I think I may want to emigrate…

the media loves to make it look like everyone on benefits has some amazingly cushy life… with their flat screen TVs and money for drugs and alcohol, all paid for while we sit about doing nothing, happy in this life.

 

but there is starting to be evidence that this is not the case 😮 shock horror!

Firstly after some research it seems that at least 45 countries have higher unemployment benefits than the UK. Granted most of these work in a slowly decreasing sliding scale, where every 6 months after loosing a job the benefits decrease, but for most even after a year they are higher than the UK flat rate version. 

Secondly, the Council of Europe have said that the UK benefit levels need increasing so as not to force people into poverty. Apparently the standard rate is currently below 40% of the average income for European States.  Which as the main poverty line used in the OECD and the European Union is based on  a level of income set at 60% of the median household income implies that those living solely on benefits in the UK are below the European poverty line. 

Thirdly the DWP has claimed that the Council of Europe’s criticism only needs to be “considered” and not acted upon… which is just more of the government denying the truth… like when Iain Duncan Smith accused the Trussell Trust (a charity who run food banks) of “scaremongering” in an attempt to “boost their business model”, because obviously food poverty is some sort of lie created to make the government look bad… it can’t be that some people CANNOT AFFORD FOOD

Fourthly, though not related to benefits directly still a reason for my wanting to leave the country, the “gagging law”… hopefully you’ve all heard of this, but just in case: the gagging law was rushed through in such a way that most people have not heard of it, it’s “real” name is lobbying bill. But that name is a misnomer, as the vast majority of lobbying groups will be remain unaffected.  Essentially the bill protects in-house corporate lobbying operations from any kind of official scrutiny, meaning that a cloak of secrecy will still shroud their influence upon our politicians.

The second section of the bill is clearly designed to silence critics of the government such as charities, voluntary organisations, protest groups, trade unions and religions . This obviously legislation designed to silence the critics of the government. 

This is probably as bad as the legislation last year that lead to “secret courts”, in which the defendant can be found guilty in a courtroom that they are not allowed to enter, on charges that they are not allowed to know, based upon evidence that they are not allowed to see.

 

so ye, in summery: the UK benefit system is not as generous as the media would have us think, and the entire idea of democracy is slowly being destroyed… 

 

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Food Bank Volunteering

Last year things were bad… so bad that I got referred to the local food-bank, like over 346000 other people nationwide. I honestly believe that food banks are important, at the moment there are so many people having to choose between food and things like rent, heating, etc… It’s an awful situation that I wish was not the case, but it is. Anyway, the food-bank helped me, and so now I want to give something back. I hate the fact that others need to use it, and as I cannot do much to help with the bigger issues maybe this is something I can do. It’s not like I don’t have the free time after-all 😛 . Will be odd though, my people skills are lacking slightly (yay for aspergers) and I am not good with groups of people as I get very anxious and paranoid… but I am physically able and I have the time, so I feel I should be able to do this or at least try. 

 

Here are a few stories from people who have used food banks, just sharing the link to show the amazing difference something as simple as food can make and to show how vital this service is at the moment – http://www.trusselltrust.org/real-stories

DWP blames cancer patient for her illness

Pride's Purge

(not satire – it’s the UK today!)

This letter from the Department for Work and Pensions was posted by Chris Nelson on Facebook (click to enlarge):

ewing's sarcoma

According to this letter, the DWP is clearly placing the ‘blame’ for having cancer on the patient herself.

Has the demonisation of welfare claimants in the UK got to the point where we’re blaming cancer patients for their own illnesses now?

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Related articles by Tom Pride:

Mother’s plea for son who lost benefits after missing signing on because of cancer operationp

The government has finally done something so outrageous even I can’t be bothered to satirise it

Throat cancer victim – “this is not the England they fought and died for!”

Let’s be clear – Tory and Lib Dem MPs have decided terminally ill patients should work or starve

Don’t turn your back. Because you’re going to be disabled too one day.

ATOS assessor found blind woman fit…

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the world has gone crazy!

On Wednesday I had to go tot he job centre (I won my sanction appeal yay!) and on my way in there was this group of idiots throwing stuff at people and yelling things like “scroungers”  so ye, I had eggs thrown at me… yay

and then yesterday I overheard people on the bus ranting about how their taxes go to people who are “faking” disabilities. So in a rare moment of bravery I asked them how they know people are faking, and they said something like “oh, I don’t mean the real disabled people, like those without a leg or whatever. But the people who pretend to be crazy, how easy must that be to fake? And we all know there’s no much thing as mental illness anyway, it’s just something people use to get out of prison or to avoid working”… this argument sort of went on from there as that annoyed me a little…

I wish mental illness was a lie lol, I really do… I would love to no longer have mood swings and voices yelling at me, would love to be able to trust what I think or see. That would be nice

genuinely starting to consider the idea of never going outside again lol

Veteran loses his jobseekers benefits for selling poppies

it really seems like if we do ANYTHING other than sitting at home we get punished… noone can look for work 24/7, apart from anything else there are not enough jobs for it to take that long to apply for them all

The lovely wibbly wobbly old lady

A VETERAN soldier has lost his jobseeker’s allowance – because he was selling poppies instead of “actively seeking work”.PLEASE REMEMBER THIS WHEN YOU VOTE AT THE NEXT ELECTION.

