Monday, 29 April 2013

Universal Credit Sign the WOW Petition



I am not one for political thought or content on my blog, I have not sat on this for hours, its straight out onto here, so for some you may find lots of holes in my thoughts, it may be a bit rambling, however, I am worried.

 Universal Credit which starts today using a selected group of claimants,single people seems to have some serious shortcomings and I worry. I imagine using an easy group to process will show it as a great success. But move onto the whole system and these are some of my concerns. 

Its been a long time since I was claiming unemployment benefit as it was called back in the day I do remember being paid fortnightly and struggling towards the end of that long two weeks. I was not a fritterer, I budgeted quite well,, paid my utilities and rent, shopped wisely and still found it tough, the money is just to make it through,no extras,no clothes allowance, replacing household items.

For  me monthly would have been harder to deal with just in terms of buying fresh food and unexpected money needs.  Claimants who are not money minded and this will be the case, not just because of impulsive spending but basic maths skills will almost certainly struggle.

My next issue is one of how the new UC will be managed, its all going online and paid direct into bank accounts, yes good for me as I am computer savvy,have a bank account and like that way of dealing with my payments.

But not everybody has access to a computer, the libraries suggested are not open every day and my library alone has not enough computers to cope with our several thousand unemployed citizens including people with disability and social concerns.

Then you also have people who cannot read or write, have the understanding of form filling, I recently filled in a carers application and it stumped me at times. Many years ago, I  worked as a Field Officer in a drop in centre for the elderly,single, parents, the disable etc, one of my tasks was helping people fill forms for benefits, , the forms often baffle people, some just struggling with a new baby, some elderly clients were confused by the requirements, many visitors had mental health issues, so many I saw,had got their applications wrong, given incorrect info, leading to a slow up  getting the benefits on time.

The new scheme is set  to make it even more of a struggle, the Council led scheme I worked for in the drop in centre has ceasedt o be and in many cities there are no real advice centres,bar Citizens Advice, already being choked by benefit claimants, library staff will be inundated, I can see the place to peruse a book being a very noisy place in the future,while people queue to get free internet.
  Still it will unclog the job centres, maybe massage the benefits figures, however for each of those figures it will be a real person struggling.

I can see a serious problem arising and watching a BBC news item about the food banks visitors,doubling in the last year, people  now only get a one off food parcel enough for a week I believe,waiting a month for benefits will be far too long. Oxfam known for food banks around the world have started them in the UK for the first time! That is quite a shocker for me.

While in a loo at a motorway service stop, the Shelter poster in the ladies,stated that every 15 minutes a family become homeless,I am feeling really concerned by the changes in benefits and I lived through Maggie's reign and found that tough. 

I resorted to a Crisis loan when the company I worked for went into liquidation and did not pay my last wages. The Crisis Loan, money given to help until my benefit was paid, is no more. People just have to wait,up until  today it was a fortnight, from today a month and if you have made a mistake on the form, I see this becoming a problem of hunger and cold.

There are more disadvantages to the new reform but my worry is the needy. 

I have signed the War On Welfare! #WOWpetition this homes in on the sick and disabled but calls for an assessment of the Universal Credit system.


WOW  call for:
A Cumulative Impact Assessment of all cuts and changes affecting sick & disabled people, their families and carers, and a free vote on repeal of the Welfare Reform Act.
An immediate end to the Work Capability Assessment, as voted for by the British Medical Association.
Consultation between the Depts of Health & Education to improve support into work for sick & disabled people, and an end to forced work under threat of sanctions for people on disability benefits*
An Independent, Committee-Based Inquiry into Welfare Reform, covering but not limited to: (1) Care home admission rises, daycare centres, access to education for people with learning difficulties, universal mental health treatments, Remploy closures; (2) DWP media links, the ATOS contract, IT implementation of Universal Credit; (3) Human rights abuses against disabled people, excess claimant deaths & the disregard of medical evidence in decision making by ATOS, DWP & the Tribunal Service.



14 comments:

  1. It's very difficult not to be political when you see our government compromising basic humanity.

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  2. Agree Gillian,its getting harder to keep quiet and its time for action before people get hurt.

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  3. I signed the petition, I seem to have signed a lot recently.

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    1. Yes seems to be a trend, hope this one gets the 100,000 needed to get heard.

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  4. I think a single credit to eventually simplify the system is good, but they need to invest in administrating it properly so that it isn't scrapped. I agree that setting it up online is unfair because not everyone has a home computer or even a library close by.

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    1. Yes financially the system makes sense,although the month to wait is ludicrous,if a person hasn't any money, making them wait on a decision for that long is poor. My views are not about people who really need to get into work,but for the claimants who need it.

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  5. food for thought definitely - this political stuff baffles me sometimes though!

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    1. Thanks, they do seem to confuse a lot of us.

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  6. Well said, it's not been properly thought through at all.

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    1. Thank you it really doesn't seem to look at the vulnerable sector.

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  7. There are many flaws in the system- monthly payments paid direct to claimants- some with drug and alchohol problems, what are landlords going to do when tenants fall into arrears, what are people going to do iff they haven't go access or don't know how to use the internet. I feel a sense of impending doom coming on.

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    1. Yes sadly I feel the same,its all sorts of addictions here,gambling,spending etc. More becoming homeless as a result.

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  8. Thank you for speaking up about this, I have signed so many petitions lately and I can't believe what the poor, sick and disabled are having to go through at the moment. We need to fight for these people.

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  9. An excellent post. This new policy will hit some very poor and disabled people very hard.

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