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Christmas giving - Eat well on Universal CeditWe're not really doing Christmas this year. We don't have the money to buy lavish presents, which would probably not be appreciated. Also it seems perverse knowing , as we do, that folk are out there living homeless and often dying. 
We have bought gifts for Sue's daughters and my nephew and sent cards to our nearest family and friends. We are however celebrating the fact that we have a roof over our heads and we're not in a tent in The Ings worrying about the rising water level.
We are doing everything we can to help the homeless and the charities and groups who are supporting them. Mostly we do this in the background and as much as possible out of sight.
So this Christmas we would like to invite our friends to make a donation. 1p would be great, a few more pence would be even better. But please don't feel obliged. All proceeds go directly to The Salvation Army and a select group of homeless charities. If it wasn't for the work and assistance of The Salvation Arm we would still be in a tent and Sue would most likely be dead. Without her I'd be dead anyway.....
UN Report on Poverty in the UK November 2018Here is what Professor Philip Alston Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights for the UN has to say about poverty in the UK in 2018
I have  actually found the original report which is here (Just in case I'm seen to be misquoting)
“ …......While the labour and housing markets provide the crucial backdrop, the focus of this report is on the contribution made by social security and related policies. 
The results? 14 million people, a fifth of the population, live in poverty. Four million of these are more than 50% below the poverty line, and 1.5 million are destitute, unable to afford basic essentials. The widely respected Institute for Fiscal Studies predicts a 7% rise in child poverty between 2015 and 2022, and various sources predict child poverty rates of as high as 40%. For almost one in every two children to be poor in twenty-first century Britain is not just a disgrace, but a social calamity and an economic disaster, all rolled into one. 
Although the provision of social security to those in need is a public service and a vital anchor to prevent people being pulled into poverty, the policies put in place since 2010 are usually discussed under the rubric of austerity. But this framing leads the inquiry in the wrong direction. In the area of poverty-related policy, the evidence points to the conclusion that the driving force has not been economic but rather a commitment to achieving radical social re-engineering. Successive governments have brought revolutionary change in both the system for delivering minimum levels of fairness and social justice to the British people, and especially in the values underpinning it. Key elements of the post-war Beveridge social contract are being overturned. In the process, some good outcomes have certainly been achieved, but great misery has also been inflicted unnecessarily, especially on the working poor, on single mothers struggling against mighty odds, on people with disabilities who are already marginalized, and on millions of children who are being locked into a cycle of poverty from which most will have great difficulty escaping. 
In addition to all of the negative publicity about Universal Credit in the UK media and among politicians of all parties, I have heard countless stories from people who told me of the severe hardships they have suffered under Universal Credit. When asked about these problems, Government ministers were almost entirely dismissive, blaming political opponents for wanting to sabotage their work, or suggesting that the media didn’t really understand the system and that Universal Credit was unfairly blamed for problems rooted in the old legacy system of benefits. “
The full report is 24 pages long and these are only extracts. Very little of the remainder of the report is any more positive however.
A society which victimizes the most vulnerable cannot be considered civilizedWhilst I don't doubt the content and circumstances of this article - some of it is very very close to home for us, I do think there is a certain amount of bias.
Naming the individuals who work for the Council is fine. Screen shots of MPs communications are fine. Let them all take responsibility for their own actions. 
But blaming the Council is incorrect. Councils have taken a massive budget cut nationally and simply don't have the resources to deal with this crisis. Those who should be held accountable are all on comfortable salaries and are sleeping their way through this issue in a nicely heated House of Commons -
Esther McVey Resigns - Eat well on Universal Credit“Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey has become the latest cabinet minister to quit the government over Brexit in a fresh blow to Theresa May's authority. (Brixit are you sure?)
The Brexiteer said the prime minister's draft Brexit deal "does not honour the result of the referendum'' and she "Could not look [her] constituents in the eye" over the plans.”
I venture that this is Political spin from a Politician who has wholeheartedly supported Universal Credit, all it stands for and the hardship and deaths it has caused. Honesty is obviously not their thing, they are after all highly paid professional liars. But I think a more honest statement might have read:-
{ This is clearly intended as SATIRE – AJC }
“ Whilst I have luxuriated in the fiscal benefits of my promotion to Work and Pensions Secretary it was never realistically possible to starve those who earn less than I do to death. Even some of my party piers might have children in public schools who's earning from their trust funds are below my highly subjective £80K PA ETL (Entitlement To Live) threshold. Although I have no conscience as such I fear, I might not be able to enjoy the standard of living to which I have become to accustomed if I were to execute or starve their offspring. People seem to be sentimental about other humans. Again I can't really understand this but one of my advisors suggested it to be the case. Therefore I have chosen to leave my post voluntarily in the hope that Our Leader Mrs May can find me another Cabinet post which will be relatively revolution proof “ 
Really? This is a Government Employee?Dear Jody,
                 Firstly I thank you for your reply. Although I found is somewhat difficult to understand. I would expect a reasonably level of literacy from a Government Employee.
Please see below:-
Your message “ Hi Antony,
If they wasn't able to do that for you, you can download it off the website and if you put in the search bar uc50 and its the top one that you can download and complete. 
Kind Regards Jody “
I would prefer this to have been phrased:-
“ Hi Antony,
If our department or our sub-contractors were unable to assist you with this, you can download it from the website. By inserting “uc50” in the search bar you will find the 24 page full colour .pdf file. If you could possibly download and print this we will reimburse you for the cost involved, as this is clearly our mistake.
Kind Regards Jody “
I did not receive your form. Possibly because your system caused us to be homeless and living in a tent for 8 weeks? No postal service etc. I will however complete your form and walk a 3 mile round trip with a heart condition to drop it off at Job Centre Plus York. I'm sure it would be much more convenient for me to die on the way. 
However, with the assistance and in partnership with various charities we visited 10 Downing Street yesterday to deliver a petition against UC. We sincerely hope it forces change and makes your position as an employee more tenable and doesn't lead to the system you have to enforce killing too many more people.
As we only receive £430+ a month and the cartridges for the printer cost us £48 I think it only fair that you reimburse us. I can provide the WH Smiths receipt.

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