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Monday, 23 July 2012

Spanish unemployed demand 'Respect' !

Today "Respect For the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants" paid tribute to all those who marched in Madrid in their thousands, against unemployment & victimisation of benefit claimants . We stand shoulder to shoulder in unity with everyone of you - Respect !

Tens of thousands of Spaniards joined protests against Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy Brey's government this weekend (22nd July) in protest over its handling of an economic crisis that has plunged 25 per cent of the country into unemployment.

Hundreds of unemployed young Spaniards had walked hundreds of miles to meet in Madrid to show their rejection of the politics of austerity.

They journeyed on foot from the southern region of Andalucia, which has one of the worst unemployment rates in Spain, from northern Catalonia and other areas in an attempt to highlight the plight of the unemployed in recession-hit Spain.

Demonstrations have become almost constant across Spain since the government announced €65 billion (£50.6bn) in new spending cuts two weeks ago.

After demonstrating outside the Ministry for Employment earlier in the day, protesters banging drums, blowing vuvuzelas and chanting "unemployed, wake up" marched towards Puerta del Sol, the central square that has seen hundreds of thousands demonstrate against government austerity.

They were joined by members of the Los "Indignados" - 15-M Movement, which has organised sit-ins at the square for more than a year.

Many bore banners railing against the markets squeezing Spain's finances, with slogans such as "Debt is modern-day slavery" or "Unemployed against the risk premium."

The government is trying to avert a full-scale bailout after going cap in hand to Eurozone leaders to borrow up to €100bn (£77.8bn) to throw at its failing banks.

But even that borrowing failed to appease the vulture markets.

The interest rate demanded by speculators rose at the weekend to a euro-era record of 7.2 per cent in reaction to the country's continued recession and the debts of its regions.

Far from being hailed as a life-saver, the €65bn of spending cuts and tax rises pushed through by the Rajoy administration to meet deficit targets set by Brussels are widely blamed in Spain for pushing the economy back into recession for yet another year.

One of the government's most controversial cuts will affect unemployment benefits, which are set to be reduced for those who have just become unemployed.
Hundreds of thousands of angry Spaniards protested in 80 cities across Spain on (Thursday 19th July) against the government's latest austerity measures.

Protesters flooded Madrid's Puerta del Sol square and the streets in front of parliament long into the night, facing riot police at barricades. Police fired rubber bullets and charged protesters in central Madrid. Large crowds also gathered in Barcelona and Bilbao. El Pais estimated that more than 100,000 had attended the rally in the capital alone.

Ccoo Andalucia CCOO Cádiz CCOO Joves Ccoo Pv EAPN - European Anti Poverty Network The Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Britain's Unemployment Count - Deception !

The UK government is using 'perception to deceive the British Electorate' with regard to Britain's unemployment count, that 'perception is nothing but deception'. The media & government bodies are all working together to deceive us, regarding our economic decline.

According to the Office for National Statistics the number of people out of work fell by 65,000 to 2.58 million in the three months to May. The London 2012 Olympics is no doubt providing a boost to employment, but many benefit claimants are being forced off benefits onto the 'Work Programme' with the deceptive promise of a job at the end of the games - this was exposed in the organising of the Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee Celebrations 2012.

Those forced onto schemes like the 'Work Programme' (Workfare) are not employed, they don't receive a wage but receive 'dole money for work' - those people are not categorised as unemployed.

FACT: the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance rose by 6,100 to 1.6 million in June. It's very easy to remove claimants from the official statistics when they are re-classified - i.e working for free on the 'Work Programme' (workfare) harassed onto other so-called voluntary schemes or suspended from benefit on trumped up charges.

FACT: The number of long-term unemployed increased, with those out of work for more than two years rising by 18,000 to a total of 441,000, the highest since 1990's. Unemployment among 16 to 24-year-olds is well over the million mark.

Teenagers are being conned onto the 'Work Programme' and so-called 'Youth Contract', with a promise of a job at the end. The reality is many are being exploited for cheap labour for greedy capitalist companies seeking to maximize profits. 

Video: Employment Minister Chris Grayling interview on WORKFARE !

FACT: Unemployment in Wales has risen in the last quarter, a total of 2,000 extra people are out of work, taking the total number in Wales up to 133,000. The Welsh unemployment rate stands at 9%, compared to the UK average of 8.1%.

FACT: Northern Ireland's unemployment rate has risen yet again, even though record levels of benefit claimants are being forced onto the 'Work Programme' to artificially massage the unemployment count!

Unemployment count down in the UK ? That Perception is Deception !

Meanwhile, Scotland has followed the UK into a double-dip recession, according to the latest official figures. Scottish Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fell by 0.1% during the first three months of 2012.

Output in construction fell sharply by 6.9% while the production sector grew by 1.2% and services by 0.2%. Recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of the economy contracting.

The UK economy officially returned to recession in April, when its GDP figures for the first quarter of 2012 showed a further contraction of 0.2%.

Scotland saw an increase in the number of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance last month but the total number of jobless - including those ineligible for benefits - fell, official statistics showed today.

The Office for National Statistics said the claimant count went up by 1,300 to 144,100 in June while the number of jobless fell by 4,000 to 215,000 between March and May.

The Scottish unemployment rate now stands at 8 per cent, which is just below the average of 8.1 per cent for the whole of Britain.

Youth unemployment in Scotland stands at 20.8 per cent.

Capitalist countries within Europe are failing its 500 million citizens on a grand scale. Unemployment has reached alarming levels, the economic crisis has left 25 million EU citizens out of work - a number that is greater than the populations of most countries in the union.

Record unemployment in the 17 countries that use the euro is a clear sign if one was needed that, the policy of austerity has failed the people. Respect For the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants demand a policy of job creation be made a priority, we desperately need a pro-growth strategy to stop countries going deeper into recession.

Unemployment across the 17-member eurozone rose by 169,000 in March, taking the rate up to 10.9 percent in March — its highest level since the euro was launched in 1999.

Europe's disaster is the start of a long-term decline, in Spain the unemployment rate stands 21.3%, the country's has highest unemployment within the EU. In the EU as a whole, one in five young people are looking for work.

Privatisation is the agenda of our Con-Dem government', the disastrous austerity policies follow the same EU guidelines has pushed Britain into a new recession with levels of unemployment not seen for decades.

A right wing Tory led coalition government in power with an ideology that is based on "Deception" !  

Respect For the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants

copy to:  The Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed, Trades Union Congress (TUC), GMB union, Unite the Union, Scottish Unemployed Workers' Network .

