Category Archives: Deprivation

DPAC: Taxpayers Against Poverty: General Election Manifestos Must Address Homelessness and Hunger, and the Powerlessness of Homeless Families . . .

1. GENERAL ELECTION MANIFESTOS MUST ADDRESS HOMELESSNESS AND HUNGER. 

The 2012 and 2016 Welfare Reform Acts were seen through Parliament by government ministers who sought to force the unemployed into work by imposing inadequate incomes and punitive laws designed to treat them as if they are at work.

Examples are:

  • a monthly rather than a weekly income;
  • housing benefit paid to the unemployed from which they pay the rent to the landlord as if it were from a monthly pay cheque; and
  • strict rules about keeping appointments at the job centre.

The purpose was to “change the culture” of unemployment, on the mistaken assumption that the unemployed lived an easy life on benefits so were unlikely to look for work, hence the cruel benefit sanction on those who “broke the rules”.

Lord Freud  on the Welfare Reform Bill 2016. Hansard Column 1427, 19 October 2016:

Every year I stand here because there is a forecast that says that child poverty is going up, has gone up or will go up, but when we actually see the figures, we find that child poverty has actually gone down. When you transform the economy, change the culture so that work is what has been driving things, and move up the employment rates and the earning rates in the way that we have, you find that the behavioural impacts are very different from the static analysis that many of the external experts tell us about.”

Lord Freud could not have been more wrong. Child poverty is going up and getting worse. 

Attempts by cross-bench peers to insert amendments requiring a health-impact assessment of the government’s policies were rejected. The actual and disastrous impact on the health of low-income families and individuals can be found on the Taxpayers Against Poverty website.

UK land grabbed by the rich for private gain

London councils have published analysis showing that there has been a significant reduction of about 200,000 in the number of homes that are affordable for tenants receiving the Local Housing Allowance. That is one among a number causes of the escalating homelessness and hunger in the capital.

The 1980s’ “big bang” set up the UK housing market to make large landowners very rich indeed, with unearned and untaxed increases in the value of their land. Lending was deregulated, rent controls abolished and funds allowed to flow in and out of the limited amount of British land. Small businesses and family homes, which pay rent, business rates and/or council tax, and own no land, are treated little better than during the 15th– and 16th-century enclosures.

Tenants are being pushed off the land with no solutions on the political table to reverse the trend.

In Haringey, 3,000 homeless families, with 5,208 children between them, have been forced into temporary accommodation, some for up to and over 10 years. Accirding to the House of Commons Library there are 83,700 homless families in temporary accommodation in England with 124,000 children, up 74% sine 2010. 56,880 of the families are in London. Too many of them are in one room in hostels or other acommodation when none ought to be.

Taxpayers Against Poverty strongly recommends that the Greater London Authority and Parliament adopt two policies used by the Danish government:

  • Long-term vacancy of properties is discouraged in Denmark. If an owner moves and does not wish to sell the property, it must be rented out or advertised for sale. If it is empty for more than six weeks, the owner must report to the local authority, which then seeks to provide tenants, whom the owner has to accept.
  • Non-residents of Denmark who have not lived in the country for a total period of five years previously may only acquire property after receiving permission from the Ministry of Justice.

Income support for a single adult has been losing value since 1979

There is a community of about 11,000 social-security claimants in Haringey. The shredding of their social security incomes since 2010 has been piled on top of decades of adult benefit negligence. The evidence came from Professor Jonathan Bradshaw in 2009  responding to one of mine. In April 2011, austerity measures were then piled onto an already inadequate cornerstone of the benefit system. To that cornerstone are added disabled people’s, children’s, housing and council-tax benefits.

“When unemployment benefit started in 1912, it was 7 shillings a week – about 22% of average male earnings in manufacturing. The percentage fluctuated over the succeeding decades, but by 1979, the benefit rate was still about 21% of average earnings (manual and non-manual, male and female). By 2008, however, as a result of the policy of tying benefits to the price index while real earnings increased, the renamed Jobseeker’s Allowance had fallen to an all-time low of 10.5% of average earnings.”

Benefit increases were frozen at 1% a year in April 2011. £73.10 a week Jobseekers’ Allowance equates to £317 a month Universal Credit. Using the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s minimum-income standards for single-adult benefits after rent and council tax as of April 2019, we can see that Jobseekers’ Allowance and Universal Credit are nearly £32 a week too low for healthy living.

And that is before :

  • the five-week delay in the first payment of Universal Credit;
  • the Department for Work and Pensions “budgeting advance” to cover that delay, which is a loan that has to be repaid out of 73.10 a week;
  • the cuts in council tax and housing benefits, which mean rent and council tax must also be paid out of that £73.10 a week;
  • income is stopped by benefit sanctions, during which rent, council tax and TV-licence arrears and other debts pile up; adding to the impossibility of living on benefits;
  • the realisation – often only belatedly at the job centre – by a parent who has a third child that the government’s two-child policy means they will be refused child benefit for their latest offspring.

The hopelessly inadequate single adult benefit cannot maintain a healthy adult life, let alone pay rent or council tax, or their enforcement costs. That is a cruel catch 22. If your children’s benefits pay the rent, they are hungry, naked or cold; if you feed, clothe growing children or keep them warm, then the family is evicted and homeless.

Councils force low income tenants into the private sector and their rent over the benefit cap. 

