2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 43,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 16 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

New Tyneside Mind film about the WCA

From Mind Mental Health Charity

Tyneside Mind have produced a powerful new film about the Work Capability Assessment (WCA). In the film, actors depict the experiences of people who are supported by Tyneside Mind and have been through the WCA.

Many people find the process of going through the WCA difficult and distressing, and this is very much reflected in the film.

The film contains references to suicide which you may find triggering, please watch carefully.

Many people continue to find the WCA process stressful, insensitive, inaccurate and unfair. It needs to change.


Pre- 1996 Issue- Bedroom Tax- DWP mess-up is also potentially maladministration by the DWP


 The DWP has messed up with the bedroom tax and specifically with the pre-1996 issue.

 Briefly, if:

 1)    You have been in continuous receipt of Housing Benefit (full or partial) since 1 January 1996 or before;


 2)    You have been in the same property since 1 January 1996

 Then you are exempt from having the bedroom tax imposed upon you. 

If this describes your situation then you need to put this in writing to your local council asking them to reconsider your case and stating if they do not you will appeal to the SEC tribunal over this.  A brief standard template letter is here along with the detail of this issue for your use.

However, this DWP mess-up is also potentially maladministration by the DWP and I maintain it is further evidence, as if it were needed, that the bedroom tax is a back of a fag packet…

View original post 460 more words


Social Action 2014

A letter a day to number 10. No 606.

Friday 27 December 2013. Letter to a failure.

Shares are encouraged and welcomed. If this letter speaks for you and you wish to send your own copy please feel free to copy and paste, and alter for your own needs, the text for your own letter.

Website updated, letters and replies plus bonus material featuring Mr Suggs, Eeyore and Ribbit.

Also on the website, download the support compilation three album set from Atona. Not to be missed.


Dear Mr Cameron,

We are not yours, Mr Cameron, I know that this is something you poor people in parliament struggle with, short of imagination as you are. But, no, we do not belong to you. Our minds, our souls and our bodies belong to us as our human right. You particles of power are just a glitch in our way.

We, the…

View original post 337 more words

Interview with a Job Centre Advisor: sanction targets & corruption revealed


@JobcentreMole is a Job Centre advisor who has taken to Twitter to speak out about the Job Centre’s unfair treatment of people who are claiming benefits. For obvious reasons he is anonymous. I think that what he’s doing is very brave. We did this interview by email. (All emphases are mine).
The Mole says: “I started my career with Jobcentre plus over 15 years ago at such a young age, I have literally done every job at lower (band B) level there is within the Jobcentre. I can assure you my knowledge of Jobcentre Plus is up with the best, I can also assure you I am not alone with my views.” 
Do the management have targets to sanction x number of people, or are your team encouraged to sanction people?

There is 100% no specific target at all, however it is and has been mentioned before that each signer…

View original post 2,691 more words

The worst benefit tale yet?

Benefit tales

From the facebook page ‘The People vs the Government, DWP and ATOS

“Curious if you know if its possible to sue dwp as I lost my child at 20 weeks gestation and believe the stress of being left with no income and then accused of benefit fraud (which I recieved no reply of complaint, or supposed proof or apology) the stress I under went meant I had to take sleeping tablets and started having contractions”

Dec 24th 2013

View original post

‘Scaremongering’, Iain? Isn’t that more your line of work?

Mike Sivier's blog

Iain Duncan Smith needs to think before making unwise statements.

He was in the headlines over the weekend after he accused food bank charity The Trussell Trust of “scaremongering” in order to get publicity for its work.

Refusing to meet representatives of the trust – thereby reneging (in advance!) on a promise we all heard during the food bank debate in Parliament last week – he stated in a letter written during November that the increased poverty forcing people to seek food bank aid was not linked to his regressive changes in the social security system, and that the charity was using this claim to get publicity for itself.

Quoted in The Observer, his letter began by criticising the “political messaging of your organisation”, which “despite claiming to be nonpartisan” had “repeatedly sought to link the growth in your network to welfare reform”.

He went on to reject suggestions that the…

View original post 350 more words

Thoughts on the foodbank debate, from the public gallery.



It’s taken me almost 24 hours to write this post, as if I had written it after the debate last night it would have probably been a big rant about what a nasty piece of work Esther McVey is – and the work that has gone into the debate and the efforts of 142,000 people who signed and shared that petition was too valuable to waste in a rage.

So I took some time to reflect, rather than leap in, and here I am.

Last night, sitting in the public gallery at the House of Commons, I witnessed the hideous, smirking face of one (yellow and blue) side of the house. Half empty benches lined with braying, jeering, sneering MPs, shouting down Maria Eagle in her opening speech as she attempted to set the terms of the debate for food bank users, volunteers, and struggling households up and down Britain.

View original post 762 more words