be able to afford medical insurance it’s not an option. 


Why am I writing this you may ask? Everyone must know all this? The reality is, no not everyone does know this. The Tory Party is aware of this but choose for their selfish reasons to ignore it and make it purposely worse. There’s no use in asking for them to be sympathetic. They re created this cruelty in a very conscious way. 

I’m writing this to raise awareness, for people to be a little more understanding of each other. 

The next time a child’s parent’s can’t pay a school trip, don’t criticise and moan about it, instead understand the reasons why they can’t pay. No parent actually wants to exclude them from a school trip, and if a child gets a subsidised place, good on them, don’t hold it against that child or parent. It takes a lot to admit to a school that they can’t afford to pay for a school trip. 

If a child arrives at school in a less than pristine uniform show compassion instead of criticism. Ask the school if they can start a school uniform clothes bank. Some schools already have these. 

If a friend can’t join you for a night out, or a trip to the cinema, don’t show off about it in front of them, nor should you talk about them behind their backs. Instead ask them how they are feeling and be a good friend. 

If a person is hungry show them where the nearest food bank is, or offer compassion. Compassion costs nothing. If you can buy them a sandwich then that might just make them feel human again. Giving someone hope will also do this. 

People shouldn’t be tossed aside because they supposedly dont ‘fit in’. Everyone is important, and so are their right to a decent standard of living. 

More and more people are excluded from housing, vulnerable people left on the streets to beg whilst low funded organisations try and help them, try to keep them safe and feed them. The government has completely absolved themselves from any responsibility, nor do they care about how many people die as a result. 
People are made to feel worthless, subhuman and unimportant by the DWP system of sanctioning and failed medicals which are still being conducted by the likes of Atos. People are dying everyday as a result, but the government just shrug their shoulders and look the other way. 

A WASPI lady committed suicide after the general election because she felt stressed, unworthy and unwanted. Isolated at a time when she should have been enjoying her retirement. Once again the government don’t care. 
On Friday I had to travel to Manchester, something that I don’t do as regularly as I used to. I had to use the public loos and I started a conversation with two young homeless women. They were lovely women, bright, bubbly and friendly. They told me about their life on the streets, and the difficulties they face every day. Both told me that they had been begging all morning and hadn’t got any money, they needed a pound so I gave it to them. They also needed a hairbrush so I gave them mine. I got hugs from them, and smiles that I haven’t seen for a long time. I couldn’t change their situation, but a little bit of kindness gave them hope that people do care. And thats all it takes sometimes. 
In an ideal world we would have a society that wouldn’t exclude anyone, where everyone would have a home, money in their pocket, food and have the support that they need. It’s called socialism and this country is crying out for it. 

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What is poverty? And does it define us?

This is a question that I get asked often. People ask me if I can define it. In reality  its very difficult to define. There are three definitions of poverty in common usage, those being absolute poverty, relative poverty and social exclusion.

Absolute poverty defined as having the lack of sufficient resources with which to meet basic needs. Relative poverty defines income or resources in relation to the average income. But how does poverty define us?

According to the Joseph Rowntree foundation there are more than a million people living in poverty in the UK. I’m sure that figure is lower than the actual figure due to the level of people finding themselves without work etc rising everyday. They say that 184,5000 households have experienced a level of poverty that has left them with no choice but to resort to charities for essential things and shelter. The Joseph Rowntree foundation also say that three quarters of people living in poverty go without meals and half cant afford to heat their homes. These are some very basic statistics, but how what does living in poverty mean to those living in poverty?

I live in poverty, I’m not ashamed to say it. I don’t think that it has ever left my side except for a very brief moment a long time ago. So I can say this out of experience. I live in an area that is one of the poorest in the country, and a lot of my neighbours live in some kind of poverty.

Poverty can be very restricting and isolating. It defines how you can travel and relate to others.   Socialisation is limited to mainly your local surroundings or your own home. Public transport is expensive and is often off limits. Walking distance is often as far as you can go. So you often only see your local area and your own home, and slowly you begin to isolate yourself. You might  stop talking to people because you feel ashamed that you are poor and you certainly don’t want to be reminded that you are. You avoid people and places, its easier that way because it numbs the pain. This very often starts a cycle of depression and illness, often from a very young age.