Monday, 16 July 2012

Worldwide Eradication of Poverty !

 The United Nations Foundation - International Day for the Eradication of Poverty - 17 October - has been observed each year since 1993. It promotes people’s awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and destitution worldwide.  

The observance of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty can be traced back to October 17, 1987. On that date, more than 100,000 people gathered in Paris, France, to honor the victims of extreme poverty, violence and hunger. Since that moment, individuals and organisations worldwide observed October 17 as a day to renew their commitment in collaborating towards eradicating poverty.

In December, 1992, the UN General Assembly officially declared October 17 as the date for the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

October 17th presents an opportunity to acknowledge the effort and struggle of people living in poverty, a chance for them to make their concerns heard, and a moment to recognise that poor people are the first ones to fight against poverty.

Respect For the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants - welcomes the initiative to hold governments to account. Poverty is a leading factor to increased vulnerability and social exclusion.

In today’s context when governments are introducing drastic budgetary austerity measures, it is indispensable to assess their impact on the daily lives of millions of benefit claimants, disabled & older people, in particular the most vulnerable groups such as older women, people living on minimum old-age income, very old persons living alone or in rural areas, who are particularly affected by the cuts in the benefits they used to receive such as long-term care, subsidised transport, housing and winter fuel payments, etc.

The International Day Against Poverty, is an opportunity to remind governments of their duty to protect ALL citizens, those most vulnerable are being persecuted & at best ignored.

We the people demand respect & dignity !

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

IRISH Long-term unemployment now 51.5%

Lost generation !
A very striking feature of the Quarterly National Household Survey release from the (IRISH REPUBLIC) Central Statistics Office is the dramatic increase in the long-term unemployment figure.

DUBLIN — Ireland’s unemployment rate rose to an 18-year high of 14.9 percent in June, underscoring the country’s struggle to stimulate economic growth in the face of austerity measures.

It is the late 1990s since long-term unemployment accounted for more than half of the overall unemployment figure. In the fourth quarter of 2010 there were 153,900 people long-term unemployed, A figure that is five times greater than the number of people long-term unemployed at the end of 2007.

The other striking feature is the dramatic increase in the unemployment figure which increased by 30,700 people and brought Ireland's unemployment rate to an 18-year high of 14.9 percent in June.

This increase is particularly worrying as it indicates the strength of the underlying increase in unemployment which has negative implications for the further increase in long-term unemployment.

To address these issues, campaigners will be looking to the incoming IRISH Government to live up to their promises on jobs within their first 100 days in office. And though welcoming the new Government's commitment to job creation Many will be concerned at the lack of an integrated jobs strategy and the lack of a Minister of State who would liaise between the Departments of Social Protection; Education and Skills; Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation. For the proposed new National Employment and Entitlements Service to provide a good service to unemployed people it is vital that there is excellent co-ordination between the three Government Departments.

Questions for the IRISH Government:

1. What will you do to tackle unemployment?
2. Will you reverse the cuts made to Jobseekers Allowance and Benefit?
3. How will you improve services to unemployed people?
4. What will you do to create decent jobs?

Respect For the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Nearly Eighteen Million unemployed in the Eurozone - capitalism in crisis !

* Unemployment in the Eurozone:

Official figures showed this week that unemployment in the eurozone hit another record in May.
EU statistics office Eurostat said unemployment rose to 11.1 per cent in May from 11 per cent the previous month. That’s the highest rate since the euro was launched in 1999.

In total, 17.6 million people were out of work in the eurozone in May, 1.8 million higher than a year earlier.
Respect For the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants
The labour markets of countries on the front line of the debt crisis, such as Greece and Spain, are suffering in the wake of stringent austerity measures and a resulting recession.

The highest unemployment rate across the eurozone was recorded in Spain, where 24.6 per cent of people were out of work, including 52.1 per cent of the country’s youth. Across the wider 27-country European Union, unemployment edged up to 10.3 per cent in May from 10.2 per cent the month before.

* Irish republic unemployment hits a 18 year high - media ignores :

It is extraordinary that the majority of Irish newspapers chose to largely ignore the startling fact that unemployment rose to an 18-year high when government CSO figures were published on the (4th July).

Even some British newspapers were ahead of their Irish counterparts in highlighting how the unemployment rate touching 15% reflected the stark failure of government to grow the economy.

As Associated Press reported, the figures illustrated “the country's struggle to stimulate economic growth in the face of austerity measures.”

“The rising joblessness could have been worse but for Ireland's tradition of mass emigration in times of economic hardship. The Central Statistics Office says about 76,000 left this country of 4.5 million last year for stronger job markets in other English-speaking countries - chiefly Britain, Australia and Canada - and the trend has continued this year,” it added.

It was evident across much of the Irish coverage of this dramatic and tragic human interest story of mass unemployment that the practical and urgent proposals put forward by the trade union movement for an investment and infrastructural stimulus were all but ignored across the media.

Meanwhile, EU leaders dashed to Brussels to compare notes on a plan which will lock the peoples of the bloc into a future of permanent austerity. Last week, two-day summit was meant to agree a strategy for economic growth but the reality is more EU loans to countries being denied traditional borrowing routes from credit ratings agencies.

The price extracted will be extortionate - people will be forced to endure public-sector and welfare cuts, privatisation, slashed incomes and a slashing of labour laws.

* Unemployment in the USA:

In America, labour statistics last week exposed a rise in unemployment among African Americans, from 13.6% to 14.4%, double the rate for the white population. The proportion of white Americans out of work was static at 7.4%, and while the jobless rate for Latinos remained high at 11%, it too was unchanged from May. Black unemployment levels in some metropolitan areas have seen the highest rate, in Las Vegas 22.6%, in the Los Angeles metro area 21.1%, Chicago 19.1% and Detroit 18.1%.

The disparity between white and black Americans has been consistent for as long as statistics have been collated, at least back to the 1960s. Conclusions reached by exhaustive research blames poor neighbourhoods in which black people have limited opportunities.

Austerity is not working, it's hitting ordinary people hardest we can see the impact first hand - those people are crying out for growth - capitalism is in serious crisis, we need a planned economy based on socialism !!

Monday, 11 June 2012

Chronic Housing Crisis - Demonisation of Claimants !

The UK coalition Government is demanding cuts above £21.5 billion to the housing benefit bill. The government says it needs to find more money because of the disgusting amount used in the economic bailout of banks.

In pursuit of reducing the so-called national deficit, ordinary people must suffer - not the banks.

Within months, tenants across Britain are facing the prospect of being forced to leave their homes or pay out an extra £56-per-month 'bedroom tax' out of benefit payments.

