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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100,000 strong march in Manchester. And a visit to Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre from Natalie Bennett Green Party leader. 

On Sunday I marched alongside 100,000 other people to protest about the Tory Party’s war against the poor and the audacity that they have holding their annual conference in Manchester. 

It was an amazing day. I regularly take places on marches and did join the last march that was held when the Tory party came to town. It’s very important for us to let them see our disgust at them being there. 

Manchester city council is a labour controlled council and the Tories do like to come and rub our noses in it. I also suspect that there is an element of coming to gloat, to see what damage they are doing and to remind us of who is “boss”. The arrogance that they have us astonishing but not unexpected. Whilst they engage in childish name calling and jeering we still remain respectful with our heads held high. Folk aren’t happy and they can see this. 

We held  the big March on Sunday then the fantastic DPAC let their presence known yesterday. This group consists of very disabled people and volunteers who take them to events. I am in awe of this group of amazing people. Today there was a blocking of the area near the Tory party conference centre by people campaigning on behalf of the NHS. Mostly doctors, nurses, medical students and campaigners. Again amazing work. 

Today Natalie Bennett attended Ashton under lyne Jobcentre to show her support of our campaign which has been constant now for 14 months. Her speech was fantastic and regardless of political persuasion it was great to hear. We needed the morale boost. We work very hard campaigning and to be recognised for that was great. Her support is much needed. 

I invited the local press and our local Labour Party but not one attended. One labour councillors stood across the road for a few minutes but refused to stand with us. We are supposed to be in unity at this moment in time to fight against this oppressive government. I suspect work still needs to be done within local authorities. Thank you to local Labour Party members who couldn’t attend but have shown their support.

I also invited the local press to attend. They never showed up either. Very strange. But we are used to that. 

After a great weekend and an extra day outside the Jobcentre we are tired but it is all worthwhile. The support from the claimants inside the Jobcentre was great. They were listening to Natalie speak and felt supported. At one point they wanted us to be louder but we were unable to be. 

We will continue with our weekly demonstrations outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre. Our demonstrations are a political anyone can join us as long as they are not violent or abusive. Please come and join us. 

Thanks to everyone for attending and showing your support. 

We are getting low on leaflets so any donations would be most gratefully received.

Many thanks to everyone who has sent their best wishes to my daughter. She has had her biopsy operation and we are now awaiting the results of this.  

    
    
    
    
    
 

Today’s Morning Star article.

Heres a photo of today’s Morning Star article. They missed out our big group photo so I’ll post it. Thank you to everyone who supports us it means a lot. 

   

  

 

Please donate to keep our campaign going! We aren’t financially supported by anyone so every donation really helps. This has become more like a full time job to me! 

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.

Many thanks

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

1,743 jobs applied for…. and still not good enough.

Yesterday was the day of our weekly demonstration outside the Jobcentre. We look forward to Thursdays because we know that it is the one day that we can make a difference. We have become quite well known now, and people pop along to say hello and to get advice.

We weren’t sure of how the atmosphere would be this week. We had the devastating election results and deep inside I thought that the people using the Jobcentre would be very downhearted. I was right. There was lots of frustration and anger yesterday, people holding their heads down as they walked in. They didn’t want to be noticed, and the atmosphere wasn’t brilliant. Their last hope of freedom from the tyranny that they are undergoing had gone. Knowing that we are going to have to undergo five more years of this is perhaps more than some can take.

One man stopped and spoke to us. He had applied for 1,743 jobs in a few months. The Jobcentre had told him that this wasn’t good enough.. why? Because only a few potential employers had emailed him back to tell him that he wasn’t successful. Of course this wasn’t his fault, but the Jobcentre in their infinite reason think that it is. The poor man was at the end of his teather. He said that all he wants is to get a job. He said that he remembered the old days when potential employers used to reply to your job application to tell you if you were successful or not. Though days are long gone. A few potential employers send out an email, but to most even sending out a standard acknowledgement email is much too much effort. People are far too disposable these days. A big thanks to the employers that do actually recognise their Job applicants.

