Poverty

I’m thinking of last winter, a snow-blurred  landscape and my agonisingly permanently cold blue feet, painful hands, the shaming underweight lecture from my  consultant: “eat much more and you must keep warm with raynauds” she said. I told her I couldn’t do both, and she looked at me uncomprehendingly, though she usually understood me.

via Poverty.

DWP tries again to stop release of Universal Credit reports

“The reports could show, without ambiguity, that the DWP misled Parliament in 2012 and 2013 by saying the UC programme was progressing successfully when officials knew this was not the case.”

via DWP tries again to stop release of Universal Credit reports.

The Truth and Statistics Campaign – Petition 2

Jayne says :-

Last year over 100,006 people said Hold Iain Duncan Smith to account for his misuse of Statistics, both The Work & Pensions Select 3rd Report Monitoring the Perfomance of DWP 2012/13 and the Public Administration Committee 1st Report Agreed.

We demand The House accepts these Recommendation and Ensures Minsters and others present statistics in a way that is fair, accurate and “unspun”.

Read more:

via The Truth and Statistics Campaign – Petition 2.

The French view of Welfare Reform

French readers of Le Monde get to read an interview with three disabled people regarding the Work Capability Assessments by Atos and the fear it engenders in those who are at risk of being forced to attend them. I think the translation of the article into English has been done with one of the online text translation tools but, as Jayne says in her intro, it is still readable and understandable even if a little difficult to parse because of grammar and pronoun irregularities.

via The French view of Welfare Reform.

Techniques of neutralisation: Cameron says keep calm and carry on climbing Allport’s ladder

As ever, an excellent piece of writing. If you’re not reading her blog, why not?

via Techniques of neutralisation: Cameron says keep calm and carry on climbing Allport's ladder.

Marks and Spencers’ Leading Ladies. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Dear “Leading Ladies” (Annie Lennox, Emma Thompson, Rita Ora, Rachel Khoo, Lulu Kennedy, Baroness Lawrence, Alek Wek & Roma Agrawal),
Let me ask you, is your contract with Marks and Spencer on Workfare conditions? Or are you getting paid? Are M&S actually able to pay you because they are getting free labour? Did you know that Workfare is NOT voluntary? Unless you deem loss of any income at all and your family starving to death as a valid alternative. Did you know that Workfare is indefinite for sick and disabled people who the DWP deem “may” be fit for work in under a year (“may” be fit by then but are being sent on Workfare schemes anyway). Would YOU accept a position paying under £2 per hour (for 35 hrs/week, with all the extra expenses employment brings & also complying with DWP rules to look for paid employment for another 35 hours per week)?

Dear Marks & Spencer, How many paid, entry-level, positions have you made “redundant” because you’re filling them with unpaid “slave” labour via the Workfare scheme and others like it? Voluntary “work experience” in an appropriate employment sector for a couple of weeks is one thing, but this? This is so close to slave labour you could barely get a fag paper between them. Taxpayers’ money going to fund corporate wages.

Leading Ladies, you should be ashamed of yourselves for promoting a corporation that participates in this scheme.

Marks & Spencer, I refuse to shop with you until you stop, completely and utterly falling in with these scheme to exploit the unemployed, sick and disabled.

When we have half a million vacancies and 2.5 million unemployed (and that’s after the DWP faff with the figures and hide those on sanctions and Workfare schemes from the stats) surely it would make more sense to actually employ people than to throw more onto the job queue. If you want to “do the right thing” and encourage unemployed into work, why not offer more traineeships at (or preferably above) minimum wage with a guaranteed job at the end if certain tests/assessments are acceptable. If you can take on free labour you have the capacity to take on paid.

This goes for all large corporations who are benefiting from public funds instead of paying their staff.

Dominic Raab on BBC Question Time on Foodbanks

Of course Raab knew he was misquoting the Trussell Trust (aka lying). It’s a pity there’s never anyone on the panel (including the presenter) with either the knowledge or the guts to challenge him and his ilk when they spout rubbish. I’ve given up on watching Question Time or listening to Any Questions on R4 now, both given me an unwanted increase in blood pressure and put me in a bad temper.

via Dominic Raab on BBC Question Time on Foodbanks.

“But if you can sit at a computer to type, you can do a job!”

“If you can sit at a computer to play a game or read/respond to an article, you can do a job!” I want to be paid for the number of times I hear that or some variation on it – more if it is from someone who I believe “should know better”.

Who will employ someone who not only cannot do a full day, who would be too tired to actually do anything after commuting to work, but also cannot guarantee which days (if any) they could work? Who will employ someone who might get to work only to collapse & need to be sent/taken home? Who will employ someone who might suddenly have a “brain full of cotton wool” and be unable to remember things even from only a few minutes previously? Who will employ someone who might manage two days one week and none the next? Who will provide a private office with a sofa or bed for their employee to take the necessary naps to get them through the day? Who will employ someone who is taking Tramadol or morphine every couple of hours for the pain? Pretty sure that last, and possibly some of the others, would contravene workplace safety laws.