Tenants face crippling debts or forced to relocate as Government plans to deduct housing benefit for each spare bedroom.

Private landlords and local authority councils face a stampede to re-home tenants who will no longer be able to afford their properties. Tenants face soaring rent arrears, which will lead to families being evicted.

Householders will have their housing benefit cut based on the number of empty bedrooms in their home, meaning they have to find an average of £14 a week extra or move to a smaller property.

** A child aged nine or under will have to share with other children under the age of nine, regardless of gender.

** Children under the age of 15 will have to share bedrooms with siblings of the same gender.

** Single parents who look after their children during holidays or weekends will have to pay extra rent costs or give up the property & move out.

Soaring rents and high living costs has left almost half of people living in rental accommodation unable to save for a deposit to buy their own home, a study revealed today. Website found that expensive living costs and loan repayments were swallowing up every hard-earned penny and tenants have little or no hope of saving anything for a deposit.

It revealed that many are spending more than two-thirds of their income on rent. More than 60 per cent of under-30s are regularly dipping into their savings to make ends meet. The need to save tens of thousands for a deposit and banks tightening borrowing criteria have both contributed to people staying in the rental sector, leading to rents increasing.

Soaring living costs mean it's a struggle for many households just to keep their heads above water each month, let alone have enough spare cash to put aside towards a deposit.

Benefit claimants will end up suffering a lot more mental stress as a result of government imposed changes to housing benefit.

Government policies towards claimants & those on low income jobs will force people into chronic debt, at the same time the government will blame them for the situation they find themselves in. They will continue to refer to them as feral, dropouts, scroungers, workshy - anything to divide communities - it's called the "Blame Game" !

Ordinary people will find themselves in severe rent arrears and will lose their homes – people will be forced to live with unsuitable overcrowding.

What we are witnessing is called "Social cleansing", we could easily see for example, a family with two children in a three-bedroom home whose children grow up and leave. The couple will be forced pay extra rent for the property or forced to give up a home they have lived in for perhaps 20 years, moving away from neighbours, families and whole communities.

Under Margaret Thatcher a deception was created to con the people - the whole idea / ethos of the "Right to buy scheme" of council property was going to solve Britain housing shortage - the people we're told "Free market capitalism" would solve all our problems! 

The former city banker and journalist who was given a life peerage by David Cameron & so-called Welfare Reform Minister Lord Freud. Sits in the House of Lords on the odd day - pontificating. Next he's plotting his next attack on benefit claimants at Caxton House, the home of the Department for Work and Pensions.

By next year a new benefit called "Universal Credit", invented by Lord David Freud, Baron Freud,will be in place. The whole concept of the Universal Credit, is to force claimants into any job regardless of pay or hours worked, by increased benefit sanctions, by harassment, forced into workfare, cut backs in housing benefit etc.

Lord Freud will use a mixture of public relations & down right "Fraud" to deceive the British people, in the wider media, he will try & deceive us on his ideas regarding welfare reform.

He will tell us it's about "reducing unemployment & empowering us back into work" - Lord Freud is a Fraud ! His welfare reforms are about the demonisation of benefit claimants & the blame game. It is a failure of capitalism in providing jobs & a government who lacks an alternative economic political strategy.

We have a former banker who is advising a government who have presided over the worse economic crisis in decades, bankers have created this whole fiasco, yet we are told - we must PAY !

Respect For the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants is of the opinion Lord Freud is a classic example of a person who has reached their position using the The Peter Principle - his promotion gained as a banker etc, working his way up cosying up to his business chumps - allowed him to reach the level currently held. Even given a "life peerage" by David Cameron within weeks of gaining office.

This government cares only about it's millionaire buddies, it will continue to protect & elevate its people to positions of "power" throughout business, government & the House of Lords. We believe Lord Freud & the capitalist class have risen to their level of incompetence - having been promoted well beyond their level of competence.

These same incompetence individuals continue to preside over a discredited system of capitalism !

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Unemployment crisis worldwide !!

The number of 16-24 year olds looking for work in the UK recently topped the one million, or more than 22% of the workforce. UK unemployment fell by 45,000 to 2.63 million in the three months to March compared with the previous quarter.

The reduction in the unemployment count, is a direct result of people working part-time, with record numbers only doing so because they cannot find a full-time job.

The official figures, compiled by the Office for National Statistics, showed that the jobless rate edged down to 8.2% from 8.4%. The claimant count - the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance - fell by 13,700 to 1.59 million in April.

The UK government wants to create the perception that the economy is picking up, they encourage part-time work to ease political pressure. For ordinary people it creates poverty living standards. The ONS said the total number was 7.99 million between January and March, up 118,000 compared with the previous three month period between October and December

Capitalist countries within Europe are failing its 500 million citizens on a grand scale. Unemployment has reached alarming levels, the economic crisis has left 25 million EU citizens out of work - a number that is greater than the populations of most countries in the union.

Record unemployment in the 17 countries that use the euro is a clear sign if one was needed that, the policy of austerity has failed the people. Respect For the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants demand a policy of job creation be made a priority, we desperately need a pro-growth strategy to stop countries going deeper into recession.

Unemployment across the 17-member eurozone rose by 169,000 in March, taking the rate up to 10.9 percent in March — its highest level since the euro was launched in 1999.

Europe's disaster is the start of a long-term decline, in Spain the unemployment rate stands 21.3%, the country's has highest unemployment within the EU. In the EU as a whole, one in five young people are looking for work.

The European Union - EU Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance will condemn future generations to a permanent regime of austerity and unemployment. Unemployment, once described as a thing of the past, but yet again we're heading towards 1930s levels. We need growth NOT austerity and unemployment.

The proposed treaty is designed to abrogate democracy in all European Union - EU member states and end any possibility of working people advancing alternatives to policies which maximise big business profits.

Privatisation is also the hallmark of our Con-Dem government' here in the UK, the disastrous austerity policies follow the same EU guidelines and have already pushed Britain into a new recession with levels of unemployment not seen for decades.

Almost 13% of young people worldwide are out of work, and their situation is unlikely to improve for four years, highlighted in a report by the International Labour Organization (ILO)

Youth unemployment crisis can be beaten but only if job creation for young people becomes a key priority in policymaking. Global Employment Trends for Youth report recently highlighted that since 2007, the number of young people without jobs has risen by four million - up from less than 12%.

Almost 13% of people aged between 15 and 24 - or almost 75 million - have no work whatsoever ! The ILO report reveals, the true picture of youth unemployment is even more pessimistic.