In the United Kingdom, local authority officers and benefit claimants are both the victims of toxic and disconnected central government policies. Policies that combine to escalate the number of homeless and hungry families. The benefits freeze is bad enough (Benefits freeze leaves a third of claimants ‘with £100 to live on a month’), but, in 2012, the government introduced another measure that is particularly hard on London families. It allows local-authority housing departments to offer homeless families in temporary council housing at £90 a week rent a move into permanent private-sector housing at £300 a week rent for a two-bed home, for example (see table).

Families must accept the council’s first offer or they are deemed intentionally homeless and struck off the list of those the council has a duty to house. The unintended consequence of the 2012 measure is that a family’s total benefit income, including housing benefit, can be forced over the London benefit cap of £442.31 by high private-sector rent. The government cuts the housing benefit to enforce the cap on the total benefit income. Thar leaves rent to be paid by the family’s remaining benefits They have been frozen and are already short of £100 a month to live on. Hunger and homelessness are inevitable.

UK is the only nation in the world requiring renters to pay the landlord’s property tax.

The UK being the only nation in the world requiring renters to pay the landlord’s property tax adds the straw that breaks the camels back. That is a great injustice. The council tax is a property tax based on 1991 evaluations after the poll tax was abolished and the council tax introduced.

There is a tenant of my acquaintance who lives in a private two-bed terraced house in Tottenham that was bought new for £95,000 in 1999. An identical property next door, also new in 1999, is on the market for £425,000. The landlord is £330,000 richer, unearned and untaxed, while the tenant has paid about £1,000 a year in property/council tax for 20 years, so is £20,000 poorer.

290 out of 326 English councils require benefit claimants to pay a proportion of their landlord’s council tax. It is enforced by the magistrate’s court, adding the council’s enforcement costs to the arrears and the bailiffs adding their fees. Taxing £73.10 a week income support/Jobseekers’ Allowance/Universal Credit is a pernicious injustice.

The good health and wellbeing of all UK citizens in or out of work must now become a national priority.

2. An inhuman treatment of powerless tenants. 

TAP is opposing in the implementation of the project at High Road West. We so firmly believe it is against the best interests of the low income residents of Tottenham. After the secure tenants were moved out, the current tenants of Love Lane Estate have been moved in by Haringey Counci. Because they are homeless families in temporary accommodation they have no relevant housing rights and can be moved out more easily before demolition. An inhuman treatment of powerless tenants.

Some of these 180 young families have been in temporary accommodation for up and over ten years. They have already been forced to moved several times so disrupting the education of their growing children. They are among 3000 homeless families in temporary accommodation in Haringey. Too many of them are in one room in hostels or other accommodation –  when none ought to be.

The way the High Road West project has been designed does not commit the council to using 100% of the site for meeting part of a target of providing the 3000 much needed secure homes for the homeless.  What is proposed is the convoluted process of allowing Lend Lease to build on land which is free to the council and then sell “affordable” homes back to the council for £68,000 each. That enables Lend Lease to make the largest profit possible by selling the remaining and the majority if the homes into the very expensive London housing market.

The best way to build truly affordable homes for rent is for the council keep their public land out of the market, borrow the money and hire Lend Lease to build them.

It is a matter of public interest that we all know the terms of the  out of court settlement bewteen lendlease and the council, particularly whether it involved Northumberland Park, another council estate eyed by international property devopers for similar treatment.

Another shocking aspect of the High Road West project is the intention to grab the land from under 50 small thriving businesses of the Peacock Industrial Estate. Their businesses, which are employing local people, will be severely disrupted – to create a park!

The current national housing policy is ideologically designed to prevent the building of council homes on council land.

To do so is not socialism. It is simply an intelligent way of building truly affordable housing which has been used by all political parties in power since WWII. Also the capacity of the poorest tenants to pay even the lowest rents in London has been severely undermined by the shredding of houisng benefit and other social security payments. (See above)

Now is not the time to build social housing at council house rents. It would be better to leave it until after the next election which will have to change national housing and social security policies for the better and , it is ardently hoped. for the better use of public and private land for the common good.

For the time being the council ought to stop pushing powerless homeless families in temporary accommodation from pillar to post. The council can leave them where they are – even declare them all permanently housed.

National housing and social security policies have to change  to meet the needs of low income tenants.

Taxpayers Against Poverty

A VOICE FOR THE COMPASSIONATE MAJORITY

No citizen without an affordable home and an

adequate income in work or unemployment.

Supported by TAP RESOURCES INDEX on our website 

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Filed under Austerity, Benefits, Budget Cuts, Budgets, Deprivation, Despair, Divide and Rule, Economics, Government Spending, Homelessness, House Prices, Housing Benefits, Human Rights, Humanity, Hunger, Ideology, Impoverishment, Injustice, Legislation, Living Wage, Low Wages, Manifestos, Misleading, Private Sector, Privatisation of Public Resources, Right-wing, Sanctions, Social Security, Tory Cuts, Underfunding, Unemployed

“Hunger, filth, fear and death”: remembering life before the NHS


I came across the following article, by following a link posted on Facebook. It was published in the New Statesman, on 31st October, 2014 and, after reading it, I was so very saddened to realise that, once again, through the machinations of the ‘ruling’ classes, the UK has, in 2019, found itself in such a similar situation to that of Harry Smith, as he grew up in the 1920’s, that I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at the sheer waste of time, that so many people fought, strived, and died through, in order to make life better for themselves and their families and friends 😦

Once again, almost a century after Harry’s birth, there are countless people here in the UK, living in gruelling poverty – with Child Poverty at an all-time high since the Welfare State began – and it’s all due to the greed and corruption of the same class of people who, through their constant lies and deceit, have turned our country from the safe place I grew up in, into a similar scenario to Harry Smith’s early life 😦

Read his account and, if you can’t see the similarities, then you must be part of the problem 😦

Harry Leslie Smith, a 91-year-old RAF veteran born into an impoverished mining family, recalls a Britain without a welfare state.
  By Harry Leslie Smith

Over 90 years ago, I was born in Barnsley, Yorkshire, to a working-class family. Poverty was as natural to us as great wealth and power were to the aristocracy of that age. Like his father and grandfather before him, my dad, Albert, eked out a meagre existence as a miner, working hundreds of feet below the surface, smashing the rock face with a pickaxe, searching for coal.

