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An update and apology

17 Nov

I have just checked this site for the first time in over 2 years.  Laurie and I stopped updating it for different reasons; she because she became too busy with many competing activist and social justice roles and myself because of my own struggles with mental health and because it became too painful and difficult to constantly read and write about these issues which were so personal and close to the bone; activist burnout, basically.  I’m still suffering from the cuts though; I lost £180 a month when transferring from DLA to PIP, and the subsequent appeal drove me to the brink of suicide.

I was so sorry to see the messages that had come in after we had unofficially retired the site, from desperate people, which went unanswered.  I hope you managed to find the help you needed from the bottom of my heart.  I do not plan to resurrect this site for the reasons stated, and much of the information is undoubtedly now outdated, but there is a great deal of help and support out there.  I particularly recommend the excellent benefitsandwork.co.uk and there are also many wonderful local services.  I had a bad experience with welfare rights this time around – they got so many details wrong on my submission it was not able to be used on the day – but that’s not to say there aren’t still many, many wonderful and caring people working there.  If you are local to my area of Lancaster and Morecambe, http://www.diversitygroup.co.uk/tag/disability-online/ and Here to Support (01524 700012) who specialise in PIP claims, do wonderful work.

Thank you all for your kind comments and feedback, don’t give up, I’ll be thinking of you.

Michelle.

Nazi Germany vs. Modern Britain: Some Similarities That Should Disturb You

28 Jun

Our thoughts exactly . . . sobering reading. We need to be aware, but as always, we need to take courage. People ARE waking up. For example, here’s a REALLY useful blog I just discovered: http://budgetingadvance.com/ They cover loans and the new STBAs (short term benefit advances), which many are entitled to but the DWP don’t shout about (because as we know they are bastards, with the odd idividual noble exception I’ve heard of). I’d urge you to check it out if you are in financial crisis or experiencing delays; they are also looking for reporters if you’d like to get involved. As, indeed, are we! I will shortly be taking a sabbatical, so to speak, for the sake of my worsening mental health (being made abject and worthless in the media every day, and hearing every day about the demonisation, exploitation, subjugation and totally unnecessary destitution of fellow struggling beings due to the Self Servatives punishing the poor to protect the interests of the rich – identical to their own, conveniently, what with them all being public school bred millionaires – can do that). Laurie will still be here, and my wonderful other half and carer is planning some guest posts, but as we know, sadly there’s more claimant victimisation – on a daily, seems like hourly basis – than two or three people can keep up with, so if you’ve got a burning passion to fight these injustices and would like to contribute, drop us a line at kickingtoryassonwelfare@hotmail.com or tweet us @KickingToryAss. Love and solidarity xxx

Scriptonite Daily

NB1

There has been a digging away at the core principles of Britain’s system of Law and Justice over the last decade which threatens to undermine it entirely. Today, we look at key changes in pre war Nazi Germany which saw the Nazification of Germany’s nation of Laws, and corresponding changes in the British justice system today.

We need to acknowledge the warning signs and uproot this resurgent fascism while it’s still a sapling, or we’ll be hacking away impotently at a mighty oak before we know it.

Godwin’s Law? Oh Give it Up

 NB2

No doubt someone is already preparing a comment accusing me of Godwin’s Law for making this comparison.  So I’ll take a moment to set out why I am making it, and why it does not conform to the term.

Godwin’s Law was intended to highlight the sort of ‘Little Hitler’ comparisons to the Third Reich.

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Are You Being Libelled By Your Landlord? The Vile Website Every Tenant Should Be Aware Of

28 Jun

This is an absolute disgrace . . . I urge you to tell everyone you know about this, and to tweet the bastard, and to write to your MP, and generally make a big noise; with homelessness on the rise, the criminalisation of squatting, the bedroom tax, the odds are stacked against tenants – but this behaviour, as Johnny Void points out, is of highly dubious legality. Know your rights, then shout about them!

the void

paul-routledgeWith more people forced to rent than ever before and demand for properties soaring, landlords are looking for ever more ways to increase profits at the expense of struggling tenants.

One example of this is landlordreferencing.co.uk.  This is a website used by landlords to share information about people they consider bad tenants.  This does not just mean tenants who may have struggled to pay the rent at some point, but those with a ‘lifestyle’ which is not ‘decent’.