Some 27.9% of youths were unemployed in North Africa last year following the Arab Spring uprisings - a rise of five percentage points on 2010. In the Middle East, the figure stood at 26.5% in the report's regional breakdown.

The United States now has an unemployment rate of 9.5 percent and Canada has an unemployment rate of 8.4 percent.

The ILO says that more than six million young people worldwide have given up looking for work and are becomingly increasingly detached from society.

Respect For the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants declares support for militant, mass resistance to austerity and privatisation programmes. We urge our members & supporters including trades unions and the labour movement to demand to end public sector cuts and invest massively in infrastructure and industry instead.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

UK - force unemployed to work for FREE or starve !!

Unemployed workers will be forced to work for NOTHING or lose benefits, an arrogant & desperate work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith announced over the weekend.

The government has simply lost the plot - they promised a recovery but the reality is 'we're in a serious mess', austerity is killing our economy, we need state investment in industry.

We need growth, we want jobs we DON'T want a pittance on benefits. Worse still they want to FORCE us to work for FREE !

We reject working for free damn it ! We demand real jobs, with real rates of pay.

The government announced that Workfare will be "significantly extended" within the next two weeks. This inept government believes forcing people to work for nothing with the threat of losing benefits is the way forward - the reality is: this is a desperate government with no vision for solving Britain's economic problems.

The nightmare continues, Tory ministers are preparing to unveil schemes in which the unemployed will work for up to six months for free, with further compulsion.

The way Britain is being governed could well be a script for an episode of Dads Army with the classic soundbite Don't Panic, Captain George Mainwaring did a better job. Government ministers
& capitalist corporations have been promoting employees beyond their level of ability - commonly referred to as The Peter Principle.

Just last week, the Employment Related Services Association, the organisation behind welfare-to-work providers, warned the government it would not meet the government's "minimum" targets in getting people back into work. It revealed that fewer than one in four of the people who had been on the work programme for six months had found a job.

The reality is, there are NO JOBS - the economy has flat-lined, the patient is dying.

The government is in denial its 'Hurting but not Working' - the number of people claiming housing benefit has gone through the roof, past the five million mark for the first time. More than 90% of those are new claimants & started their claim after the 2010 general election.

All benefit payments will been made MONTHLY IN arrears for the first time in history, causing serious financial problems for claimants.

This rotten contemptuous government continues to bash all claimants, including the disabled & single parents forcing children to live in chronic poverty - a government that lacks any sense of 'empathy' whatsoever !

Benefit claimants are taunted as feckless and workshy, Respect For the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants will continued to expose this myth smelted in ignorance and prurience.

Video: Employment Minister Chris Grayling interview on WORKFARE !

United, we are a formidable force to be reckoned with !!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Learn the lessons of History - Ireland MUST vote NO in TODAY's EU fiscal treaty referendum !

The people of Ireland TODAY have the opportunity to reject the EU fiscal treaty next week in a referendum. The people of Ireland must vote NO !

We urge progressives, socialists and trade unionists across Europe to give every assistance to all those in Ireland defending their national sovereignty and battling to halt the EU-imposed austerity cuts and mass privatisation.

Seriously worrying is that one of the final opinion polls ahead of Ireland's referendum next week (31st May) on whether to ratify the EU fiscal treaty suggests it is likely to be a 'yes' vote. When the undecided voters are excluded, the result of the poll for the Irish Times was: 57% Yes and 43% No.

The European Union - EU Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance will condemn future generations to a permanent regime of austerity and unemployment. Unemployment, once described as a thing of the past, but yet again we're heading towards 1930s levels. We need growth NOT austerity and unemployment.

The proposed treaty is designed to abrogate democracy in all European Union - EU member states and end any possibility of working people advancing alternatives to policies which maximise big business profits.

Privatisation is also the hallmark of our Con-Dem government' here in the UK, the disastrous austerity policies follow the same EU guidelines and have already pushed Britain into a new recession with levels of unemployment not seen for decades.

Respect For the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants declares support for militant, mass resistance to austerity and privatisation programmes. We urge our members & supporters including trades unions and the labour movement to demand to end public sector cuts and invest massively in infrastructure and industry instead.

The United States government support for a green retooling of the motor industry has already saved over a million jobs at the cost of only $24 billion -- far less than the cost of bailing out The Royal Bank of Scotland Group.

The fact that such support for industry would be illegal here under EU law only underlines the need for an urgent examination of alternative, democratically accountable structures for international economic cooperation and for Britain's withdrawal from the EU.

There can be no defence of our productive economy, no rebuilding of the public sector and no effective defence of the welfare state within the EU as constituted today..

Many who managed to substantially increase their wages in the 1980s have seen their dreams turn sour ever since

Mortgage debt, repossession, and the threat of slum-like temporary accommodation are a serious reality a direct result from the ConDem counter-reformation. Benefit claimants, those who are sick & disabled face eviction as a result of the "Housing Benefit Cap"

The rich have got much richer, but in direct proportion poverty has returned with a vengeance. While the profits of banks, arms manufacturers, big monopolies and commodity speculators have soared - the price of food as soared as a direct result of capitalist speculators on the world stock markets seeking higher profits.

From Ramsay MacDonald to Jim Callaghan & Tony Blair from their first government to their last, the Labour Party in the UK has to all intents and purposes been indistinguishable from the Tories.

At home and abroad Labour was as loyal to the British state and its interests as the Tories. Labour broke strikes and sustained the status quo in Britain - Ed Miliband is already making his views known with regard to "strikes".

We want a modern Labour Party with vision, a party based on democratic socialism.

Socialism is a system of production based on the actual human wants of society. Socialism has nothing to do with production for its own sake, capitalism is about : production for the sake of profit . Need Before Greed - is our call !

Socialism means using science and technology to liberate people, not to exploit them or make them redundant. Forced labour described as "Workfare" is exploitation - this weekend has seen excellent demonstrations up & down Britain demanding an alternative, we believe socialism is that "Alternative".

Those in work have to work harder and longer, many having to work until we drop. Socialism is the answer to and crises of capitalism.

*** Please watch the video above & see the comparsions with the economic crisis of today - listen to the language / tone of Ramsay MacDonald first ever Labour Prime Minister, the then Prime Minister of the day !

We have been here before !

Capitalism is based on profit = "Greed before Need" !

Socialism based on society / community = "Need before Greed"

blog by: Respect For the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants on facebook  ..

Friday, 25 May 2012

First A4e now 'Working Links' guilty of systemic fraud !

