Food Banks and Benefits.

Ipswich Unemployed Action.


Up till the new millenium it was rare – I had never even heard of them – to see Foodbanks in the UK. There were a few night-time soup kitchens in London, famously one run by the Salvation Army near the Embankment Tube station. They were for the homeless, a small number of people, often called “tramps” and “down and outs”.

These were times when you could still get a bath (left over from the time that not everybody had proper washing facilities at home) in a municipal facility (there was one in Ipswich round the corner, still here not that long ago). When the heating on our flat in Kentish Town broke down and working not far away, I used one, near to a hostel for the homeless in Holborn. In the same place, development on what is the Oasis Swimming Pool there, 1983 “Skeletons were found in the…

View original post 877 more words

Universal Credit: 70% Rise in Severe Rent Arrears.

Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Rent arrears for Tenants - How to avoid them - Slater & Brandley

Steep Rise in Arrears Amongst Universal Credit Claimants.

Rough sleeping remains a problem.

A day out with Derby’s rough sleepers and homeless peopleDerbyshire Live. October the 13th 2021.

Derby’s rough sleepers have complex problems

There are many initiatives to help with this ( How Ipswich is breaking the cycle of homelessness) , though doubtless not enough given the deep rooted causes of homelessness and the years of government neglect and a benefit system not fit to deal with people’s needs.

It looks as if more of those on benefits, are threatened with homelessness (which does not mean we will see all of them on the streets).

The cause is not their “complex problems”.

A few days ago Welfare Weekly carried this story,

Universal Credit: Homelessness fears as figures show a 70% surge in severe rent arrears.

New Government figures published today (Wednesday) reveal a 70% increase over six…

View original post 285 more words

Crippen hears that ATOS may be returning to carry out DWP assessments

Crippen Cartoons

Disabled activists reacted with horror after learning that the former government contractor ATOS could soon be carrying out “fitness for work” tests again, six years after being forced to withdraw from its assessment contract with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

ATOS withdrew from the contract with DWP in 2015, following years of negative publicity and multiple links between the actions of the company and its staff and the deaths of disabled claimants.

Now, because the DWP is introducing a major change to the way it commissions private sector companies to carry out health and disability benefit assessments – wanting a single supplier rather than the three it currently uses – disabled campaigners fear it could lead to ATOS once again returning to carry out these assessments.

Information released to Disability News Service (DNS) by DWP last year showed that, between April 2010 and April 2019, ATOS was…

View original post 219 more words

Crippen supports the call for the end of the WCA

Crippen Cartoons

A disabled independent disability studiesresearcher is finding it disturbing that the Disability Benefits Consortium is failing to support the user-led disabled community in its call for an end to the seriously flawed Work Capability Assessment (WCA).

As the research lead for the Preventable Harm Project that she led for ten years, Mo Stewart points to the most recently published evidence that establishes a direct link to the death, despair and preventable harm of many thousands of disabled people who were evaluated using the WCA.

In a letter to Mark Hodgkinson, Chief Executive of Scope (who are active members of the Consortium) Mo expresses serious concern to learn that once again charitable groups like Scope, who claim to represent the disabled community in theDisability Benefits Consortium are lobbying for improvements to the WCA instead of demanding that it should be abolished. She told him:

“This simply…

View original post 359 more words

Katharine Birbalsingh, chair of Social Mobility Commission


Social mobility, the opportunity to succeed (financially or otherwise) regardless of inherited or family wealth, requires active assistance by governments.

In UK such assistance is absent and deliberately placed obstacles prevent people from attaining social mobility. 

For people in late teens/early twenties obstacles to social mobility include

  • Prohibitive cost of university education: Initial debt can be as high as £60,000 and the debt rises over time due to extortionate interest rates
  • Lack of financial support for ‘A’ level students
  • Paucity of useful apprenticeships
  • Low paid and insecure entry-level employment for school leavers
  • High rents preventing young people from moving out of parental home for work
  • Vicious regime of benefit-snatching by DWP adding to income insecurity

For people a little older their social mobility is hampered greatly by near impossibility of obtaining a mortgage to buy a house coupled with difficulty in saving money due to high cost of living, particularly…

View original post 3,217 more words

Labour Future Candidates Programme


On Thursday 14th October 2021 successful applicants for Labour’s Future Candidates Programme (to be trained as potential Labour parliamentary candidates) were notified of their acceptance onto the programme.  They acknowledged their success with similarly worded and similarly structured social media messages that were sent at approximately the same time; each message included the same drawing (of a generic town hall frontage).  None of the messages included any political comments.

Successful candidates included serving councillors, a few longstanding Labour members and some who were not previously members of Labour.

According to Labour our aim is to have a trained cohort of individuals who reflect the full diversity of our society, who understand what it means to stand for the Labour Party and what is expected of a Labour Party Parliamentary candidate at the next General Election, and who understand the lives of those they are seeking to represent.” 

View original post 1,454 more words