The media bombards the public with advertisements and television programmes promoting a richer, happier lifestyle. They also promote the scrounger rhetoric with programmes such as Benefit Street. Discrimination against the poorest in society has never been this bad. Names such as scrounger, fraudster, single parent, immigrant are thrown everywhere with such hatred and disgust. I see this a lot whist helping claimants, no one bothers to ask what their story is, they are given a label.

When you live in poverty debt becomes your worst enemy. High rents, the bedroom tax, council tax, sanctions, benefit delays, low wages all ensure this. Charity shops become your best friend that’s if you can afford them. Food and heating becomes a priority, often its a choice either heating or eating. Its a tough choice because both are equally important.

Poverty defines your every move, children grow up knowing no different but the gap becomes clearer the older they get. They will soon be growing up to accept name calling and discrimination, after all the media have done an extremely good job of turning neighbour against neighbour. People cant just snap out of it and find a job that doesn’t exist.

Everyday I’m reminded of the film Cathy come home. I have a daughter who lives with her partner and children in a privately rented house. The house is very damp, it floods all the time, but the landlord refuses to help. She cant move because she cant afford to pay the £1000 deposit upfront, she doesn’t have a guarantor and she owes rent from her previous sub standard flat which was a housing association flat. She manages, keeps the damp to a liveable level. She lives in relative poverty.  She says that she is lucky to have a home, and she is right, but no one should have to live like this. Sadly its not unusual, its commonplace but it shouldn’t be.

People are trying to get by, its not easy and the unemployed and the working are stuck in the same situation. I say that we will soon be back to the 1930s poverty levels, but I fear that it will be more like 19th century poverty levels. Poverty does indeed define us, we might try to deny this, but it has defined my life and it will continue to do so.

I urge the public to use compassion and kindness instead of hatred and discrimination. After all this can happen to anyone and everyone is three pay slips away from being in the same position.


 

 

 

A survivor of the system but no thanks to the DWP.

Last week I met a lovely man once again. I didn’t recognise him, and I had to look twice. The last time that I saw him he was very thin, he was hungry and very depressed. Why? The Jobcentre kept sanctioning him even though he had fully complied with his job search requirements. It had got that bad that he was very close to loosing his home and he was thinking of taking his own life. The DWP had taken every bit of hope away from him. He had nothing left inside him. Both myself and his girlfriend had given him some advice and he survived.

He sat opposite me, and I told him that I didn’t recognise him, his whole persona had changed. There was a spark in his eyes and he had put a lot of weight on. I asked him what had happened, and he told me that he himself had found a job. Timpsons the shoe repairers had given him a chance. He says that he didn’t think that he would have got the job, but they are a family company and don’t just employ someone because they tick all the right boxes on their C.V. They go off personality as well and strongly believe that giving someone a chance is the best thing that they can do. 

He started paid work. Not workfare he had done that before and it had made him Ill. Working for nothing on an empty stomach is nothing less than slavery. He says that he is treated like a part of the family now, and given so many opportunities to learn and grow more that he’s spoilt for choice. As a result he says he feels human again. I asked him what does that mean? And he explained.

“When I was signing on they made my life impossible. They put me on universal credit and my life wasn’t my own. I was on workfare full time and still had to look for work, I had to comply even though they kept sanctioning me. I nearly lost my sanity. Indeed I was taken into hospital once because I wanted to talk my own life. I couldn’t see the end of it. I didn’t deserve to be treated like that. I did everything that they said. But the DWP treated me like I was a disease they wanted to get rid of. I was hassled all the time and I didn’t have the strength to keep up. If this opportunity hadn’t have arose I wouldn’t be here now and that is a certainty. ”

He went on to say that life now was more positive. “If I hadn’t had received this opportunity I would be dead. Timpsons have literally saved me. They made sure that from day one they paid me properly and didn’t just pay me for a few days work for the week when I started because it was at the end of the month. They paid me for the full month. They didn’t take uniform allowances from my wages and they haven’t exploited me. I feel like I’m a part of the family. I will never work anywhere else. He went on to say that he has helped others who were in need whilst working. Customers sometimes come into the shop and talk about their problems. They don’t shoo them away, the company encourages them to listen and to help. I’ve now got my life back and it feels fantastic”

He added that his experience has traumatised him for life and he wasn’t sure that he would recover.