Imagine having flu, not a bit of a sniffly cold, FLU. Deep bone aches, joints stiffen, everything hurts, brain is fogged, body shakes, exhaustion not helped by sleep, constant headache. Now imagine living with that ALL THE TIME. With no real help from medication other than to “take the edge off”.

None of these not-yet-disabled that I see every day on twitter, on various comments sections to blogs or newspaper articles making nasty comments about others. They must be absolute medical geniuses to be able to diagnose from a newspaper or blog comment whether someone is fit for work. They should be working for ATOS.

Perhaps they should remember that it only takes a split second for their life to change. Most people who are disabled or chronically sick were not born that way. We had lives. We had careers. Then something happened and we were suddenly useless. Unable to do the work we trained for. Some of us successfully retrain, become self-employed, but it’s difficult and requires a lot of support… financial support to allow us to adapt our way of doing things, to get going as a start-up. Then sometimes Our condition worsens and that gets ripped away from us as well and we’re back to square one. All the time being judged by people who simply haven’t got a clue and, truth be told, haven’t even stopped to think about what they are saying or writing beyond regurgitating what they last read from their favourite comic tabloid.

“Those Paralympians are disabled and they can work!” “What about Stephen Hawking? He’s able to do amazing things.” These comments piss me off beyond belief.

You can run like Usain Bolt? No? Oh, perhaps you are a Nobel prize candidate in a scientific field? Still no? Maybe you are an award-winning author or composer? A celebrated artist? No? Why not? Other non-disabled people do these things. Why can’t you?

That’s precisely what those unthinking idiots are saying to anyone with a disability.

And when they start using terms like “drain on resources”? Oh dear, now we’re one step away from calling disabled people “useless eaters” or “useless consumers”. Perhaps all people who have an accident or fall ill should be given a “Deliverance Machine” with a list of “correct” answers in case your idea of society deems them to be too much of a burden.

I used to say that I would never wish my combination of illnesses & medical conditions on anyone. I changed my mind and the list grows longer. I’d like to put an ever larger number of people into modified “arthritis suits” for a few weeks to see how they manage a life of constant pain & restriction.  It’s not cruel and unusual… that would be if I suggested they have a hip & knee replacement, a few rounds of ECT, a go on an acceleration high G simulator and then be put in the suits.  But I shall, womanfully, restrain my natural aggressive tendencies.

Me at age 2 with Pippy

“OMG! Why do we pay people just for squeezing out another kid?!?”

I should probably stop “reading the comments” (those under certain online newspaper articles and blog posts). My BP goes up and the acid rises into my throat.

Regarding the Philpott case and the Chancellor’s comments I’ll just say that Osborne is a creep of the first order. There’s no natural justice in the world or he, IDS, Cameron and the rest of the bastards would soon experience the pain and stress that too many of us have to deal with every day – and without the cushion of insane wealth or “friends” to ease it for them. It won’t happen, but I can dream sometimes. Hey, I never, ever said I was a nice person. I can be kind, helpful, caring etc – also judgemental, bad-tempered, angry, grudging and vindictive. But not nice – ask my husband, he’s the nice one.

So, the Philpotts received Child Benefit for 11 children (two mothers, 5 and 6 children each)? And, apparently that’s a horrible horrible thing. To some people the idea of having that many children is so alien that it can only be explained by “They did it for the money!” I’ve heard this said about families with 5 or 6 kids where both parents are working and claiming no other benefits than Child Benenfit (until recently payable to, usually, the mother of every child in the UK).

So let’s examine the amazing financial benefit of “squeezing out another brat” as I have heard it termed (I have heard other terms used, some by people I still consider friends despite their seeming hatred for children – that’s another rant for another post). One thing every single person forgets when they cry “OMG! They were getting £8K* a year in Child Benefit!” is that each one of those kids has to be fed, housed and clothed. Each one has to:

– have a bath or shower regularly (utilities bill);

– be clothed adequately, now hand-me-downs used to be the way with large families but nowadys cheap clothes barely last through one child, so clothes & school uniforms for constantly growing kids, shoes and coats being the most expensive items – oh, laundry, more on the utilities bill;

– they have to be fed regularly, preferably with healthy food;

– have somewhere to live, so rent & rates on a large enough house to accomodate all of you (note: both women worked, so may have had to pay rates & at least part of rent depending on income);

– to be kept warm in winter – unless you want to force them all into the box room to keep warm by body heat a la the middle ages.

There is a lot more, but you get my drift.

Once you’ve paid all that…. you know what? Child Benefit per child doesn’t come anywhere close to covering what it costs to raise a child. So there’s no “extra” left to fund any kind of “lifestyle”. I don’t know what sort of “lifestyle” the Tories and their sycophants think someone who has to rely on a high level of benefits has – perhaps they should each swap homes and incomes with some of those that they are trying to dehumanise and turn into hate figures for people who are scared that they might be next.

*Calculations

£20.30 /week for first child

£13.40 for each subsequent child

Now, most calculations I have seen assume only one at eldest child rate, but I suspect each mother received her own Child Benenfit.

So, per week:

2 @ £20.30  = £40.60

9 @ £13.40  =£120.60

Weekly total = £161.20

x 52  = £8382.40