Hard work and poor wages didn’t turn my dad into a radical. They did, however, make him an idealist, because he believed that a fair wage, education, trade unions and universal suffrage were the means to a prosperous democracy. He endured brutal working conditions but they never hardened his spirit against his family or his comrades in the pits. Instead, the harsh grind of work made his soul as gentle as a beast of burden that toiled in desolate fields for the profit of others.

My mother, Lillian, however, was made of sterner stuff. She understood that brass, not love, made the world go round. So when a midwife with a love of gin and carbolic soap delivered me safely on a cold winter’s night in February 1923 into my mum’s exhausted arms, I was swaddled in her rough-and-ready love, which toughened my skin with a harsh affection. I was the first son but I had two elder sisters who had already skinned their knees and elbows in the mad fight to stay alive in the days before the social safety network. Later on, our family would include two half-brothers, after my mother was compelled to look for a more secure provider than my dad during the Great Depression.

By the time I was weaned from my mother’s breast, I had begun to learn the cruel lessons that the world inflicted on its poor. At the age of seven, my eldest sister, Marion, contracted tuberculosis, which was a common and deadly disease for those who lived hand to mouth in early-20th-century Britain. Her illness was directly spawned from our poverty, which forced us to live in a series of fetid slums.

Despite being a full-time worker, my dad was always one pay packet away from destitution. Several times, my family did midnight flits and moved from one decre­pit single-bedroom tenement to the next. Yet we never seemed to move far from the town’s tip, a giant wasteland stacked with rotting rubbish, which became a playground for preschool children.

At the beginning of my life, affordable health care was out of reach for much of the population. A doctor’s visit could cost the equivalent of half a week’s wages, so most people relied on good fortune rather than medical advice to see them safely through an illness. But luck and guile went only so far and many lives were snatched away before they had a chance to start. The wages of the ordinary worker were at a mere subsistence level and therefore medicine or simple rest was out of the question for many people.

Unfortunately for my sister, luck was also in short supply in our household. Because my parents could neither afford to see a consultant nor send my sister to a sanatorium, Marion’s TB spread and infected her spine, leaving her an invalid.

****

The 1926 General Strike, which began just as my sister started her slow and painful journey from life to death, was about more than wages to my dad and many others. It was called by the TUC in protest against mine owners who were using strong-arm tactics to force their workers to accept longer work hours for less take-home pay. At its start, it involved 1.7 million industrialised workers.

In essence, the strike was about the right of all people, regardless of their economic station, to live a dignified and meaningful life. My father joined it with enthusiasm, because he believed that all workers, from tram drivers to those who dug ore, deserved a living wage. But for my father the strike  was also about the belief that he might be able to right the wrongs done to him and his family; if only he had more money in his pay packet, he might have been able to afford decent health care for all of us.

Unfortunately, the General Strike was crushed by the government, which first bullied TUC members to return to their work stations. Eight months later, it did the same to the miners whose communities had been beggared by being on the pickets for so long. My dad and his workmates had to accept wage cuts.

I remember my sister’s pain and anguish during her final weeks of life in October 1926. I’d play beside her in our parlour, which was as squalid as an animal pen, while she lay on a wicker landau, tied down by ropes to prevent her from falling to the ground while unattended. When Marion’s care became too much for my mother to endure, she was sent to our neighbourhood workhouse, which had been imprisoning the indigent since the days of Charles Dickens.

The workhouse where Marion died was a large, brick building less than a mile from our living quarters. Since it had been designed as a prison for the poor, it had few windows and had a high wall surrounding it. When my sister left our house and was transported there on a cart pulled by an old horse, my mum and dad told my other sister and me to wave goodbye, because Marion was going to a better place than here.

The workhouse was not used only as a prison for those who had been ruined by poverty; it also had a primitive infirmary attached to it, where the poor could receive limited medical attention. Perhaps the only compassion the place allowed my parents was permission to visit their daughter to calm her fears of death.

My sister died behind the thick, limestone walls at the age of ten, and perhaps the only compassion the place allowed my parents was permission to visit their daughter to calm her fears of death. As we didn’t have the money to give her a proper burial, Marion was thrown into a communal grave for those too poor to matter. Since then, the pauper’s pit has been replaced by a dual carriageway.

****

Some historians have called the decade of my birth “the Roaring Twenties” but for most it was a long death rattle. Wages were low, rents were high and there was little or no job protection as a result of a postwar recession that had gutted Britain’s industrial heartland. When the Great Depression struck Britain in the 1930s, it turned our cities and towns into a charnel house for the working class, because they had no economic reserves left to withstand prolonged joblessness and the ruling class believed that benefits led to fecklessness.

Even now, when I look back to those gaslight days of my boyhood and youth, all I can recollect is hunger, filth, fear and death. My mother called those terrible years for our family, our friends and our nation a time when “hard rain ate cold Yorkshire stone for its tea”.