This man is a hero in my eyes. I will never forget meeting him again. And I cannot thank Timpsons shoe repairers for helping him like this. They give people a good, honest chance. 

As for workfare, it’s wrong and if you are in the mindset of thinking that it’s right then I encourage you to read this story again. It nearly caused him to end his life. This gentleman is a true hero. 

If anyone from Timpsons would like to get in touch with me to comment that would be fantastic. 

Also there is a scheme in my area which is ran by the local volunteering organisation. It’s called keep volunteering voluntary. They are encouraging local traders and charities to stop using workfare. Many already have. We need to spread the word that workfare is wrong. If you are looking to employ someone then put them on a paid work trial. Don’t use their hard work for free and then complain that they have an attitude as a result. That attitude could be because they are hungry, amd remember the next work fare employee could take your job. I’ve heard the words “well they are the workfare” being used. This is wrong and I am and Boycott Workfare are trying to change this. 

Please donate to help keep our campaign going. We work very hard at this and it has become more or less a full time job for me.

Don’t claim DLA claim JSA states Jobcentre worker to unwell lady. Striking Jobcentre workers and army recruitment tactics inside the Jobcentre.

I’ve been quiet for a while so many apologies for being away. Sometimes it just gets too much and last week was one of those weeks. I had to have a bit of time out and as a result I feel much better. When you are heavily involved with this type of work it can and does get to you. The injustice of it all gets too much. It seems like your fighting a lone battle, when in reality you aren’t. But you are stuck in a corner for a while screaming to be heard. 

I’m writing this on the day the some Jobcentre workers in Bolton are striking over their conditions whilst implementing universal credit. Whilst I fully sympathise and support them I can’t help to wonder why on earth aren’t they making a bigger noise about the way they are being forced to treat innocent people? They are also victims, indeed they are the bigger victims. Solidarity to those workers though. If I could be there I would be to show my support and to share the pain of the members of the public entering Jobcentres up and down the country. It’s a pity that my local Jobcentre didn’t see fit to strike… Maybe that’s a question that they would like to answer? 

Whilst handing out leaflets a very disabled lady came out of the Jobcentre. She was very upset and was close to tears. I handed her a leaflet and asked her what was wrong. She said that she suffers from a congenital medical condition. It causes her joints to unlock constantly and as a result she struggles to walk and depends on crutches and her friend to take her out in her car. She was obviously in a lot of pain and the struggle in her eyes was very obvious. She told me that she is on DLA but the Jobcentre had called her in. She showed me the letter, it was a compliance letter. The anger in her voice then became apparent. They had told her that she must come off her DLA and claim JSA and look for work. This woman is incapable of holding down a job. Why? Because she can’t sit down, she can’t stand up she can’t lift, she’s in constant pain and she survives on a mixture of very strong painkillers. She also is a regular attendee of the local hospital often spending nights in there and has to have operations etc. I told her not to come off her DLA, she has been awarded that because she obviously needs it. If we weren’t there she could well have done as they said. And that’s a very scary thought.. 

A man then walked out of the Jobcentre, he looked harassed and said to me “you’ve got to do something about the staff in there”. I asked him what was wrong and he said her went to sign on as usual and had complied with everything on the job search list. The advisor kept trying to trip him up and said ” if you ever fail to comply I will sanction you” with that he gave a smile… You know that sort of smile that’s half way between a smile and a sneer? He said it happens to him everytime he goes in and it feels like they want to sanction him every week. We advised him that he can change advisors, he said he would do.. But it isn’t right that they can be allowed to behave like this. The advisors that do should be challenged. 

We had the usual complaints of advisors being purposely rude to clients… There’s no need for it. They need to remember that if it wasn’t for them they wouldn’t have a job!!!