Corrupt lying deceptive crooks making money at the expense of our misery being on the Dole !

First we had A4e - now we have systemic fraud at Working Links - they have been accused of engaging in systemic fraud !

The company currently holds a multi-million-pound contract with the UK Government to find so-called jobs for unemployed people in Wales - it has been accused of engaging in systemic fraud by its own former chief auditor.

Evidence given to the House Of Commons’ public accounts committee earlier this week, the companies former head of internal audit Eddie Hutchinson claimed that “fraud and irregularity became so extensive and disruptive to the work of the internal audit team... that by May 2008 we were both suffering from exhaustion and stress due to the immense physical demands being placed on us as we chased such incidents at many locations across England, Scotland and Wales”.

He told MPs: “The common theme in relation to the DWP contracts was that all of these frauds involved the falsification of job outcome evidence to illegally claim monies from the DWP, together with the false claiming of bonus payments by staff through the company’s incentive bonus system.

“In my professional opinion ... this type of fraudulent behaviour perpetrated by WL staff was extensive, it related to cultures that existed within a number of offices, and was also systemic throughout many areas of WL’s operations on DWP and other funding agency contracts.”

Mr Hutchinson wrote a briefing note for the company’s executive team in 2008 in which quantified the losses from 15 separate frauds and irregularities over the previous 15 months at around £250,000.

The company set up in 2000, Working Links is the biggest provider in Wales of welfare-to-work services through its contract with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Working Links also has operations in the Middle East & Poland.

Benefit claimants are demonised daily & accused of fiddling their dole - forced to starve - end up in chronic debt & these vultures are allowed to fiddle their books for years - they call it 'business' we Respect For the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants call it theft & deception - prison is too good for these bunch of crooks !!!

blog by:
Respect For the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants .

Harsher benefit regime - Yosser Hughes said "Gizza job"

The UK government is making benefits even harsher for claimants, our group members have made it known for years that ..... being on benefits is already a living NIGHTMARE !

Some of you will have noticed that benefit payments have been made fortnightly in arrears for some time causing serious financial problems for claimants - within months those same payments will be made MONTHLY IN arrears.

This latest attack on benefit claimants will have serious repercussions, claimants already find it extremely difficult to manage budgets. Our evidence is that many people on low incomes already have chronic difficulties making inadequate benefits last.

Pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith claims the ‘radical’ changes ‘will finally make work pay’ - our response as Yosser Hughes said in the 1980's drama "Boys from the Blackstuff", "Gizza job" - there are no jobs !!.

Universal Credit, will be introduced six months earlier than originally planned. It will replace existing benefits, will be trialled in Tameside, Oldham, Wigan and Warrington from next April.

Claimants on the proposed Universal Credit – will see existing payments such as child tax credit, housing benefit and income support replaced – worryingly it will be paid every monthly not weekly or fortnightly.

Cancer patients are suffering financial hardship because they have difficulty accessing benefits. Macmillan Cancer Support exposed recently that more than half of people who died from cancer each year - nearly 83,000 - never receive the benefits to which they are entitled. Benefit payments paid MONTHLY in arrears when you have cancer is simply WRONG ! Every day is a bonus & claimants should not be worrying about debt & living in poverty.

This rotten contemptuous government continues to bash all claimants, including the disabled & single parents forcing children to live in chronic poverty - a government that lacks any sense of 'empathy' whatsoever !

Single Parents are taunted as feckless and workshy, Respect For the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants has continued to expose this myth smelted in ignorance and prurience.

This week 124,000 single parents whose youngest child is five or six were moved from income support to jobseeker's allowance. There are 1.9 million single parents and their three million children are, statistically speaking, the poorest in society: 46% sit below the poverty line, compared with 24% of families with two parents.

Its worth pointing out only 3% of single mothers are teenagers, 55% of those had their children within marriage; 57% of them are in work, and as soon as their children reach the age of 12 this figure rises to 71%, Fifty four percent of single parents of five- and six-year-olds work already.

The Tories want to categorise all single parents into the Vicky Pollard Fan Club.

Poverty on benefits will become seriously much worse, with the prospect of a decent paid job becoming a fantasy in modern Britain. The Tories are making the lives of ordinary people even tougher with policies that are 'hurting but not working'. This is a recession made in Downing Street - they have nothing to offer, but more of the same failed policies.

Video: Employment Minister Chris Grayling interview on WORKFARE !

blog by
Respect For the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants

Thursday, 24 May 2012

The birth of the 'Welfare State' in the UK

A TUC Union for Benefit Claimants !
Some people maybe confused about the 'Welfare State' here are some facts for you to think about:

When unemployment benefit was introduced, it was seen as a ‘safety net’ for periods of sporadic unemployment. The Beveridge Report was written in a period of near full employment due to the war, and the post-war government committed to a policy of ‘full employment’ as demanded by the trade union movement. Indeed, due to enduring trade union pressure, unemployment was rarely above one million in the following 35 years.

Ironically, unemployment played a key role in the election of the Conservative government in 1979 with the famous ‘Labour isn’t working’ poster showing a long snaking dole queue – depicting the concern that over 1 million people were unemployed. By the mid-1980s however, unemployment would peak at more than 3.5 million.

Structural high unemployment has now become a feature of the UK economy, due to weakened employment and trade union rights that has led to casualisation of the workforce and less protection against redundancy.

In this environment a social insurance system that delivers temporary income replacement for periods of interrupted employment is needed more than ever.

* "FACT: When first introduced, unemployment benefit was paid at the same rate as the state pension, then 26 shillings."

In 2011 long-term unemployment (out of work for over a year) was higher than total unemployment 40 years previously.

Unemployment benefit, now known as Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), has become increasingly devalued in recent years, as it has been uprated in line with inflation, rather than with average wages.

Despite the UK Chancellor’s rhetoric about “people who think it is a lifestyle choice to sit on out-of-work benefit”, JSA pays only £65.45 per week (£51.85 for under-25s). If unemployment benefit had kept pace with earnings since 1979, it would be worth about £110 per week today.

In 1970 unemployment benefit was worth nearly one-fifth of average earnings, today it is 10%. The basic state pension is £102.15 per week – over 50% more than JSA. In 1946, in an economy ravaged by war, the level of unemployment benefit was worth almost double what it is today relative to average wages.

Many of our members have expressed they would not be confident of surviving on the current rate of JSA.

* "FACT: There are over 2.5 million unemployed and less than 500,000 vacancies."