I will never forget seeing as a teenager the faces of former soldiers who had been broken physically and mentally during the Great War and were living rough in the back alleys of Bradford. Their faces were haunted not by the brutality of the war but by the savagery of the peace. Nor will I forget as long as I shall live the screams that fell out of dosshouse windows from the dying and mentally ill, who were denied medicine and solace because they didn’t have the money to pay for medical services.

Like today, those tragedies were perpetuated by a coalition government preaching that the only cure for our economic troubles was a harsh austerity, which promised to right Britain’s finances through the sacrifice of its lowest-paid workers. When my dad got injured, the dole he received was ten shillings a week. My family, like millions of others, were reduced to beggary. In the 1930s, the government believed that private charities were more suitable for providing alms for those who had been ruined in the Great Depression.

Austerity in the 1930s was like a pogrom against Britain’s working class. It blighted so many lives through preventable ailments caused by malnutrition, as well as thwarting ordinary people’s aspirations for a decent life by denying them housing, full- time employment or a proper education.

As Britain’s and my family’s economic situation worsened in the 1930s, we upped sticks from Barnsley to Bradford in the hope that my father might find work. But there were too many adults out of work and jobs were scarce, so he never found full-time employment again. We lived in dosshouses. They were cheap, sad places filled with people broken financially and emotionally. Since we had no food, my mum had me indentured to a seedy off-licence located near our rooming house. At the age of seven, I became a barrow boy and delivered bottles of beer to the down-and-outs who populated our neighbourhood.

My family were nomads. We flitted from one dosshouse to the next, trying to keep ahead of the rent collector. We moved around the slums of Bradford and when we had outstayed our welcome there, we moved on to Sowerby Bridge, before ending up in Halifax. As I grew up, my schooling suffered; I had to work to keep my sister, my mum and half-brothers fed. At the age of ten, I was helping to deliver coal and by my teens, I started work as a grocer’s assistant. At 17, I had been promoted to store manager. However, at the age of 18, the Second World War intervened in whatever else I had planned for the rest of my life. I volunteered to join the RAF.

****

My politics was forged in the slums of Yorkshire but it was in the summer of 1945, at the age of 22, that I finally felt able to exorcise the misery of my early days. In that long ago July, I was a member of the RAF stationed in Hamburg; a city left ruined and derelict by war. I had been a member of the air force since 1941 but my war had been good, because I had walked away from it without needing so much as a plaster for a shaving nick. At its end, my unit had been seconded to be part of the occupational forces charged with rebuilding a German society gutted by Hitler and our bombs.

It was in the palm of that ravaged city that I voted in Britain’s first general election since the war began. As I stood to cast my ballot in the heat of that summer, I joked with my mates, smoked Player’s cigarettes and stopped to look out towards a shattered German skyline. I realised then that this election was momentous because it meant that a common person, like me, had a chance of changing his future.

So it seemed only natural and right that I voted for a political party that saw health care, housing and education as basic human rights for all of its citizens and not just the well-to-do. When I marked my X on the ballot paper, I voted for all those who had died, like my sister, in the workhouse; for men like my father who had been broken beyond repair by the Great Depression; and for women like my mum who had been tortured by grief over a child lost through unjust poverty. And I voted for myself and my right to a fair and decent life.

I voted for Labour and the creation of the welfare state and the NHS, free for all its users. And now, nearly 70 years later, I fear for the future of my grandchildren’s generation, because Britain’s social welfare state is being dismantled brick by brick.

****

My life didn’t really begin until the end of the Second World War. I fell in love with Friede, a German woman, whom I married and brought home to Halifax. My wife gave me emotional stability while the welfare state gave me economic stability. When I was demobbed, I didn’t have many prospects, except using my brawn over my brain. I took factory jobs while my wife and I studied at night school. But I am forever grateful for the foundation of the NHS, because it allowed my wife to receive first-rate treatment for the PTSD she acquired by having witnessed both the atrocities of the Nazis and the firebombing of Hamburg, which killed 50,000 people in three nights of intense RAF bombing in 1943.

My experiences of growing up in Britain before the NHS, when one’s health was determined by one’s wealth, and after 1948, when free health care was seen as a cornerstone for a healthy economy and democracy, convinced me that it was my duty to share my family experiences at this year’s Labour party conference. I agreed to speak about the NHS because I know there are few people left who can remember that brutal time before the welfare state, when life for many was short and cruel. I felt that I owed it to my sister Marion, whose life was cut short by extreme poverty and poor health care, along with all of those other victims of a society that protected the rich and condemned the poor to miserable lives. In many ways, making that speech freed me from the suffering of my youth. 

* * * * * * * *

Harry Leslie Smith is the author of a memoir: “Harry’s Last Stand: How the World My Generation Built is Falling Down and What We Can Do to Save it” (Icon Books, £8.99) 

* * * * * * * *

Harry Leslie Smith is a survivor of the Great Depression, a Second World War RAF veteran and an activist for the poor and for the preservation of social democracy. He has authored numerous books about Britain during the Great Depression, the Second World War, and post-war austerity. Join Harry on Twitter @Harryslaststand.

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Filed under Austerity, Benefits, Budget Cuts, Catastrophe, Changes, Childhood, Choices, Collapse of the NHS, Degraded Public Services, Deprivation, Despair, Divide and Rule, Eugenics, Homelessness, Human Rights, Impoverishment, Injustice, Low Wages, Self-interest, skewed presentation of events, Starvation of Resources, Tory Cuts, Tory Lies, Tragedy, Underfunding, Welfare Cuts, Workhouse

Dear Amber Rudd MP . . . . .