A member of the public was refused to be allowed to change his signing on time because he had a job interview…. Can’t win either way. If he doesn’t sign on his money gets stopped if he doesn’t go to the interview he gets sanctioned. It’s a loose loose situation. 

The other week we had the army recruiting in the job centre. Now you might think that this is ok, that’s a matter of opinion. However the tactics that they were using were shocking.. A member of the public enlightened us to what they were doing.. The officers that’s they sent to the job centre were junior members of the army and not qualified to recruit members…. The tactics that they were using went like this…. You aren’t going to get a job so you’ve got to join the army…. Now this is where I disagree. Joining the army is a personal choice often a vocation. You should never be forced into it, and this should never be allowed. Trading on the vulnerable to enrole.. What next compulsory signing up? Makes you wonder doesn’t it. 

A workfare provider happened to walk past our demo. She started to get very irate at the oldest member of our group, who works tirelessly to help others. She’s seen it all before but shame on this lady for her attitude. She was not willing to discuss any issues at all, she just kept repeating workfare is right, my company benefits from it. Of course they do… They profit by not having to pay a member of staff.. All I can say is that she lives in a totally different world than many people and didn’t have an ounce of compassion. Shame on her, maybe one day she will suffer like she makes those that slave for her do. Make no mistake it’s a modern form of slavery and needs to be stopped. Everyone deserves a decent days pay for a decent days work. Bring back properly paid work trials. They do exist but very rarely these days..also the number of people being employed after being on a workfare programme by the company they slave for is very very low.. We need to outlaw workfare. It does nothing to help, only to demoralise. It also is damaging the local economy. Less paid work, less people contributing to the local economy. It doesn’t make sense to anyone but a workfare provider.  

I run this blog on a shoestring and I would love to keep it going. Please donate to help keep our campaign going. We work very hard at this and it has become more or less a full time job for me.

Why do sick notes go missing?Aggressive G4S security amongst other issues.

Whilst I was handing leaflets out i was asked to go and speak to a man who was stood round the corner. This happens quite a lot because they feel that they can’t be seen talking to us.Why? The fear of sanction and discrimination by DWP staff members. The threat of a sanction is enough for anyone to comply with their wishes. So i went over and spoke to this man.
He was in a very agitated state, he was very articulate but also very angry. He told me that he had worked all of hi life and had had an accident requiring several painful operations on his knee.He had received a letter from the eSa department to remind him to send his sick note in, but they didn’t include an envelope. So thats what he was there for. He asked to speak to an advisor but was stopped by a G4S security guard. given an envelope and was told to leave the building. he was shocked, all he wanted to do was to speak to a front desk advisor.
He came outside with the envelope and realised that it was the wrong envelope. The G4S security guard had given him the wrong envelope.. so he questioned this and was welcomed with a tough thats all your getting response. We helped him but this left me with these questions;
G4S security guards are not trained benefit advisors and should not be handling any personal information or handing out advice. The are not fully trained security guards therefore have no right to do so. Why are they being allowed to do this?
How many sick notes go missing in this way? These payments are a lifeline for ESA claimants and it shouldn’t be happening.
Is this a tactic deployed by the DWP deliberately or is it simply the DWP allowing unqualified G4S guards dish out advice ensuring that mistakes are made and wrong advice given?
Answers on a postcard please, although I will be enquiring bout this and monitoring this situation.

A young girl with her mother stopped us. She was shaking with fear and close to having a panic attack. She is on ESA for severe anxiety and the Jobcentre have felt that it is right to force her into the Jobcentre for an interview. I looked at the letter and she did need to attend, however she was far too ill to go in on her own so we advised her mum to go in with her. She is clearly not ready for work. No one should have to feel this scared of a building and the people inside. Its disgusting and we need to stop this. The government have created two monsters. The DWP and Jobcentre plus. Both equally evil.
I hope that she managed to recover from this ordeal.

This week G4S decided to be rather aggressive and have it seems taken ten paces back in their attitude. A young woman rushed out of the building wanting to speak to us. She said that she was sat waiting for her appointment and a G4S security guard was shouting “Im going to snap the strings on that guitar if they don’t shut up” she said that he was very menacing in manner and she was scared of him. She said that she would make a complaint lets hope that she does. Threats of violence should always be taken seriously. Our crime was to be playing songs of peace on a guitar played by a woman who is no threat at all. Shocking.