As well as providing the kind of information which might usually be expected in a credit check – in itself a recipe for mass homelessness as hundreds of thousands of the poorest people have bad credit – the website also boast they can provide information on a tenant’s ‘lifestyle’.  This means that for just a small fee landlords can access information on not just a tenant’s employment or financial circumstances, but…

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Nil Income Declarations for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit

26 Jun

Just a very short one to share with you this useful resource.  One especially pernicious aspect of welfare ‘reform’ is that if you are wrongly found fit for work (and are therefore in the Catch 22 position of having ESA stopped but being unable to claim JSA without being immediately sanctioned because you are too ill to look for work) there is the added worry of what will happen to your Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit.  Additionally, Lord Freud, the Tory horror whose latest ruse is to try and bully councils who are helping those hit by the bedroom tax by reclassifying rooms as non specific by threatening to withhold their funding, is pushing through with the ‘mandatory reconsideration period’ from October next year (for full details of this despicable and Kafkaesque policy, read Johnny Void’s superb piece here.  This means that many people will be stuck between a rock and a hard place and end up with no income at all.  That is terrifying, and shameful, and disgusting.  However, you CAN still receive HB and CTB on a ‘no other income’ basis.  I know this doesn’t mitigate against having nothing to live on, but it is at least one safeguard in terms of not having to worry about losing your home.  Should you need to do this, here is the form – with thanks to MSC Legal Services and Fightback

Nil income declaration

Take courage.  Love and Solidarity.

Michelle and Laurie x

Atos Boss earns £44k a WEEK while Disabled Fight to Keep Just £131

26 Jun

This kind of speaks for itself, really . . . Laurie and I will be posting a news round up blog post featuring this and many more examples of DWP and Atos fuckwittery, horror and sheer banal evil; but with some cautious good news too. Still, this is obscene; I feel like that’s something I’m always saying, but I’ll never stop saying it till the obscenity stops. As always, love and solidarity.

Scriptonite Daily

ATmeme

Last year, ten thousand six hundred sick and disabled people died within weeks of losing their benefits, after Atos assessed them as ‘fit to work’.  Thierry Breton, boss of IT firm Atos, has just been awarded a £280k pay rise, bringing his total remuneration to £2.3m a year. While disabled people were hounded to death for a maximum of £131.50 Disability Living Allowance a week, the head of the business chasing them earned £44,000 a week.  This is not austerity, it is travesty.

The Bogus Case for Mr Atos

 AT02

Atos didn’t just enter with the Coalition.  They have been the sole provider of medical assessments for the DWP since 1998.  While Atos is the bulldog, it is the ministers of the DWP who hold the leash – and this government have given a firm order to attack.

The government has mandated that every single person claiming…

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One in three Britons fear they will be unable to keep up with housing costs

24 Jun

We’ll be blogging more about housing issues, the fallout of the bedroom tax, the steep rise in homelessness (and the measures that have and will undoubtedly cause more, such as the criminalisation of squatting) and the despicable treatment of those same homeless people. Here’s an excellent post in the meantime from Street Democracy on the human costs of hyper capitalism and austerity in terms of housing.

Street Democracy - where it should reach - Our Streets!

More than 10 million people fear they will fall behind with rent or mortgage payments in 2014 by Liam Kelly Saturday 22 June 2013

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One in three Britons fear they will struggle to afford their housing costs next year as rising rents and living costs as well as welfare reforms take their toll on people struggling to pay their bills.

The research, conducted by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) and Ipsos Mori, found 10.3 million people were worried about meeting their housing costs in 2014 – a year-on-year increase of 43%. The research also found that more than 11 million people said their concerns about housing costs were causing them stress.

Street Democracy writes: Why does it cost so much just to have a roof over your head again? It is outrageous how peace loving people by an economic slow strangulation are forced into handing over all monies they…

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Pls send this letter to your coalition MP

24 Jun

They lie and lie and they lie again . . . hold the Con Dems to account for their disgraceful, self serving distortions

The SKWAWKBOX

There has been a big response from readers to the two recent posts (here and here) on the response of Tory MPs to questions from their constituents about the government’s blatant abuse of statistics (i.e. lies, since they continue to repeat them even after the UK Statistics Authority rebuked them and told them not to repeat the claims).

In particular, the fact that most MPs who bothered to respond had clearly simply cut and pasted their response from a Conservative Central template, as the wording was identical, and the fact that even this response completely failed to address the questions raised, caused much outrage.

I would therefore like to enlist your help to send a letter or email to every coalition MP that cuts out – or at least renders overtly embarrassing – the option of doing the same thing in response. Hopefully, the wording of this new…

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