I was asked to send a quick message to the MP, Amber Rudd, who is the Secretary of State for Works and Pensions – taking over from Esther McVey, in the job nobody seems to be any good at!
These messages are in the hopes that she might halt and fix Universal Credit but, when I went to do look at her page, and after reading all the many hundreds of messages sent to her already Amber Rudd MP 25th November, 14:42, I found it so hard to stick to a short message, that I decided to write my message to her on my Blog, here, instead:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

 

Dear Ms Rudd,

 

It’s pretty clear to the majority of people in this country that the roll-out of Universal Credit has been a deliberate attempt to force people out of the Benefits system.

 

UC can’t be fixed, as it has been deliberately designed to create the very thing that is happening to everybody who has claimed it so far – if they are able to work, then it is forcing them into zero-hour contracts, which never pay enough, or give enough hours, to support a family or, in the case of the vulnerable, ill, or disabled, is forcing them off of the very Benefits they need to survive, into a world of starvation, eventual homelessness, great poverty and, far too often nowadays, suicide.

 

There are now thousands of families who face not only Christmas, but all this coming winter, with the prospect of going very hungry, very cold, and eventually losing their homes!

 

While you enjoyed your delicious fish and chips with those wonderfully privileged students at Rye College, did you think of all those who WON’T have a hot meal this Christmas, due to having no money to pay their rent and electric, or gas, bills, so that, even if they ARE able to get help from the multiple Food Banks springing up all over the country, they’ll not be able to heat up the food provided by those same food banks – places that have multiplied since your government took control, and induced Austerity on to everybody but the Rich – while giving multiple tax breaks to those very same rich individuals and businesses – and, while you were about it, also giving yourselves huge pay rises?

 

Please could you start doing the job you are paid a veritable  fortune to do, and stop Universal Credit before even MORE thousands of people end up homeless and starving?

 

If you can’t completely stop it, then could you at least pause it immediately, and do your best to fix it, so that those who aren’t able to work – like the vulnerable, or severely disabled – get to keep their old benefits until their UC claims have been finally sorted?

 

Could you also make sure that everybody who claims UC are garuanteed not to lose out when their present benefits are changed to UC, as UC is paying out a lot less than their old benefits, due to your government’s cap on Benefits, which your government keep stating was due to Austerity measures – a Cap, we all noticed, you didn’t apply to your own wages – wages paid to you out of the Public Purse?

 

Could you also make sure that those who have to pay rent to a landlord / landlady, are able to still have their Housing Benefit paid directly to that same landlord/lady, so that there is no risk of homelessness, due to insufficient funds?

 

With homelessness at an all time high at the moment, and not nearly enough homes being built to house the people needing them, then surely it is the government’s duty to make sure no more people are forced out of their homes due to the long delay in paying UC?

 

Believe me when I say that even a week is too long a delay for people who have been unable to save anything in case of financial troubles – and I’m talking not only about those already on Benefits, but those who are in work – especially those forced into zero-hours contracts, which is about the only type of work available to them nowadays!

And while I’m writing my wish list to you, could you please stop the terrible Sanctions regime being used with Universal Credit, Sanctions that threaten people into doing things your way, instead of the way in which every human being – and everybody who has to claim any kind of Benefit is a Human Being, despite all of the smear campaigns your government  put out there, to get people thinking that, if you have to claim, then you are a shirker, or a liar, or a cheat – should be treated!

 

No matter what Theresa May says on her question time, the whole World knows that UC is failing the very people that it was supposedly designed to help, so please, please, show some empathy and compassion, for once, and help those that really do need that help – and stop UC immediately, or at least pause and fix it!

 

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Filed under Amber Rudd MP, Austerity, Benefits, Budget Cuts, Choices, Conservatives, Corporate Tax Cuts, Degraded Public Services, Deprivation, Despair, DWP, DWP Policies, Homelessness, Housing Benefits, Human Rights, Impoverishment, Mental Health Issues, Public Purse, Sanctions, Smear Campaign, Social Security, Starvation, Suicide, Tory Cuts, Underfunding, Unemployed, Universal Credit, Welfare Cuts, Zero Hours Jobs

Are the Tories now showing us openly that they really don’t care about us – at last?

I’ve been offline for a few days, due to my daughter visiting, and one of the first things I saw when going back online, was a post by the Skwawbox, highlighting the spate of tweets being sent by Tory MPs , touting food banks – here’s the link:

https://skwawkbox.org/2018/12/02/tories-gaslighting-the-poor-with-bizarre-mps-and-foodbanks-campaign/

From what I could see from reading the various tweets, they all seem to have been basically following a single script, and including photos of themselves smilingly donating to food banks across the UK.

Here’s just one example:

thomson fb

. . . and here’s a couple of responses to it:

spfb.png

sg fb

The Skwawkbox used the word ‘gaslighting’ in his leader and, as I didn’t know what it meant, I looked it up:

 

‘to manipulate (someone) by psychological means into doubting their own sanity.’

 

Reading this, I genuinely feel that the Skwawkbox is right, and that the Tories have always had such a great contempt for the workers of Britain, that they really are intent on manipulating people into thinking something that isn’t real!

 

Looking at the other tweets I found online, I felt sick to my stomach that these exceedingly rich Tory MPs, who are supposed to represent the people in their wards, have the shameless gall – or the sheer hubris – to cynically mock all the many thousands of people their policies have managed to reduce to a state of homelessness, penury and, in many cases, begging – to the point that it is only those self-same foodbanks that are keeping so very many people, and especially families with children, from starving!