Events this week.

Wednesday 5pm Market street manchester a demonstration in light of the budget. I will be speaking t this event and will be announcing my own budget.

Tomorrow (Sunday) Greek solidarity demonstration 1pm Piccadilly gardens Manchester.

11th July Manchester’s March for the homeless 12.00 Piccadilly gardens manchester.

If you would like to donate to this blog to keep it going my Paypal add is seercharlotte@gmail.com this is not just a few hours writing its become more and more full time as time has gone on and any donations are more than welcome to keep it going. Rather than have to put ads on here which Im against doing. Many thanks

Another pregnant lady sanctioned and an altercation with a PCS union rep.

Im late in writing my blog this week due to unforeseen illness, but here it is.
Thursday was certainly an eventful day. The weather was lovely for a change and we were all in good spirits. That was blighted though for reasons that I will explain.
The first incident occurred when a lady who was heavily pregnant informed me that both herself and her boyfriend had been sanctioned on their joint claim. The reason why? Because Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre had refused to transfer their claim to a Jobcentre nearer their home in Bury.They couldn’t afford the Tram fare to Ashton so got sanctioned. They had lived in Ashton but had since moved. Thankfully the had applied for hardship payments but these go nowhere when you have a child to support as well. I advised her on what to do and to say and she went into the Jobcentre. A little while later she returned after speaking to an advisor who had agreed to transfer the claim and lift the sanction. They will receive a proper payment the week coming. She said I don’t know if its because you lot are stood outside but they seemed nicer today than they have ever been. She also said that she had seen a different advisor this time. I hope that all goes well for them, she’s had very tough time and this certainly shouldn’t be happening.

Our next incident occurred a little while later. We were all in good spirits. A friend had travelled to meet us and he was playing a little music. We are not a violent group of people and we are peace loving. We are at the Jobcentre to help people and have done so since August. We know that the Jobcentre staff are under enormous pressure and some are unhappy in their work. Whilst I don’t condone their actions at all I understand the culture of fear that runs through their offices. If indeed they wanted to join us on our protests we would welcome them. They know this and were told this at a previous meeting that was held in the Jobcentre last year between ourselves and them.
We were stood outside peacefully holding our placards and listening to the music when a lady burst through the Jobcentre doors with a G4S security guard. She made a beeline for me and she was very aggressive verbally and with her body language. She informed me that she was a PCS union rep and did not like a placard that we were using. The placard concerned has been used nearly every week since August and no one has ever taken offence to it. By then a crowd of 5 people had gathered round peacefully to hear what she was saying. She went on to say that she did not like the fact that a member of our group had recycled a PCS placard picked up on the anti austerity march in manchester in 2014. What is ridiculous is the fact the most of the PCS logo was covered by a stick and there was already notes on it stating that it was not being used as a PCS placard. The G4S security guard was stood behind her about 2 feet away smiling. He certainly didn’t feel threatened by the situation. She went on to say that we cannot use this placard. We pointed out to her that it had indeed been used since August at this Jobcentre and Stockport Jobcentre and no one had taken offence to it. The member concerned said that he would tackle this officially, but she then became abusive towards him.
I myself am a union member and I have never seen behaviour like this before. After many many months of peaceful protests she had taken it upon herself to try and disrupt the peaceful relationship that we now have with the Jobcentre, the police and the PCS union.
She then went on to phone the police which was uncalled for. A PCOS attended as we were packing up. He informed us that she had thought our behaviour was threatening and intimidating!! We informed him that it was actually not the case and it was the union rep who was threatening and intimidating. We advised the police officer to go inside and advise her about her behaviour because it was her uncalled for actions that started this whole chain of events.
What is quite ironic is that 40% of Jobcentre workers wages are so low that they themselves will qualify to claim universal credit. They might need our help one day. I think that the union rep should remember this. She should also remember the resolution that was made at their recent conference. A motion was passed to;
Raise the profile of the Governments war upon the poor,
Encourage campaign activity with local groups on this issue,
Support initiatives that seek to undermine and expose the draconian sanctions regime that exists in Jobcentres,
Actively support staff who are targeted with discipliners and reduced box markings for using their discretion when considering decision maker and sanction referrals.
Surely they should be supporting us and showing us some kind of comradeship rather than being abusive? Maybe she thought better or maybe she wasn’t aware of her unions own actions. We certainly are.
We all left shocked that this had indeed happened, but determined and resolved to attend again next week as usual. We are there to help and support people and come in peace. Is that so hard for people to understand?