“Social insurance should aim at guaranteeing the minimum income needed for subsistence… determination of what is required for reasonable human subsistence is to some extent a matter of judgement; estimates on this point change with time, and generally, in a progressive community change upwards.” The Beveridge Report (paragraph 27)

There is also a popular myth that a ‘life on benefits’ is too comfortable, that welfare dis-incentivises people from looking for work. David Cameron, in announcing his Welfare Bill said, “never again will work be the wrong financial choice”. However, research from 13 countries in Europe, North America and Australasia showed “work morale is actually stronger in countries with more generous welfare states”.

This should not be surprising. As Professor Richard Wilkinson has argued, “a society which makes large numbers of people feel they are looked down on, regarded as inferior, stupid and failures, not only causes suffering and wastage, but also incurs the costs of antisocial reactions to the structures which demean them”.

In the 1980s, when unemployment was accelerating towards its post-war peak, the Conservative Minister Norman Tebbit suggested the unemployed should get on their bikes and look for work. Today, welfare minister Iain Duncan Smith suggests the unemployed of Merthyr Tydfil should “get on their bus” to Cardiff. Yet in the Welsh capital there were already nine people for every vacancy.

The role of government was once seen to be guaranteeing full employment, but successive governments have privatised more of the economy and deregulated the labour market. They now blame the victims for their own unemployment.

Instead we need:

* Job creation based on public investment in new energy, transport and housing infrastructure and in public services
* A dignified standard of living for those out of work, with much increased benefit levels
* More free training and educational opportunities for the unemployed.

Low income:

Much of the welfare state, since its inception, exists to subsidise low rates of pay for those in employment. Initially some unions opposed these elements of welfare, which they saw as a cheap substitute for higher wages, which legitimised low pay by exploitative employers.

In some ways this was in tune with the thinking of post-war planners like Beveridge who wanted to consign the means test to history, and like Keynes who believed in full employment (with the assumption that employment paid a wage sufficient to support a household).

It was the women’s movement that fought for family allowances and other payments such as Child benefit, which are normally paid to a female parent. The trade union movement had long argued for a minimum wage, and in 1998 the National Minimum Wage (NMW) was introduced.

Today, Income Support provides an income for those working less than 16 hours per week who do not have substantial savings. This particularly benefits women who tend to be the primary carer for children and elderly relatives. However, as Beveridge knew, means-tested benefits are more complex to claim, attract stigma, and therefore have lower take-up rates.

* "FACT:
In 2010 £16 billion in benefits and tax credits were unclaimed. Only £5 billion is lost through the combined effects of error and fraud."

**  The real scandal in welfare is not people receiving what they are not entitled to, but people not receiving what they are entitled to. **

Since we know means-testing is often ineffective at directing support to those in need, it makes sense to focus our efforts on ensuring that work pays through tackling low pay and building strong unions in the workplace.

In its first ten years the NMW increased above the rate of inflation, but in the past three years it has been devalued in real terms due to below-inflation increases. A full-time job at the NMW would give a scandalously low annual salary of just £10,793. Tackling low paying employers remains a vital task for trade unions through collective bargaining, and lobbying for a living wage.

Low pay is endemic in many sectors of the economy, including catering, cleaning and caring – all jobs disproportionately carried out by women. There is a gender pay gap as a result of discrimination against women individually, and structurally against the work they do – meaning low pay disproportionately affects women.

However, as long as low pay exists, this element of welfare is essential in preventing further poverty and destitution. We need to:

* Campaign for a substantially increased national minimum wage or a ‘living wage’

* Provide greater advice and assistance to ensure people receive benefits they are entitled to

* Build strong trade unions in each workplace, with stronger trade union and employment rights, as a bulwark against low pay.

* Campaign for 'RESPECT" ask your friends on Facebook to like our page - share this blog - lets spread the message!

* Unemployed & benefit claimants can join a trade union - - we urge our members to join Unite the Union.

blog by: Respect For the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants

Modern Britain - children living in poverty - forgotten by the state !

Report out today has revealed:

Families with disabled children are living in poverty, they have been forced to take out loans to buy basic everyday essentials such as food and heating.

For those families where parents are in work, one in six say they cannot afford to heat their homes. For those families where parents are not working because of their caring responsibilities, almost a third (32%) have difficulty paying heating bills and almost a quarter (24%) told the survey that the extra costs of bringing up a disabled child meant they went without food.

The survey of 2,300 families conducted by the charity 'Contact a Family', which supports families with disabled children, shows that 58% of these families fear their financial situation will worsen over the next year, with 73% of them saying they believe welfare reforms will make them poorer.

The charity's 'Counting the Costs 2012' report gives a sharp insight into the extra financial pressures faced by families bringing up disabled children, at a time when changes to the welfare system, central and local government cuts and dwindling revenues to charities are making support harder to access.

The survey revealed, around 41% of families have fallen behind with payments for gas and electricity bills, council tax, rent and mortgage. Some 86% said they had gone without leisure activities and days out because of financial pressures. Of those families who had been forced into debt, 20% had taken out high-interest internet payday loans.

In the report parents highlight the rising popular hostility towards people with disabilities. "I am fed up with people accusing me of making my son's disability up. Some even go as far as to accuse us of having a wheelchair, not because he needs it but so I can scrounge off decent people. The negative comments and hostility have got a thousand times worse in my experience," says one parent quoted in the report.

Source & report by Charity 'Contact a Family - For Families With Disabled Children'

Blog by:
Respect For the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

UK government to cancel 'Welfare Benefit' payments

Unemployed & benefit claimants suffering from alcoholism or drug addiction in the UK will have their benefits cancelled or cut unless they "seek treatment" for their condition, the work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith announced today.

Staff in Jobcentre Plus offices will be encouraged to cut the jobseeker's allowance of claimants who reject treatment for addiction. Respect For the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants is seeking the position of the trade union Public and Commercial Services Union within job centres with regard to the latest attack on benefit claimants. 

New rules come into place in October 2013 when the universal credit, which is designed to wrap benefits into one payment, is introduced.

Claimants will have to sign a much harsher contract in which they agree to look for work & be forced to make extra commitments some which will be hidden or not understood by the claimant. 

Jobcentre staff will have the power to decide a suspected addict is in breach of their commitments if they refuse help for alcoholism or drug addiction. Those same staff will be under pressure to 'get results' in reducing those signing on, to ease the political pressure on the government - that is the 'hidden agenda' behind this latest attack on benefit claimants !

Those with alcoholism or drug addiction do so because their lives are at a 'low moment', this government would have the general public believe their new attack is all 'about helping benefit claimants' is nothing more than contemptuous deception. 