 

Since they came to power, Tory ideology has consistently been one that is deliberately destroying every single part of the Welfare State that is possible – in fact, every single part of it that has been so bitterly fought for by the working classes, and some of the more enlightened richer people of the times –  and all that made our lives actually worth living!

 

Included in this, is our much beloved – and very much needed – NHS – something that, without it I, for one, wouldn’t be alive right now!

 

But as well as making it as hard as possible for anyone unable to work, whether because of illnesses / disablilities, or because of the sheer lack of any kind of sustaining work – which has, in many cases, been caused by the decline of  manufacturing industries both here in the UK, and elsewhere in the world – the Tory answer to this lack of work, is to force as many people as possible into zero-hour contracts, or into the virtual slavery being forced on them, if they are unemployed, and having to claim unemployment benefits, to work for so-called ‘charities’, full time, and for nothing but the basic unemployment support provided – and, if anyone refuses, the Tories have consistently used a harsh Sanctioning regime,introduced by Tony Blair’s New Labour (who may as well have been called Mini-Tory) to force them into line, by taking away larger and larger amounts of the little money being paid to support them – in some cases, to the point where people have commited suicide, because of it!

 

But, whatever the job they might have, if it is zero hours, or any other of the myriad ways in which the Tories have explored the exploitation of the working classes, these ’employees’ are given as little of that work as possible, and paid as little as possible, in order to airbrush unemployment figures for the Tories – and having so many people doing short hours of work, will still get that work done, but it means that those forced to do it then have to claim Working Tax Credits to survive at all!

 

This means that the employers are then able to salt away all the profits made – while paying the least amount of Corporation Tax in generations – while the ordinary working British public is left footing the bill, by having to pay more tax, to cover the Tax Credits being recieved because of the low wages! In fact, proportionately, the lower earners are now paying the highest taxes since records began!

 

To make matters worse, the Tories then introduced the most calculatingly cruel welfare reform ever thought of – yes, you guessed it – the universally despised Universal Credit!

 

This welfare reform, despite people thinking that it has just been badly thought out, and needs pausing to fix it, is actually the most calculatingly cruel, cunningly thought out reform to ever be introduced.

 

It was neither put together badly, nor is it mistakingly being kept going, either!

 

Universal Credit has been the most cold-blooded, cruelly deliberate reform ever thought up! It was put together in such a way as to make it the hardest Benefit to ever have to claim and, due to the exceedingly long waiting period before any money is actually paid out to a claimant, for everyone who has to claim it, it has made life as miserable as possible while doing so.

 

In a time where there are still hundreds of thousands of people who still have no access to the internet – whether through lack of knowledge, or lack of funds – it is designed so that a claimant can only make that claim online – and this is just the first stumbling block!

 

UC has been put together in such a way as to make anyone claiming it as confused as possible, especially as to their knowledge of what is expected of them and, when they do finally make a claim, nor is it easily seen what responsibilities the government has, in order to help any claimants.

 

It is so badly put together that even the employees of Job Centers, who are supposed to help people make this claim, are all just as confused as the claimants, where understanding the rules of UC are concerned – to the point where each jobcenter seems to be making up their own rules for it!

 

It has also been deliberately created to cut the Welfare Bill – to the point of utter uselessness  – and, despite the many deaths already caused by it’s cruel practices,  the Tories refuse to listen to anyone who complains – another deliberate slap in the face of those people they are supposed to represent!

 

But, before it’s introduction, the Tories had got to the point where they may have been voted out of government and so, to deliberately divert attention, and to forward other plans they have for the UK (such as the UK becoming a Tax Haven for the super-rich), they brought up the issue of Brexit!

 

Once again, the Tories lied through their teeth, making up story after story as to why it would be better to leave the EU – and hiding the fact that it is only the Laws, enshrined in the EU, that have been protecting the workers of our country from even more of the kind of exploitation that other workers, elsewhere in the world, have to put up with!

 

Without that protection, our country is going to be open to every abuse possible – from chlorinated chicken from the USA, to a private healthcare system that only the rich will be able to afford – in other words, we’ll be stepping straight back  into the world of the 1920’s and 1930’s, before the recommendations of a Welfare State was introduced by the Liberal MP, Sir William Beverage, and where his blueprint was then brought into fruition, in 1945, by Lloyd George’s Labour Government!

 

As it is, we recently had a UN inspector travel all over the UK and, in his report, he was shocked at the devastation caused by the Tories’ so-called ‘reforms’, and he claims that the Tories have deliberately gone about increasing poverty in the UK – which is a believable claim, given that, as anyone can work out with a little thought, with great poverty, comes desperation – and people will work for a pittance when they are desperate!

Another side-effect that perfectly suits the Tories, is the fact that the working classes have also been divided, and conquered, because of that fight for survival! 😦

 

This is something the Tories will welcome with open arms – and with their usual false assurances of help!

 

Just another thought:

 

While MPs have had a 17.7% pay rise since austerity started in 2010:

Use of Trussle Trust foodbanks alone has risen from 41,000 to 1.2 million!
The number of rough sleepers has increased by 134%!

The number of children has risen by 73%!

 

. . . . . and these are just the surface results!

 

The Trussel Trust has almost become a national institution where food banks are concerned, and it has spread quickly across the UK, due to the desperate needs of those suffering under unnecessary Tory Austerity  but, when the Tories decided to change things yet again, into the Universal Credit that is making everything even more worse for us all – and that includes far too many working families – are the Trussel Trust up there fighting for us all?

I doubt that very much! 😦

 

Think on this when a chance comes to replace the Tories in government, please?

 

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If Jeremy Corbyn makes a speech on anti-Semitism, perhaps this is what he should say . . .