A man stopped us and told us that what we need to get this government out of power is another Oliver Cromwell. Whilst I understood what he meant I know thats not possible. This government will try and get rid of any loophole that enables anyone to protest and campaign against them. I noticed that the snoopers charter is one of the first bills that they want to pass through parliament. Also the stopping of protests. I don’t think the public will let them get away with this. Well not lightly anyway, some of us will oppose this.

This got me thinking so I did a bit of research into the levels of benefit fraud. Just because Im sick of the demonising of the poor and immigrants. We get blamed for everything.

The total cost of benefits and pensions £180 billion.

New impact and benefit pensions £25 billion.

Tax fraud £15 billion

Unclaimed entitlements £17 billion

Benefit fraud £1 billion

Don’t you think that the tax fraud should be dealt with as a matter of great importance? i do but you can bet Cameron and co will not deal with it.

Lets put an end to this poverty prejudice that has taken over this country. Most people forget that whilst watching these terrible tv programmes and reading the gutter press that the could be next. Cameron has a list of his next targets and he’s ticking this list off one by one. He’s confident that he can demonise and punish the poor to such an extent that they won’t be able to fight back.

So lets challenge him. Stop watching these programmes, stop buying Murdoch empires newspapers. Stop funding and enabling this Tory party dictatorship to destroy the poorest and most vulnerable like never seen before.

Remember the people have the power, theres more of us than there is of them. Be kind and not judgement to those suffering.

Where did we go wrong? Why has starvation, suicide and poverty become the norm? More sanctions.. sanctions kill.

As you know every week we hold a demonstration outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre. We believe that the cruel sanctioning and the cruel benefit reforms that are affecting thousands of people up and down the country everyday. Once you start hearing the real stories and the way that they are affecting people in your local community you cant help but feel their pain in some way. Sometimes we cry whilst we are being told of a persons death, sometimes we go home and cry. Today was one of those days. I woke up wanting to change things, but sadly realised that I cant change much apart from peoples minds once they read my blog. I opened my emails and read some stories that have been sent to me, They want their news to be shared but sadly not always their names. You see they feel victimised already and don’t want to be persecuted anymore. Here are a few of their stories. Please read and share.

My son who has Asperger’s but is high functioning was sanctioned for staying at his girlfriends house for 1 night, she lives a hour away. He was always available for work, always contactable and fulfilled his job search obligations. He was told that he wasn’t allowed a break from home and should have submitted a holiday form!! He only mentioned the overnight stay off the cuff he didn’t realise that he wasn’t allowed to stay out for one night. He was told by telephone after the appointment that he would loose a months money, As a result he now has to travel 14 miles a day on a bus to sign on everyday. This is not helping him to find a job. He has a disability advisor but he is treated like a person without issues.

I was diagnosed with COPD four years ago. My condition has got worse and I’m down to 20% lung function and I’m unable to walk 100 metres. I have trouble climbing stairs but ATOS has declared me fit for work every year. I’ve won two appeals to get my ESA reinstated. I was placed on the work programme under WRAG and last march I was sanctioned for failing to attend an interview. I live alone, had no one to phone on my behalf and had an abscess the size of a golf ball preventing me from speaking. When I tried to call they hung up on me. I filled out the relevant forms and was sanctioned for three months. I was threatened with eviction until I went to my local housing and declared my zero income status. I had to claim JSA until my appeal and was told again that I was fit for work. It didn’t matter about my obvious disabilities. They ruined my life.

My sister had an appointment for a Saturday morning when they wernt open. She went doen anyway, the building was all shut up and she took photos of it. They said that they were open for appointments but had to phone to get in. No number was given, no notice was up to see this and no one was there to unlock doors. She was sanctioned. How can this be right?

These are just a few of my emails. This government are committing crimes against humanity on a daily basis and we need this to stop. Please help me and join the fight against this evil regieme.

Please read my article in the Morning Star.

http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-cb1e-The-mystery-of-letters-that-never-arrive#.VMX6NP6sWSq

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