Mr Taylor had his allowance withdrawn for selling poppies

The decision to take away the benefit from father-of-four Stephen Taylor, 60, who served in Cyprus, Kenya and Northern Ireland, caused outrage last night.

He admitted when he signed on at his local Jobcentre that he had spent 24 hours over a two-week period selling poppies to raise charity funds for veterans.

His honesty was rewarded by staff deeming he was in breach of rules governing benefit payments and his £71.20-a-week allowance was withdrawn.

The former pub manager has been out of work for a year and has now missed out on four weekly payments for selling the poppies outside an Asda store in Bury, Greater Manchester, in the run-up to Remembrance Day.

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Benefit Street

may as well make a post about this as it’s vaguely related… 

so yesterday I got up, turned on face-book, and what did I see? My news-feed full of people saying borderline racist anti-immigration statements, are criminalising the unemployed, are making sweeping statements about those on benefits, are making some very odd statements about the Tories being good and how we need to be lead by those from privileged backgrounds as that is how we “regain the empire”, and are using the word “socialist” as if it is an insult… 

Suffice to say that this confused me, it seemed to have appeared from nowhere. So I did some digging and asked some questions and the trigger for at least some of the comments seemed to be a channel 4 programme called “Benefit Street”. So I did some more digging and ended up reading a lot of articles and blogs showing very contrasting views, along with some very worrying tweets and some fairly aggressive face-book status’s :/

I decided that in order to give a fair and full judgement I would need to watch the programme, as making a judgement on here-say alone is unfair. 

So I put on 4OD and I watched the show. To be honest I didn’t find it that bad, I mean yes it is full of stereotypes and negative messages, and have obviously been edited for sensationalism… but it’s not as biased as I had expected, though I do feel it could have gone further into a few peoples backstories.

One person that social media have exploded over is the guy who is in and out of prison for shop-lifting. He seemed to believe prison was only slightly less desirable than “home”, but the reason for this is never questioned… has he been institutionalised? Is his home life maybe so awful that he feels the need to escape? What is the reason for his repeated criminal behaviour? In my opinion there is ALWAYS a reason, and this needs exploring.

And the young couple who committed benefit feud. What pushed them tot hat point? Why did they feel the need to commit feud?

There were the positive characters though. There was “white dee” who took it upon herself to support the other sin the street, to help them when they were desperate, and she was the only one who seemed to want to help the alcoholic drug addict to break his destructive cycle. She referred to herself as the “mummy of the street” and she seemed to live up to this name fairly well.

There was also the 50p man, who took it upon himself to sell “shots” of basic necessities door to door for 50p, which was a very enterprising idea. He is also shown to be a very caring man, giving away items for free to those who are unable to afford the 50p he charges. I have heard that since the programme was aired he has been offered a job in sales, I do not know if this is true but I really hope it is as from what I saw he seriously deserves a chance.

Also what is with the flat screen TV obsession??? Everywhere I look people are commenting on the fact that most people on the show had flat screen TVs :/ . Flat screens are not a new thing, they are fairly cheap now, you’d be hard pushed to find an old fashioned cathode ray tube TV now. I may missing something but I am really not sure why people seem to have jumped on this…

What most people (from what I have seen on social media and over heard at college and on buses) appear to have taken from this programme is that all people on benefits are scrounging scum, happy to live on handouts as it allows them to avoid work. But what I kept thinking was “didn’t the government promise to put things in place to HELP those in destructive cycles, those with little education, those with few prospects, etc? Where is that help?”. What we saw on that show was a street of people who have lost all hope, and as someone who’s now classed as being one of the “long term unemployed” I can understand that feeling. I spend all day everyday applying for jobs or trying to improve my employability, to no avail, and it is disheartening. It is depressing. It is demotivating. And without hope, prospects, or reliable income people get desperate, people resort to crime to feed theirselves, or just purely for the fun of it, people give up hope of finding employment, people start to alienate and isolate theirselves.

None of this is new, it happened in Britain in the 80s and it will happen again. And it’s happened before that, repetitively throughout history, if we have any hope of ending it we need to stop judging each other, stop stereotyping, and actually look for the route causes and address these. Or at least that is my opinion.