Corbyn’s Labour has been attacked by the anti-Semitism trolls over the last few days.

This Writer is looking forward to his speech – expecially if it takes the angle chosen by a Labour Party spokesman when pro-Tory-pressure-group-pretending-to-be-a-charity the Campaign Against Antisemitism tried to complain about Mr Corbyn (again).

He said [boldings mine]: “Labour is committed to rooting out antisemitism from our party and society. False and partisan attacks like this undermine the fight against antisemitism.

The Milk the Cow Podcast has made a few suggestions which are far too strong to publish unedited here. Those of you of strong character can see the original by following this link.

For the rest of you, I’ll paraphrase . . . . . . .

Please click the following link to read the complete post by Vox Political’s Mike Sivier:

If Jeremy Corbyn makes a speech on anti-semitism perhaps this is what he should say:


Comment:

The continuous attacks on Jeremy Corbyn, which started even before he won the leadership of the Labour Party, has been constant, brutal, and totally and utterly uncalled for, especially by those right-leaning MP’s in his own party who, through pique, greed, or sheer bloody-mindedness, have decided to do the job that the Tories and the Media have tried to do since he came into office – which is to try and get rid of him.

The Reason?

Because Jeremy Corbyn has got the fire, the will, and the decency that so many Tory, and right-leaning Labour, MP’s haven’t got!

Jeremy has consistently fought against any kind of oppression, no matter where it was, or who was doing it, and he has done this throughout his political life – and that’s why so many hundreds of thousands of us voted him in as the leader of the Labour Party because, for the first time in far too many years, we see a man who can lead this country away from the disasters that the Tories have brought on us, through their greed, dishonesty, and their belief that, because they are rich, then they should be able to do as they please, strip our public services, our land, and our future – and we should bow down our heads, and allow these selfish, amoral, people to do with us, and our country, what they wish to – because, don’t forget, people, there are a damn sight more of us than there are of them, and so it is our country!

We’ve all seen where their leadership has led us, despite the Media blackout of real news!

The deaths of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people who have had the small amount of money they have to live on be taken away, because ‘they are just not trying hard enough’ to get a job – and this, in a country where the elite have managed to kill almost all  of our industries through their greed for ever more profits!

The destruction of OUR NHS – and, yes, it IS ours! Bought and paid for with our grandparents, parents, and our, hard-earned taxes. All of this has been brought about through the deliberate financial starvation of the NHS, by the elite, because they are planning to almost give it away to their Billionaire pals, who own the private medical businesses around the world that most of the tories probably own shares in, and so plan to earn yet another fortune, off the backs of the poor, once more!

Our NHS will be privatised, and stolen away from us, and the dream that our forefathers had, to make sure that none of their children and grandchildren would die through a lack of free medical care – which is something our grandparents saw all too brutally, in the days when we had no National Health Service, and where, if you didn’t have the money, you didn’t get the care!

And then we have the disaster called Brexit!

When all those MP’s went out with their campaign buses, with the lie that the money saved from going for Brexit will be used to fund the NHS, so many people fell for it, that nobody actually questioned the figures being spouted by these cleverly deceitful liers – and so the country voted for Brexit – and spat in the eye of the hundreds of thousands of European people who live and work here in Britain – mainly in our much-loved NHS – people who are our friends, our neighbours, our loved ones, our family! And so we told them that they weren’t wanted any more – we’d used them, and spat them out again, like so much discarded gum!

And so we truly have got the government we deserve – one that will keep squeezing people until they can’t bear it any more, one that will keep killing the poor, the old, the vulnerable, until we go back where we are considered as serfs, just like in the past, where the super rich owned everything – because they stole it from us all in the first place – and where they will dictate to us when we can eat, sleep, breath and, most importantly for them, work all the hours of the day and night, all for their bid for even more wealth – and we’ll watch the future of our earth be laid to waste – all in the bid for more obscene profit! 😦

But I don’t believe we deserve a government like that!

I believe we deserve a government who look after it’s poor, it’s ill, it’s weak, it’s elderly, it’s vulnerable – and who look after the people who work hard for little wages, but want to build a better society for their children, and their children’s children – just like our grandparents did for us!

And the only way we’re going to get a government like that, is to stop believing the lies thrown at us every day by this tory government – and the media they control – and listen to Jeremy Corbyn and his cabinet-in-waiting, and then vote Labour in the next election!

Because the Tories are only looking after themselves – they always have, and they always will do! 😦

So, the next time you have a chance to listen to Jeremy Corbyn, and the people in his Cabinet, listen closely to what they are saying – and not what the Media twist it into – then think about what you want this country – and even this world – to be like for your children, and theirs, and let’s get rid of the poison that has slowly been killing our people, our country, and the Democracy our forefathers fought so hard for in the first place!

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The Royal Show . . . . . . .

A friend called around to my home to see me this afternoon, and the first thing she asked me, was if I’d watched the royal wedding.

I had to think for a minute, before I realised what she was talking about, and then I had to tell her an honest ‘No’.

We started talking about other things, and time went on, then she left. I then came online to check for messages from my daughter, and the first thing I saw on Facebook, was all the people talking about how they had cried when they saw the bride, and how wonderful it all was – and I felt a little sick.

Yesterday, I saw online about how the police went all around Windsor, taking away all the possessions of the homeless there, and trying to get them to move on to pastures new – after all, it wouldn’t do for a royal to actually see some of their subjects down and out, and living on the streets outside their castle, would it? 😦

I felt like asking every one of them the following questions:

‘Why did you have tears in your eyes? Is there something terrible happening that I haven’t noticed – other than what’s happening to practically everyone who isn’t rich, of course!