The government no doubt will be wanting to target those who have eating disorders (anorexia), depression or those who maybe find themselves overweight - these are but a few that come to mind. This latest attack on benefit claimants has more to do with saving money & less to do with helping benefit claimants.

Some people will think .... "what's wrong with that?" -- the main problem is, what does "rejecting treatment" mean? Someone with a serious addiction, serious mental health issues, etc. suffering a relapse and being too afraid or unwell that they miss *one meeting* is probably what "rejecting treatment" means.

Threatening them with loss of benefits is only going to put them under more pressure. The last thing someone with an addiction or mental health issues needs is worrying about being unable to afford food or becoming homeless. W
ith addiction problems benefit claimants might not be in a state of mind to know the ramifications of their decisions, so suddenly finding they are without benefits, facing potential inability to pay bills or even homelessness could potentially drive them further into substance abuse.

Unemployment and economic hardship is often a trigger for addiction; but the government are presiding over a policy of structural unemployment, making their own employees unemployed, cutting benefits, driving disabled and sick people who are not fit for work into work or through the stressful process of appeal against such decisions, creating a vicious circle of uncertainty, mental and physical stress and anxiety - leading to further substance abuse.

At the same time, funding for many community projects designed to help those with addiction issues is being cut dramatically, meaning that the very help the government say these people should be taking up isn't actually available.

Benefit claimants must unite with the trade union movement & the pensioners movement, to bring pressure on this government. Our message to the trade union movement : "our fight is your fight, your fight is our fight" unity is our goal !

Lets fight with all our might !

Video: Employment Minister Chris Grayling interview on WORKFARE !

The British Trades Union Congress (TUC) is to organise a mass demonstration 'A Future That Works' - London 20th October #tuc #unemployment #poverty

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Unemployment Statistics north-south divide ?

The office of National Statistics in the UK show the average wage for full-time male workers in the North - East fell by 8.2 per cent over the past 12 months – a pay cut of £45 a week. These statistics don't including inflation and rises in the cost of living.
North / South divide - we're all in this together !
Unemployment in the North-East, rose by 6,000 to 148,000 in the three months to the end of March this year, an unemployment rate of 11.5 per cent. The unemployment rate for those aged between 16 and 64 and eligible for work is 11.5% up 1.1% on the previous quarter.

In the UK as a whole, nearly eight million people are now in a part-time job, the highest since records began in 1992, while those working part-time because they cannot find full-time work increased by 73,000 to a record high of 1.4 million.

The Northern region of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) said the figures contrast with the Government’s claim that we are “all in this together”.

Trades Union Congress (TUC) general secretary Brendan Barber said: "the collapse in wages is terrible news for those in work and threatens our chances of an economic recovery.

"The falling number of full-time jobs and the 6% fall in real wages over the last two years means that people are having to make huge salary sacrifices just to stay in work,"

Four other regions in the UK also experienced a rise in unemployment over the same period. The North- East had on average nine unemployed person for each vacancy, compared to three in the South-East.

If you scrutinise the official statistics: the number of people unemployed for more than a year increased by 27,000 to 887,000, the worst total since 1996 - the last Tory government in power.

"It's still women and young people who are bearing the brunt of the recession," said UNISON trade union general secretary Dave Prentis.

In recent years female unemployment has been rising a lot faster than the male total. The latest official figures reinforce the idea that life is tough for female jobseekers.

Respect For the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants don't believe the official statistics to be a true record - there are 1.5 million men out of work, and 1.1 million women, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics. We believe unemployment in the UK is grossly underestimated we believe the figure to be over six million - this is an Inconvenient Truth for the British Tory led government.

Over the year to the first quarter of 2012, the male jobless total was up 78,000, that's a 5.4% increase. But the figure for women was up 92,000, an increase of 9%.

Youth unemployment across the OECD areas (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development ) has risen alarmingly with nearly 11m 15-24 year olds out of work, according to latest figures.

The statistics published by the OECD, show youth unemployment reached a rate of 17.1% in March 2012, more than double the unemployment rate affecting the general population. Greece and Spain have fared worst with both reporting youth unemployment rates of over 50% of the total youth labour force. The data also shows that at least 23m young people in OECD countries are not in education, employment or training (NEETS).

ref: The Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed EAPN - European Anti Poverty Network Unite the Union

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

DWP complicit in the cover-up at A4e !

Auditors accused ministers today of leaving "glaring holes" in fraud controls on controversial welfare-to-work firm A4e.

The National Audit Office (NAO) said vital evidence was missed in risk assessments of the company, which holds government contracts worth more than £70 million a year.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) was blamed for failing to request internal audit reports, including a paper highlighting nine cases of potential fraud and seven of improper practice by employees at A4e.

The NAO published its findings today after the government announced that the company's Mandatory Work Activity contract in the south-east was being axed. The contract with A4e terminated just one day before this report was published after the government decided that continuing would be "too great a risk"

Employment Minister Chris Grayling still in denial, believes a review by the DWP had not uncovered any fraud.

Respect For the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants finds the government contemptuous !
We're not surprised by the response, right up to the last minute the government we're in denial regarding corporate fraud at A4e. If a benefit claimant had been accused of fraud, they would have been prosecuted - guilty or not.   

The Department for Work and Pensions knew fraud was a problem but 'turned a blind eye' at the obvious sources of evidence.

They ignored internal audit reports which point to the real risk of systematic fraud and bad practice in A4E. The department forgot key controls and left the new deal programme open to abuse.

Respect for the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants believes fraud is built within the foundations of the 'Work Programme'.

Welfare-to-work firm A4e knew of widespread fraud and systemic failures by management to control it !

Auditors found staff claiming for putting people into jobs which did not exist, jobs which did not qualify for payment and fabricating paperwork.

Police are investigating irregularities at the company, which was paid £200m a year by the government for so-called training, the unemployed and getting them into long-term jobs.

As part of its work, A4e received millions of pounds worth of government contracts for welfare-to-work schemes. The official unemployment statistics published today in the UK also revealed that there are almost six unemployed people for every job vacancy in our economy. The number of vacancies fell by 7,000 to 457,000 in the three months to April - also down 12,000 on a year earlier.

A4e fiddling claims, the unemployment statistics are deceptive - ask the question:  Who's fiddling the benefits system ?

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

A National disgrace - disabled isolationism in the community !

A DISABLED man living in Nottingham feels the state has created a 'prison' for him at home.

Trevor Marshall had been attending Rushcliffe Resource Centre three times a week, at a cost of £12. Those cost are now £207 a week, making him a prisoner in his own home - isolated & forgotten - today Respect For the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants highlights his case.