Events coming up next week.
Tameside against the cuts strategy meeting, Tuesday 12 noon. Meet in Ikea Ashton Under lyne to discuss our strategies and actions for the coming year. Please attend.

Please if you can donate to keep this blog going. I would like to carry on blogging. My paypal add is seercharlotte@gmail.com

Can I state that this persons attitude is not representative of the whole of the PCS union. Many of which I know and who also think that her actions were uncalled for. In times of austerity we need to support each other and not become divided.

No money, JSA claim not even processed yet forced to work for nothing.

This happens all the time now. Even before your claim is processed people are forced to go on work placements miles away from their local town. Here’s what happened.

A lady that comes along to our demos occasionally contacted me yesterday. She lives with her partner and both were previously claiming ESA. Their claims were stopped because they missed attending an interview because they went to a babies funeral. This baby was a family member and they were heartbroken. They had informed the Jobcentre who said that it was ok to go and that they had noted it. They hadn’t noted it. Instead their money was stopped. As a result their claim was stopped and they’ve been made to make a new claim. They were also persuaded not to claim ESA but to claim JSA. And to add insult to injury they were asked to produce the babies death certificate that’s terrible and is also against data protection rules. Disgusting but I wasn’t there to advise them, otherwise I would have told them not to do this. So here’s what the Jobcentre expect this lady to do from now on, bearing in mind she hasn’t recieved a penny yet. They have no money, I’ve been helping them with food. If this doesn’t make you angry I don’t know what will. This is in her words and she will remain anonomous out of fear of repercussions and respect for her privacy.

The Jobcentre are getting me to work for 6 hours a day all next week knowing full well that I haven’t had any money for over a month. I’ve asked them for bus fares and money for dinners and teas, but they have refused. They say that I’ve got to work from 7pm until 3am and I have to walk home in the dark on my own. It’s too far to walk it’s more than 2 towns away. They have also told me that I’ve got to go to another Jobcentre in another town which again is too far to walk to. This is for a work experience open day. They said that it’s not mandatory but if I don’t attend then they will see it as I’ve turned a job down so will sanction me. Unless they sort the bus fare out I can’t go. How can I? I don’t have any money and it’s too far to walk to. There’s not a lot that I can do. I feel so fed up, I’m not a scrounger I’ve always worked until I got ill.

This is terrible. She hasn’t recieved a penny yet is being punished for being poor. They know that she hasn’t got any money but they choose to send her to job centres and work placements that they know she can’t get too. It’s an old trick now, a good way of getting the unemployment figures down.

I know that this is wrong, I know that this must stop, but to get this whole regime to stop we as members of the public need to start standing up and say that this is wrong. We aren’t going to put up with this anymore. But people won’t. Why? Because they are scared, because they read the Murdoch press that demonises the poor to such an extent that they are seen as the enemy when the real enemy is this government.

The BBC want to make a new programme based upon the hunger games…. Britains hardest worker. Pitching working poor people against unemployed poor people against each other. Poverty porn taken to a whole new level. I have already boycotted the BBC and I urge you to do so as well. We are not objects to laugh at, we are living breathing human beings that have feelings and emotions. We are not animals in a zoo to be looked at and laughed at. In the old days the rich used to pay to go and visit prisons as a day out to look at the prisoners insode suffering. This is much the same.  And for anyone reading this that says it’s ok, remember that everyone is only 2 payslips away from being in the same situation. We need to stop this trend of poverty porn, programmes that mock the poor. Let’s make them so unpopular that they stop making them. We can do this.

Remember the people have the power, we are many they are few.

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