Or are you watching the multi-million pound freak show that’s been put on to keep the masses happy? The show that’s costing every tax payer in the UK multi-millions of pounds?
Are you crying for all the money that has been spent on today, that could have been spend housing the homeless – probably those same homeless people, in and around Windsor, whose possessions were taken from them, and bagged up, to be collected after the weekend?
Did you cry for the money spent on this extravaganza, that could have been used to help put food in the bellies of all the thousands of children in the UK, who are going hungry today – and every day – because their parents are being punished for daring to be unemployed, or ill, or disabled, or even in work, but on terribly low wages?
Did you cry for the money taken from the unemployed, who are being ruthlessly sanctioned – normally for the most stupid of reasons – just to save money for the treasury, so they can give even more tax breaks to the super-rich – or pay the royal family their yearly ‘allowance’ which, when added up, could probably keep many thousands of families from starving, or being made homeless, every year?

Is that why you had tears in your eyes?’

I read online that the cost of the wedding could be anything up to £32,000,000 – and that around 94% of that will be for the cost of all the security which was involved, in order to keep everyone safe from snipers, bombs etc – but this will be picked up by the British Tax Payer, with only the core costs, such as the church, flowers, brides outfit etc., being covered by the royal family themselves.

Now, I like a nice wedding as much as anyone, but in these times of enforced austerity, where we are all being made to tighten our belts, or have been made homeless, and often jobless, because of the zero-hour contract employment terms, being forced on us by greedy bosses, who care more for profit than they do about the people working for them, then how can anyone justify the huge show put on – mainly for the foreign market – but also as a way of keeping people’s attention away from what’s being done to us every day, here in the UK!

So, as people watch the bride and groom – and good luck to them as they start a new life together [a life rather more blessed than their UK subjects are having to deal with every day, unfortunately], crying with joy at all the razzamatazz put on to blind them to reality, they aren’t thinking about the total mess that the government have made of practically everything they’ve put their hands on, in the almost 8 years they’ve been in charge of the country 😦

Those watching the wedding won’t be thinking about just how badly the Brexit negotiations are right now, or how people are dying in their thousands as the DWP make life such a living hell for so many people, that they choose to take their own lives rather than keep suffering this institutional abuse!

Rather than continue to live in this austerity-led hell on earth, there are so very many people choosing to opt out, that it’s becoming a serious problem – which the media choose to keep quiet about, rather than doing the jobs they are being paid for, and investigating it all, and letting people know just how badly the tories are doing in their stewardship of the UK!

While they watch this royal show, they aren’t thinking of how the government are  deliberately starving the NHS into submission, either, just so they can sell it all off, for knock-down prices, to their business buddies in the private sector!

They’ll definitely be thinking about it the next time they need to call the emergency services, to save the life of a loved one, though! That’s when all the private firms, who are already taking over vital services, start charging people at the point of contact – an unspoken blackmail attempt, which will have people choosing to go deeply into debt, to save the lives of their loved ones 😦

Even with the money being made by the usual merchandising of an event like this, it’s still a huge amount of public money, being spent on something that the royals should have paid for themselves – after all, they are millionnaires, and get a hefty chunk of money every single year from the public purse as wages – so why not do what every other family does at a wedding, here in the UK, and cut their coat to fit their cloth?

These are just a few of the reasons why I chose not to watch the show put on to gull the people of the UK 😦 

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When will this Nightmare Stop?

I’ve just read a post by Kate Belgrave where she speaks about a family,  who the council are considering to be Intentionally Homeless, and where the council are potentially threatening the mother with the removal of her children, rather than finding her, and her 3 children, somewhere to live.

Here’s the link to her post:

Intentionally Homeless with kids? Council will house the kids but not you – ie, you’ll be separated from them. The hell with this.

Now I don’t know all the ins-and-outs of this lady’s story, but I can only assume that the rent arrears that prompted the loss of her flat, were caused either because she was forced to sign on for the infamous Universal Credit which, I must remind you, is awarded to those both IN as well as OUT of work, and can – even now – take anything up to 6 months to sort out properly! This, then, causing huge rent arrears – and homelessness – or there was some other genuine reason that this happened.

But the point of it all is that, since the Tories, then the Blairite New Labour – who might as well be labelled Tory-Lite, and then the Tories again, have been in power, then anybody, no matter who they are, or if they are working, or not, who have the misfortune to fall into penury – whether from losing their job, becoming chronically ill or disabled, or because of all the terrible cuts the Tories are making to our once world-class Welfare State – have now got to face having their children removed from their custody if they become homeless or, if without children, have to face walking the streets, or sofa-surfing (if they’re lucky enough to have friends or family that can help them in this way), rather than being helped in finding somewhere to live and, potentially, being able to contribute back to the society that helped them!

The idea of a Society has become just a word, here in the UK, with no meaning behind it any more – rather than an idea that can bring people together in mutual support – and this rot started with the awful ideaology of a Tory Party that thinks only of what they can make out of us, and out of the Public Purse – for themselves and their Business Buddies in the USA – rather than looking after the people that they are paid a huge wage – plus many bonuses – in looking after our interests!

When you see the levels of homelessness, the levels of child poverty, the levels of suicides, the levels of mental health problems, and the piecemeal dismantling of our NHS and the Welfare State, then you can see the unravelling of everything that was great about this country – mainly put in place by a Labour Government, after WW2.

So how long do you think that this murderous regime can continue, before people say ‘ENOUGH!‘?

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