My mother sadly passed away last May and the tenancy of our flat was transferred to me. I was told to move onto Universal Credit.
I explained to the Department for Work and Pensions that I suffer with severe anxiety and bipolar affective disorder. But I was basically bullied into looking for work.
I am currently paid £709 a month. My total rent comes to £613 a month leaving me less than £100 to live on. My electricity usage per month comes to around £70, so that leaves me £30 a month for food.
I am lucky that my dad began to give me a weekly allowance to buy myself food.
The constant stress of not knowing how I would pay my bills caused me to become extremely stressed and depressed.
I ended up walking myself into A&E after self-harming.
A therapist convinced me to go into a mental health wing in my local hospital. I stayed there for nearly three weeks.
I called the Universal Credit people twice to say that I couldn’t make my appointment and had a nurse speak to them to confirm this.
But they deducted £147.50 from my total amount per month. When I explained that I either pay my rent and starve or buy food and get evicted, I was told they could refer me to a food bank.
When my mother got sick and I was diagnosed I had to leave work to support both her and myself.
I have to admit that before that I wondered why people going to food banks didn’t get a job.
That’s obviously karma coming back to bite me.
People affected by Universal Credit seem to live in poor areas. I believe the monumental disaster of Universal Credit aims to move poor people out of cities like London to let more rich city bankers move in.
I have always been a fence sitter when it came to politics and rarely voted. But now I believe that Jeremy Corbyn and Labour are the way to go.
Cash curbs don’t stop addictions
There are rumours that social services in some London boroughs are severely restricting benefits for people with alcohol or drug dependencies.
This can sometimes be done under the Mental Capacity Act. People can receive a Personal Allowance as small as £10 a day.
The success rate has been abysmal, with those involved getting into debt, etc. Is it professional responsibility or manipulation?
Legal claims have been made and journalists have also been contacted to investigate.
Peace is still unobtainable
I called at Batley Art Gallery recently to view an exhibition by Bradford based Peter Robson called Unobtania.
It’s a mixture of political art work that commemorates the battle of the Somme and the major role played by the Bradford PALS regiment.
Peters’ work reflects the Somme and the horrors attached to it, but he also paints of a fear to come.
Unobtania reflects the foolishness of conflict, the horror of the human cost, and that what we are still trying to grab is actually unobtainable.
The exhibition runs until 27 January.
Draft London Plan will fail poorer Londoners
London mayor Sadiq Khan’s Draft London Plan is a disaster for working class Londoners.
Khan has not heard the message from Jeremy Corbyn’s surge in the general election or from Haringey in north London.
There Labour friends of the developers have been deselected at packed meetings.
The Plan does nothing to address the shortage of the type of housing that poorer people want and need—council housing.
There is no target for new social rent dwellings, in a plan that covers 23 years from 2019 and 2041.
Khan’s London Affordable Rent is much higher than social rents paid by council and housing association tenants—for some up to 62 percent higher.
We need housing for people and not for profit.
Keep up the border fight
On 22 December, for the first time, the United Nations and the Italian government evacuated 162 refugees from camps in Libya and flew them to Rome.
This is apparently the first of many evacuations.
It is fantastic that a safe and legal migration route from Libya to Europe has now been opened. But this is not enough.
We must continue to demand that all migrants trapped in detention centres in Libya are immediately freed and that the borders be fully opened.
No one should have to face being locked up in squalid conditions for moving across borders.
No one should have to face being tortured, raped, murdered or drowned for trying to reach safety.
How could we greet Trump?
- Let Donald Trump come over and we will show him what we think (Stop Trump Visit, Socialist Worker, 6 December).
- Maybe we could collect wigs for him as a gift. One or two thousand will do.
- London get ready to make hell, love from Norway.
Boycott firms over low pay
The insane profits that company makes and they treat their staff like shit (Bosses owed workers £1.7 million after avoiding minimum wage, Socialist Worker online).
Until their staff get paid properly, we should all boycott them.
No to the Sun in Liverpool
Fantastic news that Liverpool postal workers are no longer delivering the Sun newspaper (Socialist Worker online).
Next the Daily Mail, then Daily Telegraph until they are all out of business!
Kick out the rail fat cats
What a disgrace that the rail firms are putting up fares—again.
Jeremy Corbyn is right to say the rail should be renationalised.
It’s good to be called Marxist
Before Christmas the Daily Mail was using the term Marxist as a term of abuse.
In a backhanded way this is a compliment.
Socialist Worker must continue to emphasise Marxist theory regularly and in simple terms.
If the 21st century is to be on our terms, these ideas need to be mainstream.