Trevor is 66-year-old, lives in Carlton, the regulations on care costs were changed under this government.

There are currently 1,924 people using care services provided by Nottingham City Council - those using care services have now been forced to pay the full cost. It is now expected to save it £900,000 a year, it was introduced to comply with Government guidelines.

The council has reviewed the way social care users pay for their services. The council has demanded 1,986 disabled people pay a financial contribution for care; and 1,924 were forced to pay the full cost.

The hidden agenda behind the Tory led coalition & the introduction of the so-called "Government’s Fairer Contributions Guidance" for local authorities is to fundamentally smash the welfare state as we knew it !

A disgrace & a national scandal - we have one example of the misery inflicted on Trevor, we're certain this is the tip of the ice berg. 

The governments vindictive attack on the poorest in society continues ! The "Government’s Fairer Contributions Guidance" are being implemented by all local councils through the back door.

This government has decided to close Remploy factories & make disabled workers unemployed, those same disabled people will then be forced onto benefits living in depressive isolationism at home !

We give our full support to Remploy Workers fighting to preserve their jobs - "dignity & respect in work & while out of work" is our message !!

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith  made comments in a Sunday newspaper about his reasons for closing Remploy factories, which employ disabled staff. The contempt for disabled people was exposed, the Tory MP is quoted in the paper saying “Is it a kindness to stick people in some factory where they are not doing any work at all? Just making cups of coffee? I promise you this is better. Taking this decision was a balance between how much do I want to spend keeping a number of people in Remploy factories not producing stuff versus getting people into proper jobs.”

Friday, 11 May 2012

Food parcels handed out to struggling British families !

More food parcels are being handed out to families struggling to put food on the table as government cuts continue to bite. It's shocking to hear there are families in affluent 21st century Britain that do not have the means to put food on the table. It is very worrying that numbers are increasing throughout Britain.

British Government cutbacks, rising unemployment and soaring food prices are forcing a growing number of families to miss meals, eat badly or go hungry. Many are living below the poverty line as they wait to qualify for benefits, which can take five weeks or longer.
People have pride and want to work but circumstances have led a lot of families into a devastating situation, which we are trying to help with. It takes a lot of courage to admit you are struggling financially and we don’t want people to feel stigmatised. For many, there is simply no money coming in. How are they going to pay the rent or the mortgage? How are they going to live? There is a mood of genuine fear.’

Institute for Fiscal Studies research reveals that pensioners and unemployed people who depend on state benefits suffer the highest level of inflation as a direct result of having to concentrate their spending on food and heating. But it isn't only those on benefits who are disproportionately affected. Low-paid workers, many in the public sector, also pay a price - quite literally.
And yet the government has singled out workers in the public sector, hitting them with a pay freeze and higher pension contributions for lower entitlements.
In addition, hundreds of thousands will lose their jobs as part of the government's calculated assault on the public sector to tackle the deficit caused by bankers' profligacy and a virtual investment strike by the capitalist class.

The first duty of a government is too look after their own citizens. The Prime Minister said he would protect society’s most vulnerable. What is taking place is exactly the opposite of protection. The lack of sustenance has led to a rise in health problems previously linked with Victorian Britain. More than 20 cases of rickets are diagnosed every year in Newcastle alone. Anaemia and skin disorders associated with a lack of nutrients are also rising. The Institute of Fiscal Studies warns that absolute child poverty is set to rise from 2013.
David Cameron's hypocritical mantra, "we're all in it together," is given the lie by the contrast in living standards of the rich and poor.

Food parcels are associated with famine-struck parts of the world. Yet there is a "hidden hunger" in Britain. The idea of food parcels has echoes of Dickensian London or a famine-struck corner of the developing world, they are becoming more common in 21st Century Britain. The Trussell Trust charity, operates dozens of foodbanks across the country. It mainly helps people who are not receiving benefits they would normally be entitled to, but also sees many families who fall into financial difficulty after the main breadwinner loses work. The Trussell Trust is a charity which serves those on the brink of desperation.

One of the main reasons for people running out of food is because many have their benefits suspended while they are being re-assessed. The Department for Work and Pensions will say people's benefits are not stopped while a re-assessment is taking place. That is not true. Food parcels are increasingly helping people who are having their benefits stopped during reassessment. The DWP might say this only happens for three weeks or so, and what's the problem? But if you're living week to week then that's a long gap to cover when you're trying to feed yourself and a family.

The benefits agency says when families suddenly find themselves without money people can apply to the Social Fund for help, and that it does signpost people to Social Services and charities such as the Trussell Trust. People who change their circumstances need to tell the DWP as soon as possible, to ensure NO loss of benefit, but with government cut backs cutting jobs within Jobcentre plus – it looks certain claims will be delayed. Jobcentre Plus say they are able to cut staff and close offices now because more claimants are using the internet to claim, unemployment is falling and Universal Credit will introduce further scope for reductions. Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) has pointed out that these claims are unsupported by evidence and lack credibility.

Internet claiming is at a very early stage and no systems are yet in use to show that large-scale internet claiming and processing is even deliverable. Unemployment is not falling, last month the number claiming JSA went up. Many economic forecasters predict a double dip recession not an economic recovery. The lesson of the last recession is that unemployment can rise very fast.
While some children are short of food, far more are severely deprived of essential nutrients because they are relying on cheap junk food or food that is reduced in price because of the “use by or sell by dates” the foods nutrients & vitamin quality will have reduced. Some children are short of food, far more are severely deprived of essential nutrients because they are relying on cheap junk food. The rate of malnutrition is reaching astonishing levels. Children are being denied fresh foods because families cannot afford to buy them. By early adolescence these malnourished youngsters will be affected by premature diabetes and early signs of underlying heart disease. The bone health of these youngsters is under threat and doctors are seeing increasing cases of rickets.

If either Labour or the Tories, with a side order of Liberal Democrats, were serious about reducing inflation, they would plump for a price freeze on food as well as a windfall tax on these industries' superprofits. Yet none of them has the slightest compunction about enforcing lower living standards on poorly paid workers, pensioners and the unemployed by means of a pay freeze, inadequate benefits and a shameful level of state pension.
Advice & links:

Families are able to receive the parcels which contain enough food for about three days.
The needy can visit the Arena Church on Rutland Street. They must have identification and will be interviewed to assess their need. Alternatively, call 01159 442996 Conwy Food Share c/o Arc Communities, Eglwys Dewi Saint, Rhiw Road, Colwyn Bay. LL29 7TE tel:01492 535626 in Yorkshire:
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